What IS the Order of DeMolay?

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Brian J Schimian

I began my “formal” Masonic journey when I chose to knock on the door of Lakes Chapter Order of DeMolay so many years ago inside the Libertyville, IL Masonic Lodge #492.  I knocked and the door was opened, beginning the most wonderful experience and building of a foundation that would prepare me to live as an upright man and give me so many blessings that it would be impossible to repay.

I have been kicking this article around for almost the better part of the past year because I wasn’t sure what angle to take.  Well, give anything enough time and room and it will make its own path.  That is exactly what has happened and my trip to the greater Los Angeles area has shown me the angle that needs to be explained for Masons and the profane alike.  Like any organization, Masonry can be its own worst enemy, especially when it comes to actually telling the uninitiated what we or any of our appendant (or dependent, as I like to call them) bodies are all about.  One thing that Masonry has always struggled with is finding quality of good men to bring into the ranks.  Well, maybe wee need to look at where many of our Masons come from to find that thing we need to nurture and support in order to have a continual flow of good men to keep Freemasonry alive and well.

We need to look at the youth organizations, specifically DeMolay.  As I have mentioned previously, I am in the midst of a heck of a journey as I have traveled to L.A. for Thanksgiving and I am still here, well in to the new year.  I had the honor and pleasure to meet someone that I have deep respect for for many reasons.  It was that meeting that got me back to DeMolay.  A Brother was looking to take his Lady’s son to a few DeMolay Chapters to see if it was something he would be interested in.  As the conversation progressed, I was invited to join them on the visitations.  But one thing bothered me, I didn’t feel I was explaining what the Order was about, what it does and where it can lead a young man.  At least when it came to explaining it to someone that knows nothing of Masonry.  Then I got to thinking, "what do most Masons say about the Order?"  I have to assume that one who has little to no contact with the Order has no way of knowing.  I would have to assume that the typical response would be something along the lines of: “It's the Masonic youth organization.”  While true, this description almost does the Order of DeMolay more of a disservice than anything.

If you check out the Order of DeMolay website (www.demolay.org) you can find the technical jibber jabber: “A fraternal order for young men between 14 to 21 years of age.  It was founded on 1 March 1919 by Frank S. Land and nine teenage youth, in Kansas City, Missouri with the goal of creating brotherhood among young men during their formative years.  Each chapter is sponsored by men who are Master Masons.  DeMolay is not a Masonic organization, and all boys within the age limits may be considered for membership.  The stated purpose is to build a better citizen and future leaders.  Its activities are designed to benefit the individual member, the chapter and the local community.  The order has members in local chapters, in seven different countries.  The order was named after Jacques DeMolay, the last grand master of the Knights Templars, who was burned at the stake under orders of the Pope in 1314.”

That is a great start… but falls short of explaining the Order to someone on the outside that is questioning if this is a good thing for their child.  So the next opportunity I am given, is to answer the question, “What IS the Order of DeMolay?”, this is what I am going to say:

The Order of DeMolay is going to give your son the best chance available in the world, at becoming a great Man.  When your son knocks on the door to a Chapter of DeMolay, he will be joining an organization of his peers and begin a transformation that very few are lucky enough to claim.  DeMolay is an organization that is named for the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, who was killed because he would not give up the secrets of his Order or betray the trust of his fellow Brothers or his obligations.  From the onset, your son will learn to live a life that is “for a purpose” beginning with his initiation experience.  DeMolay is based on seven cardinal virtues: Filial Love, Reverence for Sacred Things, Courtesy, Fidelity, Cleanliness and Patriotism.

“Filial love, the bond between parents and their children, is ranked first since this virtue has taught millions of DeMolay’s to strive to repay the care, so often under appreciated, our parents give to us.

pastedGraphic.pngDeMolay’s second principle, reverence for sacred things, teaches every member to honor his promises and to respect the religious beliefs of others, while keeping his own.

pastedGraphic.pngSociety today often lacks common courtesy, DeMolay’s third principle. A courteous person is admired, serves as an example for others, and elicits respect from adults and peers. This allows more opportunities since courteous persons gain the attention of others.

pastedGraphic.pngThe fourth principle, comradeship, is central to DeMolay. Jacques DeMolay and his companions held true to each other until death, and each of us should never forget this great example of true comradeship. Our common goals, pledges, and vows bond all DeMolay’s into a fellowship that cannot be broken.

pastedGraphic.pngFidelity is the essence of every DeMolay’s promise to remain loyal to every other DeMolay. Many of us will never be confronted with a situation such as Jacques DeMolay faced, yet each of us should be ready to take the necessary measures to live up to the vows we take as DeMolay’s.

pastedGraphic.pngThe sixth principle of DeMolay is cleanliness, not the bodily cleanliness that we all practice, but cleanliness in every thought, word, and deed. This principle encourages us to maintain a civil tongue and polite manner while avoiding vulgarity and hurtful pranks.

pastedGraphic.pngPatriotism, the final principle of the Order of DeMolay, hits close to home with the horrible national tragedy of 9/11 which awoke a new sense of nationhood.  Many died on that fateful day, and many more are facing danger today as they continue to make sacrifices for their country. Their examples inspire patriotism in the hearts and minds of every young man in DeMolay.”1

DeMolay is just the beginning, the tip of the iceberg of an education that will last a lifetime.  Your son will learn lessons like: Leadership, Personal Responsibility, Teamwork, Memorization, Public Speaking, invaluable Social Interaction skills, Fundraising, Financial Responsibility, Competition in a Brotherly manner and how Parliamentary Procedure works.  He will feel that he is a part of something bigger than himself and will gain a cadre of friends from every background, and maintain them for the rest of his life.

There are “sister” organizations for young ladies (Job’s Daughters & Rainbow) that your son’s Chapter will interact with at many functions throughout the year.  I can not express appropriately how much DeMolay has done for me and how much I looked forward to attending Installation of Officers at other Chapters, dances, sports weekends, ritual competitions, formal dinners and the week of all weeks as a young man, the Annual Conclave (the one lesson I will impart about Conclave: You DO NOT want to be the first one to fall asleep)…  Conclave is the meeting of the DeMolay from the entire state at one location.  Oh, the Jobies and Rainbow were always there too…  My journey in DeMolay even brought me my soul mate.

To anyone that has apprehensions about their son joining the Order of DeMolay, I would say "Let them join and make up their own minds."  You have to start letting them make decisions on their own at some point, might as well do it with something that won't let them down.  Anyone that knocks at the door and is allowed to enter, can only come out with the foundation to be an upright, trustworthy and responsible man down the road.

When I joined DeMolay, it may not have been a surprise to anyone that knew me, being that I grew up with a father that was a Mason & Shriner but it certainly was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life.  It started me down a path that has given me more rewards than anyone can imagine.

Yep, that’s what I am going to say…


Bro. Brian Schimian is Life of Member A.O. Fay #676 in Highland Park Illinois and the Medinah Shriners - Lake County Shrine Club. He was also the Past Master Counselor of DeMolay - Lakes Chapter in 1995. Most recently, Brian became a Companion of the York Rite, joining Waukegan Chapter #41 R.A.M. Brian is a father of two children. "Start Square, Finish Level"


  1. Bro., this is an awesome article! I cannot ever pay back what DeMolay gave to me. I am a highly successful Executive, Director of IT for a major convention hotel (1400 rooms and 400,000 sq ft of meeting space). I am this because of DeMolay. Keep in mind, I have no degree but I hold this position because what I learned in DeMolay. How to run a meeting, strategize, public speaking, fundraising, how to be persuasive, how to team build, how to be trust worthy, the list goes on and on. How to be a hard worker, and great father. But best of all, how to be the very best husband one can be, and it all starts with the one virtue that you spend 100 fold earning and one penny losing, TRUST! That is was DeMolay and Masonry teaches us, how to give TRUST!!!!!!!!!

  2. I would not be the man I am today without the Order of DeMolay. I would not have even known about FreeMasonry, much less have sought to join it, without DeMolay. I am still active with the Order 45 Years later. My sons both joined and have aged out, but I still get more out of it then I put into it, so I continue. It is different then it was when I joined, but it still has the same core values and teaches the same lessons to equally amazing groups of young men year after year. I have received many Accolades and Honors from many different groups, within FreeMasonry and without, and it is all because of the firm foundation that DeMolay helped me build for my life all those years ago, but the greatest honor or accolade that I have is that I can say "I am a DeMolay".

  3. Having been raised in a home where my dad was very active in the Masonic Fraternity it was only natural that at age 14, I was initiated as a member of the Order of DeMolay at the annual State Conclave. My experience in the Order was transformative and without a doubt was the most impactful part of my life as a teenager. The values learned, the leadership skills developed and the friendships made have been an integral part of my life ever since. I am so thankful that I can also say: "I am a DeMolay!"

  4. I would like to be part of your group

  5. When explaining masonry I use the Boy Scouts as an example of where Good Men may be found. As the boy scouts takes Boys and attempts to make them good men.
    Perhaps The DeMolay should work in unison or as an alternative to Boy Scouts depending one's predilections.
    Just my 3 cents

  6. Excellent article Brother, thank you for sharing.

  7. Hi,

    Was Harry S. Truman a Shriner and what's the difference between a Shriner and a Freemason?

    Thank you in anticipation.

  8. Yes Truman was a Shriner. All Shriners are Freemasons, but not all Freemasons are Shriners. The Shrine is an appendant body of Masonry. Not all Freemasons opt to join the Shrine.

  9. Very nice, timely, interesting, factual, and touching. My Grandfather was a 32 Degree Mason, I am. I'm a Senior DeMolay as are my two sons -- who are both also Master Masons. I am Worship Master of Marion-Dunn Lodge No. 19, F & AM.


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