Response to Grand Lodge of England Part 3
Grand Chaplain to the Grand Orange Lodge of England JRG Harvey has recently released a book in response to Behind Closed Doors called “The Royal Arch Purple Degree – A Response to W.P. Malcomson.” It is essentially a defence of the Order and its teaching and practices from an internal Orange perspective.
Article Number 2 to J.R.G. Harvey Booklet called “The Royal Arch Purple – A Response to W. P. Malcomson”
In his booklet Mr Harvey makes a rather futile attempt to distance the Royal Arch Purple Order from the Masonic Order in chapter 1. To do so he quotes Orange Historian R. M. Sibbert’s book “Orangeism in Ireland and throughout the Empire. He does so because Mr Paul Malcomson in his book “Behind Closed Doors” had drawn attention to a passage in this book where Mr Sibbert discussed the importance of a visit of the founding members of the Orange Order to a Masonic Lodge in Portadown. Mr Harvey in his booklet then draws the following conclusion from Mr Sibbert’s quotation, and I quote Mr Harvey.
“We might therefore quite properly conclude that their visit to a Masonic Lodge Room was not at all inspired by a desire to mimic Masonic degrees, but by a resolve to ensure that the new Orange system should be free from such influences.”
If Mr Harvey’s assertion is true, then those founding members must have been spiritual mystics, for the Royal Arch Purple initiation that has evolved from the Orange Order’s foundation apes the Masonic initiation in every way except in two small details.
A) The Royal Arch Purple passes a person through this initiation in one ceremony in one night, while a Mason will go through it in three initiations.
B) The Royal Arch Purple in N. Ireland does not use a rope to lead the candidate into the ceremony while Masons and Royal Arch Candidates in other parts of the world do.
So I cannot see what influences the founding Orangemen left out and to reinforce my point, let me just list a few of the more degrading aspects that are in both.
1) The Preparation of the candidate, his chest, arm, and leg made bare and blindfolded.
2) The need to pray for one’s protection by saying the Lord’s prayer, while others laugh at the candidate’s obvious discomfort – mockery of the highest degree!!
3) The travel around the hall three times, which mimics a death, burial and resurrection. The “New life” being provided by the Worshipful Master’s special hand grip. This time it is 1 Corinthians 15:55-56 is being read while the brethren laugh.
4) The “ride in the goat” or beating in canvas after one has stated they trust in God. It might be acceptable were it not for the fact that the majority of candidates are not trusting in God for their salvation, guidance and protection.
5) The receiving of the “Marvellous Light” a clear reference to salvation 1 Peter 2:9, only this time it is received from “my worshipful Master or one of the Brethren Present” and not from Jesus Christ.
6) Even the passwords, and symbolism, exactly mirror their Masonic counterpart.
7) The long intricate oaths and penalties again are virtually identical, should one divulge any secrets.
Read a detailed exposure:
The fact that all the founding fathers of the Orange Order were high degree Masons is conveniently ignored by Mr Harvey. These men James Wilson, Dan Winter, and James Sloan were known as ‘unwarranted’, ‘clandestine’ or ‘hedge’ Masons. These Masons were a rebellious group who would not accept the existing degree format of the ruling Masonic Grand Lodge of the day. The Unwarranted Masons were the more zealous (or esoteric) Masons who adhered to the many mystical degrees, which today are accepted within the domain of higher degree Freemasonry. These degrees are found under the auspices of the Red Lodge, known as the Chapter and the Chivalry degrees, known as the Preceptory. All three men were dedicated Freemasons and two of the three were actually proprietors of licensed premises. Not even Mr Harvey would argue that we should consider these men as evangelical proponents. They were rather proponents of esoteric apostasy.
Mr Harvey’s attempt to distance the Royal Arch Purple from Freemasonry is completely ridiculous as one cannot help but see the obvious similarity. I get the impression that Mr Harvey feels people do not like the Royal Arch Purple because they think it came from the Masonic Lodge. Sir you are completely wrong, we reject the Royal Arch Purple because its initiation ceremony embodies degrading and blasphemous practices which make a mockery of Scripture. These same practices are used by the Masonic Lodge as well; therefore we cannot accept their organisation either.
In conclusion, no true believer could ever be comfortable in the presence of a man praying the Lord’s Prayer dressed like a fool in the company of people who are inwardly or otherwise laughing at his discomfort. That is simply mockery!! True believers will obey the scriptural command to “come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you (2 Cor. 6:17).
Yours for the defence of the faith
Paul A. Johnston
For more on the internal debate within the Orders:
Biblical response to Rev. Ron Johnstone (Orange Order Chaplain)