The Foreword to Turning The Templar Key
Written by Martin Faulks
Robert Lomas often introduces me as his favorite stalker. This is because I have come to know him through my work with Lewis Masonic, the world's largest, oldest, and most successful Masonic publishing company. When I first came to the company, I wanted to produce a range of titles bringing Freemasonry to the attention of the general public, and I knew that a book by Robert would help bring this about. His exciting writing style, and interesting scientific spirituality have made his writing popular with both Masons and non-Masons. Therefore, a book written by Robert would get guaranteed shelf space in all mainstream bookshops, and might create an opportunity for other Masonic authors with different writing styles to reach the general public.
So Robert was an important part of my "master plan," and, luckily, he was inspired by my idea of a range of titles written by Freemasons for the mainstream book trade. Since then, after the great success of Turning the Hiram Key, my dream has become reality. More and more people are getting the opportunity to read about Masonic ideas. Lewis, along with our American ally Fair Winds Press, have continued to have successes with titles like The Rosslyn Hoax and The Secrets of Solomon's Temple and Freemasonry-The Reality by authors whose views are different from, and even opposed to, Robert's. I am very grateful to Robert for investing his time in us and helping me open up the public discussion of Masonic subjects.
My Freemasonry has a different focus from Robert's. The wonderful thing about Masonic ritual is that it acts like an ink-blot test for the human mind. Each Freemason sees something slightly different in the workings of the Craft, depending on his situation in life, his personal background, and his level of development. I wonder if a lack of firm knowledge of our origins isn't one of the greatest gifts Freemasonry has. The ambiguity allows the ritual to speak directly: without preconceptions. To Robert, Freemasonry is a mystery to solve, a science puzzle, and a quest into the past. Indeed, it is a standing joke between Robert and myself that what I see as genuine spiritual insight, he often sees as superstition and self-delusion. But we agree that Freemasonry is a path of self-development and self-improvement, and that Masonic ritual provides a system of moral and spiritual transformation. It inspires men to look at themselves and change the way they interact with the world. It is a system of mental control and self-development comparable to Buddhism, yoga, and many other paths of self-improvement to be found around the world, but packaged in a unique western tradition.
The special thing about Freemasonry is that it is free of dogma and open to all religious persuasions. The rituals of Freemasonry are stories that tap into the basic human urge to improve one's self and make the world a better place. Freemasonry teaches that our personal characteristics are neither random nor immutable. We can change ourselves just as a builder changes his surroundings. The wisdom and inspiration contained in Masonic ceremonies allows us to reflect on ourselves and adjust our behavior and way of thinking. It's a hard path that involves the constant chipping away of our negative qualities and the cultivation of our virtues. To do this we use contemplation, speculation, ritual memorization, and constant adjustment and correction of our thoughts in daily life. A stonemason builds buildings, a Freemason builds himself into someone better and more virtuous. It is a way of becoming the best man that you can be, and of having the best effect you can on the world.
I, however, know little of history, so I was a little hesitant to produce a foreword for a book on the Knights Templar and Masonic Templarism. As I read the manuscript, though, I started to realize that this book wasn't simply about history. It looked at something much deeper: the power that stories have to inspire. I came to understand that one constant theme of Robert's books is the power of myth. He claims that the very thing that powers Freemasonry is also the thing that created it: the ability of iconic, ancient stories to continue to inspire! So get ready for a journey through some of history's most amazing tales, including Viking pirates fighting Native Americans, captured knights roasted to death for heresy, the hidden wisdom of goddess worship, and the secret history of the true cross of Jesus Christ!