What is a Shriner?
Shriners belong to the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine for North America (A.A.O.N.M.S.). The Shrine is an international fraternity of approximately 300,000 members who belong to Shrine Center throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and The Republic of Panama. Founded in New York City in 1872 the organization is composed of Master Masons.
The Shriners are known for their colorful parades, distinctive red fez, and philanthropy efforts. Members of the Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine for North America are members of the Masonic Order and adhere to the principles of Freemasonry — Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.
Shriners are distinguished by an enjoyment of life in the interest of philanthropy. With almost 300,000 members the organization has a buoyant philosophy which has been expressed as “Pleasure without intemperance, hospitality without rudeness and jollity without coarseness.”
There are 191 Shrine Temples located in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Republic of Panama. And there are informal Shrine Clubs located all around the world.
Becoming A Member
Every Shriner is first a Mason; however, in many parts of North America, Masonry does not solicit members. In these areas, no one is asked to join. A man must seek admission of his own free will. A man is a fully accepted “Blue Lodge” Mason after he has received the first three degrees, known as Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason.
After that, he may belong to many other organizations which have their roots in Masonry and which have a Blue Lodge Masonry as a prerequisite. Scottish Rite, York Rite and the Shrine.
Freemasons operate many of the world’s greatest charitable organizations. The best known is the Shriners with their circuses, their colorful parades and their work on behalf of physically challenged children and the 22 Shriners Children’s Hospitals. Less known is that each Shriner must be a Freemason before being becoming a Shriner.
Once accepted as an Apprentice Mason of the Craft Lodge, each member works his way up through three degrees. To earn each degree, a Mason must learn certain lessons and participate in a ceremony that illustrates them. At the third degree, he reaches Master Mason after which he may then petition to become a Noble of the Shrine.
Members of the Shrine for North America adhere to the principles of Freemasonry — brotherly love, relief and truth. In contrast to the more conservative work of Freemasonry, Shriners are distinguished by an enjoyment of life in the interest of philanthropy. Their buoyant philosophy has been described as “pleasure without intemperance, hospitality without rudeness and jollity without coarseness.”