[TBC: The Bible teaches us that there is nothing new under the sun and a secular publisher reminds us that this is true even concerning cults.]
Every reader of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code —and there are tens of millions of them—is familiar with the story of a secret society that protects the descendants of Jesus from the Catholic Church’s efforts to erase the “real history.” Brown’s is not, by a long shot, the first best-seller on this topic, and many have been persuaded to believe in it. Like any good con, it has a defense mechanism built in: Efforts by mainstream religious leaders to debunk it only prove that there’s a conspiracy. The story of the Priory of Sion began in the 1950s, when a French fascist and ex-con named Pierre Plantard wanted to make people believe that he was the descendant of a royal family. But in forging his documents he went overboard and linked himself not just to earthly monarchs but to Jesus himself. The myth soon spun out of his control, and even a confession by Plantard’s accomplice failed to quell it. With Tom Hanks starring in the film version of The Da Vinci Code , the Priory may well become one of the great new sects of the 21st century (http://www.radaronline.com/web-only/kulture-klub/2005/10/intelligent-deception.php).