Norwich man to dispel myth of Freemasons
10 June 2004
For centuries they have been cloaked in medieval mystery and intrigue.
Their secretive antics and seemingly elitist nature have given rise to widespread mistrust, conspiracy theories and hatred.
But now one Norwich-born publisher is determined to set the record straight and open the world's eye to the truth behind the Freemasons.
Martin Faulks, 26, from Ditching-ham, near Bungay, has been a member of the secret order for three years.
Eight months ago, he left a mainstream publisher to join one of the largest Freemason publishers in the world, Lewis Masonic Publishing.
Before long, and fed up with seeing so many anti-Masonic titles filling the shelves of high street bookshops, Mr Faulks decided it was to time to take action.
"A couple of months ago I came to the conclusion that all our Masonic titles should be open to everybody," he said.
"Most books about Freemasonry say how terrible it is, so I thought it was time for us to have our say.
"I just want people to see what Freemasonry has to offer, as for me it's been a great guidance."
Mr Faulks contacted all the major bookshops to let them know the elusive titles were now available to all.
However, it was not until an article appeared in industry magazine Bookseller that things really took off.
"It's been crazy ever since," he said.
"Only very rarely could you ever find these books outside special bookshops in Great Queen Street in London, which had special shutters stopping non-Masons from looking in," he said.
"Now Waterstone's are adding the titles to their core list."
And, by chance, the first shop to dedicate an entire section to the order is Ottakar's in Norwich.
"There's been lots of interest and we've had good sales," said bookseller Debbie Chapman, who runs the store's mind, body and spirit section, where the books are shelved.
"We were worried at first that some Masons would come in and complain, but there've been no problems at all.
"Most people have been pleasantly surprised and seem very grateful.
Freemasonry is a widespread order that was established in the medieval ages and whose members make a pledge to brotherly love, relief from pain and truth.
"It's all about teaching you to be a good person," said Mr Faulks.
"That's the real secret of the Freemasons."
Famous Freemasons include Winston Churchill, Amadeus Mozart and Harry Houdini.
To find out more visit www.lewismasonic.com
Copyright © 2004 Archant Regional. All rights reserved.