The testimony of former County Armagh Orange, Royal Arch Purple and Red Cross Blackman, Alex Newell

My name is Alex Newell and I just want to give a short word of testimony as to why I left this sinful Order.

I was saved on Sunday afternoon the 17/03/96 when I knelt down by my bedside and asked the Lord Jesus Christ to SAVE ME AND forgive me for the sinful life I had lived. I cannot remember A TIME WHEN I DIDN’T KNOW that I needed to be saved, yet it took me thirty years before I give my life to the LORD. It was thirty years wasted being afraid of what people would say and think. The Scriptures put it well, “The fear of man bringeth a snare but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe. (Proverbs 29:25).

From that point on, I wanted to live my life for the Lord. There was a lot of things wrong in my life which had to be put right, some of those things were hard to let go of; such as the church I belonged to which was in apostasy. But by the grace of God I did separate and now I belong to a Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, which I am very happy in.

It was shortly after I was saved that I was asked to go to a meeting where a man Paul Malcomson was speaking on the sinful Masonic practises within the Loyal Orders. I went along, as I was an Orange, Arch Purple and Blackman, and was very shocked at some of the things he was exposing. After the meeting, I decided the Orders were all wrong. However, a few days passed and I went to see a man that was a lecturer in the Black. I pointed out some of the things that concerned me, such as the fact that we were bound to keep and conceal the secrets of our Royal Arch Purple Brethren, the only exceptions being murder and treason.

Knowing the sinful life I had lived and knowing the sinful lives that many others within the Orders were living, I couldn’t imagine how I could keep and conceal the secrets of my Royal Arch Purple brethren, murder and treason excepted. However, this Lecturer just rubbished all Paul Malcomson’s arguments, telling me just what I wanted to here. He didn’t try to answer any of my questions not least from a biblical perspective. However, I started again to defend the Orders.

I was then asked to go to another meeting where Paul Malcomson was speaking. This time I was going to prove him wrong. However, I wasn’t in the meeting ten minutes till I realised I had no answers. The evidence that Paul presented and the scriptural arguments that he used against the “Royal” Arch Purple Order and the “Royal” Black Institution was so overwhelming that I was forced before GOD to be honest and agree with Paul that the whole thing was wrong.

Like almost every other Orangeman I knew, my first thought was that we need to reform it. So after the meeting I tried to arrange a meeting between Paul and this Black Lecturer in my District. At first the Black Lecturer refused to meet him because Paul was now a ‘former Blackman’. However, after a lot of talking and many phone calls he agreed to meet Paul. I went along to that meeting with another friend, who was then a “Royal” Arch Purple Lecturer but has now also resigned from the Arch Purple for biblical reasons. I have to say, a big part of me hoped that Paul would be proved wrong, but my Black Lecturer friend had absolutely NO credible answers.

It was after this meeting I decided to leave the Black although this did not go down well in my Black Preceptory. The day after my resignation was accepted at the Preceptory meeting, it was made known to me what my so-called “Sir Knight” brethren had said about me. This was hard to take from people I counted as friends, but the Lord give me Scripture that turned my sorrow into joy.

When I got home after hearing these things, I opened my Bible at Luke: chapter 6 verses 22 & 23, which says, “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company and shall reproach you and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day and leap for joy for behold your reward is great in Heaven for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.”

I also made it known at that time that I was also going to leave the Royal Arch Purple. What followed was a bit funny. I got three different visits from three different men out of my Chapter. They all started with the same statement that they did NOT want to know what I though was wrong with the Arch Purple but wanted me to stay in the Chapter. I then got the usual question put to me, how could I say this is all wrong when there are so many Ministers in the Order?

Well, I decided to phone and talk to some of these ministers that were mentioned in support of the “Royal” Arch Purple Order. Their response varied greatly.

The first Minister I phoned said that he was a member of the Royal Arch Purple but said that he had no time for it at all and that he never went to any of the meetings. In fact, he told me that when he joined he refused to take the oath.

The next minister I phoned had also been to a meeting to hear Paul Malcomson. Like me he had big concerns about the issues and told me to take it before the LORD in prayer. He did not advise me either to stay in or to leave. He has since, like myself, resigned from the Orange Order, “Royal” Arch Purple and the Black Institution.

The next Minister I phoned totally shocked me with some of the things he had to say. I asked him about the violent behaviour during the initiation where the candidate is painfully whipped by the brethren during his blindfolded travel round the Lodge and his ride on the goat. He justified this obscene behaviour by saying that in the Army every Regiment has its own initiation for its new recruits. I told him, as a former member of the British Army who experienced the sort of things new recruits go through, it is not the sort of thing any Christian should have any part in.

When I went through the Arch Purple degree I wasn’t saved and never remotely thought about the biblical contradictions in it. I just foolishly took it all as a bit of fun. It was only some time latter, when I was helping to put two other candidates through this pagan practice, whilst standing behind them and seeing them shaking with fear with the blood coming from their feet, that I said to myself this could not be right.

I told this minister about this incident and outlined my concern at the laugher in the Chapter when the Scriptures were being read. I quoted 1 Peter 1: 16 “Be ye holy for I am holy.”

I then asked him if he though this was a holy thing to do? He amazingly replied, “it depends on how far you want to take holiness.”

I found it significant, as he tried to defend this sinful Order, that he quoted very little Scripture. It wasn’t what version he was using for he wasn’t using any. Rather, he kept referring me to the book called the ‘History of The Arch Purple Order’.

I asked him about the blood-curdling penalties that we took. Where we are informed: “Can you explain to me the three great and solemn penalties of a Royal Arch Purpleman?

First – That I would suffer my throat cut across from ear to ear, my tongue torn out by its roots, and with my body buried in the rough sands of the sea, two and a half cable tow lengths from where the tide ebbs and flows, about twice in a natural day, before I would divulge.

Second – That I would suffer my left breast torn open, my heart and vitals taken therefrom, and with my body given to the vultures of the air, or the wild beasts of the field, as a prey, before I would divulge.

Third and last – That I would suffer no less a penalty than that of having my body severed in two, one part carried east, the other west, taken to the top of some high hill or mountain, the parts thereof burned to ashes, the ashes scattered to the four winds of heaven, so that not a vestige of such a vile or perjured wretch as I should remain amongst men, more especially Royal Arch Purple men, should I divulge, part or parts, secret or sign, sign or token, of anything I had received, or was about to receive, or may hereafter be instructed in, unless to a brother Royal Arch Purpleman, well knowing him to be such, after strict trial and due examination, or upon the word of a well-known brother.”

An informative read:

This minister said he could see no wrong in them.

In page 192 when speaking about the penalties, it says, “Any words spoken today are purely symbolic and are not to be taken literally. There is never any hint of threat but a reminder to the candidate of what he would be prepared to suffer rather than break his obligation.” To this I asked him was he prepared to suffer this? His answer was “yes he would.”

The debates went on with other Royal Arch Purplemen, some men agreeing that the whole thing was wrong others just seemed to love their sin too much to admit that anything was wrong.

When it came to the night I resigned from the Arch Purple, I told them my concerns about the fact we say we are to keep and conceal the secrets of my Royal Arch Purple Brethren “murder and treason accepted.” I told them that I did not believe we should take an oath without knowing what it involves.

The ‘History of the Royal Arch Purple Order’ tries to argue that it is not an oath but a voluntary and solemn obligation. Page 192 says, “It is sometimes referred to as an oath, but this is not quite accurate. An oath is a solemn appeal to GOD in support of the truth of a declaration and in witness that a promise will be kept” Now that is strange for, as every Royal Arch Purpleman knows, at the end of the obligation the candidate is forced to swear, “O help me, Almighty GOD, and keep me steadfast in this my solemn vow.”

The Arch Purple address concludes by pointing EVERY candidate to a false hope of salvation near the end, saying, “Finally my brethren, by the careful regulation of our lives, pondering well our words, and the cultivation of brotherly love and loyalty, we may obtain our Great Grand Master’s approbation (authorisation and approval).”

This clearly teaches us that we can get salvation by good works. Whereas, the Bible clearly teaches us that we receive salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ alone. Jesus said, in John 14:6, “I am the way the truth and the life no man cometh unto the Father but by me.

Ephesians 2:8&9 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves it is the gift of GOD not of works lest any man should boast.”

Just who is this Great Grand Master that the “Royal” Arch Purple Order and Freemasonry teach about? My Bible does not speak of him at all.

Does people not find it very funny that the Arch Purple has so many similarities with Freemasonry, Mormonism and Witchcraft.

After telling them all this, and much more, I give them a chance to ask me questions, but there were no relevant questions. Not surprisingly, there was NO sensible answers to my questions, I therefore resigned.

Shortly after this I realised the Orange Order was no place for a true Christian to be. I found myself as a believer in a hall where people where drinking and had absolutely nothing in common with them. I guess, we no longer enjoyed each other’s company.

The Bible says, in 2 Corinthians 6:14-17, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”

Also, I read in Galatians 1:6, where Paul the Apostle was amazed at the believers at Galatia, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel.” It certainly saddens me to watch professing Christians entering into the bondage with apostate organisations like the Loyal Orders.

Someone asked me did I ever regret leaving the Orange Order my answer was “I regret ever joining it.” In all my time in the Orange I was never asked to go and protest against important issues like sodomy, abortion, the breaking of the Sabbath day or even joint worship with Roman Catholics. In fact, I know of different Orangemen who have sat in prayer meetings with priests and nuns. I know of another who reads the lesson in a Chapel. Does this sound like a great Protestant organisation?

I know my LORD would say “thou hypocrites.” I do rejoice that the LORD has saved me. John 8:36 says, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

Believer, if you are still in any of these organisations, listen the words of Scripture, in Galatians 4:9, “now after that ye have known GOD or rather are known of GOD how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements whereunto ye desire to be in Bondage.”

Recommended reading:


Testimonies from some of the many evangelicals currently resigning from the Orange Order, the Royal Arch Purple Order and the Royal Black Institution for biblical reasons.

Former County Down Orange Treasurer, Worshipful Master, Deputy Master, and Chaplain – Jackson Blakely
Former County Londonderry Orange and Royal Arch Purpleman Andrew Evans
Former County Armagh Orange, Royal Arch Purple and (Red Cross) Blackman Alex Newell
Former County Tyrone Orange Chaplain and Orange/Small Purple Lecturer Paul Stewart (also former Red Cross Blackman)

Reviews of Inside the Royal Black Institution from 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).

Questions that Christian Orangemen should consider