OverviewDeMolay is open for membership to young men between the ages of 12 to 21 of good character who acknowledge a higher power. Currently about 15,000 active members are in the United States and Canada and additional members have active chapters in Italy, Romania, Peru, the Philippines, Australia, Aruba, Bolivia, Serbia, Japan, and Brazil. At present Brazilian DeMolay has more active members than even the United States, making Portuguese the most commonly used language in DeMolay chapters. The group model is of mentoring; adult men and women called advisors, often past DeMolay members or parents of DeMolays, mentor the active DeMolay members. An advisor is referred to as "Dad Smith" instead of "Mr. Smith". Appropriate ways for the young men to address their adult guides were discussed by the members and advisors early on, and "Dad" was adopted as the best way to convey both friendliness and respect. Advisor mentoring focuses on the development of civic awareness, leadership skills, and personal responsibility.
Founded by Frank S. Land, a Freemason, DeMolay is modeled after Freemasonry. With the sponsorship of a Masonic body, a DeMolay chapter often meets in a lodge room or, if not in a lodge room, then some other appropriate room in the same building. Although none of the youth groups are "masonic organizations" as such, DeMolay is considered to be part of the general "family" of Masonic and associated organizations, along with other youth groups such as Job's Daughters and Rainbow. As with Rainbow, a young man does not need to have family connection to Masonry in order to join DeMolay.
DeMolay has seven Cardinal Virtues, which constitute the basic ideals and essential teachings of the organization. They are:
- Filial love (love between a parent and child)
- Reverence for sacred things
Original members and Dad LandThe Order Of DeMolay originally had nine members. The crest of the order contains 10 rubies, each of which represents one of the original nine and the organization's founder, Frank S. Land. A pearl denoted one of the original ten who were living. When one of the original founders died, that pearl was changed to a ruby. Today, all of the original founders have died and all pearls are rubies.
Ivan M. Bentley: He lived in Louis Lower's neighborhood. Created a Chevalier in 1920. Died in an accident in 1921. His death made him the first ruby in the emblem.
Louis G. Lower: The first DeMolay and the first Active DeMolay Legionnaire (LOH). Created a Chevalier in 1920. He was gunned down by an intoxicated security guard on July 18, 1943. He was the second of the original nine to die, became the second ruby.
Dad Frank Land: The third ruby on the DeMolay crest was for Frank Land himself. Doctors diagnosed his disease as scleroderma. Doctors advised Land to slow down, but he continued to work at his frenetic pace, telling them, "My work must go on. DeMolay must go on." Although he had begun to show signs of fading, Frank Land's death on November 8, 1959 came as a shock, especially to his beloved organization. The fraternity successfully made the transition to new leadership, but mourns his passing to this day. Every DeMolay around the world honors Dad Land's memory every year on November 8.
Edmund Marshall: He lived next door to Elmer Dorsey. Created Chevalier in 1920. Graduated from University of Missouri. President of the Kansas City Board of Trade. He died on November 8, 1966 and became the fourth ruby.
Clyde C. Stream: Cousin of Gorman McBride. He was a technical engineer with the Sagano Electric Company. Retired to Bradenton, Florida. He died on May 3, 1971 and became the fifth ruby.
Gorman A. McBride: He lived in the neighborhood with Louis Lower. Second Obligated DeMolay. First Master Councilor of Mother Chapter. Created a Chevalier in 1920. Became an Active Member of the International Supreme Council. Received the Founder's Cross from Dad Land, the only one of the original nine to do so. He was a lawyer by profession and was Director of Activities at ISC Headquarters in the 1960s. He died on November 10, 1973 and became the sixth ruby.
Ralph Sewell: He lived in the home of Louis Lower and became the credit manager for H. D. Lee Mercantile Company, makers of Lee jeans. Mr. Sewell was a skilled pianist and organist. He died in July 1976 and became the seventh ruby.
Elmer V. Dorsey: He lived just behind Louis Lower. He became a successful businessman and moved to Texas and became an Advisor to Richardson Chapter. He died in November 1979 and became the eighth ruby.
William W. Steinhilber: He lived in the neighborhood with Louis Lower. Mr. Steinhilber became a successful stock and bond broker. He was captain of the first DeMolay baseball team. He died on October 28, 1992 and became the ninth ruby.
Jerome Jacobson: He lived one block from Louis Lower. Mr. Jacobson graduated from University of Kansas, was admitted to the Missouri Bar as a lawyer, and had an outstanding career in law and finance. He lived in Kansas City all his life. He died in May, 2002 and became the tenth and final ruby.
Structural organizationA local DeMolay body is known as a Chapter and is headed by the Master Councilor. The Master Councilor is elected by members of his Chapter and is usually among the older members of the group. The Master Councilor is assisted in his duties by a Senior Councilor and a Junior Councilor. The Senior Councilor is usually considered to be next in line as Master Councilor and Junior Councilor to follow, though two people can run against each other. The remaining officers of a Chapter, which are appointed, are done so by the Master Councilor, except for the Scribe, who is appointed by the Chapter's Advisory Council.
Senior DeMolays (former members now 21 or older), Masons, or other adult mentors supervise the Chapter and are usually referred to by the moniker "Dad," a term harkening back to one of the first members, who thought of founder Frank Land as the father he never knew and called him "Dad Land". In recent years, women have also served as "advisors" [sic] for the group and are referred to as "Mom".
Above the individual Chapter, the DeMolay organization has an officer structure at the state level. A State Master Councilor or Jurisdictional Master Councilor is the head of a statewide DeMolay organization. In countries outside of the United States, DeMolay may have a national level organization, headed by a "National Master Councilor". There are also other state or jurisdictional positions, based on the officers of a chapter, which vary for each jurisdiction. The lead advisor (always a Master Mason and a member of the Supreme Council) in a state, jurisdiction, or country, is called an Executive Officer and the lead advisor (always a Master Mason) internationally is known as a Grand Master who governs the International Supreme Council. There are also Active DeMolay officers at an international level as well; the International Master Councilor and International Congress Secretary are the heads of the International DeMolay Congress and serve on the Board of Directors. These officers are always past State Master Councilors.
In some countries outside of the United States, the International Supreme Council of DeMolay has ceded control to an independent Supreme Council created to govern DeMolay in that country. Such a Supreme Council has its own Grand Master and officers. (Examples are Australia, Brazil, and the Philippines.)
Adult supervisionEach chapter must be sponsored by a local masonic body or some other group composed exclusively of masons. The sponsoring body is responsible for providing the chapter with adult advisors and a place to meet. Members of the sponsoring body form the chapter's initial "advisory council". The advisory council selects one of its members to be its chairman, and he is the official liaison between the chapter and the sponsoring body. Another member of the advisory council is designated the "chapter advisor," and he is the official liaison between the advisory council and the chapter. The chapter's advisory council is responsible for supervising the chapter and its activities.
Chapter officersDeMolay functions through a set of officers. Some are elected; some are appointed. The Master Councilor, Senior Councilor, Junior Councilor and Treasurer are always elected. All officers except where noted are appointed by the Master Councilor. The officers of a DeMolay Chapter are as follows:
|Master Councilor||Elected||Sits as chair for meetings, official representative of chapter to outside persons and organizations.|
|Senior Councilor||Elected||Many times oversees degree,ceremony work and fund raising. Assists Master Councilor and takes charge in absence of Master Councilor|
|Junior Councilor||Elected||Many times oversees membership, contacts members about events, assists other councilors and takes charge in absence of both Master and Senior Councilors|
|Scribe||Appointed by Advisory Council or elected by chapter.||Records minutes at meetings, files necessary paper work, sends and receives communications.|
|Treasurer||Advisor elected by Advisory Council or shares duties with Scribe||Manages chapter account; in many chapters the office is symbolic and only adults handle chapter funds|
|Senior Deacon||Appointed||Conducts candidates in initiation, assists councilors, sometimes proceeds to Junior Councilor|
|Junior Deacon||Appointed||Communicates with Sentinel, assists Senior Deacon|
|Senior Steward||Appointed||Keeps facilities clean and in order.|
|Junior Steward||Appointed||Assists Senior Steward|
|Orator||Appointed||Presents ceremonies, makes necessary announcements|
|Sentinel||Appointed||Verifies persons entering meetings, keeps disturbances away|
|Marshal||Appointed||Conducts necessary movement in meetings|
|Standard Bearer||Appointed||Oversees flags and proper presentation of such|
|Almoner||Appointed||Collects alms for charities, and those sick or distressed|
|Seven Preceptors||All Appointed||Represent the seven Cardinal Virtues of DeMolay|
|Organist (Optional)||Appointed||Provides Music|
State/Jurisdictional OfficersThe state or jurisdictional level officers are set up the same way as the local chapters, usually with a State/Jurisdictional Master Councilor, State Senior Councilor, and State Junior Councilor all elected by DeMolay members throughout the state or jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions may elect a Deputy State/Jurisdictional Master Councilor, State Scribe, or various other positions. The other state officers may be appointed by the Executive Officer, appointed by the State Master Councilor, or voted for by the other state officers.
Some DeMolay chapters elect a "Chapter Sweetheart" to serve as the female representative of the chapter, although she is NOT an officer of the chapter. Her duties include attending chapter functions and acting as an ambassador of DeMolay. The "Sweetheart" must meet the age requirements of a particular jurisdiction or chapter, usually set at fourteen to twenty-one. She may be member of a neighboring Job's Daughters Bethel, Rainbow Assembly, Triangle, or Constellation, but that is not a set requirement.
State, Jurisdictional, and International CongressEach state or jurisdiction has a form of convention. Most jurisdictions have conventions once a year. Most jurisdictions conventions are called Conclave. In the convention, the members of the state or jurisdiction vote on the State Master Councilor and other elected positions. Also, the members may vote on the activities that the state will do throughout the year. A major part of DeMolay is the leadership aspect of the Order. It allows the young men to have an opportunity for growth and development in a mature setting.
During the International Congress, two delegates appointed by the Executive Officer from each state or jurisdiction meet in conjunction with the International Supreme Council. The delegates elect the International Master Councilor and International Congress Secretary. Additionally, delegates discuss and vote on legislative items. Several years ago, the Congress Officers established the DeMolay International Congress Cabinet which has eight regionally-elected members. These members are charged with carrying out action items as directed by the Congress and are to assist the International Officers throughout the year.
ActivitiesDeMolays participate in a wide range of activities that may include: camping, holding dances with members of Rainbow and Job's Daughters, playing basketball, football, baseball, soccer, tennis, paintball, or billiards, going canoeing and kayaking, and taking long distance trips. Both Chapters and individual DeMolays participate in competitions for the best performance of the various Ceremonies of the Order. Winners of local competitions, in ritual and sports, may compete for State Championships, and sometimes State winners compete at even higher levels. The Chapter collectively decides what events they enjoy, then plans them, and in many cases holds fund raisers to finance them.
Obligatory DaysDeMolays are required, unless extenuating circumstances, to participate in what are referred to as "Obligatory Days", where a chapter usually holds some sort of program in observance of such. The seven Obligatory Days are:
Patriot's Day: A day in which chapters commemorate the country, founding fathers, and past and current military in recognition of patriotism, the last of the DeMolay Precepts. Such programs may include the singing of "The Star Spangled Banner" or playing of "Taps", the Flag folding Ceremony, visiting a historical site or monument, hosting a program honoring veterans, or having a speaker elaborate on Patriotism. Occurs sometime in February.
Devotional Day: A day to recognize the importance of God in our lives. Although DeMolay teaches no religious creed, members are encouraged to frequent places of worship. Chapters usually attend a church, synagogue, or temple together as a chapter, hold a Bible study, or honor a pastor, deacon, or clergyman with gratitude. This is in respect to the second DeMolay Precept, Reverence for Sacred Things, to which a DeMolay learns tolerance of others' beliefs and things which they may hold sacred, as well as appreciating their own religious opinions. Occurs on or closest to March 18.
Parent's Day: A day to honor Parents and the daily care and sacrifices they make for their son's well being. Events may be dinner where DeMolays cook and serve the parents, or the presentation of the Flower Talk, a heart-felt ceremony that points out how important mothers are. Occurs on a day between May 1 and June 21, usually around Mother's Day or Father's Day.
My Government Day: A day to explain the government of the country, state, province or community in which the Chapter is located. Usual events may include having a congressman come and speak at a chapter, participate in an Independence Day activity, meeting with the Mayor or Governor, or visiting the capitol building. For example in the Texas jurisdiction, DeMolays gather at the capitol building in Austin, TX, and participate in mock legislature in the House and Senate Chambers. Occurs in July.
Educational Day: A day to stop and appreciate the foundation of America's greatness, the public schools, and all education. Activities could include, reading to Elementary aged kids on a special night, collecting books for a local Library, or having a teacher give a message in recessed chapter. Occurs any time during the year.
Frank S. Land Memorial Day: A day to recognize and pay tribute to Dad Land and all the work he did for the founding of DeMolay. Chapters are encouraged to raise funds and donate them to a DeMolay Charity. Visiting Dad Land's grave site, presenting a copy of "Hi Dad!" to someone, or presenting the Dad Land Talk to the Chapter and guests, are common ways to observe this day. Occurs on or near November 8, the day Dad Land died.
Day of Comfort: A day where every member of DeMolay should make an effort to visit the sick and carry words of comfort to those who are confined. The Almoner should be responsible for planning this observance. Events include collecting and donating items in a food drive, visiting a nursing home or hospital, or holding a seniors day, where demolays prepare a meal for the elderly. This day occurs between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Honors and awards
The Legion of Honor is the highest honor conferred by the DeMolay Supreme Council. The award was approved in 1925 and first conferred upon Louis Lower. With amendment of the Supreme Council's statutes in 1985, the minimum age for nominees for the Legion of Honor was dropped from 30 to 25 as of January 15. The Supreme Council may confer the Legion of Honor upon a Senior DeMolay for outstanding leadership in some field of endeavor, for service to humanity, or for success in fraternal life, including adult service to the Order of DeMolay. The Supreme Council may also confer it upon a Freemason who was not a DeMolay, but who has performed unusual and meritorious service in behalf of the Order of DeMolay, or who has evidenced a spirit of cooperation and appreciation for the Order of DeMolay.
The Representative DeMolay Award is the highest self-achievement award active and Senior DeMolays can earn. It's a self-assessment program where the member progresses toward goals set for him by himself. The member completes a detailed survey of his interests, achievements, general knowledge, and habits. Land said it was his dream that every DeMolay should be a Representative DeMolay. The "RD" program was first established in 1924, and for many years was a competition to select outstanding DeMolays. In 1935, the program was redesigned to fill a growing need for self-evaluation by every DeMolay.
Order of Knighthood
The official name of the Order is The Chivalric Knights of the Holy Order of the Fellow Soldiers of Jacques DeMolay. Knighthood is not an honorary degree or award, but a working body whose purpose is to extend fellowship and serve the Order of DeMolay. Priories may confer an additional, optional degree by the name of the Degree of Ebon.
The Order of Knighthood made its debut in 1946, when Dad Land wrote the Knighthood ritual. This ritual was not exemplified before the Grand Council, now known as DeMolay International's Supreme Council, until 1947, as Dad Land held off on its implementation.
Through the years, the Knights' activities have consisted of social and educational programs geared to older DeMolays, with a special emphasis on career planning and coed activities.
The main functions of a Priory are to:
- Extend and assist the Order of DeMolay and its Chapters.
- Maintain the active interest of older DeMolays.
- Provide an interesting program for the Priory members.
- Above all to provide and maintain a proper example for all DeMolays.
Hall of FameOver the years, DeMolay has had many alumni who have gone on to achieve wide recognition outside of the organization. Some of them have been elected to the DeMolay Hall of Fame. However, not all DeMolays who have received recognition have been inducted into the Hall of Fame; some can be found on other lists.
The following is a partial list of the members of the DeMolay Hall of Fame. The full list is available on the DeMolay International Web site.