If you don’t think golfer Arnold Palmer, astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, country crooner Brad Paisley and race car driver Sam Hornish, Jr. have anything in common besides celebrity, you need the Shriner Primer.

If you think that “Potentate” is the strength of hot sauce that lies somewhere between “mild” and “hot” at your favorite burrito joint, you need the Shriner Primer.

And if you think the only thing Shriners - those guys in the odd-looking, tasseled, red hats in your local parade - do is ride around in tiny cars, you really need the Shriner Primer.

What is a Shriner?
Shriners, or Shrine Masons, belong to the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine for North America (A.A.O.N.M.S.). The Shrine is an international fraternity of approximately 500,000 members who belong to Shrine Center throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and The Republic of Panama. Founded in New York City in 1872 the organization is composed Master Masons.

The Shrine is best-known for its colorful parades, its distinctive red fez, and its official philanthropy, Shriners Hospitals for Children, which is often called "the heart and soul of the Shrine." Principles of Freemasonry -- Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.

Members of the Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine for North America are members of the Masonic Order and adhere to the principles of Freemasonry -- Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.

Freemasonry dates back hundreds of years to when stonemasons and other craftsmen on building projects gathered in shelter houses or lodges. Through the years these gatherings changed in many ways until formal Masonic lodges emerged, with members bound together not by trade, but by their own wishes to be fraternal brothers. There is no higher degree in Freemasonry than that of Master Mason (the Third Degree).

Shriner are distinguished by an enjoyment of life in the interest of philanthropy. With almost 500,000 members the organization has a buoyant philosophy which has been expressed as "Pleasure without intemperance, hospitality without rudeness and jollity without coarseness."

How do I become a Shriner?
Every Shriner is first a Mason; however, in Kentucky as in many parts of North America, Masonry does not solicit members. In these areas, no one is asked to join. A man must seek admission of his own free will. A man is a fully accepted "Blue Lodge" Mason after he has received the first three degrees, known as Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason.

After that, he may belong to many other organizations which have their roots in Masonry and which have a Blue Lodge Masonry as a prerequisite. Scottish Rite, York Rite and the Shrine.

Once accepted as an Apprentice Mason of the Craft Lodge, each member works his way up through three degrees. To earn each degree, a Mason must learn certain lessons and participate in a ceremony that illustrates them. At the third degree, he reaches Master Mason after which he may then petition to become a Noble of the Shrine.

For more information on Kosair Shrine, you can find their website here.