Monday, August 25, 2014

George Washington's Advice to Students

Today's post comes from frequent guest writer "Dad" Peter Brusoe. Enjoy!

Saturday evening, I was standing on a front porch of a country estate looking at almost 2,000 17-18 year olds from across the United States and the world.  There were conversations happening and you could hear southern drawls, the clipped northeastern style of talking, the flat “A”s of Wisconsin and Minnesota, some Long Islanders tawlking, some Spanish, some French and some Mandarin. It sounded like a waterfall with all of the noise and the air had a spark of electricity about it that was contagious.   This must be what roadies and back-up musicians feel like before the star of the show comes on.  All of a sudden a man goes to the microphone and the waterfall becomes a brook.  He introduces the next speaker, General George Washington, the first President of the United States and the owner of Mount Vernon, the estate that we were all on. The waterfall is now as silent as a desert, you could hear a pin drop.

This was the class of 2018 for the George Washington University, the premier university in Washington, D.C. This was their first night together as classmates, friends, and colleagues. I was lucky enough to be invited to join as the Masonic & Eastern Star Charities of DC and the Scottish Rite Charities were funders.  Most of these students were born in the years 1995-1997.  What could a man born in 1732 have to share with the Millennials of today? It turns out quite a lot.

George Washington was not a historically verbose speaker.  His second inaugural address was 135 words, in contrast President Obama’s second inaugural was 2,137 George Bush’s second inaugural was 2,062 words. The reenactor was extremely good.  Even in talking about Masonry it took a couple of tries to get out that his membership was in  Concordia Lodge No. 67 in PA and not Alexandria No. 22 or Fredericksburg Lodge No. 4. Similar in manner and style, he kept his talk brief.

He spoke about the need of integrity, the importance of tolerance for others as a good basis upon which to build one’s life.  He then talked about something that Dr. Benjamin Franklin said “Well done is better than well said.”  He cleared his throat and said “or simply put, deeds not words.”  

For us as DeMolays and DeMolay advisors this is good advice we too should follow.  How often do we talk about doing things for DeMolay, or talk about what the chapter will do or talk about the importance of sharing DeMolay, but sometimes we fail to do it.   We should strive to live up to the standards and values of President Washington in our daily lives.

He closed by recommending to the students his rules of civility, or more formally “110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation” especially the last one “Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.”

As DeMolays we are helped along with this process by having our obligations to check and help guide our conscience. But we need to always be mindful to ensure that the spark stays alive in our daily actions.  If this blog entry is the first time you’re hearing about Washington’s rules, I would recommend reading them and seeing how well you conform to them in our daily lives.

There’s a link here:

George Washington finished speaking and he was deluged with applause.  The message had connected and after the dessert reception and candle lit tours we boarded busses back to Washington, D.C. and each of us was handed bracelet that said “Deeds Not Words.”

How do your deeds speak for you?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Questions DeMolays Ask Their Executive Officers

DeMolay is supervised by an Executive Officer in each jurisdiction that is a part of DeMolay International. These Executive Officers are given very broad and expansive powers, but, interestingly, there isn't a long line of people who want the position.  At the Key Man University program this year, there were three DeMolay Executive Officers present, representing Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and the Canadian province of Ontario. All three participated in an open forum EO Roundtable, and took written questions from the 37 members who were present. It is interesting just to see the questions that were asked:

What is an Executive Officer?
What is a State Officer?
What are the exact roles/responsibilities of an Executive Officer?
How many countries is DeMolay in throughout the world?
How do you become a State master Councilor?
Why can't we eat in our rooms?
Who was the first member of DeMolay?
How long does it take to start a new Chapter?
Is there a DeMolay song?
Do you need specific skills to be the Organist in a Chapter?
How do you put on your pants?
How was the Sweetheart Program started?
Is there an International Sweetheart?  If so, is the role similar to the PA State Sweetheart?
In your opinion, what is the most challenging DeMolay position?  Explain why.
How is an Executive Officer elected, selected or appointed?
How do you become an Executive Officer?  What does an Executive Officer do?
It is called State Master Councilor in the United States, so what is the title in Canada?
How many DeMolay Chapters are in the U.S. and how many are active?
Besides an application, what is necessary to become an elected state officer?
What is the best way to become State Master Councilor?
How do you become a State Officer?
Why can sweethearts see parts of the DeMolay Degree in some states, and not in others?
What does an Executive Officer actually do?  How many should there be?
What age can you become Executive Officer?
How long is an Executive Officer's term?
What do you have to do to get your PMC-MSA?
What do you have to do to run for State Master Councilor?
Why do we have an Executive Officer?
Are EOs also for sweethearts, or do sweethearts have their own?
Do you like your job?
How much do you weigh?
What's your middle name?
What did you look like when you were a kid?  How old are you?
How old are you?  Have you ever been State Master Councilor?
How do you become International Master Councilor?
How much authority are Advisors allowed to display?
What is the hardest decision you've made as EO?
Dad Labagh, why do you like the Miami Dolphins?
Do EOs have to attend International DeMolay meetings?
How come the Chocolate Milk is sooooo goooood in Elizabethtown?
Why can't girls join DeMolay?  (Please be serious!)
How come Master Councilors think they are "all that!"?
What has been your favorite experience with DeMolay, and why?
What would you change about DeMolay International?
Who told you about DeMolay, and how long ago was that?
How long have you been EO in your jurisdiction?
WHY did you become Executive Officer?  Did you WANT to become Executive Officer?
When were State Sweetheart capes used?
What is the job of the State Master Councilor?
If you could change the name of any Chapter office, what would that be, and what would you change it to?
Do you like unicorns?

As you can imagine, some of the answers were JUST as interesting!
Do you have any questions for your Executive Officer?  Go ahead-- ask him!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Ten Films Every DeMolay Should See

Today's post comes from "Dad" Peter Brusoe, Past International Master Councilor, and all around chipper guy. Enjoy!

Leaving KeyMan University 2014 “Dad” Zack Panitzke (Clap, clap, clap, clap) and I joked around about the idea of having a film minor, or during free time screening a movie that is culturally significant, but perhaps not known by DeMolays.   Indeed, in the car ride back there were films I had seen that “Dad” Panitzke had not, and vice-versa. 

The film minor is probably not happening, but there are a bunch of films out there that DeMolays should see because they are fun,  instructive and span the generations.  The films are not in any particular order, and there are other films that should be on this list.  Do you have films you want to add? Email me at with your list and your reasons.

The Goonies:  This was a basic staple of any child growing up in the 1980s.  Written by Christopher Columbus (Home Alone, Harry Potter, Mrs. Doubtfire) this film involves a group of kids who go on the search for pirate treasure.  It’s not an epic film, but it’s one that is good for jokes, humor, and a sense of connection that people feel undertaking a journey.  Active DeMolays may recognize Sean Astin of Samwise Gamgee fame. 
DeMolay Lesson:  The quest is best with friends and brothers.

Chariots of Fire:  You’ve probably heard the sound track to this, and perhaps even seen it parodied in slow motion.  This film, based on real events, follows the training schedule of Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams as they prepare and train for the 1924 Olympics in Paris.  They came from different backgrounds but had the same passion and overcame odds in their training regime. Active DeMolays may recognize Ian Holm of Bilbo Baggins Fame.
DeMolay Lesson:  Keep to your personal convictions,

To Kill a Mockingbird:  Gregory Peck is one of the most talented actors ever. This film adaption of Harper Lee’s Classic novel is an amazing story in personal convictions.  Though you’ve probably read the story and have studied the book in school, Peck’s performance is masterful.
DeMolay lesson:  Be the voice for those without a voice.

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington:  Seven years before the making of “It’s a Wonderful Life”  Frank Capra teams up with Jimmy Stewart for this amazing film.  This film follows Jefferson Smith as he’s appointed to serve in the United States Senate.  As soon as he gets there he faces a tremendous amount of pressure from the old guard, but he stands up and does what’s right for the people back home and becomes beloved.
DeMolay Lesson:  In the face of pessimism, optimism can win out!

The Emperorer’s Club: This film received mixed reviews. But I liked it.  In some ways it’s an updated version of Mr. Chipps, but there is a good moral lesson in the end.  Kevin Kine gives another masterful performance. 
DeMolay Lesson: Don’t be Shutruk Nahunte.

Tora! Tora! Tora:  This film was not a critical success and it has no major stars except Jason Robards.  This film tells the story leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor.  It is historical, it is well researched, and it has been credited as being one of the major sources of information most Americans have about Pearl Harbor.
DeMolay Lesson:  Love of Country

Midway:  This film should be watched AFTER Tora! Tora! Tora! It recounts the success of the American Navy at the Battle of Midway.  It features an amazing set of actors including Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda, James Coburn, Hal Holbrook, Robert Mitchum, and Robert Wagner. If these names are not familiar with you, they should be they were among the best of our parents’ generation.
DeMolay Lesson:  After getting knocked down, we can get back up again.


Rocky:  This is a film that everyone seems to know, and they can quote “Yo Adrian” and maybe can sing a few bars of “Gonna Fly Now” but when you ask them who Cuff and Link are they gave you a blank stare.   It’s a good movie, and a piece of Americana.  In each of us there is a Rocky that we need to find and tap.
DeMolay Lesson:  Believe in yourself.

Remember the Titans:  This film plays a bit loose with facts and real life events.  But it does capture a moment in time when things like race separated us.  I first saw this film at a DeMolay Leadership Conference because it rained and we couldn’t play sports.   Denzel Washington gives a masterful performance.  Neat fact: The Real TC Williams High School is about a mile or so from the Scottish Rite Building in Alexandria, VA where MATOC was a few years ago.
DeMolay Lesson:  Brotherhood.

A Man for All Seasons:  This film features an amazing performance by Paul Scofield and won six academy awards.  The story tells the falling out between Sir Thomas More and King Henry VIII of England.  More most choose between his personal beliefs and going along with in-crowd. 
Power house quote:  “I think that when statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties, they lead their country by a short route to chaos.”
DeMolay Lesson:  Personal integrity is worth more than temporal power.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Match a Shirt, Suit, and Tie - Oh, my!

It's our final day of Blog Week here at PA DeMolay and I would be remiss if I didn't offer up something on one of my other favorite topics - men's fashion and grooming. We've spent the first four days on history, so it seems high time that we broach a more modern day subject.

During Key Man University, "Dad" Dan Loughin taught a class on the "Art of Manliness." In it, he spoke about many manly skills, such as shining your shoes, properly tucking in one's shirt, and good personal habits to keep. One question came up from the young men, but was tabled until later, as it was quite broad - "How do I match shirts, suits, and ties?"

As I explored the Art of Manliness website (, I came across this video that explains it quite succinctly. Check it out!

I hope you've enjoyed Blog Week and perhaps learned something along the way. See you Monday!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Real Jacques DeMolay

Whew! It's day four of Blog Week and I've decided to take a break from my ramblings and let someone else share with you today. Last week, during Key Man University, I had a chance to talk with "Dad" Rick Itzenhuiser of Wisconsin DeMolay. During the conference, he gave a presentation on the history of the real Jacques DeMolay versus the Jacques portrayed in our degree work. I thought it would be a great piece to make available for all members of the Order.

It is not a paper, per se, but rather a series of thoughts that lead a discussion, so please read it as such.

Thanks to "Dad" Itzenhuiser for allowing me to publish his artcile! I hope you enjoy it!

A comparison of the represented “truths” portrayed in the DeMolay Degree

to those of actual history.


The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon.
Interesting comparison: Nine original Templars - nine original DeMolay

How accurate is the Orator's opening speech for the DeMolay Degree? 
For the most part it is accurate in as much as it puts in several disclaimers. History has shown that Philip IV was a scoundrel.   Truth – Philip IV orchestrated the arrest of the Templars on Friday, October 13, 1307. In fact it was planned for months. Coordinated between many countries. Many doubted the truth of the charges.

Why did Philip IV have them arrested? 
Money – owed a vast fortune to Templars. 10 years earlier he had borrowed a large sum for the dowry for his daughter, Isabella. He greatly needed a way to cancel that debt.

Were DeMolay and Philip IV long time adversaries? 
FALSE - DeMolay was Godfather to Robert, son of Philip IV. On Thursday, October 12, 1307, DeMolay was a pallbearer at the funeral of Princess Catherine, Philip IV sister-in-law.

Was the commission impartial? 
YES and NO.
DeMolay Trial

The DeMolay Degree portrays the activities of two separate commissions.

Initial Commission (April 1, 1310 – December 1310) ANTI Templar (TRUE) Pope Clement appointed a commission favorable to the wants of Philip IV. The pope was afraid that the king would take the same course with him as he had done with the two previous popes – it is highly suspected that France played a heavy role in the untimely deaths of Pope Boniface VIII and Benedict XI.
Archbishop of Narbonne (Friend of Philip IV)
Archbishop of Sens (22 years old cousin of Philip IV)  He is the model for the Jr. Inquisitor in the DeMolay Degree.
Bishop of Trent 

Final Commission (appointed December 1313) attitude was against the Templars. (MOSTLY FALSE)
Master Inquisitor; Nicholas of Freauville
Sr. Inquisitor; Arnaud Nouvel
Jr. Inquisitor; Arnaud of Auch
Assistant - Archbishop of Sens 

Other Players
Marshal of the Commission; William de Nogaret, keeper of the seal, close advisor to the king and orchestrator of the plan to bring down the Order of the Temple.

In reality 127 total (presented in March of 1310).
Hypocrisy and Treachery in conducting the Crusades in the Holy Land   (FALSE)
Betraying the King (FALSE) the Order of the Temple did not answer to any King. ONLY to the Pope.
Heresy (TRUE) MOST of the accusations where based on heresy.
Living in wealth while the poor starved. (TRUE) However, that was a responsibility of the State not the Church.
Conniving with the infidel to make the crusades fail in their Holy purpose. (TRUE and FALSE)

DeMolay Degree direction says "springing to his feet" – not likely. Although he was never tortured, he was 70 years old and had been languishing in a dungeon for 7 years.

Which Templars were brought before the final commission?
Jacques DeMolay (1244-1314)  – Grand Master  (1293-1314)
Guy of Auvergne – Preceptor of Auvergne (in England) Real name is Imbert Blanke – died in irons in England – 1313.
Godfrey de Goneville – Preceptor of Poitou and Aquitaine
Hughes de Peralde – former Treasurer, bitter rival of DeMolay and close friend of Philip IV
(when Tibald of Gaudin died, he was DeMolay’s challenger for election to GM) the only Templar not to recant his confession) He suffered no torture and live relatively comfortable in prison.
Geoffrey de Charney – Preceptor of Normandy

Was DeMolay the primary defender of the Order?   
Not likely.  November 1309 Stated that he wants to defend the Order. But not personally as he is “a knight, unlettered and poor”

The Defenders: April 1, 1310
Peter of Bologna (Priest with legal training) Most of the words spoken by DeMolay in the Degree would be better attributed to Bologna - December 17, 1310 - disappeared
Reginald of Provins (Priest highly educated) December 17, 1310 - disappeared
William of Chambonnet (Knight) illiterate
Bertrand of Sartiges (Knight) illiterate

Until the final day, DeMolay never appeared before any commission; only “confessors”. This is because he stood fast in his position that he was answerable only to the Pope.
Much of the defense sentiment, used in the DeMolay Degree, can be attributed to Peter of Bologna.

Did the commission had a pile of confessions from other Templars?
TRUE – it’s amazing what truths the torture of medieval dentistry can produce. Interesting note; the inquisition would tackle only one charge at a time. Once they got the answer they were looking for THEN they would move on to the next charge.

Did DeMolay deny the charges? 
TRUE and FALSE - DeMolay confessed and recanted 3 times.

Did the commission offered DeMolay a bribe? 
FALSE – it was made VERY clear from the very beginning that DeMolay was up the creek. There was no way out, it was just a question of how miserable the king would make it for him.

Did the Jr. Inquisitor order DeMolay to be take to the rack? 
FALSE. It is generally agreed that DeMolay was never subjected to physical torture.

Who was NOT burned at the stake?
Guy of Auvergne, Godfrey de Goneville, Hughes de Peralde   

Did the Lord Constable enter the trial and order DeMolay to the stake?
NO.   First - March 18, 1314 – DeMolay and   (de Charney) recanted on the steps of Notre Dame in front of a large public audience. Took the commission completely by surprise. After DeMolay and de Charney recant for the final time, they are taken back to the dungeon, word is sent to Philip IV.   Philip then orders that DeMolay and de Charney be burned at the stake as relapsed heretics. Well within the laws of the day.

How many Crusades, in the Holy Land, were launched?

Which one did DeMolay lead? 
NONE.  The last presence of Crusaders ended on August 14, 1291.

It is a shame that the author of the ritual did not have DeMolays FINAL recant from the steps of Notre Dame, as reported by contemporaries who supposedly heard him say this:

DeMolay: “I think it is only right that at so solemn a moment, when my life has so little time to run, I should reveal the deception which has been practiced and speak up for the truth. Before heaven and earth and all of you here as my witnesses, I admit that I am guilty of the grossest iniquity. But the iniquity is that I have lied in admitting the disgusting charges laid against the Order. I declare, and I must declare, that the Order is innocent. Its purity and saintliness are beyond question. I have indeed confessed that the Order is guilty, but I have done so only to save myself from terrible tortures by saying what my enemies wished me to say. Other knights who have retracted their confessions have been led to the stake, yet the thought of dying is not so awful that I shall confess foul crimes which have never been committed. Life is offered to me, but at the price of infamy. At such a price, life is not worth having. I do not grieve that I must die if life can be bought only by piling one lie upon another.”