Friday, January 29, 2010

The Other Frank

"Dad" Labagh recently wrote a blog post about "Dad" Land, and pondered on some important points relating to "Dad" Land and his place in history. His post made me think "What about the other Frank?" I am referring to "Dad" Frank Marshall, who wrote the DeMolay Ritual.

Over the years the mystique of the DeMolay Ritual has grown. Members and advisors have passed on rumors and conjecture as to how the script was written and the man who wrote it. Not too long ago "Dad" Labagh gave me a copy of a program from Lancaster Chapter dating back to the early days of DeMolay. In that program was an article, written by "Dad" Marshall himself, about the creation of the Ritual.

It early in the summer of 1919, in Kansas City, Missouri, when "Dad" Land approached "Dad" Marshall about penning a piece of ritual for his new boys club. "Dad" Marhsall writes "In a way I was the logical selection for such a task, from Brother Land's standpoint, for I was one of the few newspaper men in teh Scottish Rite Bodies, though by no means was I the only writer;" This simple request would send "Dad" Marshall on personal journey, the outcome of which would be a document used by millions of young men for the next several decades.

"Dad" Marhsall further writes "... but one of the greatest joys I have ever experienced was vouchsafed (SAT word! - Editor) me when I read my first draft of the Opening and Closing and the Initiatory and DeMolay Degrees to Brother Land. The very spot where I read it has a sanctity for me. Brother Land sat at the secretary's desk in the auditorium of the Scottish Rite Temple at 15th and Troost Avenue, in Kansas City and I sat on the step."

It was there, on that very day, that "Dad" Marshall received the blessing of "Dad" Land for his piece of ritual. Interestingly enough, "Dad" Marshall did not create the ritual with the floorwork included. He had only penned the language. It was "Dad" Land who inserted the movements that the young men would follow.

In commenting on the nature of what he had written "Dad" Marshall states "I purposely wrote the DeMolay degree in a key very different from the didectics (Look! Another SAT word!) of the Initiatory Degree. I tried to make it akin to the dramatic instict inherent in all boys and to make it avoid monotony when compared to the Initiatory degree." Even back then "Dad" Marshall knew that Degree work could be boring, but he wanted to ensure that future generations could put their own spin on the work!

"Dad" Marshall would go on to pen several more pieces of DeMolay Ritual, including the Memorial Service, the Institution Service, the Majority Service, and the Funeral Service.

"Dad" Marshall left quite a legacy in those little blue books that so many DeMolays are familiar with. Next time you sit down to learn a part, or go over your floorwork, think of "Dad" Marshall sitting under the shady pine tree in his front lawn at 4506 Jefferson Street in Kansas City, and realize just how important his contribution was.

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

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