The Order of the Eastern Star
|By: Dr. John Ankerberg / Dr. John Weldon; ©2006|
|The Order of the Eastern Star is specifically intended for the wives, daughters, and female relatives of Master Masons. Its rituals were prepared by Dr. Rob Morris, a leading Mason. This brief article discusses some of the things Eastern Star members are taught.|
The Order of the Eastern Star
The Order of the Eastern Star is specifically intended for the wives, daughters, and female relatives of Master Masons. Its rituals were prepared by Dr. Rob Morris, a leading Mason. Dr. Morris is considered the “Master Builder” of the Order of the
Eastern Star. Thus, the Ritual of the Order of the Eastern Star published by the authority of the General Grand Chapter Order of the Eastern Star (1970) gives the history of Dr. Morris:
- Dr. Morris became a Master Mason in Oxford, Mississippi March 5, 1849…. He soon became interested in an idea that the female relatives of Master Masons should share, in a measure, the benefits from knowledge of this great fraternal Order…. He worked with zeal writing a Ritual of the Order of the Eastern Star…. In 1855 he organized a Supreme Constellation with himself as the Most Enlightened Grand Luminary, with headquarters in New York City…. He was an author of great ability and wrote numerous and valuable works on Masonry and its kindred subjects…. In 1858-59 Dr. Morris served as Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Kentucky. In 1860 he drafted the Constitution of the Grand Lodge…. Having spent most of the stretch, thought and wisdom of his early manhood in a close study of the Rituals, codes, principles and tenets of Masonry, he was conceded to be one of the most versatile and learned Masons of his day. In 1880 the General Grand Chapter conferred on Dr. Morris the title of “Master Builder of the Order of the Eastern Star.”
When one reads through the ritual of the Order of the Eastern Star, the claim is made that “the Order is no part of that Ancient Institution” (i.e., Masonry). Yet there can be no doubt that the Order of the Eastern Star supports both the causes and doctrines of Masonry. This is evident throughout the ritual itself where the Order is stated to uphold Masonry.
In addition, a similar emphasis is laid upon various Masonic beliefs: 1) faith in (the Masonic) god; 2) secrecy and solemn oaths; 3) personal character building and the immortality of the soul which presuppose salvation by works. However these are not as forcefully or clearly stated as in the rituals of Masonry itself. It is as if the Order of the Eastern Star exists to introduce the daughters, wives and other relatives of Master Masons to a basic Masonic world view with the understanding that the Master Mason himself as head of the household will fill in any remaining gaps. In other words, Masonic appendant organizations function as a preliminary introduction into Masonry, which is designed to support the Mason himself. Such appendant organizations ensure that the personal environment of the Mason (mothers, wives, children, etc.) becomes a support and encouragement for his own involvement in Masonry.
The following points illustrate similarities of the Order of Eastern Star to the Masonic Lodge. They can be compared to the corresponding Masonic teachings.
The Masonic god:
- Life is a labyrinth through which we would wander blindly were it not for an All Seeing Eye that watches over us and an All Powerful Hand that guides us on our way. This Order is founded on a belief in the existence of a Supreme Being that rules the universe for good, and no one can become a member Order who does not hold this belief…. Do you believe in the existence of a Supreme Being?
Masonic secrecy and solemn oaths:
- The Obligation you are about to take is a solemn pledge which you must give to this Chapter before you can participate in the privilege of our Order. By it you bind yourself to the most solemn secrecy respecting the work of the Order and to that performance [of its goals]…. When the Conductress reaches the Altar she causes the candidate to kneel and places the Bible in her hands.
The “landmarks” of the Order of the Eastern Star state:
- Five. Its obligations are based upon the honor of those who obtain its secrets, and are framed upon the principle that whatever benefits are due from Masons to the wives, daughters, mothers, widows, and sisters of Masons, reciprocal duties are due from them to Masons.
- Six. The Obligation of our Order voluntarily assumed, is perpetual, from the force of which there is no release.
The building of personal character:
- When you have entered our portals, listen closely to all that you hear for your initiation is a symbol of the road of life. The lessons which you receive are given to assist you in building your own individual character.
- The color appropriate to this degree is white, a symbol of Light, Purity and Joy which teaches us that a pure and upright life is above the tongue of reproach.
The immortality of the soul:
- [From the installation ceremony:] Thus may we confidently hope that, in the good providence of God, each of us will be brought, through a useful, and happy life, to a blissful close and triumphant entrance upon the joys of celestial life.
- Beyond the grave, the loved ones gone before are waiting to welcome us to our eternal home.
- [A prayer of the order:] Enlarge our powers to benefit mankind and to honor thee, our God. And when, one by one, each link [person] shall fall away in death, may the parting be temporary and the meeting eternal. In the world where death comes not, may we realize the full happiness of loving and serving thee forever. Amen.
A claim to obey the Bible:
- “The open Bible is appropriate to Jephtha’s Daughter as a symbol of Obedience to the Word of God.”
Funeral ceremonies that presuppose works salvation and universalism:
- Sisters and Brothers, we have gathered here to pay love’s tribute to the memory of Sister … who has now passed into the fullness of immortallife and now abides in the mercy and care of our Heavenly Father…. We thank Thee for the assurance that Thou has given us in the eternal life which lies beyond death.
- Our God is just. We know that, as our Sister was faithful to her convictions of right and duty; as she was obedient to the demands of honor and justice; as she was loyal to kindred and friends; as she was guided by a trustful faith in the hour of trial; as she lived in the spirit of charity and love of truth, so shall be her reward.
The above statements reflect the doctrine of works salvation taught in the Masonic Lodge. Thus, not once in the entire rituals of initiation, installation of officers, or funeral ceremonies is it ever stated that personal faith in the biblical Jesus Christ is necessary to salvation. Although several biblical events, characters, and illustrations are cited, they are cited in such a manner as to support the beliefs of Masonry, not Christianity. For example,
- Green is an emblem of nature’s life and beauty. The evergreen is a symbol of Immortal Life and teaches us that in the economy of God there is no death; forms change, but the spirit survives. [The biblical character] Martha, beside the grave of her beloved brother [Lazarus], avowed her trustful faith and hope of immortal life. The Greenery of our Star shines here to assure us of our Sister’s entrance into a glorious immortality.
(Excerpt from The Secret Teachings of the Masonic Lodge, Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon (Moody, 1990))
- The General Grand Chapter Order of the Eastern Star, Ritual of the Order of the Eastern Star, Washington, D.C., International Eastern Star Temple, 1956, 1970, pp. 56, 161.
- Ibid., pp. 7-10.
- Ibid., pp. 77, 57.
- See John Ankerberg and John Weldon, The Secret Teachings of the Masonic Lodge (Moody, 1990), Parts 2 and 3.
- Ritual of the Order of the Eastern Star, p. 51.
- Ibid., pp. 57-58.
- Ibid., pp. 162-63.
- Ibid., pp. 51, 69.
- Ibid., pp. 125, 72, 80.
- Ibid., p. 84.
- Ibid., pp. 153-56.
- Ibid., p. 158. On one occasion (p. 159), John 11:25-26 is cited. However, there is no reason to believe that this is interpreted in a Christian, rather than a Masonic, sense.