From ..., a man, and ...., a woman. Those degrees relative to Freemasonry which are conferred on both men and women. Besides the degrees of the Adoptive Rite, which are practiced in France, there are several of these degrees which are, as side degrees, conferred in America. Such are the Mason's wife, conferred on the wives, daughters, sisters, and mothers of Master Masons, and the Knight and Heroine of Jericho, conferred on the wives and daughters of Royal Arch Masons.
About 1850 Rob Morris introduced and thereafter taught very generally through the Western States of America, a series of androgynous degrees, which he called The Eastern Star. There is another androgynous degree, sometimes conferred on the wives of Royal Arch Masons, known as the Good Samaritan.
In some parts of the United States these degrees are very popular, while in other places they are never practiced, and are strongly condemned as improper innovations. The fact is, that by their friends as well as by their enemies, these so-called degrees have been greatly misrepresented. When females are told that in receiving these degrees they are admitted into the Masonic Order, and are obtaining Masonic information under the name of Ladies' freemasonry, they are simply deceived.
Every woman connected by ties of consanguinity, the blood relation or kinship, to a Master Mason is peculiarly entitled to Masonic assistance and protection. If she is told of this fact, and also told that by these androgynous degrees she is to be put in possession of the means of making her claims known by a sort of what may be called oral testimony, but that she is by their possession no nearer to the portals of Freemasonry than she was before, if she is honestly told this, then there is no harm, but the possibility of some good, in these forms if carefully bestowed and prudently preserved. But all attempts to make Freemasonry of them are wrong, imprudent, and calculated to produce opposition among the well-informed and cautious members of the Fraternity.
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