Did I join the Masons to become a Shriner? No. Did I become a Shriner to help the kids? Also no. Stick with me because I am 100% in it for the kids, but it’s not one of my top reasons for joining.
I became a Freemason so I could follow in the footsteps of the best man I knew. A man of character, a man of faith, and a man that could not be outworked. He spent many nights at the lodge helping new men become Masons. It was important to him and I wanted to know why.
The Blue Lodge or Symbolic Lodge teaches the fundamentals of the fraternity and gives a man everything he needs to know in order to walk and act like a Master Mason. The Scottish and York Rite expand on that knowledge of the craft degrees. The Shriners were created as a means to have fun and celebrate the hard work in the quarries. In fact, they had so much fun the Children’s Hospital system was created as a by-product of good fun and fraternal activity. I joined the Shrine to have fun and market the fraternity. I joined to drive a little car and tell people that in order to become a Shriner, you had to become Master Mason first.
You see, the brotherhood is what binds us together and it is what will get us through the next 100 years. Anyone can support a charity. I could drop out of the Shriners today and support our hospitals without ever attending a stated meeting again. Why don’t I just do that? Because that’s not the reason I am here. I want to build relationships with good men. I want to navigate life with people that hold the same principles near and dear to their hearts as I do. I want to know when the going gets tough, I have people that have my back through the thick and the thin. You can’t get that by sending in $19.99 to a website. Yes, it’s important! Yes, we love our hospitals. Yes, Shriners are heroes to kids across the world. So, how do we help even more kids? We initiate and create new Shrine Masons. We turn thousands of good men into walking billboards in their communities. When we do that, we will know of every kid that needs our help. We will make sure that every eligible kid can receive our top-notch care regardless of the family’s ability to pay.
We will continue to innovate and prosper through the growth of a fraternity built on fun. A place where hardworking Masons can channel their philanthropic nature without being deep into the weeds of moral philosophy. A place where laughter reigns and the worries of the world seem distant. A place where a kid’s smile will pay back your efforts in gold.
Do you know a good man who could benefit from our fraternity? Send them to beashrinernow.com or beafreemason.org. If you light a fire under one good man, that return on investment will be tenfold for our fraternity and our hospitals.
“Blood is thicker than water but nothing is thicker than brotherhood” –Not Just a Man, A Mason.
WB Christopher J. Hathaway was raised in Catlin Masonic Lodge #285 and is a plural member of Normal Masonic Lodge #673 as well as Bloomington Lodge #43, where he is a Past Master. He belongs to the Valley of Danville, AASR where he is the Most Wise Master of the George E. Burow Chapter of Rose Croix and Membership Chairman. He is the Oriental Guide in the Divan for the Mohammed Shiners, and the 1st Vice President of the Bloomington Shrine Club. Other appendant bodies include the Gao Grotto and the Illinois Lodge of Research. Outside of the lodge, he enjoys spending time with his wife Taylor and cheering on the Fighting Illini and Chicago Cubs.