I requested a demit from the Shriners at the end of last year. I had waited until it was time for dues payments to be sent in because it was not an easy decision for me to make.
I loved being a Shriner. I was first sold by the mission of helping children in need. It does not get much better than that. Then the excitement of getting my fez made me feel like a real members of the organization. It was pricey, but it was worth it. Then I started a homebrewing club and felt good about growing the body of my Shriners temple.
Then something happened. I won’t go into specifics because I have already discussed this with the temple administration and they indicated that they did not want to change their tack on a few issues that I thought were important – things that would encourage membership growth and retention. They weren’t interested. Fair enough, I guess. That is their choice, I suppose.
In addition, there are problems with recognition in various states, giant egos in the Imperial offices, and trying to silence discussion of things that are the business of Shriners to discuss. The attitudes of the Imperial Shrine are misguided and that is a turn-off by itself.
I did what I did not want to do initially and voted with my feet. I still feel mixed about this and hope to return someday, when a new group of guys takes over and is not shackled by the “we have always done it this way” mentality.
Until then, I wish I could just walk away and say, “It’s not you, it’s me,” but I just can’t. That would be a lie.