"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Winston Smith At Work In West Virginia?

Some new wrinkles have appeared in the ongoing troubles in West Virginia.

First, the Grand Lodge of West Virginia's website is apparently engaging in the rewriting of history by removing MWBro. Frank Hass from its list of Past Grand Masters. While it is one thing for a Grand Master to expel a Mason from the fraternity (and sources conflict over whether the GM in WVa has the power to do that legally without a trial), it is quite another to then erase him from the published history of the fraternity.

Apparently, Haas is doubleplus ungood and a potential Goldstein. So he has been made an un-person. Can the two-minute hate be far behind?

Second, the Philalethes Society has announced that PGM Haas will be the keynote speaker at the Society's annual Feast and Forum in Washington DC on February 8th, 2008.

Backchannel, I have received messages that the Grand Lodge of West Virginia is the only mainstream U.S. Grand Lodge that does not participate in the George Washington Masonic National Memorial; the Masonic Service Association; or the North American Conference of Grand Masters. It does not recognize its Prince Hall counterpart, nor does it consider the Scottish Rite, York Rite, or Eastern Star to be appendant Masonic organizations. And it does not support the Masonic youth groups in any way. WVa Masons must join the closest geographical lodge to their residence, may not be plural members, and if they move out of state, they must relinquish their WVa membership if they wish to join a lodge in their new home state.

West Virginia continues to isolate itself from the rest of the Masonic world, and its leadership seems to be committed to that path of isolation for the foreseeable future.


  1. Actually, it's not true that expelled GMs don't get "erased" from the official lists. It happened to GM William H. Marker (1909) whose name was stricken from the official list of Indiana GMs for 42 years. See Goodly Heritage, pp. 416-419.

    Of course this was due to the fact that MWBro. Marker was convicted of embezzlement, etc., in federal court. I doubt that MWBro. Hass has done anything comparable.

  2. Bro. Hodapp,
    Just to throw in some trivia, in the case of Prince Hall masonry, one of the more notable expulsions took place in Illinois in 1903, when the PHGL in Illinois suspended its former grand secretary AND founder of the Prince Hall Shriners John G. Jones. He was expelled for clandestine activities, and after the expulsion, he founded a number of clandestine Black grand lodges throughout the US. He is sort of the Godfather of clandestine Black masonry.

    He and his picture is still on the list of past grand secretaries in the PHGL of Illinois website, and he is mentioned whenever a history of the Prince Hall Shrine is written. However, there is a caption under his name that he was expelled for clandestine activities.

    Given some of the things he has done prior to expulsion, it would be hard as hell to erase his name from any history books or sites.

    Just wanted to throw this historical tidbit in.


  3. This is a unique wrinkle. If a man should converse Masonically with PGM Hass at this meeting, even though they don't agree with the GL of WV or their actions, wouldn't they be violating their obligation?

    Just thinking aloud....
    Chris Kimmel, WM

  4. Put 'em all in Room 101 and throw all the papers down the memory hole. That'll fix everything!

    Widow's Son

  5. There are several gaps in the GL of WV's website's history of grand masters. Were there others expelled, or did some GM's serve for more than one year? Or, are they just listing the ones that are now seen as having been on the "right side"? Is it sort of like Republicans listing only Republican presidents as having been presidents when presenting a list of former presidents?

    Strange bedfellows politics do make....

    — W.S.

  6. Is it sort of like Republicans listing only Republican presidents as having been presidents when presenting a list of former presidents?

    Well, THAT I would certainly agree with doing... < g >

  7. WBro Chris K -- I still maintain that to "communicate Masonically" means to sit down together in a tyled meeting, not simply to talk about Masonry. :D

  8. ...as in the term "annual communication" or "stated communication."

  9. WOW
    I never how conservative WVa was with their rules and regulations?

    I am not sure I could grow under such stifling situations?

    Where is the Freedom in WVa Freemasonry?
    I wish our expelled brothers the best!

  10. The rules of WV will destroy the lodges in their area due to lack of growth of members and inability to raise funds to keep up their lodges. My limited exposure the the WV Lodges over the years has lend me to form that opinion. It is a great shame and the WV Grand Masters have prevented any attempt to ensure the viability of their Craft. The lodges I have visited were wonderful and the people were great, but the upper level Leadership has failed their members.


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