Shrine in Arkansas drops MM requirement

Discussion in 'Shrine' started by Brennan, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. Levelhead

    Levelhead Premium Member

    566
    303
    83
    The situation is a giant "Cluster F." For residents and visitors of that state.
     
  2. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

    3,891
    2,321
    133
    I am often amazed at how close lipped members of grand lines who pay attention to outside events become. I am often saddened by how insular the wardens and masters who are the majority of voting representatives are. I get why both happen - They need to focus on progressing through their respective lines so they pay attention to matters inside their own jurisdiction not among jurisdictions.

    California has two "research" lodges. One actually focuses on research topics. The other follows world Masonic events and keeps their members informed about events across the world. Southern California Research Lodge current members will have gotten years worth of reports on the situation, but few know the value of this resource.
     
    jjjjjggggg likes this.
  3. Pscyclepath

    Pscyclepath Premium Member

    335
    222
    63


    For our brothers from other states who are both Master Masons and Shriners who are visiting or moving to Arkansas, the matter gets Complicated.

    As part of our Master Mason obligation, we made certain promises about sitting or participating in clandestine organizations and holding masonic communication with such organizations. At the same time, we promised to conform to the rules of the Grand Lodge within whose jurisdiction we happen to be at the time. So, dealing with the Shrine within Arkansas is based on the applicable ties within your MM obligation, and a number of specific rules and edicts from the Grand Lodge of Arkansas.

    If you are a Master Mason from out of state visiting an Arkansas lodge, you will be asked to present a current, valid dues card from a lodge/grand lodge recognized by and in good standing with the Grand Lodge of Arkansas. You will also be asked to provide some sort of photo ID (drivers license or equivalent ID) listing your home state, which will be compared to your dues card for positive ID. You can also expect to recite the Test Oath, and go through the modes of recognition to the satisfaction of the Senior Warden and the examining committee. If the home state for your dues card and for your other ID are different, you will likely have a few more questions to clarify any relationship with the Shrine.

    Shriners International and all of its affiliated temples are clandestine for Masons in Arkansas. Masons in Arkansas (not just Arkansas Masons) are not permitted to fraternally associate or communicate with, or be a member of any club, temple, center, or other subordinate body of the Shrine.
    • Master Masons within the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Arkansas are not permitted to participate in any Shrine activity that in any way presents itself as being part of the Masonic Fraternity.
    • Further, Master Masons within this Grand Jurisdiction are not permitted to display any Masonic emblem on a Shrine fez or as a part of a Shrine uniform.
    • The Worshipful Masters and all Appendant or recognized bodies in Arkansas have been ordered to immediately remove, from their Lodges, and/or meeting facilities, any and all references, pictures, articles, or other paraphernalia, that contain any Shrine emblem, or any connection between the Shrine and Freemasonry.
    • Shrine Clubs or other related organizations and units, are not permitted to utilize Masonic properties within this Grand Jurisdiction for any purpose.
    • No Master Mason within this Grand Jurisdiction is to promote or indicate the existence of any form of relationship between this Grand Jurisdiction and the Shrine.
    • No Master Mason within this Grand Jurisdiction shall engage in the solicitation of, or permit a Shriner to solicit, any member of the Fraternity for membership in the Shrine while in attendance at any Masonic function.
    • These provisions apply to all Master Masons residing within this Grand Jurisdiction and to Master Masons who are members of Subordinate Lodges within this Grand Jurisdiction while visiting or residence of another Grand Jurisdiction.
    In simple terms, Master Masons from other states are welcome to visit and afflilate with any blue lodge in Arkansas. However, bear in mind that Shrine, Shrine activities, and Shrine events are off-limits to Master Masons while in this jurisdiction (As far as I am aware from checking with our Prince Hall brothers, the M:.W:. Prince Hall Grand Lodge within Arkansas is still in amity with their Shrine affliates) and should not be brought up in an Arkansas blue lodge. You should also be aware that both Scimitar and Sahara Shrine temples in Arkansas do admit non-Masons to their membership and all Shrine functions and meetings. You should check with your home lodge and respective Grand Lodge back home to make sure that you still conform to whatever rules or requirements they may have.

     
  4. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

    2,728
    3,123
    183
    I don't disagree with the recitation, but would point out that it would be most problematic to enforce against the traveling Mason. Assuming that either charges were brought and properly served and the conviction entered, or the GM summarily suspended, I suspect it unlikely the discipline would be enforced elsewhere.
     
  5. Pscyclepath

    Pscyclepath Premium Member

    335
    222
    63
    True... Most other states, except maybe South Carolina appear to have turned a blind eye to the situation. I probably would not have stirred the pot again either, save that upon being elevated to Senior Warden a couple of weeks ago, I had a bit of a sit-down with the incoming grand master about the responsibilities in vouching for everyone in the lodge...

    There are a couple of regional Shrine conventions coming to town over the next few months, and our lodge is just right across the freeway from That Clandestine Place, so I was being duly admonished, I guess.

    And one never knows what odd bug may come up in the future...
     
    RiverRatDoc and Bill Lins like this.
  6. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

    3,891
    2,321
    133
    As to traveling I will point out that I promised to obey the rules of the jurisdictions I would become a member of. Not being an Arkansas Mason the degree of binding is ambiguous to me. Their rules within their tiled meetings, maybe their rules within their buildings. Double maybe if my jurisdictions have "act of the locals" rules versus "stick with our own rules" rules. Triple maybe that I can attend Shrine events in all of my jurisdictions so I just might think that a rule so unjust is one I will chose to ignore - Power and authority are not the same thing.

    Of course should I present myself for visitation they are welcome to go out in the parking lot and see the "Proud to be a Shriner" frame around my Texas Mason license plates. If they decline to admit me it rather reflects on their jurisdiction more than it does on mine.

    As the Shrine facilities in the state are not a part of their buildings and thus for visitation purposes their rules don't have to be relevant to me. Up to me more than it is up to them. Admitting non-Masons might well be a deal breaker for me. I'm unlikely to enter a Shrine building in Arkansas until the mess is resolved. I consider this mess to be two sided not one sided. At the Imperial level the Shrine has a long history of butting heads with Grand Lodges.

    If the mess spreads to other states I'll need to make that decision on my own - If the Shrine separates from Masonry completely do I continue my membership? It becomes rather like asking myself if I want to be a member of the American Legion in addition to Masonry.

    No matter one's own status there are always folks with worse problems. "There but for the grace of God go I". Each of us who pay attention learn of problems with our own jurisdictions. At the moment we get to compare those with the problems in Arkansas.
     
    Pscyclepath and Morris like this.
  7. masonicknight

    masonicknight Registered User

    30
    0
    6
    I have been watching this discussion on and off for some time. If a member really wanted to they could take out a membership in another state as a Plural or Dual member, never could keep that straight as to which is which, and then demit from ArGL. It would be subtle as far as letting the leadership know that members are tired. On the other hand it would cause PR problems to those jurisdictions that would let that happen. We are seeing here, as I stated in an earlier post, is some major egos and legalistic mumbo jumbo being tossed about. Add a bit of misplaced pride and the fun begins and the sidelines are filled for the game. Both sides are not doing their cause any good/

    Two other state GL"s apparently are having difficulties with Shrine as well and it revolves around the concept that Shrine is International and that they deal with National GL's, The fact that the US is made up of 51 GL's and not one for the whole nation is a problem for them. Maybe the Grand Masters and whatever the Shrine equivalent officer is can work out some sort of nation wide plan that all could agree to. While the ArGL could conceivably consider it as an intrusion into their affairs, the affairs of the other jurisdictions can or will be effected.

    Who knows it could work if they all sat down together and work up a plan .
     
  8. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

    2,728
    3,123
    183
    Two years too late and, like many jurisdictions, I suspect the GL of Ark exercises power over all Masons within its borders. Additionally, were they refusing to grant good standing or demits?
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2015
  9. Rifleman1776

    Rifleman1776 Registered User

    247
    165
    43
    Too many errors and misconceptions in your post to address them all. State GLs are independant with no central authority. What happened in Arkansas is unique for several reasons. I don't see that changing soon. Arkansas GM did sit down with the Imperial Potentate. The 'plan' the GM wanted was for Shrine to give GL all their money. No deal.
     
  10. Pscyclepath

    Pscyclepath Premium Member

    335
    222
    63
    If you are an Arkansas Mason and wish to continue your membership in Shriners International, then you must self-expel from Masonry. That's the GL stance for the past several years, both sides have set their positions in stone, and things are unlikely to change from present circumstances.

    A number of Shriners have taken the option of demitting from the GL of Arkansas, and transferring their membership to a GL in another state where the Shrine is still recognized. The instructions I've received in that regard as SW of our lodge is that if I'm examining an unknown brother for admission into the Lodge, I need to check his dues card and compare it to his drivers license. If you have an Arkansas drivers license and a dues card from another State, that raises the red flags. If you're, for example, a Texas Mason and Shriner visiting an Arkansas lodge, and your dues card matches your drivers license, we simply ask that you respect the fact that we don't recognize the Shrine here and leave those discussions and related things outside the Lodge building.

    Here's a copy of the most recent clarification from the Grand Lodge concerning the effect for members of the Arkansas Grand Lodge...
     

    Attached Files:

  11. Rifleman1776

    Rifleman1776 Registered User

    247
    165
    43
    [
    Thank you for posting.
    Sadly, that is the most un-Masonic document I have ever read.
    I am an Arkansas resident. I was raised an MM in Arkansas but demited out several years ago and am now a member of a Missouri Lodge that understands what Masonic Brotherhood is all about. I am also a member of Scimitar Shrine in Little Rock, Arkansas and a local Shrine Club.
     
  12. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

    2,728
    3,123
    183
    As I noted on September 22, 2014:

    "No, there was no demand for all of the Shrine's money. Even Imperial Shrine does not say this. I note that I was on the G&A Committee which heard the matter. You have been misinformed."
     
  13. Rifleman1776

    Rifleman1776 Registered User

    247
    165
    43
    I read a statement by the Imperial Potentate who tried to negotiate with the Arkansas GL. His words are where I got my information.
     
  14. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

    2,728
    3,123
    183
  15. masonicknight

    masonicknight Registered User

    30
    0
    6
    I sit here and ponder has something that happened about 15 years, give or take, has caused this meltdown to continue. If I remember my history on this, a MM in an Arkansas Lodge was brought up on Masonic Charges over owning a liquor store. At the trial he admitted to owning it, said he never hid it from anyone and that the lodge knew it also. As his ownership was the problem, in regards to Masonic Code, he was told he could keep his membership if he got rid of his store or some such concept. He said no to this. My understanding what brought this about was some dispute between him and another member in a business or personal matter outside of lodge.

    The ArGL notified all major bodies that the member was no longer accepted in Masonry and they were to accept that and let him know he could no longer be a member with them either. Both York and Scottish Rite accepted the GL's findings and rulings. The Shrine said since he did not violate their rules that they could not see how they could release him from membership, so they kept him on their rolls as a member.

    This all happened about the same time the Shrine introduced the idea of non-Masons becoming members with Shrine first and then having to join Blue Lodge within a stated period of time. So the question is, was this the catalyst to force the hands of the GL's to allow non-members to join Shrine?

    What it shows to the world is two entrenched groups not willing to budge and making both sides look ridiculous.
     
  16. Rifleman1776

    Rifleman1776 Registered User

    247
    165
    43
    I am not familiar with that incident. But the Shrine does have a right to not punish a member for Masonic law violation if it wishes. What really started the mess we are struggling with was a (now past) Potentate of Scimitar Lodge had a wedding reception for his daughter at a country club. Event and club were both private. There was a complaint about loud music but that turned out to be unfounded. However, the GM learned of it and started actions because alcohol was being served. Several Masonic and Shrine investigations cleared the Potentate of all accusations. No violations legal or Masonic. But the GM would not let it rest. And, now here we are with a major blot on Masonry in Arkansas.
     
  17. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

    2,728
    3,123
    183
    Having heard the evidence on the GA Committee, the liquor license was in his wife's name. That was irrelevant to our determination.

    Rather, it was because being a tavern keeper is not a violation of Shrine bylaws

    The mooting of withdrawal of the Masonic requirement had been some time previously.

    In the instant case, the issue was not the underlying conduct, but that the member remained on good standing in Iowa. The GL of Arkansas' complaint was with its sister GL, not the Shrine
     
  18. Ripcord22A

    Ripcord22A Site Benefactor

    3,322
    2,002
    183
    How can he he brought up on charges for owning a legal business?
     
  19. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

    2,728
    3,123
    183
    A number of jurisdictions still have a prohibition on tavern keepers.
     
  20. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

    3,891
    2,321
    133
    The Shrine Imperial level was already butting heads with one jurisdiction or another longer ago than 15 years. That may be the first incident you remember but it was not the beginning. Alcohol is not the only issue they have been in conflict about over the years but I might be the oldest one dating back from the temperance movement a century ago in the US.
     

Share My Freemasonry