A Biblical Analyse of the 6th Royal Green Degree
Stripped of More than Dignity
The official mode of travelling the 6th Royal Green degree is particularly shocking, even by secret society standards. The candidate is supposed to be stripped totally naked in order to represent Adam in the Garden of Eden. Literally replicating the state our first father found himself in immediately after the fall, the initiate must enter the ceremony hall in this demeaning condition. Whilst the customary way of travelling this degree is not widespread today, it is still the correct way to navigate it, as we will see by the opening catechism. Many Black Preceptories have modified this practice, not requiring the candidate to divest all his clothes for the travel, although, again, this would be the “proper” mode of travelling this degree.
The locality in which this degree is performed will normally determine the way in which a candidate does this travel. It will govern whether he must travel it naked or semi-naked. Also, the amount of clothes that will be removed is governed by the lecturers overseeing the ceremony. Some Preceptories keep strictly to this ancient custom, others do not. Where the candidate is not completely stripped of his clothes, he is informed that the standard procedure of this travel is for the initiate to do it naked.
In recent times the Knights of Malta have employed a skin-coloured body suit in this ritual to cover the initiate’s nakedness, although that has not always been the case. In its ceremony, the Knights of Malta officers retire to a side room and prepare the candidate by divesting him of all his clothing, investing him with a flesh-coloured union suit. Officers are counselled in their internal preparation material: “Care must be taken that the preparation room and council chamber are comfortably warm before candidates are allowed to disrobe.”
This counsel does not mitigate the fact that they strip the candidate naked in the ante-room in front of the assembled officers in order to undergo this ceremony. However, he can be spared the humiliation of travelling the degree unclothed by the investment of this special outfit. Both these orders have toned down their rituals over the years. It must be noted that the candidate in both orders has no prior warning of this divestment and is therefore unexpectedly taken aback when asked to remove all his clothes in the preparation room.
In the Knights of Malta, the initiates are blindfolded and conducted to the door of the council chamber. All lights in the room are turned low. The Warder opens the door and the candidates are conducted a few steps into the council chamber and then they stop. A green cloth covering is then placed around the candidates, and they are conducted slowly around the room. As this occurs, the Prelate reads the Garden story from the book of Genesis. In the Royal Black Institution, after entering the Preceptory hall naked (or semi-naked depending on the given practice of the area concerned) the candidate is paraded around the hall in this embarrassing state before his Black brethren. He is then given a green apron to cover his nakedness – representing the fig leaves that Adam and Eve made to cover their shame. The lecture confirms:
“Why do you wear that colour?
Because my apron was green.
Why did you wear an apron?
Because I was ashamed.
Why were you ashamed?
Because I was naked.
Where are you from?
The Garden of Eden.”
Entirely without demur or apology, the lecture coolly communicates the effect that this rite has upon the entrant, testifying to the demeaning nature of this initiation. As we can see from the confession, this is a wilful degradation. One cannot vaguely convey the shame and embarrassment that a Blackman must feel when travelling it in the traditional manner. Standing in the midst of his Black brethren, he is not merely stripped of his clothes, but he is divested of his dignity – all in a meeting that is apparently dedicated unto Christ. How can this remotely glorify the Lord? How can this possibly bring honour to His holy name?
The character of this Royal Black rite would lend further weight to the opinion that the Black is constantly trying to ape the ancient Knights Templars, who were widely denounced for their secret licentious practices. The Templars were repeatedly charged with stripping their candidates for initiation, and causing them to engage in vulgar sodomy acts during their rituals. This is not to suggest that the Royal Black is itself guilty of such sexual practices, but their naked ritual and its corrupt origins leave it open to the most serious moral questions, especially in the context of fallen man’s potential and propensity for sins of the flesh.
Nakedness in religious ceremonies was always identified with heathenish worship. This is seen when Israel transgressed against the Lord while Moses was up the Mount. They were dancing round the golden calf naked at the foot of the mount, bringing shame upon the name of God. God told Moses that they “have corrupted themselves” for doing so (Exodus 32:7). The nakedness of men in Scripture normally referred to some operation of the flesh or else it was executed in judgment to bring shame upon the enemies of God. It was never allowed or approved in the public worship of God. The great dignity required of God in His presence is illustrated by the fact that the Old Testament priests were even prohibited from building steps up to the Temple altar so that “thy nakedness be not discovered thereon” (Exodus 20:25-26).
If we were to unite together this Royal Green degree, the Royal White degree and the Gold Star & Garter degree (which the initiate will later travel) we would have a ceremony that was remarkably similar to the traditional Mormon endowment ceremony. In fact, all the key elements that are found in the Mormon temple rite are found within these three Black degrees. Stripping of the candidate naked, acting out of the role of Adam in the Garden of Eden, the award of a white robe as a symbol of the initiate’s worthiness of installation into the order of Melchizedek are all fundamental elements within the temple initiation. It is slightly ironic that even Mormonism has stepped back from some of the more undignified aspects of its ceremony, completely removing the unseemly practice of stripping the new Mormon novice naked to imitate Adam. Instead, the candidate watches the drama on film, in what is now known as a morality play. It would certainly be a step forward if the Black followed this example and removed this degree from its Order.
In an article written many years ago in the Rosicrucian magazine called Ancient and Modern Mysteries, M. W. Frater detailed the traditional Mormon Rite of Endowment observance. In perusing it, one can see the parallel between it and the Green degree ceremony worked today by the Royal Black Institution. It describes: “The converts are required to purchase white linen garments, which are furnished by the ‘high deacon’. They are then conducted to the temple, ushered into a private room, and commanded to undress for the inspection of the presiding elder’. This official, after a minute examination, clothes the neophyte [another name for candidate] in linen robes or garments of endowment and conducts them into a large room”
He continues, “Each neophyte … is ordered to take off the ‘endowment robe’ and to step into a long coffin-shaped bath. The elder pours water upon the naked victim … A new name is then given to each convert by the elder, who commands them ‘arise and follow me’. A magnificent garden, full of exquisite fruit-trees, is the scene of the next ceremony. The candidates are still in a state of nudity, which represents primeval innocence, and the Temptation of our First Parents is the subject of the drama” (taken from Occult Theocracy by Lady Queensborough p. 463). Few could fail to see the crude correlation between these two religious groupings.
It is hard to believe that such a dishonourable practice could be performed in societies that are purportedly Christian and Protestant, and are said to be formed to advance the Gospel message. Remember: this is the outward boast of the Black and the “Protestant” Knights of Malta. It is only when we break through the wall of secrecy that we see the spurious nature of these claims. As we study their ceremonies and analyse their instructions we are left aghast at the brazenness of their spokesmen to present themselves as such. These secret bodies are neither Christian in character nor do their procedures or teaching accord with the holy precepts of God’s Word – quite the opposite. The humiliation involved in the Green degree nails the lie of the bona-fide Christian credentials of the Black and the “Protestant” Knights of Malta. Rather, these practices belong deep within the domain of Occult paganism.
These organisations should consider the pitiful condition of the last Church mentioned in Revelation – the carnal Laodicean Church. It was so compromised the Lord said of it in Revelation 3:17-18, “Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”
This vivid betrayal must expose the degrading activities practised behind the Black closed doors. There can be little doubt, this humiliating rite brings disrepute upon the Gospel message and the dignity required for a Christian gathering. One wonders how any Christian could defend such a demeaning procedure and explain how such, in any way, promotes holy living or respect for one’s fellow man.
This indecent ceremony patently breaches the required decorum expected of a child of God in a Christian gathering. The Bible is careful to counsel us: “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40). Matthew Henry comments on this: “Manifest indecencies and disorders are to be carefully kept out of all Christian churches, and every part of divine worship. They should have nothing in them that is childish, absurd, ridiculous, wild, or tumultuous; but all parts of divine worship should be carried on in a manly, grave, rational, composed, and orderly manner. God is not to be dishonoured, nor his worship disgraced, by our unbecoming and disorderly performance of it and attendance at it.”
The Royal Black are keen to portray its meetings as being in accord with the normal Protestant form of worship yet the reality could not be more different. If the behaviour involved in this degree does not contravene the counsel embodied within this verse we must wonder what does.
The address concludes: “This degree is divided into three parts, the first part teaches us of the fall of man, the second part of the righteousness of Noah and the third part of the punishment inflicted upon man for his transgression of the Divine law. The emblems worn for this degree are the pick, spade and rake and the dove with the olive leaf in its mouth. The pick, spade and rake are agricultural implements. The pick is used to dig up and separate the soil, the spade is used to plant and cultivate, the rake is used to smooth the surface. The dove with the olive leaf in its mouth been emblematic of peace teaches us that we should seek peace and ensue it. The lesson we learn from this degree is one of truthfulness, for as by deceit and falsehood man fell from his lofty position, likewise by truth and righteousness hath man been again exalted. Thus truth being a divine attribute we should cultivate it so that are labours may flourish in immortal green.
The Royal Black Institution consists of eleven degrees, as follows: –
(1) Royal Black degree – exposed and biblically examined
(2) Royal Scarlet Degree – exposed and biblically examined
(3) Royal Mark degree – exposed and biblically examined
(4) Apron and Royal Blue degree – exposed and biblically examined
(5) Royal White degree – exposed and biblically examined
(6) Royal Green degree – exposed and biblically examined
(7) Gold degree – exposed and biblically examined
(8) Star and Garter degree – exposed and biblically examined
(9) Crimson Arrow degreee – exposed and biblically examined
(10) Link and Chain degree – exposed and biblically examined
(11) Red Cross degree – exposed and biblically examined
The Institution also possesses a final retrospective degree, which is essentially an overview of the 11 degrees that the candidate has traversed.
Red Cross Grand Charge – exposed