What is Masonry and how does it relate to Shriners International?

In order to become a Shriner, a man must first be a Master Mason. The fraternity of Freemasonry is the oldest, largest and most widely known fraternity in the world. It dates back hundreds of years to a time when stonemasons and other craftsmen on building projects gathered in shelter houses, or lodges. Over the years formal Masonic lodges emerged, with members bound together not by trade, but by their desire to be fraternal brothers.

The basic unit of Masonry is the Blue Lodge, where members earn the first three Masonic degrees. The highest degree is Master Mason. Men who wish to become Shriners must first achieve Master Mason status – that means all Shriners are Masons, but not all Masons are Shriners.