A change is upon Missouri DeMolay. Over the last several years we have been lost as a Jurisdiction - focusing on programs and activities which didn’t advance us as a whole. We must build our friendships and become closer as Chapters. There is absolutely no reason why DeMolay cannot become a household name again. When our founder, Frank S. Land was still with us in this world, he traveled and shared DeMolay with anyone and everyone he came in contact with.
YOU have the capability to share your experiences with everyone you know. Do not be afraid or hesitate to take pride in DeMolay and show people the joy it has brought you and the lessons you have learned. Though times have changed and the youth of our world seem to always have “better things to do,” there will be an opportunity to show a friend what DeMolay can do for them - to share with them the experiences you have been given.
The only way we can have success as a Jurisdiction is if we build our Chapters up to the pristine which they once were. Chapter members should be reaching out and supporting their surrounding Chapters - visiting should be a monthly activity because the only way to build our Brotherhood is by assuring our foundation is strong. This is truly an organization for our youth - the leaders of tomorrow. Moving forward we cannot depend solely on the “state taking care of everything.”
There are so many resources that Chapters have in being successful and advancing as prestigious groups of young men. The Jurisdictional Officers and Adult Leaders of Missouri are here to ensure that Chapters have people they can go to for assistance and guidance - but we are here just as DeMolays and nothing more. We claim no superiority but believe and have vowed to be of aid and assistance in living lives that will some day repay the opportunities that we have been given in DeMolay.
Whether it’s a friend, family member, or someone you barely know - you can reach out and share the opportunities that DeMolay has given to you. You can reach into the innermost depths of someone’s soul and set their flame afire - this is your purpose for living - share the success that you have found through DeMolay.
The Ceremony of Light
The Order of DeMolay has many lessons to be taught. These lessons have been put into the form of ceremonies through which we perform but more importantly when we are memorizing the words, we should also be looking into what the words mean. The preceptors are all great examples of these lessons and the ceremony that reminds me how to inculcate these lessons in my daily life is The Ceremony of Light. The contents of this ceremony really round out the purpose of our organization. It takes each one of our virtues and principles and gives the explanation on why we believe so strongly in them.
Back when I first learned this ceremony, I didn't really think too much about what the written words meant, but after a few times of repeating it to myself, it just clicked in my mind. I feel that if there is any one part that a candidate can learn from, it is this one.
In the past, there have been multiple instances where I have paraphrased this ceremony to explain what DeMolay is to those who have no clue what we are about, and I will continue to do so in order to spread the name of our Order and to show others that our ceremonies are not empty forms, but that we are dedicated to purposes worthy of our careful observance.
An Undying Love
Filial Love is our first virtue; it speaks of the command "honor thy father and thy mother." This virtue makes the young men realize that our parents have given so much to us and that we need to realize that we must do anything possible to repay the love, care, and devotion that they have given us. We should devote ourselves to this virtue because as young men we may be embarrassed to display it in front of friends and even family the affection we hold so dear for our parents but there is nothing to be ashamed of.
We must also never neglect this virtue making us look like ungrateful sons. I believe this virtue to be one of the most important virtues due to the fact that without our parents we would not be in the position we are today. We in fact would not be here at all if our mothers did not take the long journey to bring us into this world. We must make the effort to repay them with love and dedication.
An Experience of Faith
Within our mystic seven cardinal virtues, the second preceptor guards the jewel of reverence for sacred things. This jewel is and should be very important to all of us as we all obligated ourselves to worship at the shrine of faith on a regular basis. When attending our religious services we always learn new morals to live by. Many of which can be found in our preceptors, such as in the first preceptor Filial Love; God had written the Ten Commandments and the Fifth Commandment says “honor thy father and thy mother.” Even Cleanness is very important in our daily lives to think and act upon to uphold our values everyday.
In today's world there are many difficult obstacles with video games, television shows, and movies that move away from the morals of DeMolay. We may think it’s funny at the time, but we must not let it persist in our daily lives to live by. As we all know that Dad Land had said that DeMolay brings God alive, through all of our actions that we were taught through the preceptors and how to live good lives the way that God wants us to. Also we are taught in the Initiatory Degree to think twice before speaking once to know that morally we are thinking correctly and that we should glorify God to the highest extent.
All of the cardinal virtues of a DeMolay are vital and should be incorporated into all of your words and actions. However, Courtesy should be used in every interaction you have with others. This virtue surpasses DeMolay events. Whether it is to friends, family members, strangers, or even so far as to say with the commitments you take, you must be courteous in every aspect of your life. Your success in life will be dependent on how well you incorporate this virtue into your daily endeavors.
This virtue should be internalized and externalized, and should be treated as more than a virtue, but a lifestyle in itself. It is more than a concept you should feel in your heart, but a way of paying back those who have helped you in life. You can create friendships, avoid conflicts, help others, and most importantly be a better man to the world that has formulated and defined all that you are and will continue to become. It all goes back to our teachings that say: being courteous is the only true refinement.
An International Brotherhood
In my eyes the fourth preceptor tells us that no matter where we are, we will always find someone who cares about us and what we have to say as well as someone who we can call a friend. It teaches us to look out for our brothers and love them as family. We learn to admire what others have done for us and what they have sacrificed to give us what we have. In the case of the members of DeMolay that have "knelt at this symbolic altar and dedicated themselves to the same high principles of good son-ship and good citizenship" they remind us that we have people willing to help us and give us advice because they have gone through the same things we are going through.
They have also paved a road for us and made this great organization what it is today. Our virtue of Comradeship teaches us that we are all brothers under the eye of God - meaning that even the people you despise the most in life, you must treat them the way you would treat your brother. That you must love all those around you the way you love a family member - being able to love and to forgive them when they make a mistake.
A Faithfulness to Everyone
Fidelity is loyalty, faithfulness, trust and sacrifice. This can be fidelity to your country, to your promises and to others. Fidelity means that whatever you promise to complete, you give it all of your effort. When being loyal to our country, I mean that a DeMolay should be willing to go and defend the honor of our country. Sacrificing yourself for others so that others may live and enjoy the same freedom that you fought for so desperately.
It can mean being a good citizen everyday of our lives. Being a good citizen means not only doing good things for yourself but doing good things for others too. It's not just helping someone when they are in desperate need of help but also in everyday actions, such as opening doors. The loyalty to our promises means not going back on your word, not making excuses, and getting the job done. It is getting the job done if it’s humanly possible and making sacrifices to complete the promise.
A True Knight's Purity
The sixth candle is symbolic of cleanness, not only the bodily cleanness we all practice but cleanness of every thought, word and deed. What was the Psalmist thinking when he wrote “Create in me a clean heart, O God?” There are times when we are so focused on outward appearance and looking clean and neat but what we need to have is a clean heart. A heart that is pure and with kindness, compassion and a willingness to practice good habits.
In our world today, the lessons of developing good habits are so important in the teenage years. There is always the presence of unclean practices such as alcohol, drugs and smoking. These are the sinful actions that many teenagers succumb to through peer pressure. When one gives into one of these it leads to the consequences as taught by this virtue - “guard our bodies from all those milder dissipations which retard their development and impair their strength.” These sinful addictions destroy the mind and the body. Also, may we never take the name of God in vain because it shows a lack of disrespect for the Almighty God.
DeMolay gives young men the opportunity to develop good habits in thought, word and deed and stray from the negative effects of unclean living. Our ritual work helps us to focus and sharpen our minds. The merit bars and awards give us opportunities to be rewarded for upright acts and deeds. We have advisors and parents that are there to guide us and be role models to help us grow into young men and great citizens. Each day, a DeMolay makes the choice to live and practice cleanness in every way.
A Nation's Youth
When I first joined Demolay I was told I had to memorize at least two parts to participate in athletics at the state conclave. I decided that I would learn senior inquisitor and the 7th preceptor, patriotism. Thus began my obsession with this virtue. It has been many years now and it is still the only preceptor that I can recite without taking even a peek into a ritual book. This preceptor speaks volumes in just a few short sentences and stands as a memorial to every young man who faced the cruelest things imaginable for nothing more than a flag and an idea. This preceptor pays tribute to every person who has sacrificed anything in the name of their country and countrymen. As someone who has wanted to join the military since a young age, the first three or four sentences express the gratitude that I feel for anyone who has ever served in our nation’s military.
Furthermore, it is stressed that patriotism has a place outside of the battlefield. Perhaps the most interesting aspect this virtue teaches is it’s respect for the good citizen: The young man who dedicates his life to making his nation a better place for not just himself, but for all who share the same love of country as him. Half of the preceptor is actually focused more on the good citizen than the soldier. This precept serves as a reminder to me that any good deed I do for my country isn't just something done for a flag but for all people who pledge allegiance to that flag. The whole preceptor is perfectly summarized saying that the greatest thing you can do as a good, patriotic citizen is “live worthily for your country, as well as die bravely for it if the need shall come.”