All Shriners are Masons, but not all Masons are Shriners.
Shriners International is a spin-off from Freemasonry, the oldest, largest and most widely known fraternity in the world. Freemasonry dates back hundreds of years to when stonemasons and other craftsmen gathered after work in shelter houses, or lodges. Over time, the members organized into Masonic guilds and the tools of their trade – the square and compass – became the symbol of their brotherhood.
Over time, Masonry evolved into an organization that began to accept members who were not craftsmen. Today, Masonry is built upon a foundation of improving character and strengthening communities, though the square and compass are still the symbols of the fraternal brotherhood.
When Shriners International was first founded in 1872, the organization built on the principles that guided Freemasonry, while adding an element of fun and ultimately, philanthropy, that set Shriners International apart. The two organizations are also structured similarly:
- Shriners have temples; Masons have a Blue Lodge or Craft Lodge
- Members of the Masonic lodges are required to learn about their fraternity and earn a series of Masonic degrees.
- When a member has completed the third and final degree he becomes a Master Mason and is then eligible to become a Shriner.
- Additional courses of Masonic study are available – these are known as the Scottish Rite and the York Rite.
To learn more about how to become a Mason and a Shriner visit www.beashrinernow.com.