Knights Templar in Illinois

In my footnote to yesterday’s post about the Knights Templar, I mentioned that my grandfather was a commander in the Illinois Commandery of the Knights Templar in the United States. Since he was the boss, he could take us on tours of this building, including the basement where the pool tables were. (My two brothers and I could never beat Grandpa had pool or billiards.)

As an elementary student and a junior high school student, I was too young to understand the heritage of the organization or the goals of its current incarnation. The Knights Templar is a York Rite organization and, while it’s associated with the Freemasons now, it seems doubtful that there’s any provable direct link between the ancient Knights Templar and the modern-day Masons.

I joined DeMolay, associated with the Masons, while I was in junior high, and then had to drop out when its meetings conflicted with my Boy Scout activities to which I already had committed.

When my grandfather moved to Florida, he was disappointed in the Masonic organization there. I suspect they were a craft lodge, a level he would have already passed through and, therefore, quite different than what he was used to in Illinois.

My first crisis of conscience came when I left DeMolay for the Boy Scouts (which Grandfather approved of, reminding me I was already on that track). My second came when I was older and joined the Rosicrucian Order (a mystery school) rather than the Masons. I didn’t have time for both, and the “mysteries” seemed to be where I belonged.

Even now, I wonder. Would my life be different if I was a “Sir Knight” of the Knights Templar? I’m sure it would be. And yet, I have no excuses for the journey I chose. There are many routes leading to becoming oneself. And as Frost said, “I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”

My novels usually focus on the transformation of the main character. That’s my main focus because I have been there over and over–as have we all.


Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of “The Sun Singer,” a hero’s journey novel.