A Few Thoughts
I’ve been reading Freemasons for Dummies and it’s a relatively fascinating book. There are some dry parts, but I suppose that’s to be expected when you’re reading an introductory book on an order that traces its lineage back to the Temple of Solomon (or so it claims).
Anywho, Masonry makes me think of the Order of the Eastern Star…and precisely what annoys me about OES.
1. All OES meetings must have at least two Masons present. No Masons, no meeting. Now I realize that OES was created as a sort of a “Freemasons Ladies Auxiliary” (and not an actual auxiliary, the way I understand it) and they probably wanted to present a veneer of respectability for their meetings, but that still pisses me off. If OES is meant to be the ladies branch of Masonry (or as close as one can get to it and still stay “in the mainstream”), then chapters should be able to meet with one or even zero Masons present, if it pleases them.
2. Despite the similar requirement to simply believe in a divine being, OES is almost entirely Christian oriented. In Masonry, it’s forbidden to discuss matters of religion and politics. Although a lot of the symbolism comes from the bible and they require a “book of law” to be present and open at all times, Christianity is not highly emphasized. Just as long as you believe in a higher being and have the book of law in its appointed spot (whether it’s the bible, the koran, the vedas or anything else), you and your lodge are in good shape. But the whole point of OES is its biblical connections–each of the five points of the star represent a different woman of the bible. (Even though two names are made up and one of the two’s story is also made up.) I guess it irritates me because the men are allowed to have a fraternity free of all talk and presence of Christianity, but the women are stuck with a sorority that’s rife with it.
3. If you want to join OES, you have to figure out which man/men in your family are/were Master Masons. This one really cheeses me off. It doesn’t matter that my great-grandmother was a lifetime member–if I want to join (which I’m not sure I do anymore), I have to figure out who it was that was the Master Mason in Granny’s family and hope that particular relationship to me is on the acceptable list. And all I know is it wasn’t my great-granddad. (That isn’t mentioned in the book I’m reading [I’ve already skimmed over the OES section]–I actually got it from the OES secretary for Michigan.)
I’d just say screw it (and screw irregularity) and just join Le Droit Humaine or one of the other co-Masonry organizations, but there aren’t any lodges closer than the Detroit area. 😛