Independent United Order of the Star of Bethlehem
First Three Subordinate Degrees


The Noble Conductor shall examine each sir and lady, and see if they are in possession of all signs and passwords, and grips of the lodge; and if not they shall be instructed fully therein.

Opening with prayer by Noble Commander.
Almighty Father, who art in heaven, we invoke Thy benediction upon the purpose of our present assembly. Grant this lodge, established to Thy honor, peace and happiness. Let its officers be endowed with wisdom. Let its members be ever mindful of their duty they owe to their God; the obedience they owe to their officers; the love they owe to their associate members, and the good will they owe to mankind. Amen.
Conductor prepares the lodge for initiation by lighting candles on the altar, small banner, star in the center, cross of gold, skull, burning of incense, on the altar.
After all scenery has been arranged, the Degree Master will say:
Degree Master: Noble Conductor, retire and see if anyone awaits admission into this lodge, for the purpose of further advancement in the secret works of the order.
Noble Conductor reports names and number of candidates.
Conductor and Marshal retire to the Ante Room, examine candidates in the Initiatory Degree, and if found correct, will say:
Conductor: Sirs and Ladies, you have expressed the wish to advance further in the sacred mysteries of our order. I would advise you to stop and reflect that you are about to assume new duties, also to renew your sacred obligations, if you are satisfied, remove your outer garment, and let me clothe, you in this robe of blue.
Candidates will then be blindfolded. They are led to the inner door. Conductor gives three distinct raps.
Tyler: Who comes there?
N. Conductor: Pilgrims in search of wisdom.
Tyler: Have you the password?
Conductor: I have.
Tyler: Then give it.
Conductor: Love.
Candidates are admitted one by one, turning them backwards, and walking five steps back. Then after all the candidates enter, Conductor will line up candidates, march around the hall, singing, and stopping at chair of the Noble Commander.
Conductor: Noble Vice-Commander, the candidates have been admitted, in order to become more acquainted with the mysteries of our order.
N. Vice-Commander: Are they willing to enter in a solemn convent of knighthood?
Conductor: They are.
N. Vice-Commander: Let them kneel at the altar and say after me:
In the presence of God, and of the members of this lodge, and in the presence of the Almighty God, the father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, I promise that I will keep all the secrets that may be entrusted to me. I further promise, and swear, that I will not wrong a sir or lady, nor see them wronged., if in my power to prevent it. I furthermore promise and swear that I will not make the secrets of this degree known to any person who is not a member of the order. I furthermore promise and swear that I will not write, nor indite, nor carve, without a dispensation to do so. I furthermore promise and swear that I will apprise a member when I see him about to fall in danger. To all of which I pledge myself. So help me God.
N. Vice-Commander: You will now kiss the Holy Bible.
Then Noble Aids will give candidates light.
The Chaplain will read the lesson from 1 Peter 2.
After the reading, Conductor will lead candidates to the Noble Commander’s chair.
Noble Commander: Sirs and lady pilgrims, the beautiful and instructive legend which forms the foundation of this degree has been so elaborately wrought out in the ceremonies that any further instruction upon this subject is superfluous. I can assure you that any intelligent Sir or Lady who will urge their claims persistently and properly, as the Queen of Sheba did, may ask, to receive, seek and find, knock, and it shall be opened unto you. I will now instruct you in the signs of this degree, which is ‘By stretching right hand at arm’s length, with fingers open pointing upwards.’ Sign thus, means Astonishment.
The Answering sign is: ‘Place elbow of left hand at side, holding hand upward.’
The Password is: ‘Peace, Goodwill to men.’
You will now retire and prepare for the second degree.

Second Degree

Noble Commander or Degree Master will say: Members will be upstanding, and assist me in opening this house, in the Second Degree. Conductor will take up the password of this degree.
Conductor will report: All is well.
Noble Commander will give four raps, and say: I declare this lodge duly opened. to confer its honor on members of the first degree.
N. Commander: Sir Marshal, go to the Ante Room, and tell the members of the first degree that we are ready to travel with them, farther into the mysteries of our, order.
Marshal retires and says to candidates: Members, we are ready to travel with you further into the mysteries of, our order. Are, you ready?
Members answer: We are.
Conductor gives four raps on the door. Tyler will answer by giving four raps and saying: Who comes there?
Conductor: Members of the order who have obtained the first degree, and are now ready to travel further into the mysteries of our order.
Tyler will now admit candidates, one at a time, and will say to each one: Give me thy pass in this degree. No blindfold.
Candidates advance to altar for obligation. Same as first degree.
Noble Commander: Fellow travelers, you will now arise. Being passed to the second degree of the Star of Bethlehem, and before advancing further, you will listen to the reading of the Holy Scripture.
Chaplain reads Scripture Lesson.
N. Commander: Friends; you have listened to the reading of the Holy Scripture. You admit that a belief in the existence of a Supreme Being is absolutely necessary. Every believer is joined to the Lord by an everlasting covenant. May we be so joined together in this lodge, that we should have reason to rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory. The sign of this degree is made by placing the palms of both hands together with fingers open, and eyes looking upward, which means, Sincerity. Password is ‘Have come to worship Him.’
Noble Commander: You will now retire and be prepared for your third and last subordinate degree.

Third Degree

Lodge room set up, altar lighted with three candles, a cross, incense burning. Skull, star painted on banner, triangle and Bible.
Degree Master gives three raps and calls the house to order. He will say: Conductress, take up password and report.
Conductress will say: All correct in the password, Noble Commander.
Degree Master gives three raps and will call up the house.
Degree Master: Conductor will give the signs of the Third Degree responded by the members.
Degree Master: Conductor, you will retire and see if there is anyone awaiting to advance further in our order.
Conductor retires and says: Degree Master, I find … in waiting.
Degree Master: Conductor and Marshal will retire and prepare the candidates? Blindfolded.
Conductor, after preparing the candidates, gives three distinct raps.
Tyler: Degree Master, there is an unusual knock at our door.
Degree Master: Inquire the cause!
Tyler: Sirs and Ladies, who have been regular initiated and have passed the first and second now wish to receive Further light in the Order of the Star of Bethlehem.
Degree Master: Let them enter!
Conductor will march candidates around hall, singing, stopping at Vice-Commander’s chair.
Vice-Commander: Fellow travelers, you are on your way to the east. Are you willing to travel on?
Candidates: Yes.
Vice-Commander: Then I will travel with you.
Initiation Starts
Handle candidates roughly, after which place candidates around altar in a circle.
Degree Master: Place your left hand on the Bible, raise your right hand upward and repeat after me.
In the presence of the members here assembled, I do solemnly promise without any reservation that I will never improperly reveal the secrets of this degree. I do further promise that I will consider myself specially bound in the most solemn manner to the members of this degree. That I will visit and comfort them in sickness and assist them in distress, if in my power to do so. I further promise that should I hear of any member falling vicious habits I will at once communicate the facts to the Noble Commander, in order that he may persuade such member to return to the past of love, to all of which I pledge my secret word of honor. So help me God.
All members reply: We are witnesses.
The light is turned out except the candles on altar.
Candidates get light.
Degree Master: My friends, you. are now about to learn the ancient tradition of our order regarding the Star of Bethlehem. In the year of the world 4004, in the days of Herod, the King, wise men of that period observed the appearance in the eastern sky a Brilliant Star previously unknown. Records were consulted and although the ancients were familiar with the appearances of the sky, and had divided it in to many imaginary sections whose names and boundaries are retained to the present day,, yet no record could be found. Hebrew, prophesies however solved the mystery. They foretold that at the birth of Messiah the event would be signalized by the appearance of this star in the east, led by mysterious unseen power. The wise men hastened to King Herod and ask ‘Where is he that is born King of the Jews, for we have seen his star in the east and have come to worship him.’ When Herod heard these things he was troubled and all Jerusalem with him, and when he had gathered the chief priest and scribe of the people together he demanded of them where Christ should be born and they said unto him in Bethlehem of Judea; for thus it is written by the prophet and thou Bethlehem in the land of Judea are not the least among the Princesses of Judea, for out of thee shall come forth a governor that shall rule my people Israel. The Herod, when he had prevailed, called the wise men and inquired of the indiligently what time the star will appear, and he sent them to Bethlehem and said ‘Go and search diligently for the young child and when ye have found him bring me, word that I may go and worship him also.’ The wise men departed and lo, the star stood before them directly over the village of Bethlehem. While a ray of its silver light seemed to point directly over the village.
W. C.: Fellow Pilgrims, you have expressed a wish to press on to the end of the Sacred Mysteries. I would advise you, to stop on the threshold of our Sacred Temple. and reflect that you are about to assume new duties. Behold, I send my messenger and he shall prepare the way before me and the Lord whom ye seek will suddenly come to his Temple and the messenger of the covenant whom ye desire. Behold he cometh, saith Jehovah of hosts. But who can abide in the day of His coming? And who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner. Fire and fullers, soap and offerings of gifts will be presented to Him. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise, when his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found with child of the Holy Spirit, and Joseph, her husband being a righteous man and not willing to make her a public example was minded to put her away privately. But when he thought on these things, behold an angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary, thy wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit and she shall bring forth a son and thou shalt call his name Jesus for it is He that shall save His people from their sins. Then my Fellow Pilgrims, these are the covenant vows of the Degree of Friendship.
Conductress, present to Degree Master, Bread and Salt.
N. C. or Degree Master: Bread and salt you will now partake with us the emblems of’ Friendship and Hospitality. Bread is for nourishment and salt for preservation, when the Master formed the prayer. He taught us to say: Give us this day our daily bread. This ceremony was practiced by the Ancients and is used to this day among many people.
All partake of Bread and Salt.
W. C.: By this act we in behalf of this lodge, seal and make perpetual our mutual bond of friendship.
Conductor: Will you instruct the candidate in the Signs and Password.
The sign is made by placing hand to mouth as if eating, answering sign; place left hand on stomach, which means Friendship and Hospidaily Bread.