The namesake of the Order of DeMolay was born in France in 1244. At 21, DeMolay joined the Knights Templar. The Knights Templar was founded in 1118, when nine Knights took vows to protect Jerusalem and the Holy Lands. The Templars quickly earned a name for valor and heroism. Sanctioned by the Catholic Church, many nobles and princes sent their sons to join the Knights Templar, and the Order became very wealthy and popular. Because of their uprightness and solid credit, they were the bankers for many, including the French royal family. In 1298, Jacques DeMolay was named Grand Master of the Knights Templar, a position of power and prestige. He was in a difficult position as their raison d'etre had ceased with the loss of the Holy Lands. Philip IV of France, like much European royalty, was deeply in dept to the Templars, and set out to take over the Knights. On Friday, October 13, 1307, Phillip and French Pope Clement suppress the Order throughout Europe with false accusations, arrests, torture, and executions. The rest of Europe felt them innocent and left them to merge with other orders. For seven years, DeMolay and the Knights suffered torture and inhuman conditions. DeMolay stayed loyal to his comrades and their beliefs. On March 18, 1314, the Pope planned for DeMolay and his three first subordinates to publicly confess their guilt and be reconciled to the church. Jacques DeMolay, instead, professed his and the Templar’s innocence. King Philip ordered him burned at the stake that day. This brave death deeply impressed the people and thus the story of Jacques DeMolay became a testimonial to loyalty and friendship.
Frank S. Land
The Order of DeMolay was founded in 1919 in Kansas City, Missouri. Founder Frank S. Land was a community leader who, at 28, already had a successful business career as a restaurateur. Frank S. Land was selected as the director of the Masonic Relief and Employment Bureau of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. This charity would help hundreds and hundreds of families. Land’s blue lodge Senior Warden asked Frank to find a part-time job for Louis Lower, the oldest son of a recently deceased lodge member. After meeting Lower, Land had discussions with his wife Nell, and Frank decided there was a need for an organization where boys would have the opportunity to associate with other boys, share common interests, and learn responsibility and other skills that would benefit them throughout their lives. His ideal model for this organization included having business or professional men, specifically Masons, taking interest in the young people, being a friend to them, and advising them. They decided to form a club and meet at the Masonic Temple. The first meeting was with Lower and 8 friends. Heroic figures from history and the Bible were suggested for the group’s name. A picture of DeMolay caught their interest and Land explained his story of loyalty and courage. The group liked the name, but Land encouraged them to think it over and come back on March 24 with other suggestions and more friends. On that night, 31 young men voted to approve the name of DeMolay.