This action taken by Shrine International was not made in a vacuum. You will remember that The Grand Master of Arkansas, as the result of a petty squabble, banned all Masons from being Shrine members.
“As a result of all of the foregoing the Grand Master adopted his “scorched earth” policy against Shriners in Arkansas by issuing an edict that anyone who remained a Shriner in Arkansas had to self-expel himself from Masonry by December 15, 2012 or he, without any trial, would expel them from Masonry. Further he would not allow any Masonic lodge to issue a demit from Masonry to any Shriner (rightly fearing that such Masons would join Masonic lodges in other states). This is Masonry as it is presently practiced in the Grand Lodge of Arkansas.” – Theodore Corsones
In order to survive the two Shrine Temples in Arkansas had to take on additional members and they, by virtue of the Grand Master’s edict, could not be Masons. Now this ruling by the Shrine only applies to Arkansas, no other states, and is the direct result of the actions of a rogue Grand Lodge purging its jurisdiction from all who will not submit to tyrannical rule.
Previous articles about this subject on this website by the Beehive can be accessed HERE, HERE and HERE.
The following is a letter issued by Imperial Potentate Alan Madsen
Imperial representatives of Shriners International voted to make a change to its articles of incorporation regarding membership at the 139th Imperial Session. The prerequisite requiring that members of Shriners International are first members of Freemasonry (Masons) in good standing has been amended to exclude the requirement for the state of Arkansas.
This legislation was brought forth by the two Shrine temples in Arkansas following the Arkansas Grand Lodge edict last November that would no longer allow anyone to remain an Arkansas Mason AND an Arkansas Shriner. Shriners International has always had a Masonic prerequisite and regrets that the actions of the Arkansas Grand Lodge made the passage of this legislation necessary to preserve the existence of the two Shrine temples in Arkansas.
Shriners International is committed to maintaining open lines of communication with the Grand Lodge of Arkansas to encourage amicable relationships for current and future Masons and Shriners. This change does not affect other Shriners across the country, and the organization remains a fraternity based on fun, fellowship and the Masonic principles of brotherly love, relief and truth. Shriners International’s primary focus continues to be its philanthropic mission to support Shriners Hospitals for Children, a world-renowned health care system with 22 facilities in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Yours in the Faith,
Alan “Al” W. Madsen
Are we about to see a revolution in Masonry. I am not a Shriner but if I was, I would appeal to my Grand lodge no matter what state I lived in to dissolve relation with the Grand Lodge of Arkansas.
Grand Lodge were for a long time a good thing, but like our government, when it stops being for the members benefits and operates only for it’s own Glory , then it is time to dissolve them.
The only purpose that a Grand Lodge was suppose to serve was to be a link to all the lodges under it’s jurisdiction. To give the lodges better communication and to assist them in their needs. Never was it really supposed to be a ruling monarchy.
It is time to ostracize these rogue Grand Lodges. The only way that will happen is if enough regular mason stand up to be counted. Both for the good of themselves and the craft in general
I am curious; what would happen to the non-masons who joined if, in the future, relations were normalized between the Shrine and the Grand Lodge? I doubt they would kick them out, and some of them may not want to become masons. In such a case, would the Shrine in Arkansas have both masons and non-masons as members-which would essentially mean masonic membership would no longer be a requirement in that state.
@Peter – the rules now required for a Non-Mason to join are far, far more complicated than even joining Lodge. If I remember correctly a full background check, financial rating check, and a couple of other steps are required for non-Masons to join. A Mason on the other hand isn’t required to do any of those things…if other words it’s setup to make being a Mason the prefered route of gaining membership.
In reality this only allows the Shrine to disassociate itself from the current ruling.
Thanks Luke for the information.
if you are expelled from masonry—unlawfully— in arkansas—have asked for a trial 4 years from the grand lodge of arkansas—denied—-every time–yet can prove you did nothen unmasonic by trust worthy brothers—what then–can you join the shrines—more politics or what?
This is a great tragedy, and I hope that, as Masons, there will be a peaceful and reasonable solution. Whether this incident is an attack against the Shrine, a petty squabble amongst Arkansas masons, a gross misunderstanding, or a legitimate grievance is not for me to decide, but as a Master Mason, it would be my obligation to whisper wise council in the ear of an erring brother.
I hope that neighboring Grand Lodges would be willing to weigh-in and act as mediators in order to preserve our Masonic family. The Shrine has become my favorite part of Freemasonry. If this event acts as a catalyst to remove the requirement for Masonic membership at other Shrine temples, I would be very unhappy with Arkansas Masons for allowing this fiasco to go so far.
While it is a Grand Masters prerogative to make such edicts, I know there are wiser solutions that would not create such backlash. Most Grand Lodges will probably side with Arkansas in order to preserve authority and relations, but I think there is something else going on where we are not getting the full story and history.
Nathan – actually I’ve spoken with the GM of Indiana. At the US Conference of GMs there was a group that brought up some kind of edict against the Shrine and were told that it wasn’t going to happen. He didn’t go into detail as we were discussing it in the middle of the Shrine convention in Indianapolis and he had duties as an Imperial Aide…
Just a story: when I went to the San Antonio Imperial convention a few years ago I met 3 different GM’s from around the country. Some states the affiliated bodies play much more nicely together than others…and Arkansas will have a fight with those GMs where they all play nice. (There is currently a member of the Murat Divan in the Grand Lodge Line here in Indy…he’ll be Potentate 3 years before being GM).
I’m aware that in many states, the different branches of Freemasonry do not play nicely. A lot of it stems from when the Shrine dropped the requirement to be a York or Scottish Rite mason. A lot of it also comes from some people of influence and leaders within the Craft not being on the level.
What happened to that noble contention, or rather emulation, of who best can work and best agree?
Lost in the search for purple and ego.
My name is Ricky and I would like to know how to become a Freemason so I could become a Shriner.
hopefully one day, the AR Grand Lodge and Shriners will patch things up. It’s a shame. Both Masons and Shriners go together. What ever happened to brotherly love?
AR GL seems to be a ruling monarchy to me, not the way it’s intended to be.