On April 22, 2010 the following was sent to those member
Grand Lodges of the Conference of Grand Masters of North America.
I write to provide some explanation of the actions
taken by Steubenville Lodge #45, regarding the Masonic membership of Frank
Frank J. Haas was Grand Master of The Grand Lodge of
West Virginia in 2006. The following items were proposed to be changed by
him and those changes passed at the 2006 Grand Lodge Session held in
Wheeling, but the vote was abruptly set aside less than two weeks later.
This was and is again the current Masonic law under The Grand Lodge of West
1. The Grand Lodge of West Virginia forbids the Pledge
of Allegiance at lodge meetings.
2. The Grand Lodge of West Virginia is the only Grand
Lodge to refuse by law to allow DeMolay, Rainbow, or Job’s Daughters to meet
in any lodge rooms. Their lodges are forbidden from donating any money to
any charitable organization, including Masonic youth organizations or
permitting them to earn money on the lodge premises.
3. The Grand Lodge of West Virginia is the only Grand
Lodge in the United States not to belong to the Masonic Service Association.
4. The Grand Lodge of West Virginia forbids the
charter of a Royal Arch Chapter to hang in its lodge rooms. No Masonic art
that includes symbols of any other Masonic organization except the symbolic
lodge can hang in West Virginia lodge rooms (this includes portraits of Past
Grand High Priests and Past Grand Commanders). The Grand Lodge of West
Virginia has banned books, movies, slideshows, songs, CD’s, an Ohio singer,
5. Family members cannot be pallbearers at a Masonic
Funeral in West Virginia unless they are Masons. The ashes of a deceased
brother cannot receive a Masonic Funeral in West Virginia, because it is by
their Masonic law declared “undignified.”
6. Almost no one with a physical disability can be
elected to receive the degree of Freemasonry in a Lodge under The Grand
Lodge of West Virginia. The cause of the injury, be it military service or
anything else, does not matter.
The above-referenced reforms were passed as part of
the “Wheeling Reforms” at the 2006 Grand Lodge Session of The Grand Lodge of
West Virginia but were set aside by the succeeding Grand Master less than
two weeks later. That action has brought about the turmoil in the Craft in
West Virginia and ultimately resulted in the expulsion of Frank J. Haas, the
Grand Master who proposed the reforms.
All of these topics have been the subject of much
discussion on the websites, including http://freemasonsfordummies.blogspot.com
and masonic-crusade.com and blogs and the Philalethes publications. This has
also been widely reported in detail in the popular press by the Associated
Press and with a color spread in the New York Times.
I have observed the situation for two and a half
years. In a most respectful tone, I wrote to three Grand Masters of West
Virginia and offered my good offices to mediate its conflict. All offers
were ignored or rejected.
Steubenville Lodge #45 regularly received and
investigated a petition from Frank J. Haas to receive the degrees of
Freemasonry in that Lodge.
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 Steubenville Lodge’s Committee of Investigation. The
Lodge did the necessary background work, including a home visit. They were
convinced that he was a good man and true, and he met all requirements,
including residency for the requisite time, for membership.
I thoroughly researched the Code of The Grand Lodge of Ohio and determined
that there is nothing to prevent his receiving the 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.
After he was unanimously elected to receive the
degrees by Steubenville Lodge #45, I concurred with the Lodge that the laws
of The Grand Lodge of Ohio had been complied with, and the Lodge proceeded
to confer the three degrees of Freemasonry on Frank J. Haas, who for years
had been an honorary member of that lodge. On April 17, 2010, he received
the three degrees of Freemasonry in Steubenville Lodge.
On the next business day, the Grand Master of West
Virginia withdrew fraternal relations with The Grand Lodge of Ohio because
of the action taken by Steubenville Lodge.
The Grand Lodge of West Virginia has withdrawn its
fraternal recognition of other Grand Lodges before. In 1991, Charles E.
Forsythe, then Grand Master, issued two edicts regarding Prince Hall Masons.
His edicts forbade members of The Grand Lodge of West Virginia to be present
in Lodges under the Grand Lodges of Connecticut, Wisconsin, Nebraska, State
of Washington, Colorado, Minnesota, and North Dakota, all of which had
recognized the regular Prince Hall Grand Lodges in their states.
Despite the unfortunate action taken by The Grand
Lodge of West Virginia, I am convinced that Steubenville Lodge #45 acted
consistently with the Code of The Grand Lodge of Ohio, and I find no fault
on their part or that of Brother Haas.
The Grand Lodge of Ohio acted consistently with Ohio
law. We ask our sister Grand Lodges to respect our law.
Terry W. Posey
Addendum to Blog Article on 4/23/2010:
I have been informed by the Grand Master of West Virginia that this
withdrawl does NOT interfere with fraternal relations of appendant bodies
and that members can continue those relationships.
A quote by Martin Luther King: “Our
lives begin to end the day we become silent about those things that matter.”