A member recently forwarded me a website that claims the Grange is, in essence, a satanic organization. Of course it also claims that about all other fraternal orders are also in the same category. All I’ve got to say to such claims is, Bull!
To those who have questions about Grange values and beliefs, I am happy to respond.
Does the Grange promote or oppose religion? The Grange was created and remains non-sectarian in rules and basic principles as outlined in the declaration of purposes. The Grange encourages its members to worship the Supreme Being in the way their conscience dictates. Our ritualistic work contains many direct quotations from the Bible and God is mentioned often. We have one officer called the Chaplain whose duties include prayers during the opening and closing of the Grange. One requirement for a Grange to have a legal meeting is to have a Bible open during the meeting. Our rules clearly state that denominational religious matters are not allowed to be discussed within the Grange meeting. The Grange is designed to be a place with high moral values, members are encouraged to be active in the church of their choice, and the meetings are to be neutral ground for all beliefs.
Is the Grange a secret organization? If having a password or membership card is your definition, then maybe. However, if any member can know everything about an organization then I would think that there are no secrets. In 35 years of active membership with leadership positions at all levels of the Grange, I still haven’t found any secrets. I do know many things that only members are supposed to know, which sounds like just about every other organization I am aware of. That is what most people refer to as a privilege of membership. Even this member only information is often readily available to the public if they really want it. If you don’t believe me, just check out ebay.
Does the Grange promote worship or reverence toward Greek goddesses? No. We do have three officers Ceres, Pomona, and Flora whose titles do come from Greek mythology. These three officers get their titles to show our respect for women and our regard for agriculture. These three names do carry direct connection to agriculture and the officers emblems are also tied to that connection. Ceres emblem is the sheaf of wheat, Pomona has fruit, and Flora has flowers. They remind us that women have a critical role in society and that they bring refinement and improvement to our lives. Our organization does not believe that organizations for men or women alone are as strong as one that requires both as equals.
Are there any rites or rituals in the Grange? What the Grange has is our formal ritualistic initiation ceremony for each of the seven degrees. The first four are done by the Community Grange, and the Pomona, State, and National Granges each confer one. The degrees are designed to follow one after the other. The first four are based upon the seasons of the year and the stages of life. The three that follow emphasize specific lessons that all people should live by. Grange work is demonstrated by the use of symbolism. Symbolism is an ancient form of teaching that is effective and often inspiring. As an example, the symbolism of the first degree is drawn from a farm in springtime, childhood, and the seed. The point of the degrees is to give lessons that each can use in their daily lives and to give each member the bond of friendship and fellowship as Brothers and Sisters in the Grange.
I would suggest that we don’t argue with people who are not interested in what we’ve got to say. When people have their mind made up and just want to make accusations, it is futile to try and argue. I do want our members to talk with those who have questions. We should answer questions and where we don’t know the answer, we need to find out what our rules are on that issue. After all, as our Order teaches, we need to continually learn and to strive to improve ourselves.