The demise of the Royal Black Institution
Loyal Orders observers have noticed a stark decline in the size of the Royal Black Institution worldwide over this past 20 years. This has been occurring in Ireland (the hub of the organisation), the rest of the UK and throughout the British Commonwealth. The same applies to the USA. This is evidenced by the number of preceptories dying in recent times and the drastic fall in Blackmen marching in public parades. More and more preceptories are simply disappearing through deaths, ongoing membership resignations and the failure of the Preceptory to attract new members.
Whilst the Black Institution in Ireland has given the impression for years that it has around 40,000 members in the Emerald Isle and tens of thousands elsewhere throughout the world, the reality is a lot different. Whilst there may have been a day it had such large numbers, its membership has crashed in recent years. Its worldwide membership is now less than 17,000 and falling.
Mervyn Jess interviewed former Imperial Grand Master William Logan for his book The Orange Order (2007). In it, Logan admitted he had noticed a dramatic fall in Preceptory numbers. In 1950 his private Preceptory had 120 members, whereas at the time of the interview it had fewer than 30. He concluded: “Back then there were tens of thousands of members.”
Millar Farr, the Imperial Grand Black Master, conceded in a recent interview with the Newsletter (13/08/13) that Black numbers globally have fallen to between 19,000 and 19,500 members. Even that figure only represents what the organisation had on its books. At the Last Saturday of August parades 2015 the Royal Black informed the media that their membership was now 17,000. That is a 13% collapse in 2 years. This low figure is corroborated by evidence from The Theological Working Group appointed by the Church of Ireland in June 2015 to investigate the Christian credentials of the RBI. It completed its work and the report was released on 1st May 2016.
The Church of Ireland committee testified, after meeting with Grand Black leaders: “We were informed that the current membership totals approximately 17,000 in over 550 local perceptories, of whom some 16,000 reside within the British Isles.”
We should remember, this is the official figure the Institution claims to have on its books. This number does not describe active members. If it did, that figure would be a lot smaller. Insiders know, many members only turn up for the large parades like Scarva on the 13th July and Black Saturday (the last Saturday of August). Their commitment to the Preceptory the rest of the year is negligible. They are simply Blackmen in name only.
We have much anecdotal evidence from within the ranks of the Loyal Orders that the work of this site, and Evangelical Truth in particular, has been instrumentally in stripping the RBI globally of much of its previous credibility. There have been countless testimonies from throughout the world of massive Orange, Arch Purple and Black resignations. We have had about 2.3 million visitors to this site since we set it up.
If one is to examine the epi-centre of the Royal Black – Northern Ireland – and scrutinize the strength of the Institution over this past 11 years alone you will see a marked decline. For example, the top two demonstrations on Black Saturday 29th August 2003 were County Down with 120 preceptories parading and City of Belfast with 85 preceptories marching. Compare that with Black Saturday on 25th August 2014 and County Down has fallen to only 106 preceptories and City of Belfast to 59 preceptories. This is clear unquestionable proof that the Black is crumbling at its very heart – Ireland. Notwithstanding, this does not remotely represent the even bigger fall in members. A preceptory dying is normally the last sign of the slump in numbers. Preceptories will keep going until there is less than 7 members. So the fall in numbers is even broader and more pronounced.
Preceptories that were once 60 to 70 strong can barely turn out 15 to 20 men today. Smaller Preceptories are having to merge to survive. Others are simply going extinct. If it was not for the number of bandsmen on parade, processions would be relatively small.
Whilst Ireland is feeling the pinch, it is globally where the decline is being felt most. The Royal Black Preceptory is fighting for its actual survival in many countries. Grand Black has finally conceded what many of us already knew, as it is being required to come clean with its numbers,) there are now only 1,000 Royal Blackmen outside of the British Isles. This is a minuscule figure compared to what they have previously boasted. Think about this: this includes Orange heartlands such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
In Tony Gray’s informative book The Orange Order, published in 1972, which also covers the Royal Arch Purple and Royal Black Institutions, he was reliably informed that the Black Institution then had 423 Preceptories in Canada. By 2004 Canada was reduced to 160 Preceptories. That is a 62% decline in 32 years. In this past 10 years the Canadian Black has totally disintegrated. It seems like the Grand Black Chapter’s website is reluctant to present an accurate updated list of foreign Preceptories for fear of unsettling the already skittish membership.
Robert Dane, Assistant Sovereign Grand Master, speaking at the Armagh Black demonstration on Black Saturday (30/08/14), admitted that the Institution in America was fighting for its very survival. Whilst Black records 10 years ago claimed that the organization had 15 Preceptories in the US, today it has collapsed to 4. In fact, the Assistant Sovereign Grand Master admitted on Black Saturday that “the Grand Black Chapter of the United States of America became dormant a number of years ago, due to a decline in membership.” When you compare this to 1914 when the Loyal Orange Institution boasted of 364 lodges and 30,000 members in America, many of which were Blackmen, you see the distress the Black is in today.
Secret societies are not always quick to admit their demise because they fear unsettling their disheartened membership. But even the falling numbers being publicly advanced today must deeply concern the most devout of members. The Royal Black Institution in Scotland and England are falling in influence and numbers. Scotland only has 60 preceptories today. The Black in New Zealand has collapsed to 8 Preceptories; Australia has fallen to 7 Preceptories. Togo and Ghana have only 2 Preceptories each. No one could objectively deny, the Black is fighting for its very survival at the moment.
Why the decline?
Like Freemasonry and other clandestine secret societies, with the onset of the internet the occultic secrets, the death threats and macabre practices of the Royal Black Institution are being exposed like never before. All of the unbiblical teaching, false practices and dark procedures of the Royal Black Institution are being brought out into the light to the astonishment of outsiders that previously considered the Black to be a biblical Protestant organisation. Now that the secrets are no longer secret, members are finally feeling free to run from this bondage. Many are too embarrassed to stay identified with this clandestine order. Whilst current members are seeing this as an opportunity to resign, potential recruits outside are being scared away by the shocking secret ritual revelations.
There has been a growing evangelical opposition to the highly degrading Masonic ritualistic practices of the Royal Arch Purple and the Royal Black Institutions over this past number of years. More and more former members are openly testifying to the error of the Black Preceptory and the sinister death-threats and curses they were previously bound by. Many evangelical Christian have abandoned the Order over this past 20 years through the shocking revelations of books like Behind Closed Doors and Inside the Royal Black Institution written by former member Paul Malcomson. These two books have rocked the Loyal Orders and are ‘a must-read’ for any onlooker. This is the first public exposure of these two organizations in over 200 years. The startling detail exposed in these two popular books have damaged the reputation of the Black Institution. The Loyal Orders won’t openly talk about the revelations in these books because it fears public scandal and more evangelical resignations from the Black.
No longer is the Black considered as a dignified biblical Order but rather a weird quasi-ritualistic Masonic Order. Thankfully, the truth is beginning to shine on the secret under-world of Ulster Protestantism.
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English Freemasonry collapsing -new!
American Freemasonry is crumbling -updated!
Irish Freemasonry in Crisis -updated!
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Orange Order in disarray
Loyal Orange Lodge membership in stark decline
The demise of the Royal Black Institution
Independent Orange Order fighting for its very survival
Secrets of Royal Black Institution revealed (Irish News report on Inside the Royal Black Institution – 17th September 2009)
Macabre rituals detailed in book (Banbridge Chronicle story on Inside the Royal Black Institution, 16th Sept 2009)
Black Response to this story by prominent County Down Blackman Drew Nelson (who is also Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland)
Evangelical response to Mr Nelson from Paul Malcomson
Roy Garland (Irish News)
Roy Garland (Irish News) response to book – “Fundamentalists, not Jesuits, infiltrated the loyal orders”
John Coulter (Irish Daily Star)
John Coulter (Irish Daily Star) claims this book is “the best piece of anti-Protestant propaganda since the notorious Proclamation of the 1916 Easter Rising” ( 1st December 2009)
Testimonies from former leading Royal Blackmen Rev. Canon Brian T. Blacoe (former Deputy Grand Chaplain of the Royal Black Institution), Malcolm McClughan (former Royal Black Lecturer) and David Carson (Chairman of the United Protestant Council).
A book for Blackmen to seriously consider by Cecil Andrew of Take Heed Ministries.
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