Beneath the Rising Sun

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Greg J. Knott

The impact of the Masonic fraternity in the United States is without question, immense.   Attending my daughters FFA banquet tonight, I could not help but notice the similarities in the opening ritual of the meeting, to that of the blue lodge.   

Just like in a lodge meeting, the FFA officers have stations about the room.   The President, who presides over the meeting, opens by asking the Vice-President if all the officers are their stations.  The VP responds “I shall call the roll of officers, determine if they are at their stations and report back to you, Mr./Mdm. President." 
The Vice-President then goes through the roll of officers, asking each to recite their duties.  The VP ends the ritual with ”…I preside over meetings in the absence of the President, whose place is beneath the rising sun.”

The Chapter Advisor then asks: “Why is the President so stationed.”

The VP responds: "The rising sun is the token of a new era in agriculture. If we will follow the leadership of our president, we shall be led out of the darkness of selfishness and into the glorious sunlight of brotherhood and cooperation. Mr./Mdm. President, all officers are at their stations."
Midnight Freemason Greg Knott 
and FFA Sentinel Riley Knott

The FFA (formerly Future Farmers of America), is one of the premier youth organizations in the USA and is a student organization for those interested in agriculture and leadership.   The FFA has surged in membership in recent years, with new chapters being formed in high schools across the US.
The group was founded in September 1925 by Henry C. Groseclose, Edmond C. McGill, H.W. Sanders and Walter S. Newman, who lived Virginia.  Groseclose was an agriculture teacher at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and originally named it the FFV – Future Farmers of Virginia.   The program took off very quickly and become a national organization in the years after and was renamed the Future Farmers of America (FFA).
Groseclose developed the ceremonies and instituted 3 degrees within the program through which the students could advance; Greenhand, Virginia Farmer and Virginia Planter.  Unique to the organization as well was the office of Sentinel, who guards the door.
Sounds a lot like the rituals of Freemasonry, doesn’t it?  Not surprising the founders of the FFA were Freemasons:
  • Walter S. Newman Purdie Lodge #170, Windsor, VA
  • Edmond C. McGill Hunters Lodge #156, Blacksburg, VA
  • H.W. Sanders Glen Allen Lodge #131, Glen Allen, VA 
  • Henry C. Groseclose Sr. Ivanhoe Lodge #235, Wytheville, VA
I am a proud FFA alumni member myself of the St. Joseph – Ogden Chapter.


WB Gregory J. Knott is the Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 in St. Joseph (IL) and a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL) and Naval Lodge No. 4 in Washington, DC. He’s a member of the Scottish Rite, the York Rite, Eastern Star and is the Charter Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign-Urbana. He is also a member of ANSAR Shrine (IL) and the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees. Greg serves on the Board of Directors of The Masonic Society and is a member of the Scottish Rite Research Society and The Philathes Society. Greg is very involved in Boy Scouts—an Eagle Scout himself, he is a member of the National Association of Masonic Scouters.

1 comment:

  1. In an attempt to show other similarities I offer our court system for consideration. The judge sits in a seat higher than anyone else in the courtroom, holds a gavel which when used usually consists of three distinct knocks. "All rise" is said when the judge enters the courtroom and the judge is introduced as "the honorable...". Before a person testifies they are instructed to raise their hand (in the case of court, it is your right hand not the left) in similar fashion of the FC degree and the other hand used to be placed on a Holy Bible. A short question asked if "you to promise and swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?" In courtrooms the SD could be the Bailiff, and so on. BTW, when Harry Truman was sworn in (twice) as President good old " give 'em hell Harry" took the obligation in the due form of an FC. The first time Harry was sworn in he was admonished before the obligation that he had it backwards. Harry replied something like; "Sir, this position will be much more binding to myself, go forward please". So in strong agreement, Freemasonry can be found throughout American culture and even in our vernacular. IE: Is that guy on the level? Take him downtown and give him the third degree!
    On a personal note, the day my wife and I were married I was pulled over for driving too fast. I was speeding because we were late and had to meet the Pastor at a waterfall over Emerald Bay at Lake Tahoe. As the officer started to walk away with my license and rental car information I stuck my head out the window asking " Is there no h f t w s?". Cheerfully, the officer responded, "Not today!". When he came back with the citation he told me I was well past 20 over the posted speed, but he wrote me for 12 over. He then proceeded to tell me he was going off duty and the next patrol unit wouldn't be on station for over 45 minutes, congratulations on your marriage, and drive safe, all the while smiling with a smile only a brother would share.
    Is Freemasonry a part of the fabric of our country and society? Hell yes it is!
    J. Miles Bayer, PM 1997


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