This week Ancient Origins presented two articles by so-called “Grand Prior of the International Order of Gnostic Templars” Mark Amaru Pinkham in which the author recapitulates Templar conspiracy theories taken over from Christopher Knight, a conspiracy theorist whom Pinkham mistakes for a historian. Without documentation or evidence, in the first article Pinkham asserts on Knight’s authority that Knights Templar were descended from families of Jewish elders who fled Jerusalem during the diaspora of 70 CE, after the Romans destroyed the Second Temple. Twenty-four of these exiles he alleges founded the “Rex Deus” or “Star” families, privy to the secret wisdom of God. The second article cites Helena Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled to claim that the Templars were privy to the secret truth about Jesus. Blavatsky, it seems, helped to inject Templar nonsense into the lifeblood of fringe history when she tied the Templars to anti-Catholic wisdom traditions and secret knowledge of the truth about history.
If this sounds a lot like Scott Wolter’s and Alan Butler’s “Venus Families,” that’s probably because Wolter borrowed a modified form of the idea from Butler, who is the former writing partner of Christopher Knight. Knight, from whose Hiram Key it also spread to David Hatcher Childress and the self-styled Prince Michael of Albany, the fake pretender to the British throne who hired the late ancient astronaut theorist Laurence Gardner to trace his fabricated lineage back to Jesus (and thus space aliens) in the 1990s. If that isn’t weird enough, the claim also got folded into Gary Wayne’s Genesis 6 Conspiracy as part of his bizarre claim about secret descendants of the giants and their nefarious scheme to destroy us all through European royalty and Freemasonry.
Knight, and his Hiram Key writing partner Robert Lomas, developed the Rex Deus claim with the help of Tim Wallace-Murphy, a self-described Freemason who makes his living lecturing on Templar and Da Vinci Code conspiracy theories and selling annual books on the same. According to Knight and Lomas, writing in The Second Messiah (1997), Wallace-Murphy alleged that he learned of the Rex Deus Jewish conspiracy in 1994 from a Frenchman who told him after a lecture that he was the descendant of a Templar and thus was privy to their Jewish secrets, bestowed on each generation of males when they reached the mystical age of 21. According to the Frenchman—who, of course, declined to go public—the divine bloodline ran a “school” where they impregnated girls to carry on the line of David and then married them off to wealthy men to bear secret Davidic super-children. Because all of the participants used code names, Davidic teachers code-named Gabriel impregnated the girls, all known as Mary, who were married off to dupes they termed Joseph. Accordingly, after the Romans destroyed the Temple, the Davidic priests fled to Europe, taking the name Rex Deus, which he wrongly translated as “Kings of God” instead of the correct translation “King God.” The Davidic bloodline of crypto-Jews hides among Christians and Muslims but preserves their ancient Jewish genealogies, which they recite to identify one another.
According to Second Messiah, Lomas wanted to know where the story was documented. Wallace-Murphy said he was documenting it himself in his book Concurrence of the Oracles, which was not published. It ended up becoming his 2000 book Rex Deus. Knight and Lomas, exercising the critical thinking they are famous for, concluded that the story was likely true because a middle aged French man was unlikely to be capable of crafting a hoax of such breathtaking complexity. You’d think the fact that they have steadfastly avoided the elaborate Priory of Sion hoax concocted by Pierre Plantard, a middle aged Frenchman, would be a clue that fabrication is not impossible. That hoax required fabricating documents and depositing them in a famous library. By contrast, Rex Deus required only a short speech, and Wallace-Murphy didn’t even bother to ask for any documents at all!
Worse, when Wallace-Murphy retold the story eight years later in Custodians of the Truth (summarizing Rex Deus, which I do not have access to), the Frenchman had become an Englishman named Michael, and Wallace-Murphy admitted that “Michael” had started making his claims after reading The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, with its quite similar report of a vast conspiracy centered on the Priory of Sion. In 1997, Wallace-Murphy’s Frenchman confessed the “truth” to him because he had no son to pass it on to, but in 2005 he now said “Michael” revealed the “truth” because Holy Blood had made it safe to do so. In this telling, “Mary” wasn’t a collective name for incubators of holy babies but that of one specific woman, whose cuckold husband was not a random “Joseph” but a specific man bearing the name Joseph, from Tyre, descendant of Hiram of Tyre, of Masonic fame!
Anyway, Wallace-Murphy’s methodology was flawed from the start. He “confirmed” Michael’s story by comparing it to the historical record, apparently failing to consider that if Michael were hoaxing him, he would have started with the historical record and thus Wallace-Murphy’s “confirmations” were simply circular logic. Wallace-Murphy, incidentally, adds that he believes that the conspiracy goes back to Egypt, where it was instituted by a “dominant race.” “While the idea of a dominant race is repugnant to modern adherents of political correctness, we should not allow this to blind us to the fact that there were often races that dominated others in many historical eras.” I’m not sure what exactly he thinks he means by “race,” since he is conflating lineage, ethnic group, and skin color into one definition of “race.”
This dumb origin for a widespread fringe claim leads us back to the International Order of Gnostic Templars, which takes all of these goofball claims and adds to them the idea that the Templars were secretly goddess-worshipping Gnostics. They learned this, they claim, from the Sinclair family of Scotland—but of course! According to the website’s copyright page, it’s been in operation since 2002, patently inspired by all of the Holy Blood and Rex Deus nonsense. But the Order of Gnostic Templars are even more bizarre, since they have a broader pseudo-historical vision, explicitly drawn from Theosophy, in which they trace the origins of the Templar spirituality not to Egypt but to Atlantis and Lemuria!
“Investiture” in the holy mysteries of the Atlantean Gnostic Templars runs $125 plus an additional fee of $50 for current members. For new members, you must first pay the $340 membership charge and the $50 annual membership premium, and pay for a trip to Sedona, Arizona for “investiture.” It’s a pretty good business… If you have a couple of hundred people all paying you $50 per year and a $340 membership fee, you’ve taken in tens of thousands. Boost that up to a thousand members worldwide, and you have a nice annual income. And since Pinkham also sells books, runs a “wisdom” school, sells astrological readings, and leads tours in Sedona, he’s probably comfortably well off from his apparently fictitious Templar claims.
I'm an author and editor who has published on a range of topics, including archaeology, science, and horror fiction. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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