Thursday, May 26, 2016

Social Media: Pros and Cons

In the early part of the 21st century, social media has become a staple in the culture of society. Teenagers and adults alike constantly check their Facebook timeline for the latest status updates, browse Instagram for the most recent photos and search Twitter for the most popular trending topics. Just like all  things in life, social media has some advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages to Social Media:

1. Social media allows users to have a worldwide connectivity. It allows a person to connect with other people they haven't seen or talked to in a very long time. It can also introduce users to people they haven't met before. Facebook, among all the others, can help lead a person to find job opportunities, meet love interests and track down product and service referrals

2. Social media allows users to find others with a common interest. Facebook and other forms of media allow you to like or join groups that you may be interested in. This will allow users to meet others with the same interest, creating communication opportunities.

3. Facebook, along with all of the other forms of media, can provide a great promotional tool. Are you trying to promote your local DeMolay Chapter? DeMolay Chapters across the world have created Facebook pages allowing members to connect and promote the activities they have to offer.

4. Information travels at an incredible speed through social media. News topics are promoted on the internet shortly after an event takes place. Facebook, Twitter and others help spread that recognition even faster.

Disadvantages to Social Media:

1. As I stated above, news travels fast. This often times allows false rumors and news headlines to surface. People will share a topic before finding out whether the information is accurate.

2. Although social media can bring people together, it does not have the power to force them to interact with each other in person. Personal social skills are often lost because we're too focused on social media and the internet,

3. We're always told to think twice before acting. With social media, the lesson should be to think twice before posting. Once information is on the internet, it can't be taken back. Employers have access to Facebook as well and often times check a person's page before hiring them. Although it may not seem fair, colleges and employers may use information found on that page to determine whether to accept an application or decline one.

4. Bullying has always been a worldwide problem, but social media introduces a new form of torment; cyber-bullying. As the title describes, this is bullying taking place on the internet and social media for the whole world to see. This can often times be a problem for our youth of today.

These are just a few of the advantages and disadvantages of what can be an ongoing topic. So what should we take out of this post today? It's very simple; be cautious of what is being posted on the internet. Think about the effects of what is being posted on social media before you post it. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others can be essential tools to help us grow in our lives, if used properly and not abused.

Until next time - "Dad" Joe Pullin

Thursday, May 19, 2016

DeMolay Memorial in Paris, France


Recently I was asked by one of our DeMolay families how to find the DeMolay Memorial in Paris France, so they could visit it on their vacation this summer.  And once I did the research, Dad Berry thought it was a good read, and would make a good blog post, so, here ya go!

Far from authoritative, this is a combination of my recollections and a lot of help from Google Maps, Google Earth, and Google images.  Interestingly, neither Sam nor I had a camera on this excursion—not sure why—but I have no photos of our entire trip to England and France in 2000!  Pre-cellphone era, so, no selfies!

First of all, there is no Memorial Grave, or heroic statue erected to the memory of Jacques DeMolay.  He was, after all, considered to be a lapsed heretic by the Catholic Church for over 700 years.  Additionally, there is a story (apocryphal?) told by John Robinson in his history of the Knights Templar, called DUNGEON, FIRE AND SOWRD, that after the burning, the “ashes had taken on a mysterious, even sacred aura.  During the night people of Paris swam out to the island to put bits of cinders in the mouths, then swam back with the conviction that they were taking home holy relics.”  Unfortunately, Robinson only provided a bibliography with his works, and didn’t footnote citations of sources for these claims, hence my qualification of it as being of dubious origin. But the idea of creating a memorial to a “heretic” in the shadow of the great cathedral may not have been well received, but it was, ultimately, permitted.

Here is what you are looking for.  This is the plaque that was commemorated during the Order of DeMolay’s 50th Anniversary Pilgrimage to Paris in July of 1969. 

It is located on a support wall of the bridge called Pont Neuf, at the far end of Isle de la Cite, far from where the Cathedral of Notre Dame stands. Pont Neuf, which means “New Bridge” is actually the oldest standing bridge across the river Seine that cuts through the city of Paris.  Much more detail can be found in the Wikipedia article at

Not being a French language student, my command of the language is limited to some food items, so it opened my eyes when I understood the relationship between Crème Brulè, and the burning of Jacques DeMolay!

On the map below, it is at the upper left hand corner of the picture.  The Cathedral of Notre Dame is in the lower right.

The next picture is an aerial shot of that portion of the island, and on the bridge, to the left of the label “Pont Neuf” you will see a large square courtyard.   

In the center of the courtyard is a large equestrian statue of King Henri IV.

Google Maps errantly labels this as the “Memorial du Jacques DeMolay.”  It is close by, but this is a benign good reason why you can’t believe everything you read on the internet!

But, you have to find this statue of Henri IV to get where you want to go.

Here is a photo from behind the statue, taken from across the river.

Where you want to go is BEHIND and BELOW the horse.  Looking at the photo below, trace back from the statue to the edge of the courtyard, and then look down the wall that leads to the lower level where you can board the boats.  You will see two door-like openings in the wall… and in between them, about 10 feet above the steps, is a small bronze plaque commemorating the burning place of Jacques DeMolay—almost as far away from the cathedral as it could possibly be put! 

But how do you get down there? (It has been 16 years since I was there, and my memory of how I eventually found it is a little shady—it took Dad Williamson and I nearly an hour to find it, and I thought I knew where I was going!)  

In the photo below, look at the street lamp to the left, located at the back of the courtyard, behind the statue.  This is positioned at the top of a long flight of steps that leads to the lower level. 

The image below is taken from inside the steps leading to the lower level, and I it will bring you through one of those openings on either side of the plaque.

A word of caution: 

This is an OK place to go in the daytime, but it had a reputation for being a gathering place for some unsavory activities in the evening, regardless of how well-lighted the area seems to be.  I doubt much has changed in 16 years… best avoid it after dinner time, just to err on the side of caution.
You can clearly see the plaque in the center, below:

(Note: I apologize for the size of the next two photos, but, in order to see the detail, I felt that posting them at their original size would be helpful to you.)

The group picture that follows is of a DeMolay International Pilgrimage there in 1979.  Don't look for me-- I am not in the photo.  I had just gotten married, and although my wife has always supported DeMolay and my activity with it, she didn’t want to honeymoon with a bunch of DeMolay kids!  But I DO recognize a lot of people in the photo from around the country.  I didn't come to Pennsylvania until 1981, so I didn't know a lot of people back then.  I can only recognize one of our Pennsylvania brothers in it, but there may be others. (If you recognize anyone from Pennsylvania, please share that information!)

Lastly, at the bottom of this post I have included a scan of a page of the September 1969 CORDON magazine (a monthly magazine about DeMolay that was published consistently from the 1950s until the late 1970s.)  It includes a description of the dedication of the plaque and the events following, during the 50th Anniversary European Pilgrimage.

Edit: 12:11 AM, 5/25/2016

Upon reading this blog post, "Dad" Tom Moberly, (left) friend, mentor, co-worker at DeMolay Headquarters from 1979-1981, long-time DeMolay "full-timer" in Northern California, and inductee in the DeMolay International Hall of Fame, sent me a copy of the map he used, from National Geographic, to give people directions to the memorial plaque.  He noted that he was present at the dedication in 1969.  He wrote, "I was there with over 500 of my very close friends, standing in the rain before we headed to the l'Hotel de Ville (City Hall) for a reception (See invitation, below, if you can read French!) with lots of French pastries and real champagne!"

Tom related that he was also privileged to go back for the 700th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of DeMolay on March 18, 2014.  He remembers commenting that "I can still smell the smoke" and nobody reacted, as if they either didn't understand or didn't have a sense of humor.

For Katie, Jake and family... happy hunting!

    "Dad" Thomas R. Labagh
    Executive Officer

Post Script:
"The directions worked perfectly!"  (Jake found the plaque, and Katie sent this as proof.)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Top Ten Reasons to be at Convention 2016!

Its the middle of May, which means the clock is ticking and Convention is right around the corner. This year, the annual Convention will be held at the Seven Springs Resort in Champion, PA from July 15 to 17, 2016. If you've never been to a PA DeMolay Convention, your probably asking yourself "Why should I go to Convention?" Below are the top 10 reasons why you should be at Convention 2016.

10. Members will have the chance to compete in Ritual Contests, from the Flower Talk to the Ceremony of Light.

9.  You'll get the chance to stay at a fancy hotel for the entire weekend.

8.  You'll get a free copy of the 2016 Convention Yearbook, with pictures and memories from all of the year's great activities. 

7.  Convention will be loaded with fun activities to fill the entire weekend. We start at the Caddie Shak Family Fun Center, which will have Mini Golf, Go Karts, Bumper Boats and much more. Then on Saturday, the Seven Springs Resort has several fun activities including the Alpine Slide, Disc Golf, Paddle Boats and Summer Tubing.

6.  Convention will provide food for every meal.  

5.  Your chapter will be able to receive awards based on the accomplishments they have performed throughout the year. 

4.  You'll have the opportunity to congratulate "Dad" Sam Williamson on being elected to the DeMolay Hall of Fame in person. The actual induction takes place on June 17 in San Diego, California.

3.  You'll have the chance to vote on your Elected State Officers for the 2016-2017 term. This includes the election of the State Sweetheart as well.

2.  This will give you a chance to get out of the house for the weekend.

And the number 1 reason that you should be at Convention 2016...

1.  Convention gives you the chance to see friends from the entire state of Pennsylvania for a great brotherhood atmosphere.

Hopefully this is enough to convince you that you should be at Convention this year. Registration is due June 5th, so get it in soon to guarantee that you won't miss out.

Until next time - "Dad" Joe Pullin     

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Keeping the Founder's Cross in the DeMolay Family

Today, we have a guest blog post from the original writer for the PA DeMolay blog, "Dad" Seth Anthony. Thank you "Dad" Anthony for contributing to the blog.
It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog for PA DeMolay, but, something happened this past week that I just had to share and chime in on.

Before I left the Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation, I spent some time working to catalog and track down the known DeMolay Founder’s Crosses, presented by Frank S. Land to his most loyal supporters.  I’ve written several posts on this topic before, so take a minute to catch up if you haven’t read my previous entries:

Finding the Founder’s Cross
Walt Disney, DeMolay, and the Founder’s Cross
Who Cares About History? Part One
Who Cares about History? Part Two

Over the last week, a Founder’s Cross was spotted on eBay, with the auction ending on Sunday night. I found the auction within hours of its posting and got the word out to key members of DeMolay International, in hopes of keeping the item within the fraternity. The jewel belonged to “Dad” Harry Weiss, of the State of Washington. The final bid for the auction was $3,750. Yes, you read that right.

To be clear, the jewel is not made of any precious metal and does not contain any gem stones. While nicely designed, there is no intrinsic value to the jewel itself. The medal went for this kind of money because of its historical context. This, to me, is horrifying. 

While I own several pieces of DeMolay regalia, I don’t own a Founder’s Cross (and never will.) I fully admit I’m a regalia nerd. I can’t explain my attraction to it, but it’s something I’m passionate about. PA DeMolay, traditionally, has been very conservative in regards to wearing regalia – and I too fall into that camp. However, I find some measure of satisfaction in finding old, unusual, or historically significant pieces of regalia and adding them to my collection or securing them for display with PA DeMolay. I’m also lucky in that I was asked to serve on the DeMolay International Ritual and Regalia committee so that I could lend my expertise in this area. Unfortunately, by discussing and bringing light to the Founder’s Cross problem, I fear I’ve only made it worse.

The sale of this Founder’s Cross, for that large of a sum, is very disconcerting to me. We witnessed a piece of our history being sold to the highest bidder. This is the third in as many years that this has happened.  To anyone outside of DeMolay, this piece has little value. Weis was not a well-known man and he didn’t have a following otherwise (such as Disney or Mayo.) We, as Brothers, bid against each other to get the jewel to that level… and to what end?

I don’t know who won the auction. I can only hope that it was someone affiliated with DeMolay in Washington. My guess is that it wasn’t. What I do know is that they spent $3,750 to get the item when they were, assuredly, bidding against others within the Fraternity (whether in the US or abroad.)

As we approach the 100th Anniversary of our Order, we should be working to preserve our history and build up our assets as an organization – not as individual collectors trying to obtain the “holy grail” of DeMolay. 

For this reason, I’m going to ask the leadership of DeMolay International to consider creating a more formalized DeMolay Museum, where artifacts, such as Founder’s Crosses, may be donated and preserved for future generations. 

If you have a Founder’s Cross, or another important physical piece of DeMolay history, please, I beg you, don’t keep it in a private collection for only you to enjoy. Placing the piece on permanent loan or donating it outright, to DeMolay International, a DeMolay Jurisdiction, or an appropriate museum is the right thing to do. 

If you’re curious as to the location of the Founder’s Crosses, check out this list that I prepared that details every Founder’s Cross that we know of.

If you have additional information regarding the location of any of these jewels, please email me at I intend to update the list in the coming weeks.

~ Frat!

“Dad” Seth Anthony