DeMolay International, of which North Carolina DeMolay is a part, is the premier youth organization for young men between the ages of 12 and 21. DeMolay teaches valuable leadership and life skills to prepare the future leaders of tomorrow. Learn more about DeMolay through the following section.
What is DeMolay?
DeMolay International is designed to provide a good moral environment to young men while teaching leadership skills. The ultimate aim is to build better young men which will, in turn, encourage men to become better citizens, husbands, fathers, friends and leaders of the future.
It currently exists in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and nine foreign countries. In the United States, there are 17,000 current members in hundreds of chapters.
What are the requirements to join and what is the process for joining?
To be a member of DeMolay a young man must:
- Be between the ages of 12 and 21
- Be of good character and reputation
- Have a belief in God, a Supreme Being, or Deity.
In order to join, the young man must complete a brief membership application and submit it to the chapter along with the chapter’s membership fee. The chapter then votes on the potential member. After being elected to membership, the candidate will be asked to attend a two-part induction ceremony.
What is the induction ceremony like?
The DeMolay induction ceremony is the beginning of a young man’s commitment to better himself by becoming a DeMolay. This orientation and explanation sets DeMolay apart from other organizations, because young men present it to all new members.
The ceremony itself contains two sections or “degrees”. The first is called the Initiatory Degree. It is a solemn event in which the young man is acquainted with the founding principles of DeMolay. The second section is called the DeMolay Degree. It is a play portrayed by the DeMolay members. The subject of the play is loyalty because it tells the story of Jacques DeMolay (who was the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar in the 14th century). The lesson of the story for today’s youth is to always be loyal to your beliefs, family, friends, and commitments.
What are the vows of a DeMolay?
- I promise to be a better son
- I promise to love and serve God, my country and my fellow men
- I promise to honor and protect every woman
- I promise to slander no one
- I promise to aid and uphold the public schools
- I promise to be loyal to my friends and brothers
How do DeMolays learn leadership skills?
DeMolay prides itself on preparing young men for careers above and beyond education. Education is vitally important and DeMolay supplements it with specific training. A process of exciting increased responsibilities teaches leadership skills. The Chapter has office positions which members may hold, such as Master Councilor (president) and Senior Councilor (vice president). Members move through the ranks and obtain higher offices, much like business positions. Each position carries more and more responsibilities. If he participates, here are just some of the things that a young man will learn in DeMolay that will prepare him for leadership, giving him a head start on his classmates in the race for scholarships and jobs:
- Public speaking
- Appearance and image maintenance
- How to plan events such as dances and banquets
- How to run a business meeting / parliamentary procedure
- How to prepare agendas
- How to assign, utilize, and execute committees
- Time management skills
How does a young man learn good character in DeMolay?
Upon joining DeMolay, the young man will interact with other quality young men and Advisors who are dedicated to upholding the aforementioned virtues. Young men act more upstanding when in the company of other quality young men. Acting in an upstanding manner becomes a habit. This habit helps demonstrate good character now and serves to mold a mature way of thinking as he obtains adulthood.
What types of activities does a DeMolay chapter have?
The activities of a DeMolay Chapter are limited only by the imaginations of its members. Members of DeMolay chapters plan and hold social functions, fundraising projects, civic service projects, athletic activities, travel opportunities, and much, much more.
In addition, there are opportunities to serve in statewide and international capacities, to visit other states and other DeMolay chapters, to earn scholarships and prizes, and interact with our sister organizations, the Rainbows and Job’s Daughters for young ladies.
Why haven’t I heard of DeMolay?
You may not have heard of DeMolay perhaps, but maybe you’ve heard of some of the people who were DeMolays as teenagers. Have you ever heard of these famous DeMolay alumni? Entertainers Walt Disney, John Wayne, Burl Ives, Buddy Ebson, and Mel Blanc; newsmen Dan Rather, Walter Cronkite, David Goodnow, and Paul Harvey; writer John Steinbeck; Coach Tom Osborne; Astronaut Frank Borman; Governors Carroll Campbell and Mel Carnahan; athletes Fran Tarkenton and Pete Rose; or former President Bill Clinton? These are just a few of the millions of leaders that have passed through the membership rolls of DeMolay.
Is DeMolay a charity?
Yes. DeMolay is a recognized 501(c)(3) charity by the IRS. Therefore, contributions to the organization generally are tax deductible. Our adult workers generally may deduct certain expenses incurred by volunteering for a chapter (such as gas, tolls, lodging, etc).
Is DeMolay a religious organization?
No. Among the requirements for membership is the belief in a Supreme Being, but not one of a particular doctrine, sect, or denomination. A young man’s religious convictions are his own. DeMolay members include those that follow Christianity, Judaism, Mormonism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and other religious groups.
DeMolay does not involve itself in religious discussions. It merely recognizes the importance of faith in a young man’s life. Through the virtue of Reverence for Sacred Things, we seek to remind our members to rely upon and use their own faith in life, as well as respect the beliefs of others.
Who can sponsor a DeMolay chapter?
Each DeMolay chapter is sponsored by a group of Freemasons, a Masonic Lodge, or some appendant Masonic group such as Scottish Rite, York Rite or Shrine. The responsibilities of a sponsoring body are: to provide the chapter a place to meet free of charge; to provide adult leadership and guidance through maintaining an active Advisory Council; and to assist the chapter whenever and however needed.
How did DeMolay and Masonry come to be associated?
The founder of DeMolay, Frank S. Land, was himself a Mason. As DeMolay grew and new chapters were being formed in the 1920s, Land realized that each DeMolay chapter would require a group of quality men to provide guidance and supervision for the young men. He felt that requiring DeMolay chapters to be sponsored by Masonic Lodges or a group of Masons would ensure that there would always be service oriented men of quality and character to serve on the Advisory Council of a chapter.
Is DeMolay a junior Masonic organization?
No. The Masons do not sponsor DeMolay to someday obtain Masons from its members. They are merely concerned with preparing young men for the future. Future membership in the Masonic fraternity is strictly up to the young man once he reaches the age for joining Freemasonry.
Who supervises the activities of a DeMolay chapter?
Activities and projects of a DeMolay chapter are always supervised by a group of adults who comprise an Advisory Council. This group is usually made up of Masons from the sponsoring body but can be any adult: male/female, Masonic related or not (such as parents, coaches, teachers, clergy, Senior DeMolays over the age of 21, etc), that has an interest in working with the young men. These advisors must go through an approval process, background verification, and receive specific DeMolay training before being able to work with a chapter. DeMolay wants to provide a safe environment for its members and the scrutiny of its adult workers is a small part of DeMolay’s commitment to youth protection.
As a parent, how can I be involved?
The involvement of parents is always welcomed and encouraged. There are many ways a parent can be involved. You can serve the chapter directly as a DeMolay Advisor or Adult Volunteer. Advisors are discussed above. Adult Volunteers help the Advisory Council with special projects such as refreshments or transportation, or may be able to bring some expertise to the chapter such as a presentation or educational program.
Parents are welcome to attend the induction ceremonies as well as any chapter meeting or function. Many DeMolays want their parents to attend public functions, athletic events, social activities and civic projects. In DeMolay there is a place for any parent wishing to be active with their son.
So, how do we get started?
DeMolay has chapters in several parts of the state. If there’s not a chapter close to you, you can contact the Executive Officer in North Carolina to see if there is interest in your area to start a chapter. If you’re lucky enough to have a chapter nearby, you can obtain a membership application and submit it to the chapter for consideration.
Special thanks to Louisiana DeMolay.This page was adapted for North Carolina from a Louisiana DeMolay publication with permission.