Masons (Freemasons) are members of the largest and oldest fraternity in the world, and even though almost everyone has a male relative who was a Mason, many people are not quite certain just who Masons are. A fraternity is a group of men (just as a sorority is a group of women) who join together because they want to do things to make improvements in the world as well as things they want to do "inside their own minds". There are more than two million Freemasons in North America. Masons represent virtually every occupation and profession, come from diverse political ideologies, and from varied religious beliefs and creeds, yet all believe in one Supreme Being. Masons are men who have decided to care about the future as well as the past, and does what he can, both alone and with others, to make the future good for everyone. Freemasonry is the oldest fraternity in the world. No one knows just how old it is because the actual origins have been lost in time. Possibly, it arose from the guilds of stonemasons who built the castles and cathedrals of the Middle Ages. We do know that in 1717, a formal organization in England was established when the first Grand Lodge was formed. A Grand Lodge is the administrative body in charge of Masonry in some geographical area. In the United States, there is a Grand Lodge in each state and the District of Columbia. In Canada, there is a Grand Lodge in each province
Important Masonic Principles:
Faith must be the center of our lives.
All men and women are the children of God.
No one has the right to tell another person what he or she must think or believe.
Each person has a responsibility to be a good citizen, obeying the law.
It is important to work to make the world a better place for all.
Honor and integrity are keys to a meaningful life.
History of Shriners
Shriners International is, at its most basic level, a part of the Masonic fraternity. Shriners, in Kansas, must first be Master Masons in good standing.
It all started in Manhattan, New York, in 1870 when some members of what’s considered the world’s oldest fraternity – Masonry – were hanging out at their favorite tavern. They felt that Masonry, which traces its roots to stonemasons and craftsmen of the Middle Ages, was a tad too focused on ritual. These guys wanted a fraternity that stressed fun and fellowship.
Two of those gentlemen – Walter M Fleming, M.D., and Billy Florence, an actor – took that idea and ran with it. Florence came up with the idea for a Near Eastern-themed party after attending a party thrown by an Arabian diplomat. Fleming added the structure, drafting the fraternity’s name, initiation rites, rituals and rules. Together, Fleming and Florence designed the fraternity’s emblem, devised a salutation and determined that the red fez with the black tassel would be the group’s official headgear.
The first chapter, Mecca Shriners, met in New York City in 1872. As word got out about the fledgling organization, membership grew rapidly, spreading across the U.S. In the early 1900s, membership spread into Canada, Mexico and Panama. Today there are approximately 309,000 Shriners belonging to 195 chapters in the U.S., Canada, Germany, Mexico, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and the Republic of Panama.
Throughout their history Shriners are committed to:
Being the premier fraternal organization for men of good character.
Providing attractive, quality programs and services for its members, their families and their friends in a spirit of fun, fellowship and social camaraderie.
Fostering self-improvement through leadership, education, the perpetuation of moral values and community involvement.
Serving mankind through the resources of its philanthropy, Shriners Hospitals for Children®.
The Emblem of a Shriner
The crescent was adopted as the jewel of the order. Although any materials can be used in forming the crescent, the most valuable are the claws of a royal Bengal tiger, united at their base in a gold setting. In the centre is the head of a sphinx, and on the back are a pyramid, an urn and a star. The Jewel bears the motto “Robur et Furor,” Latin for “Strength and Fury.” Today, the emblem includes a scimitar from which the crescent hangs, and a five-pointed star beneath the head of the sphinx.
The red fez with a black tassel, Shriners’ official headgear, has been handed down through the ages since Ancient Greece. It derives its name from the place where Western Europeans first discovered it: the city of Fez, Morocco.
The fez bears the Shrine fraternal emblem under the name of the temple to which the wearer belongs, written in large, elaborate style. Below the emblem, the wearer may display in simple block letters his office or the name of a unit, club or committee to which he belongs within that temple. The only other adornments permitted are one or two tassel holder pins.
If you know of a child Shriners Hospitals might be able to help, please call our toll-free patient referral line, In the U.S. 800.237.5055, in Canada: 800.361.7256
HISTORY OF SCOTTISH RITE
A coordinate body of Freemasonry a Master Mason may join for further exposure to the principles of Freemasonry, the Scottish Rite builds upon the ethical teachings and philosophy offered in the Blue Lodge through dramatic presentation of the individual degrees.
Each degree is a story from the holy bible, period costumes worn by actors depicting the time set in location as displayed by the scenery make up the story of the degree.
Degrees are progressively numbered to show exposure to additional Masonic education and knowledge of its principles. The thirty–third and final degree is honorary — bestowed upon a member for exceptional service to Freemasonry, the Scottish Rite, and their Community. To join the Supreme Council, one must attain the 32° of the Scottish Rite, and then be conferred the honorary 33°.
In the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States, the Supreme Council consists of no more than 33 members and is presided over by a Grand Commander. Members of the Supreme Council are called "Sovereign Grand Inspectors General" (S.G.I.G.), each is the head of the Rite in his respective Orient (or state). Other heads of the various Orients who are not members of the Supreme Council are called "Deputies of the Supreme Council."