According to esoteric Grail Lore, the alternative history of Jesus is as follows: Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, who bore him children (Brown, p. 248 - Gardner, Chapter 8). Jesus may have died on the cross, or, as Gardner asserts, he may have been removed from the cross before he died and went on to live a normal lifespan (Gardner, Chapter 7). In any event, during a period of persecution by Imperial Rome, Mary Magdalene fled to Gaul (modern France) with her royal heirs of the House of Judah. Their descendants mixed and mingled with each other to become Kings in France and Briton (Brown, pages 256-257 - Gardner, Chapter 10).
The Holy Grail is not literally the cup of Jesus Christ from the Last Supper as was pursued by Knights of the Round Table, Monty Python comedians, and Indiana Jones. Rather, the Holy Grail is the royal blood of Jesus Christ flowing through the veins of his long-descended heirs (Brown, page 250 - Gardner devotes an appendices to copious genealogical notes). Dan Brown fictionalized the genetic inheritance to reside in a pair of siblings separated from each other while young, one to grow up in France and one in Scotland (Brown Chapter 104).
The Holy Grail is also a collection of early documents and gospels that were suppressed by the church after the Council of Nicea. These documents reveal that the Christ and the Magdalene were intimate, and that early Christians revered in them the sacred union of masculine and feminine (Brown, p. 256). The veneration of the sacred feminine was opposed by the misogynists at the Council of Nicea, and what followed was centuries in which the character of Mary Magdalene was assassinated in order to diminish reverence for the sacred feminine (Brown. P. 261 - Gardner pp.138-140).
Luckily, some Christians loyal to the bloodline were able to hide a large collection of these goddess-venerating documents within the foundations of the ruined Temple of Solomon. Over seven hundred years later these documents were discovered by the founders of the Knights’ Templar in the course of the First Crusade, but the Knights kept them hidden. Their subsequent leverage over the Roman Catholic Church made them a very prosperous order for about two hundred years (Brown, p. 256 ff).
For reasons I discuss below in “Vatican Conspiracy” I contend that the legend of finding ancient documents within the ruins of the Temple is one of Brown’s more fanciful recoveries of the Grail Lore, which a little common sense makes absurd. In “The Sacred Feminine and the Church” I will illustrate how the Old Testament Israelites revered the feminine, and how those issues have been faced in the Church.
To his credit Sir Laurence Gardner, himself a Knight Templar, does not seem to paint himself into the corner of Solomon’s Temple. Instead, he speaks of documents recovered throughout western Europe, written or guarded initially by the Grail Line families that had fled persecution during the Magdalene’s lifetime. Not being concerned for any one large collection this satisfies the concern of plausibility at more than one level.
Thus, the Quest for the Holy Grail takes many forms. It would seem that the easiest way to find the Grail, short of stumbling on the murder of the Louvre Museum’s curator as do the characters in Brown’s novel, would be to become a Knight Templar, submit to its various initiations, and rise through its ranks until you become privy to all the secrets. Or, you can simply read Gardner’s book.
According to Sir Laurence, the heir of Jesus Christ is Sir Michael James Stewart, Count of Albany, the heir of the Stewart dynasty that had united the kingdoms of England and Scotland (Gardner, p. 414). Parliament deposed James VII (the Whig revolution, Gardner, p. 415) in favor of William of Orange, leaving Sir Michael, centuries later, a King without a throne, much like Jesus himself. He has, however, composed the forward to Gardner’s book.
So the question is not how well Dan Brown researched the various organizations. He has presented one comprehensive version of the Grail Quest. Anyone can read the books put out by these organizations, and Brown includes a list of them in his novel. The question is: Does this long-secret, alternative history for Jesus constitute the True history that the Church has suppressed, as Brown together with Gardner contend? The straight, short answer, is No.
A short “no” will not satisfy those who have been inspired by Dan Brown to either seek the truth about Jesus, or embark on a Grail Quest. His novel was the subject of a Primetime special on ABC, and it was the cover story in the December 8, 2003 issue of Newsweek magazine. In favor of Brown is the credibility that comes with a best-seller and favorable press coverage. The strike against me, is that readers of Dan Brown will question any answers provided by a minister of the Church (pp. 233-235).