10 Myths About Freemasonry
In Dan Brown's just-released book "The Lost Symbol," Freemasonry plays a prominent role. Symbologist Robert Langdon (of "The Da Vinci Code" and "Angels & Demons") is asked to help find a Masonic treasure.
According to Jay Kinney, a practicing Freemason and author of "The Masonic Myth" (HarperOne, 2009), Freemasonry is a centuries-old fraternal society dedicated to universal brotherhood, self-inquiry, and charity. The organization conveys its values through a series of degrees that utilize the metaphor of ancient stonemasons building the Temple of Solomon.
Because there is so much mystery surrounding Freemasonry and its members (Masons), Beliefnet asked Kinney to clear up some common misconceptions about "the Craft," including whether all U.S. presidents have been Masons and if they had symbols placed on currency. Start the gallery.
Adapted from "The Masonic Myth" by Jay Kinney. Copyright © 2009 by Jay Kinney. Used with permission of HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.