Thursday, August 28, 2014

Walt Disney, DeMolay, and the Founder's Cross

Today's blog post is one of the most exciting I've ever been able to make.

Previously, on this blog, we've talked about Walt Disney's membership in DeMolay and shared with you some correspondence he wrote about the organization. A couple of weeks ago, I posted my research about the Founder's Cross, of which Walt Disney was a recipient.

Now, thanks to the work of some fellow researchers, we've secured photos of Bro. Disney's Founder's Cross and membership card. These are in possession of the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, CA.

These pictures are absolutely amazing and credit for them is due to Mr. Ed Brucker (who's son is a member of Missouri DeMolay) who has been assisting me with tracking down information regarding the Founder's Cross. I'd also like to offer public kudos to "Dad" Tom Varner, of Virginia, who has been compiling biographies of several recipients (with hopes of having a book of biographies available at some point.)

This is what researching DeMolay history is all about - Brothers working together to make discoveries about our past and preserve them for the future!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

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