Author: Jay Kinney
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN:  978-0-06-082256-9

Click Here To Purchase The Masonic Myth: Unlocking the Truth About the Symbols, the Secret Rites, and the History of Freemasonry

Conspiracy theories provide material for mystery, suspense, and thriller novels.  Even sci-fi is not immune, for Asimov’s Foundation series and Hogan’s Giant series are really about conspiracies.  One particular kind of conspiracy involves the secret society controlling man’s fate.  Asimov’s Second Foundation members and Hogan’s other humans perhaps come to mind, but in the thriller genre we often think of some government group, neo-Nazis, or religious mystics or fanatics.  And often, implicitly or explicitly, the latter are associated with Freemasonry, an association Jay Kinney debunks in this historical treatise about the Masonic movement.

Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons introduced us to his take on the Illuminati, for example, and his Lost Symbol will probably increase our interest in the history of the Masons.  For this reason, I recommend this well written book.  It opened my eyes; it will also open yours.

My father and an uncle were 32o Masons in the Scottish Rite and my mother was a member of Eastern Star.  Being a child of the sixties, I never particularly cared about their activities in these organizations except when I was allowed to play pool in the Temple with my uncle.  I had two partially contradictory conceptions: one was that the Freemasons represent just another old boys’ club and the other was that Freemasonry was steeped in religious mysticism, often at odds with both Protestantism and Catholicism (yet how I loved Mozart’s Magic Flute). Kinney has set me straight—both are right, and more.  But it is not a conspiracy to control the world’s affairs—the Masons are much too disorganized for that!

There is no single uniform form of Freemasonry, for example.  There are two Scottish Rites in the US, roughly North and South.  There is a York Rite.  There are the Shriners. Kinney explains them all, their ceremonies, and their symbols.

Websites like “Freemasonry Watch” are dedicated to continuing the conspiracy theories.  Many think the 32 degrees of the Scottish Rite are initiations into more and more bizarre rituals, for example.  As Kinney writes: “…no doubt to widespread disappointment all around, the highest degrees of Freemasonry do not involve sex magic.  Considering that your average Mason is in his mid-seventies, the notion is patently ridiculous.  Flattering, perhaps, but out of the question.”  Snippets of humor like this abound and, Viagra aside, make Kinney’s point that public fear of Freemasonry is on the same level as fear of an alien invasion. 

Given that the author has written a well documented historical treatise (there are thirty pages of notes but, unfortunately, no index), HarperOne, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers, has done him a great disservice.  This is a cheaply produced trade paperback.  The paper quality is poor.  While I saw no bleedthrough, the blurring of the tiny font makes it almost impossible to decipher the footnote numbers.  The figures are also generally too small and, for the same reason, impossible to read.  Shame on them!

Nevertheless I do enthusiastically recommend Jay Kinney’s book.  The title is particularly a propos: the author debunks the myth(s) about Freemasonry in an interesting, informative, and humorous manner.  I hope you enjoy reading the book as much as I did. 

Click Here To Purchase The Masonic Myth: Unlocking the Truth About the Symbols, the Secret Rites, and the History of Freemasonry