Wednesday, February 25, 2015

An Outdated Virtue?

How Can It Be Relevant If I Can't Pronounce It?
by "Dad" Thomas R. Labagh

Filial Love?  What's that?  What kind of a word is filial?  How is it pronounced?  What does that mean, anyway?  And why do so many Chapters have a Preceptor Cloth that says, LOVE OF PARENTS instead?  

Let’s go back to English Class for a moment:  The root of many of our words is Latin, and the Latin word for son is “filius.”  Filial Love is simply Love that is befitting, or worthy, of a son or daughter.  It is a love that is both automatic upon birth, and essential to the success of any civilization.  Yes, it is Love of Parents, but it is SO MUCH MORE than just an emotional attachment.

Filial Love, for DeMolays, is the PRACTICE of courtesy, affection, and obedience in the home.  We CANNOT SAY that we love our parents if we do not treat them with the same respect we demand from them for ourselves.  We CANNOT SAY we love our parents if we shrug off THEIR natural tendencies to show affection—those darn hugs and kisses in front of our friends—YUCHHH!—especially when we need to give those hugs and kisses back to Mom and Dad.  And we cannot say we love our parents, if we look for every way to thwart their rules, their curfews, their chores, their demands, and worst of all, their expectations of our success in school, work, sports, church, and yes, even DeMolay.  SAYING we love our parents, or even SAYING, “MOM… DAD… I LOVE YOU… isn't enough for DeMolays.  We must show it in our daily actions.

Sometimes, I wonder about the relevance of this virtue.  If you think about it, it is a strange virtue in today’s times, because, statistically, it doesn't have much meaning to many of our DeMolay Brothers!  So many of our members do not come from “traditional” families with “a Mom, and a Dad, two kids, and a dog.”  Recently, watching an the Initiatory Degree, I couldn't help wondering how many of our new brothers standing there COULD NOT RELATE to the simple concept of “HONOR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER.”  

How many don’t have traditional parents, or even one parent at home, but rather, live with extended family, or a blended family, or in a foster home, or even an institutional home?  How did they feel when hearing this quaint language about the “home-loving, mother-loving, father loving young man?”  How did they relate to this Preceptor?  I could see some of their faces and could almost hear some of them say, “This doesn’t have any meaning for me….” or even worse… “Don’t these people know how much it hurts me to stand here and listen to this?”  And so I worry that we turn them off, and send them away with a view of our Order as simply out of sync with the times… an Order that has no meaning for them.  

Or, does it?

The Seven Cardinal Virtues are not  standards we all MUST REACH, or risk calling ourselves losers. They are, rather, IDEALS that we strive to promote and perpetuate. Because they are ideals, I would suggest that Filial Love is perhaps the most IMPORTANT of our Virtues, and we should give it most of our attention!  Here is why—-  sociologists give great weight to the strength of a family unit in the ultimate success or failure of a child to become a useful, productive and happy member of society.  Children who grow up with both of their parents statistically have the greatest chance at success.  The more traumatic a childhood has been, the less likely the probability of success, and NOTHING can be more traumatic than the loss of one or more parents, for whatever reason!

Here is where DeMolay can make a huge difference in the lives of its members!  Children-at-risk are most often those who come from non-traditional families—NOT ALL—I don’t mean to generalize—but statistically speaking, this is the truth.   DeMolay does two things in this situation—we talk about an ideal that we can all look at and strive to enact in our own families when we are old enough to have them.  Even more pertinent, we provide “surrogate” Moms and Dads who become role models and who give the personal attention to each and every member that ensures a successful Chapter, and perhaps, a successful life!

Do you remember how DeMolay started?  Dad Land’s heart bled for the quiet suffering of Louis Lower and his three siblings, whose father had died of an infection in his leg.  He reached out to Louis, gave him a job, became his friend, helped him finish High School, and ultimately felt that Louis was as close to a son as he would ever have.  He filled a void in Louis’ life at a time when that young man needed adult guidance and acceptance.  He modeled the Order of DeMolay’s future purpose—to become a family unit for those who needed Dads, Brothers, Sisters and Mothers. 

The First Virtue wasn't given its place by accident.  The language of the First Preceptor is not out of touch.  If someone hasn't grown up in a traditional family, how can he know its value?  How can he understand the emotional strength provided a son by both a father and a mother?  How can he say, "I want MY children to grow up in a better environment," if he cannot see or experience this model for life?  

In DeMolay, we offer a FRATERNITY FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY, wherein all CAN learn to value something that they may never have experienced in their own family life.

Filial Love, for DeMolays, is the practice of courtesy, affection, and dutiful obedience in our homes, with our parents or the adult care-givers we are fortunate to live with, and in our extended DeMolay family. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Each Chapter, By Ballot, Pledged Hearty Support...

"Dad" Land's Method of Effecting Drastic Change in the Order
by "Dad" Thomas R. Labagh

This 1934 "Secretary General's Bulletin" is an incredible example of how the Order of DeMolay has drastically changed from its early days of success, to its present deep cultural malaise.

Points to consider:

(1)   1934-- This is in the midst of the Great Depression... when DeMolay desperately needed money.

(2)   "Dad" Frank S. Land, as Secretary General, reached out and asked ALL the Chapters to respond to a question about a decision that would materially affect every Chapter's investment in regalia, clothing and jewelry.

(3)   There were responses from 1142 Chapters!  And 1109 Chapters (97%) were in agreement.

(4)   "Dad" Land knew how to get support for his ideas, by asking each Chapter to pledge "hearty support to the Grand Council in this matter and will seek to impress every member with the necessity of a personal cooperation in this endeavor."

(5)   Before the vote was taken, I would bet that the new emblem was already  designed, samples created and ready for production.

(6)   There was a FIRM commitment to protect the new emblem copyright by prosecuting vendors and pressuring  ANYONE infringing on the patent rights.

(7)   The stated reason was to REDUCE MATERIALLY the cost of jewelry to MEMBERS OF THE ORDER OF DeMOLAY, with only enough of a markup of cost to "insure proper handling."

Questions to think about:

(1)   When was the last time your Chapter received a communication from DeMolay International with the instruction that it must be read in two consecutive formal Chapter meetings?

(2)   When was the last time your Chapter's opinion was solicited by DeMolay International on any topic?  (Or by your Executive Officer?   Mea culpa, mea culpa!)

(3)   When was the last time EACH and EVERY DeMOLAY in the order was asked to support any DeMolay endeavor?

(4)   Why wasn't there more of a profit motive at work, when "Dad" Land brought the sales operation inside the DeMolay offices in Kansas City, Missouri?

Monday, February 16, 2015

So You Want to Be the Key Man Youth Director

How To Apply and Interview to Become the Key Man Youth Director

by "Dad" Zack Panitzke, 

President, Key Man University 2015

At last year’s Key Man University, we received a lot of great feedback about everything from the classes to the meals to the sporting events. The most consistent question I heard was: how can I be next year’s Youth Director?

After long discussions and intense debate (really; it lasted a whole ten minutes), we've made a decision. Beginning today, we’re accepting applications to be the 2015 Key Man University Youth Director.  

We’ll accept applications (see link below) until Friday, March 6, 2015. If your application is accepted, we’ll contact you to schedule an interview. Interviews will begin at the PA DeMolay Basketball Tournament and run through March 20, 2015. After that date, we’ll announce our selection.

In order to qualify, you must have attended at least one Key Man Conference in the past. It is not necessary to be a DeMolay in Pennsylvania, but you must be an Active DeMolay under age 21 through the end of the Conference.  You also must be able to arrive at the Masonic Conference Center--Patton Campus in Elizabethtown, PA no later than Saturday, August 1 and leave no earlier than noon Saturday, August 8.

Read through the responsibilities and application process below. You might also review the Key Man University online materials to see what the program is like if you didn’t attend in 2014. Finding out what you can about the job and the employer is an essential part of any job application process.


As the Youth Director, you’re responsible to be the face of Key Man University. You’ll get to work with the Directors and the rest of the staff to plan and execute the conference. Before the conference, there are a few specific responsibilities, including:
●  Develop the “Department Crown” award program for outstanding achievement.
  Assist with curriculum idea generation.
●  Write introductory and closing speech material for the beginning and end of the Conference.
  Attend regular virtual Director meetings.
During the week, you’ll have a few other responsibilities as well:
  Run the “Department Crown” award program.
 Preside at opening session, closing session, awards banquet, and other public presentations such as activities with the Masonic Village.
  Host distinguished visitors at meals at the Directors' Table.
  Supervise all flag raising and lowering events.
  Participate in disciplinary discussions involving Key Men and staff unrelated to zero tolerance issues. You will be the youth advocate, helping the young men communicate through the conflict.
  Be the “eyes and ears” for feedback from the attendees.
  Courteous lights out enforcement.

A complete list of responsibilities can be seen here.
Application Process
So how do you apply to be Youth Director? Follow these steps!
2. If you’re selected for interview, we’ll notify you by March 6, 2015.
3. Once you've been selected, we’ll schedule an interview with you sometime between March 6 and March 20, 2015.
4. The interview will be much like a real job interview, because this job comes with real responsibility. You won’t need to wear a suit, but you should look presentable and be ready to discuss your qualifications.
5. We hope to make a final selection within a week of the interviews, so by March 27, 2015. We’ll send you an email and an official invitation by mail.

That’s it! Fill out your application and get it to us as soon as possible. We look forward to reading it!

Thursday, February 12, 2015


by Eric M. Dye, State Junior Councilor

Hey guys! In the past, you’ve attended loads of DeMolay events, and had a blast! Dances, Sports, Ritual Competitions, Chapter Installations, Obligatory Days, and other events have come and passed on your calendar. But want something special? Something that you can only get in one place, and learn skills you never dreamed you’d have? Something that will teach you how to run a successful chapter and how to dress properly for each occasion?  Something that will guide you into the Master-DeMolay you want to become? Well, consider going to ROTC-- RISK Officer Training Camp on May 1-3 at Patton Campus in Elizabethtown!

You heard it here first, RISK OTC Weekend will be a game-changer for all who attend! Jam packed with fun activities and opportunities to develop useful skills, you’ll leave this weekend fully prepared to lead (or assist in leading) your chapter to term after term of success, and build our Order in the process.

Now, I can’t tell you EVERYTHING the program will offer, but I can give you some exciting previews and one or two of the secrets!

Basically, the weekend will be a huge RISK Game! The rules will be slightly changed however: Each of the 4 units, denoted by colors, will spend Saturday morning traveling around campus attending an exciting variety of workshops, sports, and activities. Presenters, Advisors, and Elected State Officers will keep their eyes out for good Officers. DeMolays who are attentive, interactive and engaged will earn RISK points for their Color Unit (awarded by Staff.) Points can also be taken away for minor misconduct. After each time slot, each Color Unit reports back to Mission Command for 10 minutes of debrief time. Here, they will discuss the last workshop, tally RISK Points, and head to the next workshop. Also, during debrief time, Color Units will compete to see who can create the tallest freestanding structure out a mystery assortment of objects. The winning Color Unit will receive 50 RISK points! At the end of the weekend, the Color Unit with the most RISK points wins the RISK Coolest Color Prize.

To tell you everything you would learn while at ROTC would be a spoiler, but I can drop a couple of big hints: DeMolays will leave Patton Campus on Sunday morning with their minds swimming with ideas for Committees, capture the flag, recruitment tactics, charity work, hundreds of Obligatory Day celebration ideas, dodgeball, stained glass windows and half-tied ties. They will return to their chapter a changed DeMolay, a man of action who will work hard to further his chapter and his Order. Putting these leadership skills into practice, these DeMolays will spread and re-teach what they learned at the RISK Officer Training Camp weekend, helping others earn awards like LCCs, RDs and the PMC-MSA, just like someone in DeMolay helped them earn theirs.

So save the date! Spaces will fill up fast.  Make sure your Master Councilor plans on sending DeMolays from your chapter. You won’t want to miss RISK Officer Training Camp!

Monday, February 9, 2015

But... but, they aren't REAL DeMolays!

How to Tell the REAL DeMolays
from the Fake Ones

by "Dad" Thomas R. Labagh

The old argument about whether DeMolays who come just for sports are "real DeMolays" just never seems to die.  I have been hearing it since I was initiated in 1970.  It is as poor an argument now as it was back then.

DeMolay athletes are just as important to the Order of DeMolay as the guys who "only show up for ritual" or those guys who "only like doing service events" or those guys who "only come for the dances."

It always seems to fall as a harsher judgment on the athletes who are usually judged in the midst of their most competitive mode, but who, in truth, can be just as good at ritual, fund-raising and service as the other guys when called upon.  

Each Chapter has its own criteria for filling its team roster.  Some want winning athletes.  Others want "full participants" who also want to play sports.  It is each Chapter's decision-- and some establish their criteria each season, while others establish a policy through their advisory council, and others create bylaws to govern themselves.  As long as the method is fair, any of these methods is fine. 

It is expensive for some Chapters to travel long distances, so sometimes we only see the really competitive side of a Chapter, for instance, because they value a basketball championship or a volleyball championship as part of their membership recruiting program the rest of the year.

If Dad Land had envisioned a program where every young man came to every activity and every DeMolay was an officer, we would never have grown in the early years.  The Order of DeMolay grew because it offered so much, to so many people.  Sadly, it has changed over the years to offer a complete program to just a few members of each Chapter who can become officers, and Advisors tend to value more, those who embrace the whole thing.  

But like the Masonic Fraternity, DeMolay offers a wide variety of activities to those who choose to be involved in them.  Only 10% of Lodge members attend meetings, but they ALL value their membership.  That is because membership is more than just attending-- it is about the ideals of the organization.  

DeMolay is no different than Lodge, in that respect.  And our casual Lodge members and DeMolay members look to the officers for guidance and role models, and hopefully find something they like to see.  It isn't easy, but our goal, as Advisors, is to teach our members to accept ALL DeMolays as equal members, simply for the fact that they share the common bond of membership, given to them as a result of taking the same obligations as all DeMolays around the world.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

DeMolay and Prohibition

To Drink, or Not to Drink, That Was The Question
by "Dad" Thomas R. Labagh

The Grand Council of the Order of DeMolay met in Executive Committee only during a number of the Depression years, because of the costs of travel.  The May 6, 1933 Executive Committee meeting was held at the Hotel Commodore in New York City.  The Chairman of the Executive Committee was  Ernest A. Reed, of Newark, NJ.  Present for the meeting were Reed, Jesse M. Whited of San Francisco, Chandler C. Cohagen of Billings, MT, Robert D. Williams of NY, Frank I. Buckingham of Kansas City, MO, Fred W. Hardwick, Louisville, KY, John H. Glazier, Past Grand Master of DeMolay, from MO, and Grand Scribe, Frank S. Land, of Kansas City, MO.

This is from the transcript of the meeting, as reported by The Master Reporting Company, Inc., stenographer(s) hired to make an official written record of the proceedings of the meeting.

CHAIRMAN REED:   There is just one other question that has come to me a number of times, and I wonder if it has to you, that is, in regard to the new status of DeMolay with regard to the liquor situation.  We have to pause and deliberate.  A blank which a good may of our Chapters are using says, "Do you promise this Chapter you will not use liquor of any kind?"  Well, that might mean water.  It has always been interpreted to mean that he will not use any intoxicating liquors.

MR. HARDWICK:   The Grand Master of Ohio has issued an edict stating 3.2 beer is intoxicating.  The Grand Master of Kentucky says it is not.

CHAIRMAN REED:  This is the point, are you going to allow the DeMolays to serve beer at their 

MR. LAND:  We can't do it.  There is a law in the statutes that prohibits it. I am against it.

CHAIRMAN REED:  I am getting all kinds of letters from folks about it.

MR. WILLIAMS:  There is a provision prohibiting it.

MR. LAND:  There is just one thing I want to remind you of,  I don't believe we had better make public anything we did here today until the referendum vote has been received.  Of course, we can come right out and say Jesse Whited succeeds Ernest Reed of Newark, as Chairman,

MR. WHITED:  To come back to the beer question, we are going to be asked for a ruling on that.  What does the law state?

(...Mr. Land read the statute covering this...)

MR. WHITED:  Near-beer is a malt liquor.  That doesn't say anything about alcohol content.

MR. LAND:  If this movement can't stand on a moral question of that kind, we might just as well throw up our hands.  If we give any latitude in this thing and say, "Yes, we approve of your going in and drinking any kind of liquor," we will damn ourselves with the entire American public.

MR. BUCKINGHAM:  Yes, you might as well fold up your tents,

MR. LAND:  When we are questioned, we will simply say, "The law is this," and cite the law.

CHAIRMAN REED:  We are not dealing with adults, we are dealing with boys.

MR. WHITED:  I am perfectly willing to do what the Grand Council wants.  You can cite the law and then they ask for an interpretation of the law.

MR. LAND:  The Chapter Officers and the Advisory Council must be informed by way of a bulletin, from either you or the Grand Scribe's office, that they must not serve these at any of their parties.  Of course, it if is going on in other parts of the building, we can't stop that.  As far as our own particular party is concerned, it must be dry.

MR. WHITED:  Maybe we had better not make a general edict, just say that is the law.

CHAIRMAN REED:  That applies to drinking it as well as having it provided at banquets.
That is where the discussion ends in the transcript.  

Here are some 

questions to ponder:

1.   Have you ever read a transcript of a meeting before?  What is your impression of the quality of the discussion?

2.   Do you think this is a verbatim transcription of what was said, or has it been altered by an editor?

3.   What is significant about the date of the meeting, and the topic being discussed?  

4.   Are you familiar with the history of Prohibition?  When did it start?  When did it end?   Do you think it had an effect on the development or growth of the Order of DeMolay?

5.   What did you learn about "Dad" Frank S. Land from reading this transcript?  

6.   What was the over-riding factor in the decision that was made?

7.   DeMolay faced a similar issue in 2013 with the recent legalization of the use of recreational marijuana in the states of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington.  Do you know DeMolay International's official position on this?   

Hint:  Read DIR&R 325.1(i) by downloading your own copy of the DeMolay International Bylaws, Rules and Regulations from

and also be informed about the specific language used by this Wikipedia article

Monday, February 2, 2015

Dressing Your Best: Step 1

Dressing Your Best: Step 1
by "Dad" Dan Loughin

So, you’ve read the several posts on here about dressing well, (if you haven't, search for the key word "dress" on the blog, and you'll find them) and you’ve decided that you want to start yourself on the right track to achieve this.  However, there’s probably one question that’s crossed your mind: you’ve read so many posts here about suits, shoes, and ties that you don’t know where the heck to start.  We’re here to help you with that.

The first step is to figure out what you want to do for a living.  A chef will not need the same wardrobe as a banker.  There really are 4 sets of wardrobes: The Constant Professional – those who choose to work in a profession that requires them to wear a suit every day to work; The Business Owner – those who are going to be in front of clients for long periods, but the nature of their industry doesn’t necessarily require them to be in a suit every day; The Uniform Man – those who work in an industry (i.e. vehicle repair) that requires a specific uniform to perform work requirements; and The Casual Creative – those who absolutely never need to wear a suit except to a wedding or funeral. There is no shame in choosing one profession over another – you just need to know, so that you know what you need as your baseline!

Once you have your baseline, you need to know the “rules.”  You shouldn’t wear anything, from shoes to neck, two days in a row.  This lengthens the time it takes your clothing to wear out exponentially.  Making sure you have multiple items in the categories you need makes your clothing that much more comfortable, and in the long run, saves you money.

The next step is to have a conversation about what you need in your wardrobe with someone who actually works in that field.  Make sure you take notes during this conversation – you don’t want to forget within a few days, and then need to have the conversation again.

The last step is to compare what you have with what you need.  You also want to make sure to check the quality of your clothing, and either toss or repair anything that is damaged.  If the quality of the fabric itself isn’t up to snuff, or if it is unable to be repaired due to excessive damage, you need to toss it and replace it.

With these things determined, you now have a very good idea as to what you need to purchase.  You’ll notice that nothing was specifically mentioned.  That’s because your needs are different from the person next to you.  Once you know what you need, check out the thrift stores such as Goodwill and Salvation Army before you head to a retail store.  Rumor has it that an advisor from Reading was able to obtain a full tuxedo from Goodwill for $20 - and that it was in perfect shape!