Independent Orange Order Fighting for its Very Survival
Not too long ago (in 2003), the Independent Orange Order had 26 lodges and bands marching at its annual Twelfth parade in Ballymoney. 11 years later at the 2014 Twelfth they had barely 20 lodges. For a small organization, this is a notable demise. But what is more concerning for the Independent Order is the alarming fall in lodge sizes. The numbers of Orangemen walking behind each band at the last Independent Orange Order Twelfth averaged about 10 men. Some lodges didn’t even have enough Orangemen to carry the lodge banner. Non-Orangemen had to assist with that duty. This is truly unprecedented! What is concerning current members most is that the average age of members on the march now is pension age. If this situation continues much longer the organisation will soon be resigned to the annuls of history.
The membership in Ulster today is obviously in free-fall. It has crashed from around about 2,000 members 20 years ago to only around 200-300 active members today. Even the most committed Independent Orangeman cannot deny that this is a colossal collapse. There is no doubt the Independent Orange Order is fighting for its very survival. More lodges will have to amalgamate soon in order to ensure the continuation of the Independent Orange Order.
After years of living in denial, the Independent Loyal Orange Institution finally come clean about it’s decaying numbers. Imperial Grand Master James Anderson admitted: “It’s a small organization, our membership is probably somewhere between 350 to 400″ (Belfast Newsletter – 04 April 2018). Even this pitiful estimate describes members on its books, not active Orangemen. About half of this number would be active.
Anderson explains the lack of interest in the Institution today by saying: “Being a member of an organization like this was a big thing. It was somewhere to go. People back then would have gone out as much. You maybe were out twice a year. One was the Twelfth of July the other would have been a Sunday School trip. Now people can jump in their car and go anywhere or watch their TV all day and night. That’s our competition.”
Read a detailed exposure:
Drunkenness and anti-social behaviour
The Independent Orange Order, like the senior Orange Order, has experienced great problems in recent years with the matter of drunkenness and anti-social behaviour among its members. And although this problem has existed for years in its lodges in England and Scotland it is now creeping into the Independents in Northern Ireland (East Antrim is a case-in-point). The problem of drunkenness in the Independent Orange Order coincided with the wide-scale recruitment of paramilitary elements in the aforementioned areas. Not surprisingly, the Independent’s membership (especially believers) has since dipped drastically in these areas. It has also been revealed recently that the Provincial Independent Orange Order in Liverpool is now holding its Lodge meetings in a public house on the Lord’s day. This behaviour shows the compromise that exists internally within this underground fraternity and reflects the dubious spiritual credentials of the Independent Orange Order.
In recent years, the Free Presbyterian Church has distanced itself more and more from politics and the secret orange societies. They have focused more on spiritual matters. Most younger Free Presbyterian ministers today are not interested in joining oath-bound secret fraternities; they are more interested in a spiritual awakening. Many Free Presbyterian ministers today have a difficulty with members participating in the neo-Masonic rituals of the Loyal Orders and partnering up with ungodly men in a religious fraternities. They hold that Christians should be spiritually separated from the world, not unequally yoked. This has stemmed the flow of new members into the fraternity. Most evangelical Christians have a difficulty with ritualism. They see this as the pathway to Roman Catholicism. More and more Christians are opposed to the neo-Masonic superstitious rites of the Royal Arch Purple degree that see the candidates stripped, blind-folded, degraded and threatened against divulging any of the secrets of this Order. This has occurred over this past 20 years as the practices, secrets and rituals of the Orange Order and the Independent Orange Order have been brought into the public arena. Amazingly, a member cannot hold office within the Independent Orange Order unless they have actually travelled the degrading Royal Arch Purple degree degree.
Many Bible-believing Christians have a major difficulty with the whole concept of hiding the Scriptures behind closed doors, funny password and esoteric passwords. They believe: if these fraternities possess the truth (as they claim), why are they so careful to rigidly conceal their teaching under death-threats to their members, should they ever divulge the fraternal secrets? The fact is: their teaching is Masonic and unbiblical. If it were more widely known, Christians would immediately oppose them.
Popish Knights of Malta
Free Presbyterians are also uncomfortable with the senior Order of the Independent Orange Institution – the Knight of Malta. The Knights of Malta takes it name and inspiration from the secretive ritualistic Papal Roman Catholic Knights of Malta Order. Most Free Presbyterians are strongly opposed to any encroachment of the Roman Catholic Church. The leading advocate for this neo-Catholic Order today is Mr Mervyn Storey (MLA ). All members of the Knights of Malta must have risen to the quasi-Masonic Royal Arch Purple degree in the Independent Orange Order to be qualified for membership.
Former Grand Chaplain exposed
The plight and moral of the Independent Orange Order has not been helped by the recent scandal relating to its former spiritual leader Grand Chaplain David McConaghie. He was found guilty of voyeurism: having hidden a camera in DUP MP David Simpson’s office toilet. David McConaghie was also press officer for the Loyal Orders’ PR machine the Caleb Foundation. This sent shock waves through the Independent Orange Order.
An informative read:
Evangelical Truth response to Independent Orange Institution attack on Behind Closed Doors.
Debate in the Ulster Christian with Independent Orange Grand Master
Ulster Christian article
The response of George Dawson (Imperial Grand Master of the Independent Orange Institution).
Readers response (including the author of ‘Behind Closed Doors’ – Paul Malcomson).
Second response of George Dawson (Imperial Grand Master of the Independent Orange Institution).
Evangelical Truth reply to George Dawson
Protestant/Evangelical opposition to the Loyal Orders
United Protestant Council exhaustive report into the Royal Black Institution application
The Association of Baptist Churches in Ireland report on Loyal Orders
A Theological Report by the Church of Ireland – on the RBI
United Protestant Council reject Royal Black Institution
Reformed Presbyterian Church and the Orange Order
The Covenanter Witness (Reformed Presbyterian)
The Burning Bush – A Publication by Rev Ivan Foster, a Free Presbyterian minister.
Rev. Norman W McAuley (Presbyterian Church in Ireland)
Independent Methodist Pastor Paul Johnston
The English Churchman (Rev Dr Paul Ferguson)
Church of Ireland General Synod Sub Committee
Take Heed Ministries (Cecil Andrew)
British Churchman (Johnny Larner)
The decline of secret societies
English Freemasonry collapsing
American Freemasonry is crumbling
Irish Freemasonry in Crisis
Irish Masons anticipated PR Coup
Huge PR Disaster for Irish Masons
Evangelical Truth expose Freemasonry on RTE television
Ailing Irish Masonic Order attempts another PR offensive
Orange Order PR debacle
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
For more on the internal debate within the Orders: