As with any organisation the details of the lodge meetings remain private and confidential. Moreover given the defensive nature of the foundational lodges it was necessary on the grounds of security to exclude individuals who did not hold the same objectives from lodge meetings.
As part of internal security, the Institution developed a system of lectures, degrees, passwords, symbols, handshakes etc all of which would ensure that those present at lodge meetings where Orangemen in good standing. All lectures and degrees are committed to memory by the Grand Lodge lecturers within the Lecture Class of the Institution in England.
There are three degrees within the Independent Institution.
The Orange Degree.
The Purple Degree.
The Royal Arch Purple Degree.
Between each of these degrees there is a waiting period of up to six months. This is to ensure that the lodge to which he is associated, are fully satisfied with his conduct, character and commitment as a lodge member. As members proceed through the Institution and take receipt of all of the aforementioned degrees, they will then be permitted to stand for office and to be part of the senior lodges and decision making bodies, namely the District, County and Imperial Grand Lodges.
It is important therefore to ensure that the integrity of the Institution is maintained at all times. The degrees themselves are illustrations of Biblical texts and events that took place within scripture. They are a method of regulating and advancing within the Institution. They highlight a real link between the brethren fostering sincere veneration for the brotherhood within the organisation by common experience. The degree work sets the Institution apart as a distinct, dignified and unique organisation. From time to time the degree work has been criticised for its origins, symbols and content. This criticism is often poorly researched, is often unfounded and bears no resemblance to the true meaning and purpose of advancement within the Orange Order .
As a Protestant Organisation dedicated to promote and defend the Protestant Faith, we have examined all of the claims of our critics and found them to be unreliable, untruthful and based on questionable logic.