“Professor Langdon,’ called a young man with curly hair in the back row, ‘if Masonry is not a secret society, not a corporation, and not a religion, then what is it?’
‘Well, if you were to ask a Mason, he would offer the following definition: Masonry is a system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.’
‘Sounds to me like a euphemism for “freaky cult.” ‘
‘Freaky, you say?’
‘Hell yes!’ the kid said, standing up. ‘I heard what they do inside those secret buildings! Weird candlelight rituals with coffins, and nooses, and drinking wine out of skulls. Now that’s freaky!’
Langdon scanned the class. ‘Does that sound freaky to anyone else?’
‘Yes!’ they all chimed in.
Langdon feigned a sad sigh. ‘Too bad. If that’s too freaky for you, then I know you’ll never want to join my cult.’
Silence settled over the room. The student from the Women’s Center looked uneasy. ‘You’re in a cult?’
Langdon nodded and lowered his voice to a conspiratorial whisper. ‘Don’t tell anyone, but on the pagan day of the sun god Ra, I kneel at the foot of an ancient instrument of torture and consume ritualistic symbols of blood and flesh.’
The class looked horrified.
Langdon shrugged. ‘And if any of you care to join me, come to the Harvard chapel on Sunday, kneel beneath the crucifix, and take Holy Communion.’
The classroom remained silent.
Langdon winked. ‘Open your minds, my friends. We all fear what we do not understand.”