The namesake of the Order of DeMolay was born in, France in 1244. At 21, DeMolay joined the Knights Templar. The Knight’s Templar was founded in 1118, when nine Knights took vows to protect Jerusalem and the Holy Lands. The Templar’s quickly earned a name for valor and heroism. Sanctioned by the Catholic Church, many nobles and princes sent their sons to join the Knights Templar, and the Order became very wealthy and popular. Because of their uprightness and solid credit, they were the bankers for many, including the French Royal Family. In 1298, Jacques DeMolay was named Grand Master of the Knights Templar, a position of power and prestige.
He was however, in a difficult position as their raison d’etre had ceased with the loss of the Holy Lands. Philip IV of France, like much European royalty, deeply in debt to the Templar’s, set out to take over the Knights. On Friday, October 13, 1307, Phillip and French Pope Clement tried to suppress the Order throughout Europe, with false accusations, arrests, torture and executions. The rest of Europe found them innocent and left them to merge with other orders. For seven years, DeMolay and the Knights suffered torture and inhuman conditions. DeMolay stayed loyal to his comrades and their beliefs. On March 18, 1314, the Pope planned for DeMolay & his three first dignitaries to publicly confess their guilt and be reconciled to the church. Jacques DeMolay instead professed his and the Templar’s innocence. King Philip ordered him burned at the stake that day. This brave death deeply impressed the people and thus the story of Jacques DeMolay became a testimonial to loyalty and friendship.
DeMolay Founder. The Order of DeMolay was founded in 1919, in Kansas City, Missouri by Frank S. Land. Land was a community leader, who at 28, already had a successful business career as a restaurateur. Frank S. Land was selected to act as the director of the Masonic Relief and Employment Bureau of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. This charity would come to help hundreds and hundreds of families. Land’s Blue Lodge Senior Warden asked Frank, to find a part-time job for Louis Lower, the oldest son of a recently deceased lodge member.
After meeting Lower, Land had discussions with his wife Nell, and Frank decided there was a need for an organization where boys would have the opportunity to associate with other boys, share common interests, learn responsibility and other skills that would benefit them throughout their lives. His ideal model for this organization included having business or professional men, Masons, taking interest in the young people, being a friend to them, advising them. They decided to form a club and meet at the Masonic Temple. The first meeting was with Lower and eight friends. Heroic figures from history & the Bible were discussed for the group’s name. A picture of DeMolay caught their interest and Land explained his story of loyalty and courage. The group liked the name, but Land encouraged them to think on it and come back on March 24, 1919 with other suggestions and more friends. That night 31 members voted on the name DeMolay.
Together with Frank S. Land, the nine founding members of DeMolay left a legacy that has endured to this day. Their commitment to the order is represented on the DeMolay crest originally by pearls, which were then replaced by rubies as each one of these members died.