Shriners: A History of Brotherhood and Compassion Documentary

Shriners: A History of Brotherhood and Compassion Documentary

Our mini-documentary provides a look at the Shriners fraternity through the stories of members. Watch the first 7 and a half minutes of this incredible story.
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It begins in 1872 at the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York City led by dr. Walter Fleming and actor William J Florence 13 Master Masons form a social club for fun they create a mysterious Near Eastern theme it's called the ancient Arabic order Nobles of a mystic shrine and the popularity soars by 1880 there are 7,200 members and 48 temples by 1900 there are 55,000 members and 82 temples in 1922 they build the first hospital in Shreveport Louisiana and commit to the mission of helping children with polio soon there are 22 hospitals and the medical mission grows this is the story of this extraordinary Brotherhood and how it has changed the world

Shriners a history of Brotherhood and compassion

well as they say in the beginning in the beginning when the shrine was formed it go back into the 1870s when New York was quite a popular place for just about everything going on in the world at that time the civil wars ended and in America's biggest city New York City a group of Mason's comes together who think that it's great to be a Mason but that Lodge meetings are a little bit on the stuffy stale side they meet regularly for lunch at a place called the Knickerbocker in New York City Manhattan and decide that they need to form a club that will require you to be a Mason to be a member of it we had two very prominent people who were really the movers and shakers to start the organization Billy Florence who was a very famous and well-known actor at that time and dr. Fleming who was a very prominent physician in New York City they were familiar with some of the customs and culture of the Middle East and they decided that they would wrap this club that they were about to form around an Arabian Nights sort of pageantry kind of theme and so the ancient Arabic order Nobles of the mystic shrine is born as a social club for Freemasons in New York City it grows from there

the Fez comes from Morocco the name of the city is fans Morocco the emblems the cemetery the Crescent and so on is taken from basically the various parts of the Arabic nations

it was the mystique part of it I think that was intriguing to a lot of people both outside of Main Street and inside as well of course and that was I think a great drawing card

this is the way the men socialized they quite often socialized without their wives without their children and so this was in keeping with what they did there was a great fellowship organization and they really knew how to give great banquets and had good cigars at their festivities and there was a lot of fun in the various communities wherever these shrine temples were located they were very charitable just like other parts of masonry you know had been in their basic blue lodges

in those days you know the charity would really meant an awful lot to a lot of people because you didn't have the program do you have today in there to take care of people who were in in dire need health-wise or otherwise

some of our members went to serve and didn't come back some of our members went to serve and came back forever changed some of our citizens went to serve and came back and then we're looking for something where they could continue fellowship with their comrades and many of them did choose the Masonic fraternity and eventually Shriners as their home eventually some of the members felt that maybe there needed to be a little bit more purpose than just having a good time but we have to remember that the reason that the organization was founded was because Mason's thought that Lodge meetings were too stale and they needed to have an organization where they would have a good time so there was quite a bit of back-and-forth for several years at our Imperial council sessions over just what the Shriners ought to do

frailing at kendrick was a great leader he was a mover and a shaker he was a very persuasive individual and he really felt that this organization Shriner's should have a one central charity that would benefit what was needed so badly in society at that time and that was for treatment of children with polio in that day polio was the scourge of the nation many many children were affected by polio and crippled for life the bubble speech that was a speech that was given at an imperial council session during a debate over whether a hospital should should be founded by the Shriners and operated as a charitable institution