The year was 1919, World War I had ended and many young men were left
without fathers. Nine of those young men joined together under the leadership of Frank
Sherman Land, a local freemason, artist, and businessman. What followed was a
movement in masonry whose effects are still noticeable today. Out of the Masonic youth
movement formed many organizations, three of which are prominent today, The Order of
DeMolay, The International Order of Job’s Daughters, and The International Order of the
Rainbow for Girls. These organizations have contributed to a rise in Masonic
involvement and interest among young men and women in this country.
The Order of DeMolay, named for the martyred hero Jacques DeMolay, was
formed in Kansas City, Missouri by Frank Land and nine young men. The nine youths
looked up to Land as a father figure and took to calling him “Dad” Land, a moniker
which is still in use today by DeMolay’s around the world. During the first initiation
ceremony, Louis Lower and his eight friends became the first nine DeMolay’s with
“Dad” Land serving as the first chapter dad. Although DeMolay paralleled masonry in
offices and a similar emphasis on ritual and civic service, official recognition as an
appendant organization did not come until 1921 for chapters in most states.
Dating back to 1920, Job’s Daughters is the oldest of the Masonic youth groups
for girls. The first bethel was created in Omaha, Nebraska by Ethel T. Wead Mick.
Starting out, the minimum age for membership was 13, but over the years and trough a
series of changes, the minimum age has decreased to ten. While the age requirements
may have abated, the rules for Masonic relationship have not. A young woman who
wishes to join Job’s Daughters is required to have a direct relation to a Master Mason.
On April 26, 1922, the first class of 171 girls was initiated into The International
Order of the Rainbow for Girls. The group was the idea of Rev. W. Mark Sexson after
observing the Order of DeMolay. Sexson envisioned a Masonic youth organization for
girls which did not require a Masonic relationship. Today girls as young as eleven are
allowed to join, however some jurisdictions offer pledge groups for girls as young as
eight. Rainbow assemblies are located in 47 states in the U.S. as well as six other
Masonic youth in America have made a tremendous impact not only on masonry
but also their communities. These organizations have yielded many outstanding citizens
with a distinct sense of patriotism and civic duty. They have also given a generous boost
to Masonic membership by exposing youth to masonry at an impressionable age. Indeed
many Masonic youth go on further to become adult members of the Masonic family.