The origin of Rosicrucianism is shrouded in myths with three dominant theories:
1) The Ancient Egyptian Theory claims an Egyptian Pharaoh (1350 B.C.) met secretly with his students in a hidden chamber of the Great Pyramid where he passed along higher truths and revelations he had acquired through occultic means.
2) The Christian Rosen Kruez Theory contends that an obscure figure by that name (1378 A.D.-1434 A.D.) had a mystical experience where he claimed he had been transported via spirit to a celestial temple. There advanced spirit beings revealed to him that he would prepare earth for a new phase of Christianity. These ascended Masters taught him the great mysteries of the universe which are the basis for Rosicrucianism.
3) The Fictitious theory, which is the most likely and most generally accepted, regards novelist Johann Valentin Andrea (1586 A.D.-1654 A.D.) who wrote a satire about the occult. The principal character was Christian Rosen Kruez (the name which symbolically means "Christian Rose Cross") who discovered hidden secrets about eternal life.
This bestselling novel was erroneously mistaken for historical fact. The philosophy in the book laid the groundwork for a cult centered around this fictional character. This would put the origin of Rosicrucianism at the 17th century (Streett Meetings Cult Notebook).
In 1694 Johann Kelpias, a master of a local Rosicrucian lodge in Europe, brought Rosicrucianism to America. Modern Rosicrucianism (Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis, or AMORC) was founded by Dr. H. Spencer Lewis in 1915, establishing headquarters in San Jose, California.
The AMORC claims the roots of their organization hail form ancient Egypt. Their doctrines, rituals and ceremonies, though outwardly seem to be based on Judeo - Christian concepts, are actually founded upon mythology and occultic practices.
While claiming the Bible as its textbook (although not as God's inerrant word) they practice astrology, astral projection, reincarnation, trance meditation, mental telepathy, hypnotism, pyramidology, aura reading and alchemy.
They look beyond the literal historical meaning of scripture to find a hidden or spiritual meaning, either symbolically or allegorically. Included in their list of holy books is The Egyptian Book of the Dead and the Lost Books of Jesus.
The Rosicrucians believe that the cross intertwined with roses symbolizes man's ability to evolve with God. That God is everywhere and a part of everything, an unknowable essence, or the first cause of the universe.
The man Jesus is separated from the Christ (Gnosticism) who was a very evolved being who had many previous incarnations on earth.
Rosicrucians believe that man must be incarnated numerous times on earth before he can progress further and ultimately be "absorbed into God," (Streett Meetings Notebook).
In their publications they refer to Jesus as merely "one of earth's great thinkers" like Plato and Muhammad (The Confederation of Initiates, p. 16) "Brahma, Buddha, Lao-Tse" and others (The Rosicrucian Cosmo - Conception, p. 376).
They teach that salvation is only attainable through the purging of oneself from evil by his own efforts - thus affording the only means to enlightenment and ultimate immortality (The Secret Schools, p. 18-19).
It is also taught that celestial spirits may be invoked, these being "hierarchies of the invisible brotherhood of the fraternity," (Ibid, p. 10).
(Background Sources: The History of Rosicrucianism, by Back to the Bible Broadcast and Streett Meetings Notebook.)