The book Templars in America tells the story of a European noble family that explored America nearly 100 years before Columbus. In their study, authors Tim Wallace-Murphy and Marilyn Hopkins write that the medieval warrior monks of the Knights Templar had trading links with Native Americans in Nova Scotia and New England, and that the European families—who were members of the Templars and claimed to be descended from Jesus—passed their beliefs through Masonic teaching into the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

The main point of their new book, however, is to report evidence they believe ties those European families more directly to America. They say that a member of one of the European families, Earl Henry Sinclair, voyaged to New England in the 1300s and ultimately assimilated with the Native American people and died there.

Is the history of the Knights Templar disputed?

Oh, yes it is. There are two totally different views on this. One is that it was founded by devout Catholics to defend the faith—a view that I’m afraid we would dispute quite vigorously. The other is the view we’ve just given you, that it was founded for heretical reasons, by families trying to reclaim their patrimony—which was in their view the Holy Land, because they claimed descent from the high priesthood of Jerusalem.

Tell me about this family trying to keep its patrimony.

It wasn’t one family—it was a series of them. There were 24 hereditary high priests in the temple of Jerusalem, and after the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 they scattered throughout Europe and the Far East. Their descendents kept in touch and only married within that group of families—keeping the bloodline pure and passing down their teaching in secret. Now, they knew that Jesus wasn’t God and that he had taught a form of spirituality which was totally in conformity with Judaic tradition and with the Egyptian tradition that preceded it.

How does that story connect with Gnosticism?

These families were Gnostics. The church required you to believe in a set of fixed dogma and accept it as fact. It said that if you are not a good boy down here then you’ll burn in hell for eternity; or you could conform to church belief and join the feathered choir in heaven. The Gnostic is a different animal. He follows a teacher who teaches an ascending path of initiation, whereby more and more is revealed until ultimately you attain union with God. Examples would be Buddhists, Zoroastrians, Egyptians, or the Jewish Kabbalists. And the families we’re talking about were following something very closely akin to the Kabbalah and the Egyptian tradition.

How does Gnosticism connect with the legends surrounding Mary Magdalene and Jesus?

She was his wife. The Christian concept that Jesus was God and therefore he was untouchable by anybody is nonsense, because as a Jew he would have had to conform to Jewish tradition at that time—and Jewish tradition said that the male had to marry and have children. And he was also heir to the throne of David. It would have been incumbent on him to produce another heir to keep the bloodline going. Had he not been married and done that, he couldn’t have been the heir to the throne.

And Mary Magdalene came from a very important family—far more important than the Christian gospels tells us. And it probably was an arranged marriage by the two families to promote the aristocracy because Jesus was certainly an aristocrat, not just a humble carpenter.

Who were the Knights Templar?

On the surface they were a medieval, monastic order who gave the appearance of being part of the church and devout Christians. In actual fact, they were anything but that. Yes, they were a monastic order, they’d been approved by the pope, and they were virtually independent of all civil and other church authorities, being responsible through their grand master to the pope and the pope alone. But in actual fact, they’d been founded by a group of families who had a very different and a very heretical view about Christ and his teaching. They had kept that teaching alive in secret for nearly 1,100 years and conspired to set up a counterbalance to church power.

And then when he was killed, you believe she fled to southern France?

Yes, there is a tradition that said that she landed in a boat with Lazarus.
Each year there is a festival there. And on the first day of the festival, they carry the patron saint, known as Saint Sarah, down to the sea. She is known as Sarah the Egyptian. The story says that she was a servant girl, but it’s our belief that she was actually Jesus and Mary Magdalene’s daughter.