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The Royal Order of Jesters is a male fraternal organization, allowing only Shriners in good standing to join. Admission is by invitation only.
The original meeting resulting in the formation was held on February 20, 1911, by Shriners in the Captain’s office of the S.S. Wilhelmina on a pilgrimage to Aloha Temple, Hawaii. Noble A.M. Ellison of San Francisco, California, was responsible and the original cast included a Director and thirteen members. It was organized June 25, 1917, at an informal meeting.
"Whereas most Masonic bodies are dedicated to charity, The Royal Order of Jesters is a fun "degree," with absolutely no serious intent. The motto, "Mirth is King,” is sufficient to give voice to the purpose of the organization.The Royal Order of Jesters feels that there are times, after their hard work and dedication to family and mankind, that everyone should remember to laugh and appreciate the good work they have done." The icon of the Order is the Billiken.
The order is very anti-publicity. For example, a website made by one of its members was removed after intervention of the National Court of the Order. The primary reason behind this was the desire of the Board to minimize the public exposure or public access to Jester information.
Local "courts" are limited to thirteen initiates yearly.
The Royal Order of Jesters owns a museum in Indiana. On display are items relating to the Order and some items related to William Shakespeare and other historical people who focused on humor in their works.
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