Growing up I was a very avid reader. I could do without video games. TV? Didn’t need it. But books? I always had one close by–you couldn’t pry them from my hands. My favorite type of literature was fiction, especially that which integrated real history into the plot. Eventually, like nearly every other person in the world, I got swept up in the Dan Brown books.
These books were my first introduction to the world of freemasonry and I was fascinated by the conspiracies that were spun around the fraternity. Curiosity eventually pushed me to investigate further so I began researching the history and foundations of the Freemasons. The mass of information available was overwhelming and it was difficult to find the truth.
Now, as an intern at the House of the Temple, the headquarters for the Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, I have not only been able to learn a great deal about the history of freemasonry but I am also able to share my knowledge with visitors. Some of the questions that I am asked while giving tours often seem strange to me. How could a person believe something like that? Where would they even hear something like that? Though I once was a believer in masonic conspiracies, people who ask similar types of questions now seem naive to me. It is these feelings that I wish to draw upon for my print project.
I am curious as to what historical information on the Freemasons (particularly the Scottish Rite masons) is available through digital sources, how accurate this information is, and what people believe freemasonry to be. I am currently planning to utilize popular websites such as Wikipedia to determine what type of information is available. Then I plan on using Mason-written print texts to determine the validity and accuracy of this digital information. Finally, I’m hoping to assess the beliefs of individuals by analyzing freemason references on sites, including Yelp, YouTube, the talk page of Wikipedia, blogs, and fan sites of the most recent Dan Brown novel, The Lost Symbol.
I believe that this project will be a valuable asset to both myself, and the House of the Temple. By completing this research, I will be able to better estimate the knowledge of visitors who come to the House of the Temple. In addition, the Supreme Council will be able to use the conclusions of this project to better understand the image of Freemasonry on the digital front. And, if they so desire, the Council will know in what areas they should improve or attempt to change their image.