DeMolay is open for membership to young men between the ages of 12 to 21 of good character who acknowledge a higher power. Currently about 15,000 active members are in the United States and Canada and additional members have active chapters in Italy, Romania, Peru, the Philippines, Australia, Aruba, Bolivia, Serbia, Japan, and Brazil. At present Brazilian DeMolay has more active members than even the United States, making Portuguese the most commonly used language in DeMolay chapters. The group uses a model of mentoring; adult men and women called advisors, often past DeMolay members or parents of DeMolays, mentor the active DeMolay members. An advisor is referred to as "Dad Smith" instead of "Mr. Smith". Appropriate ways for the young men to address their adult guides were discussed by the members and advisors early on, and "Dad" was adopted as the best way to convey both friendliness and respect. Advisor mentoring focuses on the development of civic awareness, leadership skills, and personal responsibility.
Founded by Frank S. Land, a Freemason, DeMolay is modeled after Freemasonry. With the sponsorship of a Masonic body, a DeMolay chapter often meets in a lodge room or, if not in a lodge room, then some other appropriate room in the same building. Although none of the youth groups are "masonic organizations" as such, DeMolay is considered to be part of the general "family" of Masonic and associated organizations, along with other youth groups such as Job`s Daughters and Rainbow. As with Rainbow, a young man does not need to have family connection to Masonry in order to join DeMolay.
DeMolay has seven Cardinal Virtues, which constitute the basic ideals and essential teachings of the organization. They are:
Filial love (love between a parent and child)
Reverence for sacred things