Page 10 - Montana Freemason Magazine March 2014
P. 10

Montana Freemason                  March 2014	          Volume 90 Number 1
are those that we all know who have a concern           Grand Lodge’s is to Imperial Shrine. It is not
for the quality of the members of the Lodges in         the responsibility of Grand Lodge of Montana
Montana, and we say, “Hooray to them for being a        to make Shriners, or of Shriners International
Freemason first.”                                       to make Masons. That Shriners International
                                                        has for over 100 years required a Masonic
And now at last we come to the first question           membership of its Nobles is agreed. The fact that
that we posed, Do the Nobles as members of their        the membership numbers quoted of the Grand
respective Shrine Temples within the boundaries         Lodge of Montana is woefully inaccurate; or
of Montana wish to sever the connection with the        athreat nthoet sbtaasteemd eunptsonattfraibcut teredmtoainGsrainrrdelLevoadngte.
Grand Lodge of Montana?                                 Conversely, it is not the responsibility of the

I think that after considering the forgoing             Grand Lodge of Montana to manage the Shrine
statements, we can see this question matters in spite   Centers in Montana and offer suggestions for
of the fact that a majority of the Masons in Montana    keeping their members active.
do not belong to a Shrine Temple. It matters
because how we choose to comport ourselves as •	 The fact that requirements in the Constitution
Masons during this discussion matters. Being well       and Code of Statutes of the Grand Lodge of
informed on the issue matters, because it allows        Montana as regards to proficiency requirements
us to understand things. Hopefully, as a result of      were ignored, for some time, and then later acted
this article, if you have any questions, you will feel  upon, does not mean that the Code was ever
empowered to ask those questions.                       silent on the issue. The fact is, the Grand Lodge
                                                        and the Lodges that make it up have always
What follows are excerpts of two separate               been ready to assist members in returning the
discussion surrounding resolutions brought before       minimum required proficiency.
Imperial Shrine by Nobles hailing from Montana,
this last year in 2013, and also in 2008. In reading It is tempting to speculate in a friendly manner
the proponent’s statements in favor of Shrine about the nature of the relationship from the Shrine
Temples severing ties to Masonry in Montana, it is to Grand Lodges. Things like what happens to the
important to bear in mind that in several instances, Shrine void, will it be filled, will the Scottish Rite
the speakers commit factual errors. It is not our receive a boost, especially with their 200 year +
place to speculate as to how these inaccuracies were history of maintaining their position toward Grand
arrived at. However, it would be shirking our duty Lodges and disavowing interest in making Masons,
to not consider all of the available evidence and etc, are all interesting thought experiments, but
draw conclusions afterwards. These instances will they are the kind of conversations that we can have
probably be immediately apparent to any reader, without malice, without animosity, and without
so that it would be pedantic to beat them to death. deliberately attacking our own members.
However, in anticipation of their discovery, some
brief facts may not be unwelcome to the reader:         If the cry in the wilderness is that all of the
                                                        fraternal organizations are losing members, or at
•	 The smooth operation of the Grand Lodge of least that they don’t “have enough” of them yet (to
Montana is no more the concern of Shriners support whatever financial responsibilities that they
International, than the smooth operations have taken upon themselves), then surely it should
of Imperial Shrine are to the Grand Lodge be the height of folly to bite our own hands. To
of Montana, insofar as they are independent dodge the shared history of the two organizations
bodies. Characterization of Grand Lodge of A.F. and then AIM for the hand to strike at is not only
& A.M. of Montana as “chaotic” or “dictatorial” un-Masonic, it is unmanly. Finally, a shared family
is both needlessly confrontational, and therefore lineage should not make Freemasons, as parents,
not conducive to positive dialog, but also responsible for solving the dilemma that Shriners
beneath the dignity of response. References to International, now an adult offspring, have taken
tribunals in Montana are irrelevant to Imperial upon themselves; with that said, it shouldn’t stop
Shrine, and cut away at healing that has been us from helping them make their own way in the
accepted by members of the Grand Lodge of world, and forging last bonds that strengthen the
Montana.                                                legacy of Freemasonry through another light in the
                                                        world, the philanthropy of Shriners Hospitals. Being
•	 The business of increase of membership of mature about this, we can still put the onus squarely
Shriners International is no more the business on Shriners International, without withdrawing
Pageo1f0 the Grand Lodge of Montana, than the the right hand of friendship that we esteem our
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