Moths to the Flame
Yet each of you, as a DeMolay, holds within your heart a flame, a beacon to guide you through the darkness. If you can make this light shine upon another, if you can reach into the innermost depths of his soul and set his flame afire, then therein lies the purpose of the Order of DeMolay, and therein lies your purpose for living.
- Excerpt from the DeMolay Ceremony of Light
I grew up in Cedar Falls, Iowa as the only child of a single mother. My neighbor, Virgil, was an elderly man who I would regularly see coming or going in a funny feathered hat, carrying a sword. One day Virgil stopped to say hello to my mother and I as we were working in the yard. Virgil wanted to tell me about a club for young men called DeMolay that he thought I might enjoy. It sounded intriguing, so I agreed to have one of the young men and an adult advisor stop by the house the following week. Obviously, since you are reading this, their sales pitch was effective. I was like a moth to their flame!
By the age of my majority, I had been a Master Councilor of my chapter twice and State Senior Councilor twice, honored as a Chevalier, been to International DeMolay Congress, competed regionally at the Great Lakes Ritual Tournament several times, traveled around the country, and had countless friends and brothers from all over.
My experiences with DeMolay have shaped me in ways that are difficult to describe to those who have not experienced it for themselves. The people I’ve met through DeMolay have changed my life. They have guided me to who I am today. To this day I consider Gary Shaulis, the man who was my Chapter Dad, to be one of my best friends, teachers and role models. Recently a great man named Rod Carey, who was the Chapter Dad of another chapter in Iowa passed away. The outpouring of love and the testimonials from all the young men whose lives he had impacted was incredible. It helped reinforce just how much the amazing impact of just one man can have on so many. His flame lives on in those memories.
Twelve years ago when I had my first child, my only son, I knew I wanted him to have the opportunity that I had. I wanted him to feel the warmth of comradeship, to develop relationships that would reach far into his adult life, and to learn to be a confident speaker, leader and responsible young man. But yet I feared there might not be a DeMolay for him. Membership was declining, chapters were closing and times were changing. Kids are more involved in things at an earlier age today, leaving far less time for DeMolay to enter into the picture at 12 years old. So when he turned 10, I started exposing him to DeMolay as a DeMolay Squire. It was a perfect age to begin his involvement, and he took to DeMolay like a moth to a flame, just like his father had. Within less than a year of his official initiation, he is now the Junior Councilor of his chapter, is the first line signer for three new members, travelled to another jurisdiction’s Conclave, completed his first LCC, chaired and organized a very successful Halloween party, and competed in his first ritual tournament.
Looking back on those words from the Ceremony of Light regarding the flame in our hearts and letting that light shine upon another, I realize that my neighbor Virgil let his flame shine upon another when he introduced me to DeMolay. My Chapter Dad, Gary, let his flame shine upon another as he led and mentored me as a young man. Rod let his flame shine upon so many as he led and mentored the young men of his chapter. My son’s own Chapter Dad continues to let his flame shine upon the DeMolays in his chapter. And when I let my own flame shine upon my son, he took to it like a moth, just as I did. Now he proudly displays his own flame for the entire world to see. If we hold that flame high enough, let it shine bright enough, then there should always be an Order of DeMolay because like moths, they will always come to a bright flame.
Let your light so shine, Brothers.
My friends in High School invited me to join DeMolay. My parents weren't sure at first. After talking to my great-uncle, a Freemason, who highly recommended the order, they were ok with it. I signed my petition bought some shirts and a tie and I was in. Hooked from day one. I spent 3 years as an active DeMolay. I served as my chapter's Master Councilor once and I served as Marshal, Chaplain and Scribe at the Provincial level. Before turning 21 I knew I wanted to be an Advisor. To give back to the Order that had given me so much. Not to mention I would still be able to have to fun with my DeMolay friends who truly became brothers. I know that anywhere I travel in Ontario, there will always be a helping hand if ever I'm in need, and I would never hesitate to offer the same to any of my Brothers.
I joined St. Louis Harmony Chapter in 1959 at the age of 14, following my older brother. At that time, we had all officer positions filled and 30+ members on the sideline. It took me almost to majority to be elected as Master Councilor, even with 4 month terms. I also received Chevalier before reaching majority. After reaching majority, I got married and had two children. When my son was eligible to join DeMolay, I was divorced but I supported him and became an advisor at Gardenville Chapter. He advanced to the office of Master Councilor before going off to college. I remarried in 1987 and now have 4 children at home under 18. One daughter who is actively involved in Rainbow and Job's Daughters. Three sons who are actively involved with Kirkwood Chapter. One son who is current Master Councilor and one son with Down Syndrome who is Senior Steward joined DeMolay as Squires. My other son who was a foster child and adopted also joined DeMolay and s!
erves as Standard Bearer. I supported my boys in DeMolay and became an advisor. I then became Chairman of the Advisory Board. It has been 53 years since I became a DeMolay and the saying 'Once a DeMolay-Always a DeMolay' certainly describes my involvement with DeMolay. DeMolay helped take me, a very shy 14 year old, to an Adult who was not afraid to stand up and speak in front of thousands. The lessons I learned in DeMolay have certainly shaped my values throughout my life and continue to be exhibited by our DeMolays today which have been demonstrated when they interact with my son who has Down Syndrome.
The values I learned in DeMolay helped guide me when I began to question my career choice. After 15 years in software & consulting I felt called to serve my community. After a rough couple years going back to school and odd jobs, I was able to realize my dream of becoming a firefighter in my home Chapter's city. I honestly believe I wouldn't have been able to undertake this journey without these values and the support of my family and many of my friends from DeMolay.
I was a very active DeMolay in my chapter and even served as SMC for Kentucky, even though I remained involved on the peripheral for years, my DeMolay story was in the past tense. The past few years I have returned to DeMolay as an extremely involved advisor and my story is now one in the present and future tenses. It has been amazing to see today’s young men join and latch on to the lessons of DeMolay, it inspires me and gives me great comfort in the future of our nation and fraternity.
I have always followed one philosophy ever since I joined DeMolay: "Anything can happen"....and this, indeed, has been the theme during my time in DeMolay (although I got this philosophy from high school). I was initiated into this glorious Order in March of 2005 (during my freshman year in high school) at a membership class in Pasadena, CA and my knowledge about DeMolay or what it is all about was, similar to any new member, very little and minute. Unknown to me, that after I joined, several events occurred at my chapter that lowered my attendance and my interest in DeMolay (from a corruption from the advisory council, to drama within the members).
But after a year hiatus, I understood what DeMolay was truly all about when a member from a different chapter invited me to be a part of South Bay Chapter in Manhattan Beach, CA. Ever since, I have done so much to give back to the order. I became Master Councilor of the chapter twice to help revive the membership, became vice president of the corresponding league that represented my chapter, and became the "un-official" photographer for Southern California Jurisdiction. This lead me to run and become elected for Jurisdiction Congress Secretary in 2010. Soon after, with a Chevalier, DSA, FMA and a RD in my list, all that did not matter. All I cared about was the impact it has given me and how I can give back. After I aged out, I became an adviser and, apparently, became the youngest Chapter Dad in the Jurisdiction at my home chapter, South Bay Chapter. All this happened when a brother invited me to is chapter for a stated meeting. DeMolay has done so much for me, and I hope that it can do so much for the next person that is thinking of joining.
I was a member of Pueblo, Colorado Chapter Order of DeMolay from 1937-1941 where it was an honor to go through the chairs to Master Councilor of the chapter as well as the state of Colorado. The Degree of Chevalier was received in Colorado Springs Colorado in 1940. I was very proud to be a member of the order of DeMolay. Masonry with its many values has been an important part of my life through membership in Albert Pike Lodge, Scottish Rite and Midian Shrine here in Wichita, Kansas. The values learned in DeMolay served me well as a member of the armed forces during World War II.
I joined DeMolay at 13 and went on to become Master Councilor in 1962 and earning the Chevalier. Then I hired in to Ford Motor CO. and made a retirement from them after 33 years. The teachings of DeMolay stayed with me through out my life. I never forced a woman to do anything. I loved my mother and had her until she turned 100.
Now I am retired and living in Florida in the winter and Michigan in the summer. I still like to play music on my accordion and play in church most Sundays.
I joined a Masonic Lodge in Memphis, Michigan and went on to become Master in 1981. Our lodge folded and I am in Richmond Lodge now and a life member.
Thanks for asking about me.
I have been a Senior DeMolay for over 73 years. In that time I have sponsored over 12 young men into our order. I was a chapter adviser in 4 states for local chapters.
I am now 87 years old and just lost my wife of 64 years last year.
I am a 66 year member of Pensacola Lodge #42 In Pensacola Florida, where my DeMolay chapter is located. I am a Past Master Councilor and Chev and a retiree from the US Army (WWII & Vietnam etc.) 31 years. I have spread te work on DeMolay in 5 foreign countries.
Most of my chapter members have past away. Some in the wars and others from natural causes.
I have been a Scottish Rite (SJ) member since 1972.
GOD BLESS THE ORDER OF DEMOLAY!
It is with great deal of pleasure that I received your Alumni Association package. As we age we think back on those associations that we cherished and as I am now 80 years of age and still value the time I spent in DeMolay. I have many times over the years given a testimony to what influenced my life. At the top of the list is the Order of DeMolay.
I was elected Master Councilor of Melrose (MA) Chapter and served in 1952. Melrose Chapter was instituted October 17, 1924. We, in fact, celebrated our 25th anniversary in November of 1953. I served to bring the Conclave to Melrose, I was alo part of George Stephen's state suite in 1952-1953.
I have enjoyed many successes, and DeMolay was the guiding influence. I was nominated for the Degree of Chevalier, I think in 1953 or 1954, but there was a falling out between me and the Chapter and I did not show up to accept the honor. I have regretted this immature decision ever since, and wish I could take back the whole episode.
I look forward to being part of the Alumni Association and once again being part of this truly wonderful organization.
R.W. Dan B.
My DeMolay story began in 1952, when I was 13 years of age. My father had been killed in an auto accident when I was 10 years old, and my grandfather who was a Mason looked after me along with mother. Grandfather saw to it that I got in to DeMolay and that was one of the best things that I have ever done in my life. I have always felt that DeMolay was my guiding light that showed me many things among which was the importance of decorum and deportment and how to get along in life. I wasn't on the wrong path, as the saying goes, and DeMolay made certain I stayed on the right one. DeMolay did for me exactly what it was designed to do for young boys.
I worked my way through the chairs became Master Councilor of Hope Chapter and that was a unique experience-a major step in my youthful development.
Along the way I was awarded the Chevalier Degree in 1957, another event that one never forgets. I still have my ring and cordon and count them as treasures yet to this day. Believe it or not but I still have the printed program from the evening, it was Friday, June 14, 1957 and I shared it with Brother Norman Russell who also received the award. Hope Commandery served as teh honor guard and teh choir was made up of the Bellaire Assembly Order of Rainbow for Girls.
Another treasure of mine is the letter that I received notifying me of my Chevalier--it is signed by none other then Frank S. Land, General Secretary at the time.
And still another event occurred on June 26, 1999, when I received the DeMolay Legion of Honor. And yes, I hve my ring and beautiful cordon.
In 2004, my soft-spot for DeMolay moved me to donate $10,000 to DeMolay of Ohio---the least I could do.
I just received a letter via US Mail asking me to share my story of my experiences as a DeMolay because of my achievements as a Chevalier. The letter asked me to respond to an email firstname.lastname@example.org
DeMolay was the brightest part of my teen years and helped mold me into the successful business man that I am today. I earned many achievements and awards, all of which I am extremely proud of DeMolay is a great program that instills greatness into young men. I will always support the organization in any way I possibly can.
The Story of a Young Man and the Terrible Curse of Potential
Every teacher or sports coach I had as a young boy would at some point utter the phrase, Frankie has a ton of potential. The word potential was the backdrop to my life as I grew up. Most of the adults in my life cared enough to see what I could do but never push me further than that since it was above the standard expectations. I was smart enough to skate by without out trying very hard for portions of my youth. While my parents would disagree with it…it was more so about outside adults pushing me rather than family dynamics and expectations.
Enter stage left…DeMolay.
At the age thirteen I was approached to join a chapter. I met with them and agreed to do so. They only had one other active DeMolay. A full year later I had yet to become a member. A couple of guys were over at my house hanging out with one of my older sister. When they found out I still wasn't a member, they put and end to that and had me join their chapter and phone calls and people visiting me all within a week. More activity than I had seen all year from DeMolay. The night I joined I traveled the 35 miles to my chapter Edward James passing some 4 possible chapters along the way.
It was an amazing time of my life. An advisor whom to this day I still call dad, pushed me further than any adult to date and didn't accept potential and expected results. I was soon elected and progressed through the ranks…on a fast track of sorts. We were proud of being the largest DeMolay chapter in the world at one point during my Master Councilor term. As the years progressed, I would become State Master Councilor of Washington, Serve and a chapter advisor and Washington DeMolay state staff. I would leave the state to pursue DeMolay as a career after being hired as Executive Director of Connecticut DeMolay and eventually made my way to DeMolay International.
I met an extraordinary man during my latter years in Washington that took DeMolay from an organization that allowed me to express my full "potential" to a labor of love and life long dedication. A man that transcended the age gap and counted me part of his family and man that has brought tears to my eyes when I expressed how his mentoring had effected me in a positive and personal way. Years later, while working for DeMolay International. He called me on his death bed, and told me he was leaving this earth. Even then…even as he faced his own mortality, he focused on expressing how he felt, what he expected me to accomplish in life, and why DeMolay was valuable. He died shortly after that phone call and the whispers of his voice telling me that one day I would get married and have children and to think of him when he sees them smile.
I admit that when I see my wife and children smile now, I can't help but think of my DeMolay advisor and life mentor from time to time. At my wedding, I looked at my two best friends and fellow Sr. DeMolay and knew he was right. After the birth of my son, I broke down and cried after someone offhandedly told me the Dad Trefts would be proud of me at that moment. And when I saw my second son smile for the first time, it was a sly grin that brought me to offer a silent prayer of gratefulness to him and all that paved the way for me in life and DeMolay.
Very few of the several million members that have taken the same vows as me has ever worked for DeMolay international. I am reminded daily of my good fortune and blessings. My own story is not the story of wild riches or a fountain of good blessings. My DeMolay story is that of incredible and selfless individual who made a life worth living my reality.
You see, it isn't about what happens every moment of every day…sometimes the greatest gift it the fact someone even made the moment possible. Thank you DeMolay for teaching me the blessing of and fulfillment of opportunity and potential.