By Simon Gray
Often people become confused as to which Lodges are in fact freemasonry and which are affiliates or off springs. One such lodge is that of the Order of the Eastern Star. This Lodge was formed by Dr. Robert Morris. He was a lawyer from Boston and was not only a Master Mason but was Past Grand Master of Kentucky. The foundation of the Order of the Eastern Star is an offspring of the adoptive rite of the Freemasonry. The teachings are apparently based on the Bible and its goal is charity and benevolence.
This Lodge was initially formed with the intention of it becoming a female Lodge to be a branch off the Freemasonry. This was not acceptable by the Freemason society so it never came to be.
Dr. Morris published a ritual around 1850. Then in 1867, a new ritual off springing from this one was written by Robert Macoy and at the same time, the first Grand Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star was organized. This took place in Michigan.
Interestingly there is some evidence to show that back in 1788 to 1793 there was another organization with this name, however it ceased to exist by 1867.
There are numerous local chapters but they all come under the charter of the Grand Chapters, which are at state level. These Grand Chapters answer to the International Easter Star Temple located in Washington.
Membership eligibility stipulates a candidate must be 18 or older and be a Master Mason in good standing. If the individual is not a Mason then he/she is still allowed to join provided they are a family member of a Master Mason that is in good standing.
The organizational structures of the chapters are
-a total of 18 officers consisting of both elected and appointed.
-two of the offices consist of the Patron and Associate Patron and must be male
-Nine offices are filled by female, which includes Matron and Associate Matron
-The Officer of the specific chapter is the Worthy Matron
Degrees cannot be put into play without the Patron and Associate Patron.
The individual chapters have the authority to decide who can become a member of their chapter. In order to be elected to any of the degrees the votes must be unanimous and there will be no debate. The member must believe in a supreme being just as the regular Freemasons. The initiation is spread out over five degrees then recognized in one ceremony.
Originally this organization was suppose to be one of three degrees with the Queen of the South being the second and the third would have been the Order of the Amaranth.
As we mentioned in order to become a member a candidate must only believe in a Supreme Being yet the degrees are derived from the teachings of the Old and New Testaments. This means although the charter doesnt state that non-Christians would be disallowed, it would be quite difficult for a non-Christian to belong to the organization because of what its teachings are based on.
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