DeMolay is an organization dedicated to preparing young men to lead successful, happy, and productive lives. Basing its approach on timeless principles and practical, hands-on experience, DeMolay opens doors for young men aged 12 to 21 by developing the civic awareness, personal responsibility and leadership skills so vitally needed in society today. DeMolay combines this serious mission with a fun approach that builds important bonds of friendship among members in more than 1,000 chapters worldwide. DeMolay alumni include Walt Disney, John Wayne, Walter Cronkite, football Hall-of-Famer Fran Tarkenton, legendary Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne, news anchor David Goodnow and many others. Each has spoken eloquently of the life-changing benefit gained from their involvement in DeMolay.
The Story of Jacques DeMolay
The namesake of the Order of DeMolay was born in Vitrey, Department of Haute Saone, France in the year 1244. At the age of 21, DeMolay joined the Order of Knights Templar.
The Knights Templar was an organization sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church in 1128 to guard the road between Jerusalem and Acre, an important port city on the Mediterranean Sea. The Order of Knights Templar participated in the Crusades and earned a name for valor and heroism.
With many nobles and princes sending their sons to join the Knights Templar, the Order also became very wealthy and popular throughout Europe.
In 1298, Jacques DeMolay was named Grand Master of the Knights Templar, a position of power and prestige. As Grand Master however, Jacques DeMolay was also in a difficult position. The Crusades were not achieving their goals. The non-Christian Saracens defeated the Crusaders in battle and captured many vital cities and posts. The Knights Templar and the Hospitalers (another Order of Knights) were the only groups remaining to confront the Saracens.
The Knights Templar decided to reorganize and regain their strength. They traveled to the island of Cyprus, waiting for the general public to rise up in support of another Crusade.
Instead of public support, however, the Knights attracted the attention of powerful lords, who were interested in obtaining their wealth and power. In 1305, Philip the Fair, King of France, set about to obtain control of the Knights Templars. They had been accountable only to the Church. To prevent a rise in the power of the Church, and to increase his own wealth, Philip set out to take over the Knights.
The year 1307 saw the beginning of the persecution of the Knights. Jacques DeMolay, along with hundreds of others, were seized and thrown into dungeons. For seven years, DeMolay and the Knights suffered torture and inhuman conditions. While the Knights did not end, Philip managed to force Pope Clement to condemn the Templars. Their wealth and property were confiscated and given to Philip’s supporters.
During years of torture, Jacques DeMolay continued to be loyal to his friends and Knights. He refused to disclose the location of the funds of the Order and he refused to betray his comrades. On March 18, 1314, DeMolay was tried by a special court. As evidence, the court depended on a forged confession, allegedly signed by DeMolay.
Jacques DeMolay disavowed the forged confession. Under the laws of the time, the disavowal of a confession was punishable by death. Another Knight, Guy of Auvergne, likewise disavowed his confession and stood with Jacques DeMolay.
King Philip ordered them both to be burned at the stake that day, and thus the story of Jacques DeMolay became a testimonial to loyalty and friendship.
Of any 100 young men who join DeMolay, five of those 100 will become Master Councilor of their DeMolay chapters. And at least one of them will later say that he valued that experience above his college degree. Eighty or more of the 100 will go on to complete some form of post-high school education.
Many of the 100 will find their vocation through other DeMolay involvement, such as Merit Bar work. DeMolay has produced a good number of men, who after serving as chaplain of their local chapters, went on to become ministers or pastors. Along those same lines, several of the 100 DeMolays will first be introduced to some form of organized religion by attending some church or temple through a chapter function.
Of any 100 young men who become a DeMolay, thirty will drop out in their first year. Perhaps this may be regarded as a failure. But in later life, most of these will remember that they have been in DeMolay and speak well of the program and the lessons it teaches.
Of any 100 DeMolays, only rarely will one ever appear before a juvenile court judge or be in any trouble with the law. In fact, DeMolay produces a great many lawyers. And, although the percentages are not known, many of the 100 will join the military. Each of the 100 will learn something from DeMolay and most all will benefit from their association with the fraternity. Again, the percentages are not known, but a considerable number of the 100 will also go into the Masonic Lodge in later life. Of the 100 who join Masonry, many will serve as a head of one of the Masonic organizations.
A number of the 100 come from single parent families and look to their advisors (Masons) as positive role models. One out of the 100 will be awarded the rank and honor of Chevalier, the highest honor granted to an active DeMolay. Approximately sixteen of the 100 will value their time in DeMolay so much that they will “give back” to DeMolay by serving as an adult volunteer in later life.
Although only one out of every 1,000 young men in the United States, age 13 to 21, will join DeMolay, it is interesting to note that many of this nation’s leaders in business, religion, and politics belonged to DeMolay in their teens. In fact, one out of every twelve State Governors is a Senior DeMolay and one out of every ten United States Senators is a Senior DeMolay.
One hundred DeMolays … equals a high number of leaders.