Order of DeMolay
Order of De Molay was founded in 1919 in Kansas City, Missouri, for young men
aged 13-21. There were 60,000 members in 1988, principally in North America.
They publish a magazine, the De Molay Councilor.
The Order of De Molay was founded by a far-sighted member of the freemasons named Frank S. Land, ostensibly to encourage and develop good citizenship and sound character among youth. In reality, it is a “farm club” from which future Masons might be drawn; perhaps two-thirds of the membership goes on to become Masons.
There were nine founder members in 1919. Originally, De Molay admitted only the sons of Master Masons, but the rules were changed to admit any male aged 14-21. The lower age limit was dropped to 12 in the 1980s, but enrollment continues to fall rapidly; the 1988 total was 40,000 fewer than only a decade previously, and over 100,000 lower than in the mid-1960s.
The organization takes its name from Jacques de Molay, last head of the Templars, who was imprisoned for seven years, grievously tortured, and finally burned at the stake on March 14, 1314, by King Philip IV of France with the connivance of Pope Clement V.
order works two degrees, namely Initiation and the Degree
of De Molay. They
were devised by Frank Marshall, a newspaperman in Kansas City. The first is a
heavily Christian ceremony in which the candidates kisses the Bible; it also
reflects 19th-century values with its concentration on the six jewels of the
crown of youth: cleanliness, comradeship, courtesy, filial love, patriotism, and
reverence for sacred things. The De Molay degree dramatizes the trial and
execution of its unfortunate namesake.
Any member of DeMolay can join the Order of Knighthood. This order has an extension, the Order of Ebon.
is also a honorary order to be
bestowed upon a very select numbers of members: Degree of Chevalier
It is very much a junior Masons’ fraternal club. Apart from its fraternal, social activities and the Leadership Conferences it organizes, it also raises money for humanitarian charities and operates the DeMolay Dream Factory, making the wishes of chronically ill children come true by organizing trips for them. It had begun to play down the anti-Communist programs it sponsored in the 1960s, even before the collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s.
The order has local chapters in several countries. Besides the U.S. they are: Canada, Brazil, Australia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Panama and the Philippines.
We have published a large number of rituals and other texts of this order on our CD-Rom Adoptive Rite Library.