Sample Essay

But there’s no Masonic message in the city’s street plan, Tabbert said. For starters, Pierre L’Enfant wasn’t a Mason. And, Tabbert asked, why would Masons go to the trouble of laying out a street grid to match their symbols? “There has to be a [reason] for doing such a thing,” said Tabbert, himself a Mason. “Dan Brown will find one, because he writes fiction. But there isn’t one.” (Melanson)

Maybe it’s the impressive list of prominent Freemasons—from Napoleon to F.D.R. to King Kamehameha (IV and V!)—that’s led some to suggest the group is a small cabal running the globe. But Kinney, the Masonic historian, paints a picture of a largely decentralized group that might have trouble running anything with much efficiency. “I think the ideals that Masonry embodies, which have to do with universal brotherhood, are shared by Masons around the world [regardless of] religious, political, or national differences,” he said. Kinney noted that the U.S. alone has 51 grand lodges, one for each state and the District of Columbia. Each of these largely independent organizations oversees its many local blue (or beginner) lodges and has little real coordination with other grand lodges. Internationally, Masonic lodges not only don’t speak with a single voice but sometimes refuse to even recognize each other’s existence (Redding).

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