The Ancient Mystical Order of the Rosae Crucis (Rose Cross) AMORC is an active Rosicrucian order, one of the largest international occult organizations in the world. It was founded in the United States and is based in San Jose, California. The AMORC offers correspondence courses nearly worldwide and has lodges in most American states and many foreign countries.
AMORC traces its history along with Rosicrucianism back to the “heretic pharaoh” Akhenaten, and claims a direct succession from the historical Rosicrucians. H. Spencer Lewis, AMORC’s founder, is said to have received authority from many European Rosicrucian bodies. However, outside historians place its original founding in 1915, when Lewis received a charter from Theodor Reuss, head of the Ordo Templi Orientis (O. T. O.). After several false starts the new organization was incorporated in Florida in 1925. Two years later Lewis and family members, who occupied most of the offices of the fledging order, moved to San Jose, becoming known as Rosicrucian Park, and acquired a printing press and radio transmitter.
At the time when Lewis was forming his organization Reuss of the OTO was trying to involve him in that order in order to decrease the influence of Aleister Crowley which Reuss had helped to promote. In order get Lewis in the OTO Reuss gave him a charter and passed him through the honorary degrees. Previously Crowley had even offered Lewis membership in the OTO and A:. A:. but the latter refused it. Lewis was alienated because of Ress’ constant requests for money and he went his own way.
After this and through the 1930s the California group battled through a series of law suits. One notably was against R. Swinburne Clymer, head of the Pennsylvania-based Fraternitas Rose Crucis (FRC), who claimed exclusive right to the term “Rosicrucian.” Crowley even offered support to Lewis in these battles with the RFC but Lewis refused it. After his death in 1939, Lewis’ son Ralph Maxwell Lewis took over as Imperator who was succeeded by Gary L. Stewart in 1987. He was removed by board of directors on embezzlement charges and replaced by Christian Bernard in 1990. Since then the organizational structure of the AMORC has undergone several changes and moves. In 1993 Stewart was cleared of all charges and henceforth has established the Order Militia Crucifera Evangelica and assisted in the formation of the British Martinist Order. Stewart also has written his own monographs against the current ones of the AMORC, saying his more definitely express the views of Lewis.
The AMORC publish several publications, and now even have podcasts, expressing their philosophy centering on, as they always claimed to, the mysteries of the universe. Subjects included are ideas of major philosophers, traditional healing techniques, health, intuition, and the psychic consciousness. A.G.H
Greer, John Michael. The New Encyclopedia of the Occulti. St. Paul, Mn. Llewellyn Publications. 2005. pp. 22-23.