FAQ: What is the Eastern Star?

Discussion in 'Frequently Asked Questions' started by Larry the Mason from Holbrook, Sep 9, 2009.

  1. The Freemasonry FAQ

    Version 1.0
    August 2006

    This Frequently Asked Question comes from the weekly USENET MASONRY FAQ, posted to alt.freemasonry every Friday at 08:00 Pacific. Please refer to the weekly FAQ for other resource and contact information.

    05
    What is the Eastern Star?

    The Order of the Eastern Star is an adoptive rite of Freemasonry with
    teachings based on the Bible and objectives that are charitable and
    benevolent. The founder of OES was Dr. Robert Morris, a lawyer and
    educator from Boston, Massachusetts, who was a Master Mason and Past
    Grand Master of Kentucky. Dr. Morris intended his creation to become a
    female branch of Freemasonry, but he failed to overcome the great
    opposition this idea engendered. After his first published ritual in
    1849-50, he became associated with Robert Macoy who wrote and
    published a ritual based on Morris's in 1867. The first Grand Chapter
    was organized in Michigan in the same year. (There is evidence of an
    organization of the same name founded variously in 1788 or 1793, but
    this group was defunct by 1867.) Subordinate (local) chapters operate
    under charter from state level grand chapters which are responsible to
    the General Grand Chapter at the International Eastern Star Temple in
    Washington, D.C.

    Members must be eighteen years or older and either Master Masons in
    good standing or properly related to a Master Mason in good standing:
    wives; widows; sisters; daughters; mothers; granddaughters;
    stepmothers; stepdaughters; stepsisters; and half-sisters. Recently
    this was expanded to include nieces, daughters-in-law, and
    grandmothers, and further expanded to include Rainbow Girls (see
    question 6.b in this section) 18 and older and majority members.

    Each chapter has eighteen officers, some elected and others appointed.
    Two offices are specifically male (Patron and Associate Patron) while
    nine offices are specifically female (including Matron and Associate
    Matron). While the Worthy Matron is considered to be the presiding
    officer of the chapter, the degrees cannot be conferred without a
    presiding brother in good standing (hence the Patron and Associate
    Patron).

    Each chapter retains the right to decide who shall be a member of the
    organization. Election to the degrees must be unanimous, without
    debate, and secret. The successful candidate must profess a belief in
    a Supreme Being and is initiated in five degrees, which are conferred
    in one ceremony. (When Eastern Star was created, it was intended to be
    the first of a three degree series. The second and third degrees were
    Queen of the South and the Order of the Amaranth, respectively.)

    Interestingly enough, OES requires only the belief in a Supreme Being
    even though the degrees are based in both the Old and New Testaments.
    While non-Christians are not specifically barred from membership, it
    would seem to be difficult to be other than Christian and belong to
    the Order. (Thanks to Joy Leavy for this section)
     

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