Fred Milliken,Freemason Information,The Beehive

PGM Frank Haas Alleged To Have Been Expelled From The Grand Lodge Of Ohio Who Previously Granted Him Asylum

haasIt has been stated that the Grand Lodge of West Virginia has reestablished relations with the Grand Lodge of Ohio. It has also been said that PGM Frank Haas who was granted admittance into the Grand Lodge of Ohio has now been expelled. A Brother from the Masons of Texas Forum says that he talked to an Ohio Grand Lodge member who confirmed these developments.

If this is true, and I would like to see some more verification, then it is a travesty of justice. Some things that a Grand Lodge does cannot be revoked or reinstated as the case may be when Grand Masters change in a Grand Lodge. You cannot play with people’s lives in this manner.

Once the Grand Lodge of Ohio granted PGM Frank Haas asylum it should be permanent and not able to be reversed. What happens to the credibility of the Grand Lodge of Ohio should the next Grand Master re-reverse the decision and reinstate Frank Haas?

The question that needs to be answered is did Frank Haas receive a Masonic Trial from his Lodge in Ohio or was he just summarily expelled? On what basis was he expelled? What was the reason?

Let’s say that in the civil world the District Attorney of Ohio should grant immunity from prosecution to an individual in return for testimony he needs to convict someone else. The individual takes the deal but when a new Attorney General is elected he reverses the deal and throws the individual in jail.

Or let’s say that in the Masonic world that a Grand Master of a certain Grand Lodge decides to heal and admit all the members of a clandestine Grand Lodge. The next year a new Grand Master reverses the decision and throws all the former clandestine members out, expels them without a Masonic trial.

You just cannot do business this way. Your word is no good if you can’t keep it and maintain some constant policies.

If this story is true, then it demonstrates once again that some American Grand Masters have too much power and are using that power arbitrarily with no regard for their Constitutions or Masonic law. Such is the sad state of American Mainstream Freemasonry that is slowly dying an agonizing death. One only needs to look at the Grand Lodge of Arkansas where a despotic, tyrannical regime riddled with KKK has reduced that Grand Lodge by attrition to 4000 members. Meanwhile the Grand Lodge of Florida is expelling all who are not members of an Abrahamic faith (mostly non-Christians).

How long are the good Grand Lodges in this nation going to allow Freemasonry to be practiced in this manner?


More Light On The Arkansas Shriner Purge

shrinersA big factor in this whole  Arkansas Shrine affair has been overlooked by many. Potentate Buffington who was expelled from the Grand Lodge of Arkansas was not also expelled from the Shrine BECAUSE HE WAS STILL A MASON. He had dual membership also being a member of the Grand Lodge of Iowa. AND THE GRAND LODGE OF IOWA REFUSED TO EXPEL HIM.

So what do all you legalists have to say now? If Buffington’s own Lodge found that he did nothing wrong, if the Shrine found that he did nothing wrong and if the Grand Master of Iowa found that he had done nothing wrong and refused to expel him, could it be that the Grand Lodge of Arkansas is wrong and out for a vendetta?

Such action or non action by the Grand Lodge of Iowa is setting a precedent. It follows the Grand Lodge of Ohio giving Past Grand Master Frank Haas sanctuary after being expelled from West Virginia. It looks as if Grand Lodges may not always rubber stamp support decisions by other Grand Lodges. The good old boys network is showing some cracks.

More light is shed by a letter from Theodore Corsones, General Counsel Emeritus of Shriners International and Shriners Hospitals for Children and also a Past Grand Master.

“The fault lies with the Grand Lodge of Arkansas not with Shriners International. The Grand Master of Arkansas has adopted a “scorched earth” policy against the Shrine in his Grand jurisdiction because Shriners International will not allow him to decide who should be a Shriner in Arkansas. A summary of the facts are as follows.”

“Potentate Buffington was asked to run for a second term as potentate of Scimitar Shriners – which is lawful under Shrine law. The Grand Master did not want him to do so because he wanted another Noble to have the office.”

“Potentate Buffington left it to the members of the temple to decide and the temple members elected him for a second term.”

“Social Event. Buffington had a Christmas party at a country club. Other parties were occurring at the same time. One of the other parties had a DJ who was playing extremely amplified music. The DJ was asked to lower the volume. He complied. A member of the other party went to Buffington’s party and complained that they had no right to interfere with the other party. Words were exchanged. The country club looked into the matter and found no wrong doing by Buffington. (This was not pleasing to the Grand Master)”

“Masonic Lodge. A complaint was filed in Buffington’s Masonic lodge in Arkansas alleging that Buffington conducted himself improperly at the Christmas party. The lodge investigated the matter and dismissed the complaint alleging no wrong doing by Buffington. (This was not pleasing to the Grand Master).”

“Scimitar Shriners. Buffington’s temple was asked to look into the matter. The temple did, and found no wrong doing by Buffington. (This was not pleasing to the Grand Master.) “

“Grand Lodge of Arkansas. The Grand Master then, without a trial, summarily suspended Buffington from Masonry in Arkansas and told Buffington he could appeal if he wanted to. Buffington did appeal. The Grand Master then selected the three persons who were to decide whether he was right or wrong in suspending Buffington. Needless to say, his three appointees carried out the execution of Buffington as they were expected to do by their appointment. They found Buffington guilty.”

“Shriners International. Shriners International held a hearing at the 2012 annual session at Charlotte, NC as to whether or not Buffington should be expelled from the Shrine because of being expelled from Masonry in South Carolina. A hearing was held and it was determined that Buffington was a member in good standing in Masonry in the Grand Lodge of Iowa and, therefore, he was eligible to remain a Shriner. (This was not pleasing to the Grand Master of Arkansas.)”

“Grand Lodge of Iowa. The Grand Master then asked the Grand Lodge of Iowa to expel Buffington from Masonry because he, the Grand Master of Arkansas, had done so. The Grand Master of Iowa stated that he would investigate the matter. He did conduct an investigation. He then informed the Grand Master of Arkansas that Buffington had done nothing wrong so he would not suspend or expel Buffington from Masonry.”

“As a result of all of the foregoing the Grand Master adopted his “scorched earth” policy against Shriners in Arkansas by issuing an edict that anyone who remained a Shriner in Arkansas had to self-expel himself from Masonry by December 15, 2012 or he, without any trial, would expel them from Masonry. Further he would not allow any Masonic lodge to issue a demit from Masonry to any Shriner (rightly fearing that such Masons would join Masonic lodges in other states). This is Masonry as it is presently practiced in the Grand Lodge of Arkansas.”

“Now, you have the basic facts.”

“I am proud to inform you that Shriners International is blessed to have Alan W. Madsen as its Imperial Potentate during this unprecedented time. He is standing tall for what is right and proper. He will not allow Shriners International nor Shriners Hospitals for Children to be destroyed by the unconscionable acts of those that have lost all common sense and no longer practice fraternal love and amity.”

“If you have any questions, do not hesitate to communicate with me.”


Theodore Corsones

General Counsel Emeritus of Shriners International and Shriners Hospitals for Children.

Deputy General Counsel

M.W. Past Grand Master


emblem of industry

How Much Longer Must We Wait?

By the exercise of Brotherly Love we are taught to regard the whole human species as one family – the high and low, rich and poor; who, as created by one Almighty Parent and inhabitants of the same planet  are to aid support and protect each other. On this principle Masonry unites men of every country, sect and compasssquare12opinion….

Thus Freemasonry has set itself up with a morality and code of ethics that teaches toleration, respect for the worth of each and every individual and the symbolism of the Level, that we as Freemasons are all on the same level. These are mighty fine attributes for an organization that could if it worked at it bring the peace and harmony of the Lodge room into civil society.

Unfortunately there are a number of Freemasons in the United States who believe that these lofty ideals only apply to White people, and others, including these racists,  that believe Freemasonry should only be open to Christians. This is the American corruption of Freemasonry not found in other parts of the world.

For fifteen years I have been speaking out strongly against racism and exclusiveness in American Mainstream Freemasonry. Many of my fellow Brethren have told me that they don’t see any of the problems in Freemasonry that I see. If you are a Northern Freemason and have never traveled outside your jurisdiction than perhaps you are correct.

Others who see the problem tell me to cool my jets.  That’s the older generation ways, they tell me. Just be patient, bide your time and all the bigots in Freemasonry will soon die off. They told me that fifteen years ago and I am still waiting, waiting for the day when Blacks and Whites have equal access to this great fraternal institution – not separate but equal which went out of vogue with Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – but a oneness without distinction.

My contention all along is that this problem will not just disappear on its own, it must be forced out of Freemasonry much as the federal government had to send federal troops to Little Rock and force Governor Faubus to open public schools to all races. For that I am labeled as some sort of rebel rouser, stirring up a hornets’ nest instead of just patiently waiting for the problem to disappear of its own accord.

But that won’t happen I said. And it hasn’t. Rednecks raise redneck children, KKK people raise little KKK people and racists and bigots raise racist and bigoted children.

Take a look at this video, a long hard look. Play it twice if needed. Notice the age of the perpetrators. These are not old timers soon to die off with their prejudices. These are some of the people in certain areas of American Freemasonry. Some are among our newest candidates.

Consider the Mainstream Grand Lodges of West Virginia and Arkansas. In West Virginia a junior Past Master is expelled without notice or a trial.  One of his most prominent charges is meeting in a neutral zone with Prince Hall Masons to discuss the possibilities of recognition. If you can’t even talk to Prince Hall Masons how do you propose to negotiate with them? The point is you don’t.

In Arkansas the Grand Master declared a generic Masonic license plate produced by Prince Hall to be clandestine. That’s right the license plate was clandestine and the punishment for purchase by any Mainstream Mason was expulsion. The Grand Master had “Masonic officials” stake out the parking lots of stated meetings to find any Mason who had a clandestine plate affixed to his vehicle. Then when Masons across the state started communicating with each other, perhaps to initiate reforms, the Grand Master issued an edict that all Freemasons in the jurisdiction could no longer discuss Freemasonry electronically. The penalty for Masonic E-mail was instant expulsion.

What is retarding Masonic growth is the negative publicity all jurisdictions are experiencing because of the actions of a prejudiced minority. Yet Mainstream Masonry refuses to either police itself or even try to diplomatically whisper words of wisdom into the ears of these all but rogue Grand Lodge officials. West Virginia has pulled recognition of Ohio for allowing PGM Haas to join its ranks. But those Grand Lodges on the Mainstream side who are correctly practicing the virtues of Freemasonry refuse to pull recognition from Grand Lodges like Arkansas and West Virginia who are sullying the name of Freemasonry.

We are now eleven, years into the new millennium. How much longer do we have to wait before Institutionalized prejudice is removed from Mainstream Freemasonry?

Jury Sides with Grand Lodge in West Virginia

grand lodge of west virginiaFrom the Charleston Gazette, it seems that a jury has sided with the Grand Lodge of West Virginia.

The Original story begins:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Kanawha County jury sided Wednesday with the Grand Lodge of the West Virginia branch of the Masons against a former grand master who sued after he was expelled from the group, claiming the organization had violated its own rules.

The jury declined to award Frank J. Haas, an administrative law judge from Wellsburg, any damages, even though Kanawha Circuit Judge Carrie Webster ruled that the Masons breached its contract with Haas.

The jury also decided that the state’s Grand Lodge and past Grand Masters Charles F. Coleman II and Charles L. Montgomery had not defamed Haas, placed him in a false light, or committed outrageous conduct toward Haas, who was also a past grand master.

Bob Allen, Haas’ attorney, said after the verdict was announced that Haas was very disappointed, but accepted the jury’s decision.

Haas, who served as the state’s grand master from October 2005 to October 2006, said that during his tenure, he tried to make West Virginia Masonry more inclusive in terms of nationality, race, disability, age and religion. He said he wanted to bring the organization’s policies more in line with federal and state public policy.

Haas’ progressive agenda, which came to be known as the Wheeling Reforms, passed at the Masons’ annual communication that year in Wheeling. The vote — in which some members, according to custom, had full votes and some had quarter votes — resulted in a tie, with Haas casting the tie-breaking vote himself.

Days later, Coleman, who succeeded Haas as grand master, issued an edict setting aside Haas’ agenda, citing voting irregularities that he and others had witnessed.

You can read the full published story (Wayback Archive) here.

Additional reading
Lest We Forget.

West Virginia Court Rules That It Has The Power To Force Freemasonry To Follow Its Own Rules

Message from Haas, post trial – Masonic Crusade – Archive

Lewis Carroll, masonic symbolism

Masonry Through the (Rear-view) Looking Glass

Lewis Carroll, masonic symbolism

by: Lewis Carroll

‘WAS brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”
He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought–
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.
And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!
One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.
“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Calloh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.
‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Monday December 6, 2010 marks the opening of the civil trial of the Grand Lodge of West Virginia versus Frank Haas.  It is only fitting, as this trial begins, to hear how the Jabberwock was slain in Hass’ own words.  Two years ago Expelled Past Grand Master Haas explained what he had done that was deemed so bad and what those who came to slay the Jabberwock did to him.

Masonry Through the (Rearview) Looking Glass
By Frank J. Haas, MPS

Thank you very much for your brave invitation. I know that there is some controversy about my being here. Some of you have examined your consciences about whether you should listen to me, break bread with me, shake hands with me, appear in the banquet room with me, stay in the same hotel as me, and where to draw the line. I respect that fidelity. I am hopeful that this will be only a temporary strain on our fraternal relations. I am honored to accept an invitation that I did not seek. I have the highest respect for The Philalethes Society, and I would not do anything intentionally to harm it.

I very much wish that the circumstances that brought us together might have been dispensed with, but I have gained a great deal of unsought notoriety of late. This Society exists to research problems confronting Freemasonry. I have a problem. Some say that I am a problem. I have been a Philalethes member for quite a few years. I can relate to you my perception and my recollection of what has happened recently to Freemasonry in West Virginia and to me, and I can offer my opinions on these events. I will tell you what happened — beginning at the end.

Listen to the Red Queen from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
“No, no!” said the Queen. “Sentence first — verdict afterwards.”

“Stuff and nonsense!” said Alice loudly. “The idea of having the sentence first!”

“Hold your tongue!” said the Queen, turning purple.

“I won’t!” said Alice.

“Off with her head!” the Queen shouted at the top of her voice. Nobody moved.

In a similar fashion, the capital punishment of Masonry was meted out to me. Sentence first, verdict irrelevant, trial — well, details, details. I was expelled summarily by the Grand Master of West Virginia without a trial, without written charges, and without notice that my neck was in the noose. “Sentence first — verdict afterwards.” To earn it, I did not even get the pleasure of stealing any money, messing around with any women, or sounding off with a temper tantrum. While I was watching a football game on a Sunday evening, I remember Grand Master Charlie L. Montgomery calling me to ask whether I would be in lodge the following evening. I said it was on my calendar. He said he “might drop in” to talk about the Oyster Night at the previous meeting of Wellsburg Lodge #2, where we hosted fifty Ohio brothers, including a surprise visit by the Grand Master of Ohio, the stalwart Ronald L. Winnett. When I walked into the lodge building on Monday, November 19, 2007, I thought it likely that the lodge would be complimented for its hospitality to two sitting grand masters. Little did I know that the lodge would soon be on probation and that expulsion edicts in advance had been researched, prepared, drafted, typed, and were soon to be read, expelling Richard K. Bosely and me, all, heartlessly, in the presence of my father.

I have been hurt by all of this, because I love this fraternity. I must guard against having my remarks today sound like nothing but sour grapes. Some unpleasant events happened. People ask me what happened. I tell them. They do not believe it and say it is impossible.

The Red Queen and Alice discussed such a circumstance in Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There.

“I can’t believe that!” said Alice.

“Can’t you?” the Queen said in a pitying tone. “Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.”

Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.”

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Believe it. The reason for the expulsion: free speech. I have a sincere philosophical disagreement with Montgomery and his supporters. I believe that the grand lodge belongs to the Craft and that the brothers should decide grand lodge laws and policy with their open debates and votes, preserving always our eight Ancient Landmarks. We are not bound to look forever through a looking glass as a rear-view mirror and never look at the present or toward the future. Montgomery wants no change ever, and anyone who wants any change should “go away.”

Here is how I engendered such anger. Votes matter. In West Virginia, past masters have one quarter of a vote. According to the legend, I was elected to the progressive line of grand lodge officers by a quarter of a vote. You know that you must be cautious about secret ballots: those who know should not say, and those who say may not know. I am only passing on what I was told. I had served ten years on the Committee on Work with the custody of the ritual as Deputy Grand Lecturer. I became Junior Grand Warden, but some did not want me there.

As grand master, it became my frequent practice to address the brethren at lodge meetings, and I began to conclude my speaking on the level with a time of questions of answers. There were some recurring themes in the brother’s questions, and these I decided to bring to the floor of grand lodge for consideration. Before grand lodge, I acted on three matters of business that needed no change but were compelling interpretations of existing language.

Youth. We had one active DeMolay chapter in the whole state, at the time. We had only around a hundred Rainbow Girls. I talked to the youth and their leaders, and I learned that part of their problem was our grand lodge law. Our policies were actually harming kids. Our Masonic law requires us not to allow youth organizations to meet in the lodge rooms, no matter what the lodges want. Lodges cannot give any support to the kids. Lodges cannot donate a penny. Lodges cannot even permit the parking lot to be used to raise funds by a car wash, for example. When I learned that the application of these many prohibitions, which had slowly accumulated over the years, was hurting the kids, I concluded that it was never the intention of Masonic law to be harmful to them. I thought the brothers would want fast action, so I acted with a directive to help the kids, and I set the subject for discussion at grand lodge.

Summary reprimands. We had three brothers involved in two separate incidents. News reporters initiated calls to ask for facts about Masonic buildings, which they proposed to feature in their newspaper articles. The brothers answered questions about facts and figures, numbers and dates, and these resulted in large, beautiful articles with color photographs in the newspapers of the fourth and the fifth largest cities in the state. One headline on the front page of the Sunday newspaper was worth thousands of dollars in a public relations budget: “I knew they were just and upright men.” However, the three brothers had not referred the reporters to the grand master, so he summarily issued written edicts of reprimand to be read audibly in all 140 lodges at two separate meetings. There were no trials. Sentence first. I entered an edict expunging the record because there was no constructive purpose to be achieved in having them continue.

As I prepared for the grand lodge session, I prepared a written agenda and had the various subjects of legislation distributed so that it went to the Craft with the proposals in their hands, in advance, in writing, to allow discussion to take place freely before the grand lodge session. This had not been done by a grand master for many decades, if at all.

The storm clouds began to swirl. I invited Brother Howie Damron to perform at the Grand Master’s Banquet before grand lodge opened, and he sang, “The Masonic Ring” and other favorites. Some of my predecessors objected and were turning colors in anger, and I was then implored to attend a meeting of past grand masters. The place of the meeting changed without notice to me, and I finally found them at about midnight and was told that my predecessors and all of the remaining progressive line were of the opinion that my actions and proposals were illegal and had to be withdrawn, or I would face their wrath. They said I had violated the landmarks, the Ancient Charges, the ritual, the usages and customs, and my obligation — so I was told, and this could not go forward. I said that the brothers would indeed debate and vote, and I later learned that the statements about unanimity in the room were exaggerated.

The following day, grand lodge opened, and I reported my actions and opinions to the Craft. Prominent among them was an outreach I had made to the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of West Virginia through the Prince Hall Grand Master. Perhaps I went further than he would have liked, as I wrote him and telephoned him months earlier, and then visited the hotel of their grand lodge session, suggesting a meeting. For our grand lodge, I proposed language declaring it to be unMasonic conduct to refuse to seat a visitor to lodge if race was a reason, and it passed. On other subjects, the brothers voted to allow themselves the option to say the Pledge of Allegiance at lodge meetings. The brothers voted to allow handicapped candidates to petition.

We are the only grand lodge not to recognize or support the DeMolay, Rainbow Girls, or Job’s Daughters. We are the only grand lodge not to be members of the Masonic Service Association. We are the only grand lodge not to belong to a regional conference of grand masters. We are the only grand lodge to order the Scottish Rite not to perform one of their degrees, the Washington/Arnold 20th degree. The result? I am proud to say that the brothers voted not to persist in remaining a minority of one. The brothers voted to change these things.

By their votes, the brothers repealed an assortment of legislative state-wide restrictions, piled on over the decades, for specific, temporary reasons, by Masonic legislators. Dean Roscoe Pound in Masonic Jurisprudence observed, “Having no bills of rights in Masonry and hence nothing beyond a handful of vaguely defined landmarks to restrain him, what then are our barriers against the ravages of the zealous, energetic, ambitious Masonic law-maker? Legal barriers, there are none. But some of the most sacred interests of life have only moral security and on the whole do not lose thereby.”

The brothers in West Virginia voted to assert their moral security and to repeal bans of books, bans on films, and bans on slideshows, some implemented nearly fifty years ago for important reasons, apparent then, to deal with a moment in time. Royal Arch Chapter charters had been ordered to be removed from the walls of lodge rooms, but the brothers voted to allow them. Other art in a lodge room that included Masonic symbols or emblems other than the Blue Lodge had been prohibited, such as Scottish Rite or York Rite emblems or a tapestry hung on a concrete block wall, but the brothers voted to allow it — including portraits of local Past Grand High Priests and Past Grand Commanders, of whom they are justly proud.

The West Virginia brothers were forward-looking and voted to do what they thought was right. There was jubilation at the passing of the Wheeling Reforms at grand lodge in 2006. That lasted for a matter of days. Then we returned to the rear-view looking glass, the rear-view mirror, as the ballot was declared illegal by my successor. The vote was scorned. In my opinion, the best word to describe what is now happening as a result is: repression.

Since the Wheeling Reforms were struck down, we have heard it said that, although race is not a legitimate factor to use to exclude a qualified visitor, wink-wink, the Worshipful Master has the duty to preserve the “peace and harmony” of the lodge. So, promote peace and harmony, but, wink-wink, do not consider the race of the visitor, wink-wink.

Did you lose a thumb while fighting for your country? Which one? The left? — sign here on this membership petition. The right? We have ancient usages and customs, and we cannot put up with your kind.

Do you want a Masonic funeral? Your grandsons are prohibited from being pall bearers unless they are all Master Masons. You must explain these Masonic laws to your widow so that we do not have to leave her sobbing in the funeral home. There is no problem if you want your remains to be cremated. However, if you want your ashes to be scattered, it is “undignified” and we must walk away from your mourners, because if anyone knows that the lodge is present as a group, we will be reprimanded, again.

If youth organizations are having problems, their problems are not our problems, so be extremely careful if you try to help the kids. If our deceased brother’s obituary mentions his request that, in lieu of flowers, memorial donations should be made to a hometown hospice, which comforted and cared for him on his deathbed, then the proper action of the lodge is… send the flowers, because such charity is forbidden. We will not join the Masonic Service Association, as every other grand lodge in North America does, because it is soft on Prince Hall and they will send their publications and Short Talk Bulletins to our members without our control. We will not join the Northeast Conference of Grand Masters or any other such conference because they have ideas that conflict with our laws and mostly because those other grand lodges recognize Prince Hall Masonry.

Friends, I am proud of the Wheeling Reforms. They were distributed so that the Craft had them in their hands, in advance, in writing, most of them for the first time in their lives. We debated until the brothers voted to end debate. We voted on the merits. The Wheeling Reforms passed. They lasted — until the stroke of a pen. Dick Bosely politely but persistently sought and was denied answers about this, and because he took a little bit too much time to sit down and shut up, he was instantly stripped of his title as Deputy Grand Lecturer and two weeks later was summarily expelled, and his alleged offense was committed in the presence of the Grand Master of Ohio. I engaged in free speech saying, as quoted by Grand Master Montgomery, “the dream lives on and will not die.” Now I am left without free speech and without Freemasonry, but I still have the dream.

For my dreams, I have sustained the maximum Masonic punishment — expulsion. It hurts. It hurts a great deal. I hope that it is temporary. In another feat of Orwellian double think, my detractors have extended their hatred further by deleting my name from the website list of Past Grand Masters of West Virginia and throwing it down the memory hole. The Craft in West Virginia is a resilient bunch — Montani Semper Liberi, Mountaineers are always free. They are unsure of what to do and how. They want to do the right thing — and do that thing right, but those who would continue the repression have the upper hand for now. I do not have a call to mobilization to outline for you. I am on the outside now. Your brethren in West Virginia have voted to do what they think is right. By their votes, they made a positive statement about race relations in the fraternity. By their votes, they tried to help the kids. By their votes, they welcomed the handicapped into the Craft. By their votes, they were in favor of patriotic expression in the lodge. All for naught. We are one large fraternity divided into grand lodges. What happens to us reflects upon you. What happens to one group of your brothers affects the whole. We lecture about Masonry Universal. Search yourself, my brethren. You may find yourself with an opportunity to help, aid, and assist — not me — but your worthy brothers in West Virginia in ways, large or small. Will you go on foot and out of your way for them? You may be able to speak the truth to power. As Lincoln counseled, be on the side of the angels. Will you encourage, nourish, and cherish your brethren in the state with the second highest per capita Masonic membership with your concern and your prayers? If for nothing else but your concern and your prayers, the brethren of West Virginia will thank you, Masonry Universal will thank you, and I thank you for sticking your necks out for Freemasonry.

Please give this some soul searching serious thought before you rush to judgement.

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?

War Declared

It all started with somebody who was willing to break the code of mutual support…………no matter the deed.  Most Worshipful Terry W. Posey writes on his blog:

“Frank Haas is a Judge in West Virginia and until several years ago was Grand Master of West Virginia. The story of his being expelled from the Grand Lodge of West Virginia is well-documented in various Masonic and other publications. I have reviewed as many as were available, including West Virginia’s Proceedings, the New York Times and .”

“He moved to Ohio last year. After that, he petitioned Steubenville Lodge # 45 for the degrees of Freemasonry.”

“I thoroughly researched the Code of the Grand Lodge of Ohio and there is nothing to prevent his receiving these degrees. Inasmuch as he is an Ohio resident, the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Ohio confers jurisdiction over his membership to the Grand Lodge of Ohio and the lodge’s membership.”

“He made a full disclosure of the Notice of Expulsion by the Past Grand Master of West Virginia and answered all questions presented to him by the Lodge’s Committee of Investigation. The Lodge did the necessary background work, including a home visit. They were assured that he was a good man and true, and he met all requirements, including residency for the requisite time, for membership.”

“Steubenville Lodge # 45 gave a unanimous ballot approving his membership.”

“On April 17, he received the three degrees of Freemasonry in Steubenville Lodge.” – page archive

The response was for the Grand Lodge of West Virginia to withdraw recognition of Ohio.  The Grand Lodge of Ohio’s website reports it thusly:

“The Grand Master of West Virginia, Gregory A. Riley, Sr., issued an edict on April 19, 2010 withdrawing fraternal recognition from the Grand Lodge of Ohio because Steubenville Lodge No. 45 elected Frank Haas to membership and conferred the three degrees of Masonry on him on Saturday, April 17, 2010.” – page archive

If West Virginia can withdraw recognition of Ohio so quickly and easily, why is it that some of the Grand Lodges in the United States who are really doing a wonderful job have not withdrawn recognition from West Virginia, clearly a rogue Grand Lodge, a long time ago?  It seems to me that only the bad guys have the chutzpah to take action.

And if the Conference of Grand Masters is truly our national voice in American Freemasonry why has it not voted on a proposal to withdraw recognition from those Grand Lodges who trample on the civil rights of their Brethren and who refuse to recognize Prince Hall?

Why is it that American Freemasonry refuses to police itself?  Are we waiting for the civil courts to step in?  Do we really think that the actions of one Grand Lodge has no bearing on the public’s perception of all of American Freemasonry?  Are we going to stand by and do nothing while one after another after another of these incidents of tyrannical power gone amuck , these actions of Right Wing Masonic Militia take place?

Will there be any national response to the plight of Derek Gordon?

The Beehive will wait to see further developments as this may be one of many battles to come.  Widely rumored in Prince Hall circles is the story that the UGLE is seriously considering withdrawing recognition from all American Grand Lodges who refuse to recognize Prince Hall.

Stay tuned!

Arkansas flag

Unjustly Accused

Arkansas flagThe Derek Gordon saga continues.  The Grand Lodge of Arkansas has rescheduled Gordon’s Masonic trial but demanded he bring a copy of his military orders as proof he was performing duty for his country on the originally scheduled day.  It promised Gordon that he would receive a new letter in the mail by Friday April 16, 2010, outlining charges and setting forth a new date.  Friday April 16th has come and gone and Gordon has received no correspondence from the Grand Lodge of Arkansas.  This follows a pattern set by the Grand Lodge in the proceedings against Gordon.  Gordon never received the first letter notifying him of Masonic charges.  As Secretary of the Lodge he never received any notifications of changes made at the 2010 Grand Session.  He had to go out and find brothers who had that information available because  materials were taken when the charter was arrested.  Also, the Grand Lodge of Arkansas refused to provide that information to him.  The 2010 data was sent just last week after finding someone who had a copy.

You will remember that in their first letter to Gordon, which the Grand Lodge never sent directly to him either, stating the charges against him were: –

The sole accusation poised is based upon entry 4.0.61 in the digest. That states: “The…use of cipher rituals of the three Symbolic Degrees of Masonry is forbidden; and ANY Mason who shall hereafter…use anything purporting to be a cipher ritual or written, printed or otherwise delineated ritual or exposition of Masonry shall be expelled from Masonry.”

Now Gordon cannot remember ever having knowingly violated this provision of the Grand Constitution. So he asks for an explanation of the charges. He states that:

I stand accused of “un-Masonic conduct” for reasons that the Grand Lodge of Arkansas refused to delineate. The Grand Inquisitor (Chairman, Grand Lodge Trial Commission), John Penrod, was kind enough to inform me that I must determine the causes of action the Grand Lodge of Arkansas has against me. And, the Inquisitor refused to provide materials that might shed light on such issues.

Again after many attempts to reach the Grand Master by telephone Gordon finally is successful.  He poses the same question.  Please be specific and tell me where, when and how I have violated 4.0.61.  The Grand Master refuses to answer.   The Grand Master demanded that he come to the trial and answer all of their questions.  At that time he would find out the details.

Now if you know Masonic procedure and basic legal procedure and civil rights, not to mention common decency, you know right away that the Grand Lodge of Arkansas is not handling this process correctly.

For something to compare how the Grand Lodge of Arkansas is conducting itself, here is a manual from another Grand Lodge on how to run a Masonic trial:

“Aside from everything else, the internal judicial process of GL of Arkansas appears to resemble more the traditions of the Soviet Union than the best principles of the Common Law and legal heritage of England, which informs all public and other judicial process in both our countries.”

An accused person must be so under a pre-existing statute or rule (That is, no law no crime.)

  1. What is not forbidden is permitted
  2. All charges shall be clearly stated and given to the accused well in advance of any further process or trial
  3. The accused is presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty
  4.  In civil law on a preponderance of the evidence and in criminal law beyond a reasonable doubt
  5. The accused is entitled to full disclosure of all evidence known or collected well before a hearing or trial
  6. The accused is entitled to know all the prosecution has, whether it is to be used in court or not
  7. The accused is entitled to subpoena witnesses and compel their attendance and testimony under oath
  8. The accused has the right of appeal to a superior bench or tribunal on points of law or new evidence
  9. The accused has the right of professional or expert counsel or representation
  10. The accused has the right to know all his/her rights at the time of arrest or at the start of any proceedings

*   Evidence itself collected illegally or improperly cannot be admitted in the case against the accused

Perhaps GL of Ark. needs a course in basic civics.

Gordon thought at first that he was being charged with violation of a brand new Grand Lodge ruling made in the 2010 Grand Session because that is what Sebastian Lodge #706 was charged with.

The sequence of events and their close proximity to their execution hold the whole Grand Lodge process in suspect.  First you had webmaster Gordon posting the Grand Master’s directive prohibiting the purchase of Arkansas Masonic license plates on Sebastian Lodge’s website with provision that this was not necessarily the point of view of Sebastian Lodge.  Just a few days, literally 3 days, later Grand Session convenes and a new anti electronic law is passed followed by in just a few more weeks until the closing of Sebastian Lodge by the Grand Master and the initiation of charges against Gordon.  A good case could be made that the Grand Lodge of Arkansas instituted the new legislation for the sole purpose of expelling Derek Gordon.

The Grand Master uses this new law to pull the charter of Sebastian Lodge and close it down.

What is on Sebastian’s website has been put there by Gordon.  So it is only natural for him to initially think that the charge is related to the posting of Masonic information for public view.  But Gordon is able to demonstrate that all that he has posted on Sebastian’s website he has drawn from the Grand Lodge website and other chartered Lodges of Arkansas linked on the Grand Lodge website.

THEN THE GRAND LODGE OF ARKANSAS PROMPTLY CLOSES ITS WEBSITE.  So, there is no lasting proof that Gordon can point to. (The website has since relaunched)

And to further weaken the validity of its position the Grand Lodge of Arkansas is prosecuting, using a brand new law, before it has informed all its constituent Lodges that the new law was made.  Sebastian Lodge receives the notification of the anti electronic communication addition to Grand Lodge’s by-laws along with the letter of charges filed against Gordon and a Masonic trial date all at the same time.  That means that the Grand Lodge is proceeding against violators of its new law before anybody has been notified that the new law exists. That fact strengthens the position that the only reason they created the new law was to prosecute Gordon.

Gordon searches for another reason the Grand Lodge might be prosecuting him and remembers associating with Black Masons at Mainstream Lodges in Oklahoma and Prince Hall Masons in the military service.  Since he has so informed Grand Lodge of these activities and suggested to Grand Lodge to pursue Prince Hall recognition he wonders if this is the real reason for charges being filed against him.

When you sift through all this information you have to ask yourself if this is a normal manner for a Grand Lodge to act.  If you are a Mainstream Mason in say Vermont or Illinois or California or Iowa or Minnesota would your Grand Lodge be going through these contortions to purge members?  And I will play a little Bill O’Reilly here – “And you say?”

The Grand Lodge of Arkansas proudly announces its purge of others also.


There are other more overriding issues here. It is not just about racism, although that surely is a component. It’s just as much about the abuse of power, un-Masonic conduct by Grand Masters and Grand Lodges, in short tyrannical leadership.

From the earliest of Speculative Masonic ages the Royal Society and Freemasonry were connected.  From 1640 into its formal formation in 1660 Freemasons like Elias Ashmole, Sir Christopher Wren, Sir Robert Moray and Dr. Desaguliers brought the Royal Society and Freemasonry together in the pursuit of light.  Free thinkers, leaders in the arts and sciences, political and societal action in behalf of the worth of the individual, the philosophy of the Enlightenment all characterized what Freemasonry was all about and its unique ability to harmonize many diverse elements in one body under one roof.

But as practiced in America, many Grand Lodges are no longer receptive and accepting of different opinions, practices and lifestyles.  They are exclusionary not only purging Blacks, Jews and Catholics but casting out anybody who wishes to think for themselves.

Some Mainstream American Grand Lodges refuse to allow a Master Mason in their jurisdiction to express what Freemasonry means to them, to talk about Freemasonry or to think for themselves.  They demand that their Brethren shut up and let the Grand Lodge do their thinking for them. They squash openness and reforms at every opportunity they get.

The power that American Mainstream Grand Lodges possess today is far stronger than 50 years ago.  Before 1960 Grand Lodges were more like equal partners with their chartered local Lodges. The Local Lodge and its Worshipful Master stood supreme in the governance of its own affairs.  Oh, yes there were Grand Lodge requirements, Grand Lodge forms to fill out and send in and a Grand Constitution to uphold.  But rarely did a Grand Lodge attempt to mess in the affairs of a chartered Lodge under its jurisdiction. The Worshipful Master was supreme in his own Lodge and the Grand Lodge handled affairs on a District or state level while also offering advice and help when a local Lodge asked for it.

The 1960’s saw American Masonic membership take a nosedive.  In response to what Grand Lodges saw as the sluggishness of its constituent Lodges to take the necessary measures to boost membership, Grand Lodges jumped in and began making demands on subordinate Lodges. Grand Lodges made the case that only they could, by pooling resources, initiate large expensive programs to attract new members.  They used this excuse to then make more demands on local Lodges and take over some of their Lodge’s decision making.

The result of this power shift also had a profound influence on the financial well being of local Lodges.  As Grand Lodges assumed more and more power they not only were able to reap the rewards of giant, state-wide fundraisers which only they could afford to finance but also financial backing, donations and gifts bypassed local Lodges and went directly to the coffers of Grand Lodges. Subordinate lodges became more and more financially strapped and Grand Lodges refused to send any money back down to them. As local Lodges pleaded for financial help, Grand Lodges would only provide help with strings attached.  Those strings enabled them to make decisions in local Lodges that in days past would never have been allowed.

There is an old saying that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Now Grand Masters always have had supreme power, but the boundary line of their duty was always spelled out so that there were many avenues that were off limits to them.  Once any limits to Grand Lodge power were eliminated it paved the way for a small Oligarchy to control a whole jurisdiction.

There are benevolent dictators and there are oppressive dictators. The latter sitting in the Grand East act like the potentate of a Right Wing Masonic Militia. There are many examples of this abuse of power, among the most recent are:

1)   The Grand Master of West Virginia expels Past Grand Master, Frank Haas without a trial, for his reforms and policies while he was Grand Master.  The Grand Master calls Frank Haas a few days before his Lodge’s Communication and asks him if he will be attending as he is going to visit the Lodge, but he gives no hint as to the nature of his visit.  Then before Brothers and friends he blindsides Hass with an expulsion by edict. This Grand Lodge prohibits any discourse with “clandestine” Masons.  If you can’t even speak with Prince Hall Masons it makes it pretty hard to start the process of recognition.  But what is most distressing about this Grand Lodge is not just its racism but its ability to stop Master Masons from speaking out or discussing any Masonic matter.

The Millennial Mason had this to say about the situation in West Virginia at the time:

“As I am sure most of you are aware, it is a terrible, repugnant state of affairs within the borders of West Virginia for the average Mason. If he voices support for M.W.B. Frank Haas’ case, he is expelled through edict. The Grand Lodge is using hidden codes within their communications to flush out critics of their policies if that critic should give the communication to the Masonic Crusade. It is truly a story that even a fiction writer could not have invented.”

2)   The Grand Lodge of Georgia through devious means convinces two Worshipful Masters to prefer charges against Gate City Lodge and its Worshipful Master for raising a black man in direct violation of the Grand Lodge statue that says non whites cannot become members. This method demands a Grand Lodge trial and bypasses the local Lodge handling of this affair. It also shields the Grand Master from direct involvement in taking this action. Eventually the charges were dropped after Gate City Lodge sued the Grand Lodge in civil court.

This brings us to the present state of affairs in Arkansas. The Grand Lodge of Arkansas is bringing Derek Gordon to trial and possible expulsion, but they refuse to be specific about what he has done wrong. In so doing they follow a pattern illustrated by Georgia, West Virginia and a host of others before them. The pattern may involve racism and, also, cultural and religious discrimination all of which are abhorrent and un-Masonic.  Yet the overriding ability to act in such an un-Masonic manner can be laid at the bed of the enormous all-pervasive power Grand Lodges have assumed.

This absolute power has led some Grand Lodges to act in an arbitrary manner including some or all of the below:

  1. All Masonic trials are initiated by the Grand Master
  2. All Masonic trials are conducted by a Grand Lodge tribunal
  3. The Grand Master can expel by edict or on sight without a trial
  4. The Grand Master can pull the charter of a Lodge and close it down without having a reason or giving prior notification
  5. Masonic discourse outside the jurisdiction is prohibited
  6. Publicly discussing Masonic matters is prohibited
  7. Using electronic means to discuss Masonry is prohibited
  8. Disagreeing with the Grand Master is grounds for immediate expulsion
  9. Owning operating or posting on a Masonic website is prohibited
  10. Organizing and creating a group, club or organization of Masons outside of Lodge Communications for whatever purpose without the approval of the Grand Master is strictly prohibited.
  11. Writing and publishing Masonic articles, papers or books that haven’t been first approved by Grand Lodge is disallowed.
  12. Submitting to an interview by the press or going on a radio or TV show dealing with Masonic matters must have prior Grand Lodge approval.

The theme that runs through all this is fascism which is anathema to Masonic tradition. Those members of the Royal Society who were also Masons centuries ago were not stopped from speaking their mind. Freemasonry has always prided itself on being inclusive, not exclusionary, of permitting differences in all aspects of society to co-exist in a big tent philosophy. Some of the great free thinkers of the world, some of the greatest mystics, some of the greatest spiritualists, many of whom were never conformists, were Masons and were never expelled for their views.

Here is another way in which the Grand Lodge of Arkansas wants to cement its control as was passed in the 2010 session.

Again I have to ask is muzzling Masons a proper use of Masonic authority?  And you say…………………………

Is ethnic (or individual) cleansing a permissible Masonic policy?
And you say……………………..

Should any racism be tolerated in a Masonic jurisdiction?
And you say…………………..

Do we all live on a Masonic island or is American Masonry all interconnected?
And you say………………………………

American Freemasonry has failed Derek Gordon. There are too many Neros in American Freemasonry who will fiddle while Masonry burns.
And you say………………………

If you want to help Gordon don’t write to him or waste your time addressing the Grand Lodge of Arkansas.  Write, call, E-Mail your own Grand Lodge and ask them to put a stop to this kind of Freemasonry.