The Rough Ashlar

Thoughts from a Traveling Man

The Rough Ashlar - Thoughts from a Traveling Man

Why I Demitted from the Shriners

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.
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Why I Demitted from the Scottish Rite

I joined the Alexandria, VA Scottish Rite about two years ago at the suggestion of a few people I have a lot of respect for. The degrees were impressive and the educational program – the Master Craftsman – is in-depth and helped me get a better handle on the teachings of the degrees. The Rite has 29 degrees, and each offers enough learning to keep a guy busy for quite a long time. However, I decided to demit last year and wanted to discuss some of the reasons.

My problems with the Scottish Rite are as follows:

  • The meetings are on Friday nights, a time I prefer to spend with my family. When I chose to join, Friday nights would have been fine because I did not have anything better to do on those evenings.
  • The format is not one I find lends itself to productivity or efficiency. I dragged myself to the last meeting to support some brothers who had just joined and then remembered the score. We had three bodies meet that night. Open, close, open, close, open, close. Stand up, sit down – over and over again. It seems excessively repetitive and inefficient. A body would open, do introductions, and close, conducting a minimum of business. It seemed very self-congratulatory.
  • I don’t live or work anywhere near Alexandria anymore, so getting out there is tough.
  • I have other issues with this particular valley that I do not care to discuss here, but definitely led me to not be terribly upset saying goodbye.

For a number of reasons I simply was not getting my money’s worth out of my $69 dues.

I received my demit paper shortly after making my request and have mixed feelings about it. I was looking forward to the Master Craftsman II course and learning more about these rich degrees. I also feel like I am letting my brothers down a bit by not keeping my membership. I do plan to join again, maybe next year. The DC Scottish Rite has meetings the first four Tuesdays of each month, each body meeting on a different evening. They also have interesting programs, some of them looking deeply at the metaphysical aspects of our profession. I understand they always have a good dinner before the meetings too, which doesn’t hurt.

What would have been nice is if there were more valleys in the area, thus allowing me to easily choose one that fit my needs and desires, the way you can with lodges. For now I remain unaffiliated as a Scottish Rite Mason but look forward to joining a valley again as soon as it becomes feasible.

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