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Monday, July 01, 2013

Shrine Eliminates MM Requirement In Arkansas

NEWS FLASH: The Shrine has eliminated the Master Mason requirement for membership in Arkansas. The slippery slope has begun.


  1. So, when a non-Mason Shriner from AK travels and wishes to visit the Shrine in another jurisdiction, what happens? I think this will lead to some serious tactical problems for the Shrine.

    1. No it won't. The Shrine does not hold tyled Masomic meetings.

  2. I do not agree with this at all and do agree the slippery slope has begun

    Joshua Barkley MM

  3. So, if a non-Mason joins the Shrine in Arkansas, then some time later moves to Tennessee, will he still be a Shriner in Tennessee?

    The Imperial Shrine is being incredibly stupid in their battle to enforce "Shrine law" that only requires Masonic membership upon joining the Shrine, but not during later membership years. Making these exceptions for Arkansas will have repercussions in other grand jurisdictions. When the Shrine finally eliminates the requirement of Masonic membership, it will kill the Shrine. I know that several of my friends and I are all in agreement that as soon as the Shrine is no longer a Masonic organization, we will cease paying dues to the Shrine.

    This is, indeed, sad news.

    Mark Wright
    Washington, D.C.

    1. Mark,

      Yes, he would be but could join a temple (Shrine Center) outside of Arkansas.

      The Shrine will never remove the Masonic requirement and it is not correct to state that Masonic membership only applied when joining. That is false.

      Ed Adams, PM and Proud Shriner

  4. I expect a backlash from the respective GL jurisdictions as the requirement is dropped.

    As Charlie Brown so eloquently stated: "good grief!"

    Dustin Tarditi, PM
    James B Green 735 AF&AM
    Raleigh, NC

    1. No there will not be. Most GMs are level headed and understand the situation.

      Ed Adams, PM and Proud Shriner

  5. Deep down inside we knew this was going to happen. And for one minute do not think that this won't spread. The Shrine will ultimately drop the requirement all together. You cannot threaten the Shrine when you do not hold jurisdiction over them. This goes for both Shriners International and PHA Shriners. The Shrine has already dropped the 32 degree and Templar requirement years ago. The Blue House is next up on the chopping block. Grandmasters please be aware that you're ultimately going to make Masons choose sides if you cannot work with the Shrine in harmony and brotherly love.

    1. As a Master Mason and a Shriner, I believe the Shrine leadership is creating this problem. Shrine membership nation-wide is dropping while the slide in Masonic membership has leveled off. I am afraid of what the Shrine will become without Masonry.

      Alvin Hammer
      Past Master of Bright Hope Lodge 557 in Knoxville TN
      Past President of North Knox Shrine Club

    2. Alvin,

      That is completely false and that will not happen.

      Es Adams, PM and Proud Shriner

  6. I certainly hope this does not turn into the eventual removal of the Masonic requirement for Shrine membership. But I fear you may be right. I have followed the controversy between Shriners International and the Grand Lodge of Arkansas and - on the one hand - can see this as a narrow response to a particular situation. But I know it may not - perhaps likely will not - end there. How sad. And the day the Masonic membership requirement is dropped I will drop my membership in the Shrine.

  7. Wasn't this essentially forced on them by the Grand Lodge of AK?


  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. The slippery slope to what? I'd be interested in some thoughtful discussion of this.

    Frat. Eoghan

  10. I think this is going to unfold not in through other shrine jurisdictions, but through the various Grand Lodges. When they decide to retain recognition or withdraw it will be the determination for others to remove the requirement. Personally, I'm not a shriner, and I think the group can stand on it's own, but if they eliminate the requirement then they need to divorce themselves completely. It will put a strain on the GL's, and they will have to compensate by coming out of their shells - an Ad or two on tv seems to work in some jurisdictions.

    Glenn Lovell, PM
    WM, Mt Moriah #39
    Caldwell ID

  11. Speaking as a Shriner, I've never understood what in Shrinedom was intrinsically Masonic. In Massachusetts, the Shrine performs what it calls the "Arch Degree", which purports that the Shrine is the keystone that balances the pillars of York Rite and Scottish Rite Freemasonry. Such a notion is farcical. The Shrine is a club that has restricted itself to Master Masons for historical reasons, but the two creatures are (or could be) entirely independent of each other without either suffering because of this. I see no reason why profanes could not be Shriners, nor even why women could not be Shriners. While I would probably not remain a Shriner if it went down that road, I don't see any intrinsic reason why such a trajectory would be bad for the Shrine, or bad for Freemasonry.

    I would imagine that roughly the same number of people correctly know that Shriners are Masons as the number of people who erroneously think that Elks or Rotarians are Masons. A categorical independence might be good for both parties. My Grand Lodge doesn't care if I'm an Elk or a Rotarian. I would hope that in future, they'd have the same indifference to the Shrine if it should become completely independent.

    1. By your method of thinking, if the Shrine drops the Master Mason requirement, then it officially becomes simply a social club like the Elks, Moose, etc. How high do you hold your standard?

    2. One problem is that GL likes to publicize that Masons are the largest charitable organization. We all know most of that money is through Shriner's Hospitals. If Shrine becomes a stand-alone body, that claim no longer stands!

  12. If the Shrine were to drop the Masonic prerequisite universally, then any man could be a Shriner. If the Shrine were to go that route and market the fraternity effectively, the Shrine could grow by leaps and bounds very quickly. Would that potential for membership stifle the need to perform investigations and background checks? Balloting? What would happen if most Masons were to bail completely in a very short time?

    What of the hospital network that was established by men who were, at their core, Masons? What about the culture clash between the Masons who remain and the new-school non-Masons? Could the remaining Masons use an open-era Shrine to teach more men about the fraternity that created the Shrine in the first place, thereby boosting Lodge membership? Lots of facets.

  13. First I don't like this either, but the Shrine wasn't given much of a choice. My suggestion is to look up the information on both the Shrine website and other websites and come up with your own conclusion.
    This isn't in the best interest of either groups.
    We have enough problems.
    It's time to start acting like the men we claim to be.

  14. "The Imperial Shrine is being incredibly stupid in their battle to enforce "Shrine law" that only requires Masonic membership upon joining the Shrine, but not during later membership years."

    I'm just wondering what happens if we take this line of thinking a bit further. For example: We require that a Mason have a belief in a Supreme Being when he joins, but what happens if he loses that belief later on? Does this mean that we can haz atheists, but only if they convert after having become a Mason?

    1. Proclaiming you are an atheist or denouncimg TGAOTU after becoming a mason is subject for masonic disipline and grounds for expulsion in every jurisdiction i've been to.

    2. It certainly is here in Kentucky.

  15. I don't see this ending well at all, considering everything that has already transpired.

  16. Sad! I remember when you had to be a 32nd degree Mason to join The Shrine. Sometime the old ways are still the best.

  17. Let me day this Imperial Shrine did not start this fight. The egos in the GL of Arkansas who did not give the man a fair and impartial trial if the charges were warranted. The masonic fraternity boost that it spends $3 million a day on charity half of that figure is shrine hospitals. So when Imperial does resolve the Masonic ties what will they say then. I think the GM of Arkansas needs to swale his ego and remember what Masonry is, was and will be. The GL of Arkansas does not need to be mad at the Shrine it needs to be mad at the state of Iowa for not suspending the Potentate when he was suspended from Arkansas. That is where the problem lies.

    James Appling, PM
    Berclair Lodge #771

  18. The adult tantrums continue. As a Shriner (from Michigan), who recently dealt with a similar situation, I think the writing is on the wall. There is nothing intrinsically Masonic about the Shrine, other than all the men in the group are Masons. I think it's only a matter of time until they separate. That split will have pretty large (positive) membership ramifications for the Shrine I think, as I personally know a fairly large number of KofC guys who would love to get involved with the Shrine, but thus far have been unable to.

    The issue isn't one of whether it's good or bad that the Shrine does or doesn't have a Masonic requirement, the principle issue is how embarrassing it is to watch grown men in leadership positions stomp their feet and throw ego-based hissy fits. FYI - it's why all our organizations are in membership trouble.

    So what's the next step? GLs demanding that Masons demit their Shrine memberships, even though the organizations are now unrelated? Guess what, the younger generation doesn't really take too well to being bullied for political revenge.

    Whether the Shrine drops its requirement or not won't dictate whether I drop my membership, the community and leadership response to that kind of decision will.

    If I drop any memberships, chances are good I'd drop all of them. Is that what the leadership wants? As the young Mason (34; Raised 2002) and Noble (since 2008) they all purport to want in their ranks, they have definitely underwhelmed me.

    As I look around the remnants of the Detroit that once was and think of all the Brothers who made that great city, I can't help but ask myself... are the men running our Lodges and Temples still the men who create cities? Or haven the enlightened Brothers left the building? I'm not sure the answer.

  19. A sad day, indeed, when the newer (by several hundred years) organization, formed as an appendant body to the Masonic craft, attempts to usurp the power of its parent, to the detriment of both organizations. I love that the Shrine is charitable in its treatment of children, but this "power tripping" makes me glad I dimitted years ago.

    Sadly, I must disagree with Mark Wright in his forecast of the Shrine's impending demise. The more likely outcome will be that the Shrine survives and the Masonic craft will see a a rash of dimits. The Shrine is decidedly more "fun" and will do everything possible to maintain its member/support base to continue the good works they've become famous for. That they have also earned a reputation as drunken "party boys" will probably not hurt them much in the social circles that tend to be attracted to the clubs. As the Shrine opens its doors to non-masons, I expect that they'll survive without feeling very much pain in the transition.

  20. This has been brewing for a number of years, look to the other social clubs who are the "party scene" most are on the edge of extinction if the only reason they became Masons was to become a Shriner then the promises they made to their Supreme Being we're false, there is a lot of money goes to shrine hospitals from masons, this could change and the Scottish Rite hospitals could start receiving these funds, then who suffers the children of course, everyone wants to speak of authority, every Master Mason I have seen get their degree (29state) has promised to abide by grand lodge authority(Grand Masters) carry this authority so did they lie to their God or just don't care about honor. Not worried one way or another if they leave good bye if they stay nice to see you. The Fraternity has been through some tough times and we are still here can't say that for a lot of others. Make a decision and live with it, just don't whine when it bites your butt. Chris Harris PM union #38

  21. I have been a mason for almost twenty years and a shriner for three years. Sorry brothers I have to say that I have gotten more from and given more thru the shriners than I ever expect to from blue lodge. Maybe your lodge is differant but I have belong to several lodges in my area and its always the same old story. Sit thru a buisness meeting eat bad food and waste time away from my family. I have recruited non mason shriners and they join blue lodge but I am not sure blue lodge is helping get shriners.

    Unfortunately I agree that both organizations will suffer from this.

  22. Reality Check- ask some older Masons about what happened when the Shrine dropped the requirement to be a Knight Templar or 32 Degree Mason. The York Rite was devastated and the Scottish Rite got hit pretty hard too. Seeing as how that has allready happened to those two August bodies, does anybody really think that this will not hurt the Blue Lodge like it allready has hurt the York Rite and the Scottish Rite?
    There comes a time when you have to put what is best for Freemasonry first, over what is best for you as an individual or there will BE NO Freemasonry left.

    1. So you have men joining the Craft only to get a fez...

      If the concern is only numbers and membership and not the actual practice of Freemasonry, then this is a problem. If the concern is that we have quality members in the Craft - dedicated to the Craft - then this is not a problem.

      Good riddance. An organization started in the late 19th century as a drinking club by two Brothers who found Lodge too stuffy. The charity was an afterthought. Shrine scandals, Jester scandals....men joining Lodge only to get to the Shrine. The hospitals have their endowment fund...I've seen shock on the faces of guests when they find out many fundraisers go to the Temple and not to the kids.

      Let it go. Grand Lodges can make massive public declarations that it is no longer a Masonic organization. The Shrine will have to do the same and remove all references to "Mason" in their materials.

      Then it becomes just another fraternal charity. No more recognition required...it will be like the Elks or Odd Fellows. And when the next scandal breaks, the Masonic Fraternity can stand with white gloves....

      Will Masonic membership drop? Maybe...but why are numbers so important? To preserve the white elephant buildings with which we are burdened?

      Where were you first prepared to be a Mason? My response did not have an address or zip code.......

  23. Brothers, I'm still relatively new to both the Blue Lodge and The Shrine. However, I believe that one of the many great things about freemasonry is that there is something for everyone. For some brothers getting in line at the blue lodge just isn't feasible, but the many clubs the Shrine offers(such as the clowns for me personally)allow an individual to demonstrate the fundamentals of masonry. It appears to me that we're forgetting that we're all Brothers! from what I've read about the situation that started all of this, it has been resolved by the brothers resignation although the charges were dismissed in his home Lodge. So why all the commotion? The Grand Master is no longer there and the brother isn't there either

    Michael McWilliams

  24. I have never really understood how the Grand Lodges gained control over ANY organization that decides to limit their membership to Masons. The only thing "Masonic" about the Shrine (and I am a member) is that you were required to first be a MM (or for me 32nd).
    I do not see how Shrine Int. had much of a choice. While I believe that this action will hurt the Shrine, the greatest damage will be those Grand Lodges that will being "eating their own."

    Wayne Sirmon, PM, etc.

  25. As I stated in much earlier comments, the Shrine will go independant (if backed into a corner) inorder to survive.

    And even though the Shrine is "Fun", and not Masonic, it still has a "Light" of it's own to offer it's members. The idea that a organization with a burlesque theme has little value when it comes to character development, is simply not true.

    The Shrine is a real American success story and the earliest founders, if alive today, could not have imagined I would meet fellow Nobles in England, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines, who are natives of those countries.

    No matter what happens, as a Life Member of the Shrine, I intend to be a "Shriner for Life" as I am a "Mason for Life." It would be daft for any Grand Jurisdiction to try to convince me otherwise.

    Tom-Past Shrine Ambassador to South Korea.

  26. I'm not a Freemason yet. I have been reading various masonic blogs, while getting to know the brothers in my local lodge, and I hope to petition soon.

    I wanted to respond to the comments that seem to suggest that a Shriner disassociation will wipe out Freemasonry.

    I took a quick look at the Shriners International website.

    They have several temples in North America, a few in Central/South America / Caribbean, one in Germany, and one in the Philippines.

    In the home of Freemasonry, the UK, they don't have Shriners at all, and yet the fraternity continues to stand strong.

    Freemasons (from what I've seen so far online) can be found all over the world. None of the brothers in Australia, South Africa, most of Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, etc. came into a blue lodge because of the Shrine.

    Here in Israel, we don't have the Shrine.

    I want to become a Freemason because of the values and morals it teaches. I want to join all of you in worldwide brotherhood, that transcends religious or ethnic identity.

    In my humble cowan's opinion, the Fraternity will continue to attract men such as myself on its own merits.

    Freemasonry does not need a gimmick of entry into another club, to bring in new brothers.

    -Adam Kenigsberg
    Mitzpe Yericho, Israel

  27. I'm not so sure that this is a "slippery slope" as some think. I think it's a response to resolving a jurisdictional specific problem to allow masons to remain Shriners.

    Let's not overreact to this decision Brothers.

    Louis Devillon, Secretary
    Kerbela Roane Shrine Club
    Kingston, TN

  28. Brethren,

    This is a sad day indeed. The petty arguments of a few Brothers who are entrusted to care for our organizations have caused such malice and disharmony that many of us younger Brothers and Nobles have become disheartened. Egos and titles have surpassed any form of care and respect for our beloved institutions. I have seen it in my own Grand Lodge and now with this situation in Arkansas. And who gets hurt? Your everyday Mason/Shriner who wants to work hard for his Lodge and the betterment of the Shrine cause.

    I’m not sure how things will turn out in the end, but I pray to the Great Architect that Brothers can put their egos aside and that they can humble themselves for harmony to prevail.

    To all of my Brothers who are not in exalted positions or have grandiose titles. To my Brothers who care about their God, family and work hard every day. To those Brothers who care more for the Craft than titles or recognition and devoutly attend Lodge, Shrine or whatever body. The craft is YOURS. You are the ones who have the power to vote. Those that we put in to power are merely caretakers and they need to be reminded of that fact.

    W:. Isaac Ambrose Moore
    Mariners Lodge No.67 - F. & A.M.
    Past Monarch Azim Grotto
    32nd Valley of New York

  29. Grand Monarch of Arkansas is on the Grand Line of the Grotto? Coincidence?


    Concerned Mason/Shriner/Prophet

  30. Many who become Masons just to become Shriners rarely, if ever, attend Lodge. Blue Lodge Masonry hasn't truly grown because they are members.

    True growth is steady growth. It's often slow, and it should be. How else can you determine whether a man is a good fit for Masonry in general or for a specific Lodge? You need to spend time with that prospective member. And if he becomes a candidate, you must mentor him and immerse him in your Lodge's culture.

    Rushing a guy into the fraternity just to say you added to your Lodge's roster isn't the right move. Same for hurrying him through the three degrees. Same for shoving him into a chair as soon as he has a dues card.

    The Shrine hasn't been keeping Blue Lodges in business. It's been the other way around. Concentrating on making men Masons; providing complete, inspiring Masonic programs and resources to members; and affording all opportunities for personal, intellectual growth will keep Blue Lodge Masonry strong.

    Having a guy zip through a one-day class just so he can be a Shriner really does nothing to prop up Blue Lodge Masonry.

  31. To those that have indicated they will drop out of the Shrine if non-masons are allowed in, I ask you to ask yourself why you are a Shriner in the first place. It should be to support the Shrine Hospitals for Children.

    To those that are dismayed over non-masons joing the Shrine I would say look around. There are many guys I think would make great masons, and there are also many mansons who I feel should never have put on the apron. Being a mason in itself is no judge of character.

    I would also point out that there are many Shriners now who have not seen the inside of a lodge in decades, but they are great people who give tirelessly of their time to help those less fortuntate.

    Lets face it, lodge is not for everyone, and because someone is not a mason does not make them less worthy.

    Regardless, I think the GL of Arkansas has forced this to a point where Imperial had no choice if it wants to continue in Arkansas.

    What I have been told is that Imperial was ready to bow to almost all of the GL demands - they were willing go along with all demands if they were able to keep just 2 of the divan in place for succession to a new divan. Removing the entire exectutive structure of any organization is crippling if not a death blow.

    You can't blame Imperial for doing whatever it can to preserve our hospital system.

    The amount of time, energy and money wasted on this whole issue is just ludicrous.

    We are brothers and should be able to get along without overseeing masters and rule books (fyi I am not referring the WM's or the Book of the Work).

    This just shows that is shows just because we are all brothers it doesn't mean we all get along. Thus dropping the requirement in itself will not make things worse.

    Granted the vetting process to become a mason helps weed out those that might cause the Shrine grief via illegal or immoral activity... but it does not eliminate it.

    I would say to those concerned with the reputation of the Shrine that your energies would be better focused on banning the Jesters. Unfortunately I have only read bad press on them... very bad press... google it.. you will see what I mean... and MANY of the senior nobles in power are Jesters... including most members of most Divans, which includes the Imperial Divan. The Jesters should never have been associated with Shriners and Masonry in the first place.

  32. The proposal to remove the Masonic prerequisite in Montana was defeated with little debate.

  33. While I did not favor this action, it became inevitable. The Grand Master of Arkansas insisted that Shriners International violate the law - something Mason should ever do. He then proceeded on a reign of terror expelling, without trial, Brother Masons whose only "crime" was being a Shriner.

    I see much faux outrage from people who are clearly not Shriners. My response is fairly simple. Mind your own business. Let us deal with our own membership issues. If you are not a member, it is not your concern.

    Ed Adams, PM and proud Shriner

  34. Kinda harsh there Ed this has the possibility of having far reaching effects on the two organizations I would think cooler heads must prevail.
    I will admit that after reading some information about the way the Grand Master of Arkansas has gone about this, its very concerning.

  35. The Shrine, rightly or wrongly, essentially throws down the gauntlet to any GL when they keep on their roles a man who has been suspended from Masonry. Since the Shrine predicates its membership on being a Mason, they are essentially defining for that GL jurisdiction what a Mason is and that won't be accepted by any GL.

  36. Sorry, Keith. I'm not which aspect you think is harsh. The actions of the GL of Arkansas are not only un-Masonic, but may actually be criminal. There will be legal repercussions before all is said and done.

    As to membership requirements, I have a real problem with people who are not a member of an organization that want to dictate how that organization defines membership (and by that I am not referring to jurisprudence - but rather Masons who frankly just don't like the Shrine. There are Masonic bodies I frankly don't care for for various reasons. I keep that opinion to myself and would never imagine telling them how they should define their membership. It's none of my business.

    Ed Adams, PM and Proud Shriner

  37. EFA,

    I don't think you know the whole history of this matter. This all got started as a result of a contested election at a Shrine Temple in AR. The losing candidate provided information to the GM of Arkansas about an incident that had occurred at a Country Club. The facts as to what happened are disputed. Even if the allegations were true, it was a matter that might have resulted in a reprimand or brief suspension, but not a 20 year expulsion. The Brother's lodge (yes, he is still a Brother as will be explained) investigated the matter and concluded there was no merit in the allegations.

    The Grand Master pulled the matter from the lodge and set up a trial commission with members of his own choosing (which is his right to do). The trial commission found him guilty and he was expelled. The Brother was also a member in good standing of the GL of Iowa. The charges were submitted to the GL of Iowa, which refused to expel the brother. Shriners International also engaged in its own investigation to determine whether the Brother had engaged in "conduct unbecoming of a Shriner. They, like his lodge, found no merit to the allegations.

    Notwithstanding Iowa's refusal, the GM of Arkansas gave Shriners International an ultimatum that they remove the Brother from Shrine membership. The GM was advised that Shriners International, as an Iowa corporation was bound by law to follow its by-laws in determining eligibility for membership. Since the Brother was in fact a Mason in good standing in Iowa, he could not be removed from membership in the Shrine. As a result the GM issued decrees that effectively shut down the Shrine in Arkansas and threatened expulsion to anyone who maintained Shrine membership or so much as wore a fez. In fact, many Shriners were subsequently expelled as Masons.

    The Shrine didn't throw this gauntlet down. The Grand Master of Arkansas did that in a vengeful and unfraternal manner and is nothing more than a juvenile power play. However, the Shrine is not going to take it lying down either. While, I didn't favor the exemption, I completely support their stand against injustice and unfraternal behavior.

    Ed Adams, PM and Proud Shriner

  38. Out of respect for our Shrine Brothers and the Imperial Potentate, we should have all the social media blogs removed. This is not a contest. As an active member of the Shrine, Scottish Rite, and Masonry, I am disturbed by all of the events and the anti-masonic actions taken by the Grand Lodge of Arkansas. Masonry should not be put up on the web for ridicule.

    RW George R Sachs
    Master, Wilbraham Masonic Lodge
    Sovereign Prince, Massasoit Council Princes of Jerusalem
    Past DDGM, 28th Masonic District and Chicopee 18th Masonic District

  39. RWB Sachs,

    You made a good point and I sympathize with how you feel about this issue, but the social media blogs are here to stay. Regular American Freemasonry has survived the test of ridicule in the past on a variety of issues (Not allowing female members, Prince Hall Masonic recognition, the current Catholic Papal Bull against Freemasonry, the current anti-Masonic views of many Christian Evangelicals, an examination by the Southern Baptist Convention, etc..).

    Donot allow yourself to become dismayed. We will survive this issue. This may be a straw man for what may be a far more bigger problem in the Grand jurisdiction of Arkansas. In it's own time, the TRUTH will make it's presence fully known. Social media blogs, good or bad, are one of today's most favorite modes of communication among many young men who may be potential candidates for Freemasonry (and for many current young Masons) and they provide some transparency (negative or positive), many of these young men are demanding before deciding to join us. The Imperial Potentate will be o'kay. There are plenty of thick headed and thick skinned (though wisely more quiet than me) Nobles who has his back. Well, RWB Sachs, thanks for your continued service to our beloved Craft and Shrine. :)

  40. Contrary to what was said by bro. Wright, currently if someone is suspended or resigns from Masonry, they are automatically suspended or removed from all dependant bodies, York and Scottish Rite bodies as well as the Shrine. The sad issue of all this is that after 140 years a few megalomaniac dictatorial Grand Masters think they are G_D and want to bring down our wonderful fraternity. They are the ones who should be impeached and expelled by rational members

  41. Sorry, I meant to sign my last comment.
    RW George R Sachs
    Master, Wilbraham Masonic Lodge
    Sovereign Prince, Massasoit Council Princes of Jerusalem
    Past DDGM, 28th Masonic District and Chicopee 18th Masonic District
    Past President, Past Masters Unit
    Melha Shrine Center

  42. @Ben Rosenfield

    Agree totally. But hey, look on the bright side. At least now, the Blue Lodges don't have to cater to demands for one-day classes.

    Just send the candidates to Arkansas.

  43. RW Bro George Sachs,

    I was present as a visitor at the 2013 Arkansas Annual Communication. I saw no evidence of megalomania from either the outgoing or incoming GM of Arkansas.

    And, further, if things are as bad as all that, I would have expected there to be a tremendous hubbub from the voting delegates who were there. But that didn't happen. Although a few brothers voiced their displeasure, there was overwhelming support for the so-called "ego maniacal" GMs actions.

    I was left with the impression that the Craft in Arkansas ratified and approved of GM Jackson's stance on the Shrine, and this impression seems at odds with the agitprop I've been hearing from anti-grand lodge commentators.

    Although the situation is regrettable, I firmly believe that each Grand Lodge has the inherent authority to do what Arkansas did (although I am not saying they should unilaterally or without cause).

    As for the repercussions following the vote at Imperial this week. Well. It seems to me that the Shrine is either a Masonic organization, or it isn't, and on that point members of either organization should admit no half-measures. And if the complete, total, for real, split comes, let it come with no animosity.


    Michael Halleran
    PM Emporia Lodge 12,
    Emporia, Kans.

  44. You don't disagree with a dictatorship unless you too wish to face the consequences.

  45. As a member of both Blue Lodge and Shriners International since 2008, I think this separation of Masons and Shriners is ridiculous. What happens to all the members who choose to remain Shriners? They know all the arts, parts, points, and secrets of masonry. Where do members of Scottish Rite fall into this mess? Will they have to be Masons or Shriners to still be a member of Scottish Rite? If they do separate, I feel that members should still be able to be members of both, even if they are two separate entities. They are hurting a lot of people in the process. A lot of members, including myself, will remain Shriners. The reason is that the Shriners do parades and more "fun" activities. The majority of new guys will choose fun over history. I agree that both organizations will do fine without the other, it just sucks that it may come down to a separation at all. I am in Illinois, so I am safe for now. By Arkaksas doing this, they are setting a precedence for other states to have a separation of Masons and Shriners.

  46. Wayfaring Man,
    I have read your comments. It would appear that the Masonic craft of Arkansas, assuming your impressions are correct, are being led like sheep, perhaps to the slaughter. I do not understand how any rational being, especially Masons, can agree, condone, and otherwise support this unimaginable and totally irrational and un-Masonic behavior by one or two individuals who have been wrongly elected to their positions. If other jurisdictions follow Massachusetts ritual for qualifying Masters-elect, they should reread the paragraph in the obligation:
    "I will not rule or govern this or any lodge over which I shall preside, in an arbitrary or unlawful manner. That I will submit to the will of the majority for the harmony of the whole"
    This is a very good characteristic of a Master to remember and to keep

    RW George Sachs
    Master, 2012, 2013, 2014, Wilbraham Masonic Lodge
    Master of Lodge of Qualification; 27th and 28th Masonic Districts
    Sovereign Prince, Massasoit Council, Princes of Jerusalem, Scottish Rite Valley of Springfield
    Past President of Past Masters Unit and member of Vintage Autos; MELHA Shrine Center
    Voting Member,of Board of Governors; Shriners Hospital for Children, Springfield, MA

  47. I am not happy about this action, but I fully understand why it had to take place. Shriners in Arkansas are literally facing extinction.

    Until enlightenment is received by the most backward, illiterate and reactionary state in the US (by far!), we as Shriners elsewhere will have to deal with the issues of trying to preserve the ideals of Shriners and keep healthcare for children in operation in Arkansas.

    As a native of that state, I can truly say that I am not at all surprised at any of this. If we as Shriners are the men of principal whom we claim to be, then we will do all that within our grasp, whatever it may be, to keep Shriners alive and active...even in a place with 16th-century mentality.

    Noble Paul Jackson, Sr.

  48. WB Michael,

    Brother, I am not an "anti-Grand Lodge" poster. I am proudly one who speaks out against injustice and that which harms our sacred band of brothers. I have consulted our current Grand Master and several Past Grand Masters on this issue. I support the sovereignty of Grand Lodges. Unfortunately, however, many things have been done in our history in the name of sovereignty that run directly counter to all we hold dear including racism and bigotry. I'll take Arkansas' sovereignty more seriously when they recognize Prince Hall lodges.

    I know the GL upheld the GM's actions. I find that even more disturbing about the state of freemasonry in Arkansas. It doesn't change the facts and it doesn't change that a great injustice has been done to Shrine brethren and the Shrine itself. It has made all of us look foolish.

    To give you an idea of how bad it got in Arkansas. One of those expelled was Past Imperial Potentate Gary Dunwoody (2005-2006) who is a sitting member of the Board of Trustees of Shriners Hospitals for Children. His only "crime" was refusing to "self-expel" himself.

    This is not about "sovereignty." It is about power and control and it is embarassing and disgusting.

    Ed Adams, PM and Proud Shriner

  49. Sad, sad, sad. I have been following this situation for some time, the letters issued by the various parties are posted on line for all to see.

    I just hope that the current GM of the GL of Ark will "see the light". There will be a new GM in Ark, and maybe the new GM will repair the damage.

    I am 1000% against a "split" between the Craft Lodge and the Shrine. The Shrine is [i]not[/i] a Masonic organization. But it is an organization founded by Masons, and since its inception, all Shriners have been Masons. Splitting off, defeats the purpose! The Shrine was set up for Masons to fellowship with Masons, outside the Craft lodge.

    May there be a successful conclusion, where all parties have some degree of satisfaction.

  50. I concur with the comment made by WB Adams. In the beginning, there is no one more important to the Craft than the Individual Candidate. At the end of the day, there is no one more important to the Craft, than YOU.

    All the Grand Masters, Grand Officers, Grand Lodges, and Grand Jurisdictions, (as wonderful as they might be), exist for one major reason only: "To be of SERVICE."

    The ideal of good Masonic leadership may be summed up by the following: "Let him who is greatest among you, be the greatest servant unto all."

    Those Brothers still struggling with unruly passions, rough and jagged edges of character, still have much work to do and should not be sitting in the East.

  51. Thomas,

    Thank you. I could not have possibly said it better than you just did. Well expressed Brother.

    The primary role of the Master of the Lodge(including the Grand Master), with the help of his Senior Warden, is to see that none go away dissatisfied - harmony being the strength and support of all societies, especially of ours. The gavel is for order, for the sole purpose of promoting harmony. It is never to be used in an imperious manner - no matter how many votes ratify it at a later time.

    Ed Adams, PM and Proud Shriner

  52. Worshipful Adams,

    You seem to be forgetting the confirm to and abide by the laws rules and regulations part though.

    Gregg Hall, PM. And demited Shriner

  53. WB Brother Gregg,

    What laws, rules and regulations have I forgotten? Requiring someone, or an organization, to violate the laws of the land is not part of our fraternal laws, rules and regulations.

    Ed Adams, PM and Proud Shriner

  54. Worshipful Adams,
    the laws rule and regulations of the GL of which "you" are a member. I am fairly sure that it is in "your" obligation (using the general you).

    We are not a free association society. We have a restrictive membership. Which means that we voluntarily subject ourselves to those rule. Any organization that requires a Masonic membership for their embers has subjugated its self to the rules of masonry in the jurisdiction they are in, by the obligations of those members.

    "You do not have to like the actions of the GL of Arkansas, but if "you" wish to remain a member of it, then you most follow its rules, not just the ones you like.

    Could the whole thing have been handled better, most likely, but there is a reality to the situation as it stands that I personally do not like, which is why I am currently a demitted Shriner. It can't be both ways, either the shrine is a Masonic body or they are not, if they are then they must follow the laws of the GL in that area, if they are not then separate and I wish them well with their fantastic charity.

  55. WB Gregg,

    Yes, it most certainly is a part of my obligation, which I take seriously and follow. However, I think you have missed the point. This is not about rules. This is a phallus measuring contest, which lacks any merit, justice or legitimacy.

    I am glad I am not in Arkansas, but I am heartbroken for those brethren who have been faced with decisions they should not have to make. There is no reason, other than a display of power, to have to make a choice between Masonry and helping children.

    Ed Adams, PM and Proud Shriner

  56. Worshipful Adams,

    I see your point, but it is still about the Rules and laws of the GL. The map members of the Arkansas grand lodge ratified the actions of the GM. That made it law there. With the shrine requiring membership in masonry to be a member of shrine those members are obligated to follow the laws of masonry. Many chose not to and suffered accordingly.

    So now the shrine needs to decide if they want to be a Masonic group or not, this hybrid thing they created will not work. They either need to be masons or not, if not them someone could join both if they wanted just like the masons and the elks.

    It is the requirement of being a mason first that has put the shrine in this position.

    Again I am not debating what should or should not have been done by the GL of Arkansas, I am simply commenting on what has been done in reaction to it.

    Gregg Hall. PM and demitted Shriner

  57. RW Bro Sachs,

    I read and understood your comments, but I find it unfair to characterize the brethren of Arkansas as "sheep." They were there, they witnessed the events leading up to this, and although I witnessed the end result of their deliberations, neither you nor I were present. Although I certainly support your right to comment on the situation, I don't think either of us can substitute our judgement as bystanders for the Arkansas brethren who lived through it.

    Had they repudiated the actions of the Grand Master, which they could have easily done, Then perhaps charges about overreaching on the part of the GL would be authorized, but as they supported that action solidly, it certainly appears to me that the GL represented their interests quite well. Calling them "sheep" because you don't like their way of thinking doesn't seem right to me.

    I guess I would just add that its easy to dismiss an acrion we might disagree with by denigrating the actors involved, but the debate I witnessed was vigorous and thoughtful on both sides and neither camp sounded like sheep.

    Michael Halleran, PM
    Emporia Lodge 12
    Justice Lodge 457
    Emporia, Kansas

  58. 1. It has already been decided: The Shrine is a Masonic body.

    2. Masonic Grand Masters are Sovereign over the Masons in their Grand jurisdictions.

    3. Shriners International is Sovereign over the Shriners of North America and it's territories overseas.

    4. Does expulsion from Freemasonry necessitate expulsion from the Shrine?: Yes.

    5. Can Masonic Grand Masters and the Imperial Potentate coexist peacefully (with the requirement to be a Mason first inorder to become a Shriner)and resolve together (to their mutual benefits) all matters of jurisprudence involving Shrine Masons with Friendship, Morality, and Brotherly Love?: I certainly hope so!!!

    Every once in a while, a few Masons get together and create (from whole cloth) a Masonic appendant body or a non-Masonic body, like "The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn." Such fraternal bodies are marks of Masonic creative genius, and the Shrine is no exception.:)

  59. Demited from the Shrine about 10 years ago. Too many new guys who jumped from their 3rd degree right into shrine and missed all those lessons of brotherly love and truth. Still send $100 yr to the hospital. Maybe the Shrine should renew the SR YR requirement and get a better educated member.

  60. @BmacD,

    thanks for your financial contribution to Shriners Hospitals for Children. You are still a Noble at heart because you know that caring for children is the center-piece of Shrinedom. To run the Shrine on a daily basis is a huge administrative task and financial responsibility. It is one of the main reasons the Shrine must maintain a large amount of autonomy and choose it's officers very carefully.

  61. So, it has been almost 3 months since this was passed. What has the effect been on the Arkansas membership. Are they the same , Down or up ?

    Craig Zlatnik
    Houston Tx

  62. As a Freemason, do not send me a dues card if non-masons are accepted into ACCA Shrine.
    I will drop my membership if this happens.


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