Hard Ball Masonic Politics Imparts Grief

Grand Lodge of West VirginiaOnce again West Virginia is in the spotlight of Masonic news and as usual it’s all bad.  This Grand Lodge is the only US GL to expel a Junior Past Master for his policies while in office. That foolish act has resulted in a civil court case that will start on 12/6/2010.

In the meantime West Virginia has pulled recognition from Ohio because it gave the expelled Frank Haas a new Masonic home. Because of that withdrawal of recognition West Virginia has refused to perform a Masonic funeral for an Ohio Brother who died in their state.

The West Virginia website, Masonic Crusade (archive page), reports:

Masonic Brother denied WV Funeral

Brethren a most tragic event has happened. A brother who resided and passed in West Virginia but a member of an Ohio lodge was denied a Masonic funeral by Randy Martin. It was all done in the name of the edict passed by Greg Riley.  The unnamed brother (out of respect for the family) was a well respected and accomplished mason. Irregardless of that fact,  even had he been a simple member of the craft he deserved better. We have we sank to a level lower than I expected of Grand Lodge.

I am told the brother’s family had a team of brethren travel from Ohio to respect his last wishes, but no West Virginia masons were allowed to participate. This barring of West Virginia participants was apparently done by order of the Grand Master of West Virginia. The Grand Lodge of Ohio would have allowed West Virginia participants, in much the same way that the edict severing relations was not reciprocated by Ohio. West Virginia masons are still quite welcome in Ohio lodges as long as they don’t mind risking their membership….

Lastly, lest the fanboys of Grand Lodge point out that there was a masonic funeral held, understand that if there had been some sort of “Masonic Police” the Grand Lodge of West Virginia would not have allowed the funeral to happen here.

The Judge in the Haas case has already made preliminary rulings that indicate West Virginia is in for a hard time and that this trial may lead to precedents being established that drastically change Fremasonry’s methods of governance. Knowing all that the Grand Lodge of West Virginia just one week before the trial has decided to play hard ball in what has to be one of the worst examples of public relations in the history of American Freemasonry.

When will this insanity stop?

Posted in The Bee Hive and tagged , , .

Fred is a Past Master of Plymouth Lodge, Plymouth Massachusetts, and Past Master of Paul Revere Lodge, Brockton, Massachusetts. Presently, he is a member of Pride of Mt. Pisgah No. 135, Prince Hall Texas, where is he is also a Prince Hall Knight Templar . Fred is a Fellow of the Phylaxis Society and Executive Director of the Phoenix Masonry website and museum.



  2. Tis a sad day when Masonic problems are aired in civil court. This show a lack of understanding of masonic teaching by both parties involved. When those who are at the top of the heap believe that they are the rulinig class and have no understanding of Masonry, Chaos reigns. In the same vein, those who bring charges against the ruling party have little or no regard for the principals taught by masonry. For to bring out problems in front of a public who at best is ill informed about our craft, is to invite disaster. As, example I site Madeline Murry Ohare, who brought to court Prayer in public schools, now almost anything to do with Christian religion is banned or at least censored.
    Masonry stand a good chance of having to go underground in this country as it has in other countries. And to be sure this is one of the factors that changed Masonry from operative to speculative, as freedom to speak one’s mind among brothers.
    The only answers that I might offer are long term solutions, and must be brought about by masons that are dedicated to teaching what masons have always taught. Brotherly Love, Morality, and Truth. The way is hard and we must lean to guard the west gate against those who for personal gain would climb the rungs of the ladder in our mystic circles. Investigations is serious part of Masonry and needs to be taught. Many Character traits are not desirable in the masonic fraternity, but we have overlooked such traits in the name of gaining in membership. We do not need more members, we need better ones. Only when we can return the lodges to educational institutions and away from social societies, will be be able to regain that which we have lost. Sadly Frank Hass and others have suffered because we have fallen down along our paths in the masonic journey. Hopefully, the rank and file will be able to see the mistakes and in the future take steps to correct them in house by the penal code that is in truth stricter then civil law, but we have chosen to ignore it.
    Learn well from this current incidents my brethern. Do some serious study of the principals you took an oath to uphold and join together with those who are willing to put forth the time and effort to teach.

    May the outcome of these current trials be kind to our craft and not leave scars so deep that it takes us years to heal. I wish the best for Frank and others who at this time face a challenge that can either put them as heros or fellons depending on the outcome of public trials.
    ole Blake, PM
    #35 Georgia

  3. Greetings from across the Pond, Brethren.

    I don’t see what the fuss is about in regard to this funeral. Of course you can’t expect a GL to sanction a masonic funeral for someone who is not a Mason, nor to co-operate in someone else performing such a funeral. Yet when GLWV withdrew recognition from GLOH, what that meant was precisely that it no longer recognised members of GLOH as being Masons, that’s what “recognition” is all about. Therefore it couldn’t be acceptable for any GLWV member to take part in a masonic funeral for a GLOH member, because by GLWV rules he WASN’T a Mason.

    Of course, the question of whether GLWV was right to de-recognise GLOH is a very different issue, and I hear that many members are unhappy about that decision, but I don’t know enough to comment on the rights and wrongs of the Haas case. But once they’d withdrawn recognition, regardless of whether that was right or wrong, it necessarily follows that they couldn’t offer funeral services to GLOH members.

    Incidentally, we avoid this whole issue over here in UGLE: we don’t have masonic funerals at all, we’ve banned them. So if you want a masonic funeral, don’t be buried in England, because we won’t do a funeral (even for GLs which we recognise).



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