What Is The Grotto?

From: http://www.la-mason.com/grotto.htm

The Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm, whose subordinate bodies are the Grottoes, is an organization by and for Master Masons. While in no way connected with Masonry proper, its membership is restricted absolutely and exclusively to Master Masons in some fun and frolic, it also has its serious side. Its slogan is GOOD FELLOWSHIP, and in contact with our fellow man, this principle is exemplified to a marked degree.

For some years prior to 1889, several members of Hamilton Lodge No. 120, F. & A. M., at Hamilton, New York, sought relaxation from the sterner duties of life by holding occasional informal meeting for fun and good fellowship. The chief spirit in the fun was LeRoy Fairchild, and in the summer of 1889, he and a devoted band of followers discovered the Enchanted Realm in which, upon entering with song and laughter, they and their successors have found a rich heritage. The first meeting of the organization was held on the 10th day of September, 1889, and it was named for the leader, the "Fairchild Deviltry Committee." It was decided at this first meeting that the membership of the organization should be confined to Master Masons in good standing.

The idea of the Order proved immediately attractive. Many distinguished Masons entered the Enchanted Realm and returned pleased and charmed by its brilliancy. The Order could no longer be confined to any one locality and in response to imperative requests that were not to be denied, on the 13th of June 1890, the "F.D.C." duly founded and established the Supreme Council of the Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm.

It is a social organization for the Master Mason and all such are welcome to our Enchanted Realm. It encourages renewed interest in the Blue Lodge Field...its activities and attendance. While it is not and makes no claim to be a part of symbolic Craft Masonry, we ever bear in mind that our membership is composed entirely of Master Masons.

The full length ritual is original and unique. The spectacular ceremonial requires a cast of thirty (30) or more and offers unlimited opportunities in stage activities and stunt performance. Its proper rendition requires a large stage, elaborate constumes and stage settings. It is mysterious, startling and spectacular with the Persian atmosphere. While pervaded with a spirit of wholesome fun, it teaches a serious lesson which lingers with the initiate, instilling in him a spirit of optimism, a kindly feeling for his brother man and an impression of GOOD FELLWOSHIP which is something devoutly to be desired.

In addition to this original and unique ritual with its spectacular ceremonies, there are also many fun units in each Grotto where a Master Mason can find an outlet for his energy and enthusiasm. Almost every Grotto has musical units, drill teams, drum and bugle corps, clown units, choral groups and many other impressively colorful and attention getting aggregations. Other Grottoes meet by the rules of the Old Festive Board staging their meetings around a luncheon or a dinner.

In 1949, the members of the Supreme Council adopted as their International Humanitarian Objective - Aid to the Cerebral Palsy child. A charitable trust known as the Humanitarian Foundation of the Supreme Council, M. O. V. P. E. R. with a board of five Trustees administers the fund of this Trust. Each and every Prophet throughout the Realm pays one dollar per year to this Humanitarian Foundation. At present this Humanitarian Foundation has two important projects. First, they expend thousands of dollars annually through the United Palsy Research Foundation. This money is used exclusively for research purposes and through this research, much has been learned regarding the causes, effects and partial cure for this dreaded affliction. The second project of the Humanitarian Foundation is the Dentistry for the Handicapped Program. This program was instituted to provide the best dental care possible for the handicapped child. These children often require the special dental facilities which the Illinois Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois or the Childrens Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio can provide. Transportation for the patient is provided by the sponsoring Grotto or through the Helwig Fund. When the patient is capable of some cooperation with the dentist and does not need surgery, the service can be rendered locally. The Humanitarian Foundation has made this possible through a unique partnership with qualified dentists throughout the country. This local program enables the Grotto to provide dental care to more children.

Among grotto members are many Grand Masters and Past Grand Masters, Governors and ex-Governors of the various states, numerous other Government officials and Masonic civic leaders. Four Presidents of the United States have been members of the Order: Warren G. Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman and Gerald R. Ford.

That the Grotto occupies a legitimate place and is doing a wonderful work cannot be denied. It extends the hand of Good Fellowship to all Master Masons, having a smile for all and a frown for none.

You are a Master Mason in good standing and are eligible for membership in this organization. We have something worthwhile for every Master Mason, the hand of fraternal Good Fellowship, which is extended to you welcoming you to become a member of our Grotto and enjoy its social and fraternal activities.