Imperial Sirs, Illustrious Sirs, Nobles all:
It is with great sadness I report that the persecution of Shrine Masons continues in Arkansas. We have no way to bring in new members without threat of Masonic Expulsion. This is a death grip the Arkansas Grand Lodge and its Grand Line will have on Shrine Masons for years to come. It could indeed be the downfall of both organizations.
Despite the deplorable actions of the Grand Lodge of Arkansas, both Divans of each Temple in Arkansas have maintained the care of their members. Both Temples have also continued to do what is most dear to our hearts – transporting and supporting the Arkansas Children that benefit from “The World’s Greatest Philanthropy” Shriners Hospitals for Children. Attached is a list of Arkansas Shrine Masons that were expelled for doing nothing but being Shriners and helping children.
I personally ask for your support of our resolution at the 2013 Imperial Session to remove the Masonic prerequisite from Arkansas, and only Arkansas. Your favorable vote is essential for our future existence. While Darkness hangs over Arkansas, may the great flood of Masonic Light continue to shine in your jurisdiction.
Yours in Faith,
Illustrious Sir Gardner D. Burton
Scimitar Potentate 2013
This is a sad day. As I wrote before, this whole thing with the Grand Lodge of Arkansas and the Arkansas Shriners Temples is a mess fueled by big egos and both side needing to be right. That is how it looks to me, anyway. The list that accompanied the note had 26 Masons who were expelled for various reasons related to Shrinedom, such as working a the Shrine Circus.
What ever happened to being a temple of living stones and our only contention being that of who can best work and best agree? Our fraternities are taking a bad turn, I fear. Perhaps the solution is for the Shriners to not require Masonic membership as a prerequisite. Lots of people would frown on that but perhaps it is not a terrible thing. With some Shriners temples hurting for members, that could be a good way to get new members.
The thing I would hate to see is for the hospitals to be affected. I do not suppose it would come to that but you never know.
In the end, the Grand Lodge will win this battle. However, I hope everyone remembers that being the victor is not the same as being right. I get that this is not a simple situation, but I hope that there can be some learning that comes as a result on both sides. I say that this is one of those cases where, between the hammer and the anvil, the truth is in the sparks.