Saturday, June 28, 2008

Celebrating Master of the Year

At the last Communication of Pride of Mt. Pisgah Lodge #135 under the jurisdiction of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas, we surprised our Master with some good food including a celebration cake. A rousing good time was had by all as we honored our Master and pledged the Lodge to even bigger and better things in the future.

The Lodge will now start its yearly line of raising new Master Masons which will begin at the next meeting and culminate in the Third Degree mass Raising at Grand Lodge in Novemeber. It looks like we have 5 or 6 candidates starting their degrees next week.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Ritual - A Poem

Past Master Oliver of Live Stone Lodge #152 under the jurisdiction of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas pens this prose.

The Ritual

The Ritual is my Tool Box. I come to the Lodge to Build.

The Sharper that my Tools are, The Faster I move To the Guild

The Pot of incense, that smolder and glow so Light so Bright.

I will keep the Secret intensely repose, with all my virtuous might.

While on Earth like the Ant so industrious,

With strength I will work and grow.

Till Thy Wings Blossom and We move towards Heaven.

This a Fellow Bee, should work to Know.

Our documents that govern us so brilliantly

We quest with Proficiency to act and show, our Constitution is the

Law that guides us, to the Land that no traveler will ever flow!

Stone to stone to make it smother. Metal to metal to make

It Sharp. With a swift stroke of My Trowel in

Harmony, I will pace from Stop to Start!

So study this thing that we are given with ALL your Mind, Soul,

And Heart, It will Lighten your load in Masonry, and is the Essence of a real Part to Start.

PM Lawrence Oliver Sr.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

One Mountain, Many Paths

Dr. Patrick Swift a clinical psychologist, a Freemason, a Catholic, a man who has taken care of many 9/11 victims has written a book titled "One Mountain, One Path" wherein he trumpets world peace through toleration, one of the foremost tenets of Freemasonry.

His press release: quotes him as saying:

Dr. Swift is a practicing Catholic who formerly trained to become a Jesuit priest. "I see Freemasonry as an interfaith fraternity in which I can share a common belief in God with men of other faiths while maintaining my identity as a Catholic. Being able to call a Jew or a Muslim my brother increases my hope for peace in the world," Swift says.

Tolerance is a highly regarded tradition in the practice of Freemasonry where all men meet On The Level. I prefer the use of the terminology non judgmentalism as obviously there are certain things that we will not tolerate. But we can leave the judgment to God and accept most any faith as reverential.

We read in the Book of Matthew:

Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, "Let me take the speck out of your eye", while the log is in your eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor's eye.

This is a subject that Freemasons should promulgate more often. I wrote a paper in 2005 titled "World Peace Through Brotherhood", available at There is no other organization in the world that brings more diverse men together peacefully than Freemasonry. This seems to me to be OUR CALLING in society.

Dr. Swifts press release goes on to say:

"When Christian leaders like Reverend Rod Parsley wage war against Islam from the pulpit, you've got to wonder what they're thinking," says Swift. "Don't they realize that they have a part in inciting conflict and violence, like religious extremists have done from afar?"

This book is available for a limited time as a free download. Do your part for World Peace. Read it and then go out into the world and spread the message.

Monday, June 23, 2008

My Master Master of the Year

Most Worshipful Wilbert M. Curtis Grand Master of Prince Hall Texas in Grand Lodge Session on Saturday 6/21/08 presented Worshipful Kazar LaGrone of Pride of Mt. Pisgah #135 the award as Worshipful Master of the Year. Worshipful Kazar has major accomplishments in leading his Lodge into new and rewarding areas of community service, in providing meaningful Masonic lessons and education to all Master Masons in his Lodge, of instructing well the Lodge's candidates and raising knowledgable Master Masons, in making major Lodge contributions to Prince Hall scholarships and for promoting Freemasonry in the greater Dallas area.

Congratulations Worshipful LaGrone! Hard work, great organizational skills and the ability to delegate have led you along the path to greatness. You are a model to not only all Master Masons but to the entire community of Dallas where you have emerged as one of its community leaders.

Worshipful LaGrone is again in the East this year and he continues to develop and broaden the great programs and events he initiated. I look for Pride of Mt. Pisgah #135 to go on to ever greater accomplishments under his continued leadership.

If anyone would like to leave a message, congratulations or a question for Worshipful LaGrone please do not hesitate to leave one in the comments section and I will pass it along to him.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Benefits of Checks and Balances - Part III

This is the third of a three part series.



Just in case anyone missed the salient point of Part II let me emphasize that if you cannot publisize reforms you would like to see your Grand Lodge support and if you cannot contact Brethren about issues then how can you effectively work for change in your Grand Lodge? And what kind of Masonic government are you working under? Which leads into Part III - Masonic Government.

It was a pleasure to listen to Tim Bryce on Masonic Central, Freemasonry's #1 podcast, this last Sunday.

Brother Bryce prompted by a question from me explained that Freemasonry grew up in the age of Monarchies and adopted the form of government for itself that was in vogue in the civil world at that time. But is that the type of Masonic government that suits the 21st century best, he mused? Having promulgated the exact same views for awhile I E-Mailed Bro. Bryce after the show and asked him if he had any more material on his position. It seems he has previously written two papers on this subject.


Let me take this a bit further and play devil's advocate for a moment and ask, if we were to invent a Grand Lodge in the 21st century, would we truly design the government of our institution in the same manner as our forefathers? Come on, would we really? Knowing what we do today in terms of government, politics, and Freemasonry, I doubt it seriously.

A big part of the problem is the top-down approach I just mentioned. Too often the Craft feels powerless against the will of the Grand Lodge and believes, right or wrong, their voice is not heard. This results in apathy and distrust in the Grand Lodge system. Instead, what if we were to institute a Congress or Parliament (or whatever you want to call it) of delegates elected by the Craft and representing the various Districts of the grand jurisdiction? This body would meet regularly (perhaps bimonthly or quarterly) for the purpose of drafting legislation for the Craft to vote upon at the Grand Communications. This would inevitably result in some very well thought-out and articulate resolutions. As there are currently no real "checks and balances" in Masonic government, such a body would contribute to this purpose as its members would be elected by the Craft and not appointed by the Grand Master.

You can read Tim's other article on the subject - "THE NEED FOR A MASONIC LEGISLATURE" at:

Think a moment of how impossible it would be to operate our civil government if we had no Congress but instead all 300 million citizens were invited to a session for the purpose of drafting, debating and voting on legislation. That's why we have a republican form of government whereby we elect a much smaller group to represent us.

Similarly a Grand Lodge Grand Session operates with great difficulty when all Master Masons can attend and voice their opinion if not vote. All you need is one hotly contested issue to gum up the works. I saw that in the Grand Lodge of Texas when they debated closing their Masonic School. Fifty or more Brothers all lined up waiting for the microphone to speak on the subject in a Grand Lodge Room with about 8000 Brothers present. Grand Lodges that limit Grand Session to Past Masters and the top three sitting officers of a Lodge is slightly better but still too unwieldy.

Why not elect Masonic Representatives to a Grand Lodge Masonic Legislature, perhaps one for each Masonic District? In the huge Grand Lodges perhaps area Representatives would have to be chosen. This would limit the session to 25 to 75 members. Now you could get something done. And while we are at it let's make campaigning a legal procedure so all Master Masons can know the positions of those who will represent them. And also let's make it perfectly legal for any Mason to push for and advertise the programs and agenda he thinks would be most beneficial to his Grand Lodge.

Next add in a three man Supreme Court who would rule on any appeal as to whether the actions of The Grand Master or The Legislature were Constitutional, conforming to the by-laws and Landmarks of that Grand Lodge's Constitution and you would have the makings of a 21st century Masonic government responive to the needs and desires of its constituency. There are just a few more final touches to add.

While the Masonic Legislature would decide what programs and changes would be adopted by the Grand Lodge, let's not reduce the power of the Grand Master so drastically. Anything passed by the Legislature could be vetoed by the Grand Master and it would take a 75% vote of agreement to over ride the veto.

Finally let's extend the Grand Master's term of office to three years but with a yearly election. A one year term makes a GM a lame duck just a few months after he is installed and does not give him time to see through his agenda nor does it provide for the continuity the Grand Lodge needs.

Now we would have a 21st century Grand Lodge responsive to all Master Masons in the jurisdiction and one not prone to the abuses of power and the dictatorial mania evidenced so often recently. A Grand Lodge operating in the style and agenda of West Virginia would not be able to survive unless 75% of its members wanted it to be so. There is nothing cast in stone that says that Masonry has to be a top down society forever. It is time now in our present age to realize the benefits of a Masonic governemntal system which makes full use of the checks and balances which have proven to be so successful in our civil government.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hijacking Grand Lodges - Part II

This has morphed into a three part series revolving around the issue of how some Mainstream Grand Lodges have mishandled their leadership responsibilities.

Part One was THE DIVINE RIGHT OF KINGS AND GRAND MASTERS which you can find in an earlier post.

I always feel duty bound to write a disclaimer as when I point out the deficiences of Grand Lodges and the need to adjust the system of Masonic government I am often told that I am a Grand Lodge Basher and by Traditionalists that I am trying to remake and reinvent Masonry which they find quite odious and blatantly unmasonic. So let me make it clear that there are many good to great USA Mainstream Grand Lodges - like Vermont, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania,Virginia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Utah, Arizona, and California. Perhaps more but I am not up on every single one. There are just as many fair to awful ones however.

I see two developments or pressures placed on late 20th and 21st century Mainstream Grand Lodges that some have handled poorly.


At the very time membership and revenues were down and dropping faster by the month, Grand Lodges committed themselves to huge Institutionalized Charity Programs with enormous budgets in order to sell Freemasonry to the public and bail them out of a downward spiral. This proved to be a very poor decision, mainly because it did not yield the results expected. Moreover it turned Freemasonry into a Service Club rather than a Philosophical Society. In doing so Grand Lodges were digging their own grave. When they realized how big a hole they were in they panicked and became desparate. Local Lodges were dragging their feet and in any power vacuum the need is fulfilled by he who pounces and accepts the responsibility. In marched Grand Masters assuming extraordinary powers much like our civil President would in wartime. And for many Grand Masters this was Masonic wartime for them and they were the Commander-in-Chief. And as often happens in critical times the general population (Brethren all) look to a strong leader who can bail them out. But sometimes the cure is worse than the disease. Grand Masters acting unilaterally or within the framework of a Grand Lodge Oligarchy often ruled by edict, bypassing democratic voting provisions of their Constitutions. It works well for a benevolent Dictator but get the wrong person behind the helm and it can be a disaster, and in many cases that is exactly what it turned out to be. One overblown ego often could not solve the pressing problems of a Fraternity in trouble but often could make it worse and in the process so trample on the rights and priveleges of the Brethren at large that general morale suffered.


Most Grand Masters were totally befuddled by the advent of the Internet and Internet Masonry. They should have embraced it and used it to be on the cutting edge of facilitating a new Masonic Renaissance. Instead they shuned it and in many cases outlawed or prohibited participation in it. When Masons in their jurisdiction went ahead and set up private Masonic websites with Forums they took them over or closed them down. In the process they bungled a golden opportunity to identify with the next generation of possible applicants. Grand Lodges today are playing catch up with the computer information age and are still not utilizing the Internet to its fullest potential. If you find that hard to believe then show me a Grand Master's podcast.

Now lets look back at the West Virgina situation again. Grand Master Haas submitted some reforms to his Grand Lodge to be voted on at Grand Session. The proposed reforms were accepted by a democratic vote of all those attending. Grand Master Haas steps down and in comes Grand Master Coleman who recinds all the reforms by edict in direct violation of his Grand Lodge Constitution and By-Laws. He makes an unsubtantiated claim that there were "procedural violations."

So Past Grand Master Haas sets out to have the reforms resubmitted for vote at a future Grand Session. In so doing he contacts Brethren throughout the state to rally support for these measures. And this is what gets him expeled by the next Grand Master, Most Worshipful Montgomery. PGM Haas' website calling for reconsideration of the previously passed reforms was declared campaigning which is against the laws of West Virginia and he was told that he had sought to subvert the priciples of his Grand Lodge and West Virginia Masonry by seeking the repeal of "OUR LAWS". His E-Mails and telephone calls to Brethren in the state was declared to be insubordination and conduct unbecoming a Mason. For these offenses he was expeled without a Masonic trial, again a violation of the Grand Lodge Constitution and By-Laws.

Now here is where I need to comment on all those who keep telling me that if I don't like the way my Grand Lodge is run to get involved, work to get your program submitted, voted on and passed and become active in Grand Lodge. Isn't that what Frank Haas was trying to do?

There seems to be a disconnect between the reality of how Grand Lodge operates and how theoretically it is supposed to operate. Everytime we have a Grand Lodge meltdown and an abuse of power Brethren come out of the woodwork to make sure I understand how Brethren can democratically correct any missteps that Grand Lodge might make. They have no idea of the inner workings of a Grand Lodge or what Grand Lodge politics is like. Their naviete only adds fuel to the fire.

In some Mainstream Grand Lodges ( I SAID SOME NOT ALL, FELLAS!) The Grand Master nominates the slate of elective officers. It is a hand picked group of Brethren who owe their loyalty to their Grand Master. It is true by the rules that there can be nominations from the floor. But if you were to do so you would be blackballed from ever getting a Grand Lodge nomination or appointment to any office or committee. The same fate awaits you if you submit any legislation to Grand Session for a vote that is not highly regarded by the Grand Master. Your Masonic career is over. So now you know why the Brethren of West Virginia have not called their Grand Master on his violations of the Grand Lodge Constitution & By-Laws.

If the laws pushed through a Grand Lodge actually sabotage and thwart the democratic process previously laid out in its Constitution and By-Laws, then trying to institute reforms is a sham and prosecuting any Brethren who disagree with the Grand Master a travesty of justice and constitutes the hijacking of a Grand Lodge.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Catholic Code Allows No Angels And Demons

From Yahoo News -

Da Vinci Code movie banned from filming in church
Monday June 16 10:51 AM ET

"Rome's diocese said Monday it has barred the producers of "Angels & Demons" from filming in two churches for the prequel to the "The Da Vinci Code" the popular book and film that angered many Catholic leaders."

"Producers of the film, directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks, were turned down because the movie "does not conform to our views," said Monsignor Marco Fibbi, a spokesman for the diocese."

"The crew had asked to film in the churches of Santa Maria del Popolo and Santa Maria della Vittoria, two architectural jewels in the heart of Rome that include paintings by Caravaggio, sculptures by Bernini and a chapel designed by Raphael."

The London Times reports:

"The Vatican has banned the makers of a prequel to The Da Vinci Code from filming in its grounds or any church in Rome, describing the work as “an offence against God”.

"Angels and Demons, the latest Dan Brown thriller to be turned into a film, includes key episodes that take place in the Vatican and Rome’s churches. Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, the head of the Vatican’s Prefecture for Economic Affairs, said that Brown had “turned the gospels upside down to poison the faith”.

“It would be unacceptable to transform churches into film sets so that his blasphemous novels can be made into films in the name of business,” he said, adding that Brown’s work “wounds common religious feelings”.

The Divine Rights of Kings and Grand Masters

The West Virginia mess hit the NY Times today in an article by a writer who seems to have a low opinion of Freemasonry. But we are kind of used to that. What's interesting is the unvieling of how Grand Master Haas was ambushed.

"Two weeks later, Mr. Haas says, Grand Master Montgomery called to say he would be in Wellsburg for Monday’s meeting and asked if Mr. Haas would be there. But of course, Mr. Haas answered, thinking the Grand Master wanted to thank the lodge for its oyster feast. Not quite."

"Mr. Montgomery, who arrived with a posse of Masonic brass, did thank the lodge for the oysters. But soon he summoned Mr. Haas and his outspoken colleague to what is known as the altar. The colleague was expelled first and promptly left the room."

"Now it was Mr. Haas’s turn. There he stood, wearing a business suit and the apron with the purple border and gold fringe that signified his status as a Past Grand Master. There, in the lodge he had belonged to for more than 20 years, in front of his father, in front of his brothers."

"There, silent and mortified, while another grown man read an edict asserting that he had supported an illegal Web site; had sought to subvert the principles of the lodge by seeking the repeal of “our laws”; had been insubordinate toward the Grand Lodge and its Grand Master; and this: had “demonstrated conduct unbecoming a Mason.”

The rest of this hatchet job can be read at:

So Grand Master Montgomery expeled Past Grand Master Haas not only without a Masonic trial but also deliberately blindsided him at his home Lodge in front of his Father. It is evidently not enough to simply expel someone, even without a trial, you must publicly (in a private gathering) humiliate him.

The Grand Master needs to show those that are remaining in West Virginia Masonry that his power is absolute. Why he can even forbid any Mason in his jurisdiction to visit Frank Haas' website or discuss or question the matter. So much for a democratic voting Grand Session. The leader will decide what you can vote upon. He has the Divine Right of Kings!

Oh and he who possesses the Divine Right never has to answer for anything he does. That makes a Masonic trial superfluous.

"Fron Nelson King FPS: In December we wrote [via Registered Mail] to the Grand Master of Masons of West Virginia, explaining that M. W. Bro. Haas would be our Guest Lecturer. And that we would send him a copy of the Lecture, so that if he wished to comment, or challenge anything in the Lecture, he could.. We at that time assured him that we would publish his comments and/or rebuttal in that same issue. Since that time we have forwarded to him three copies of this lecture. To date he has not responded:
Nelson King Editor The Philalethes"

I have some Masonic friends who refuse to comment on the situation until they hear both sides of the story. Well guess what? You never will hear any discussion of this situation from Grand Master Montgomery. It's called stonewalling. So say my friends - there can be no verdict, no assignment of right or wrong, no judgement until Grand Master Montgomery speaks. Don't hold your breath. Divine Right holders don't explain their actions nor do they accept any questioning of their authority.

What makes the whole situation more unjust is the belief held by many Masons that a Grand Master can do no wrong. So anybody who is in conflict with a Grand Master is automatically in the wrong right from the start. In many quarters you have no right to publicly disagree with a Grand Master nor do you have permission to operate websites, newsletters or podcasts that emit a view that is opposed to a Grand Master's position.

These believers of strict observance of Masonic law and codes make no exception for the making of bad Masonic law or rules and regulations that strip away any real ability for the Craft as a whole to exert its will. When the cards are stacked, when the deck is rigged and the Divine King has ruled what recourse is there? Answer, a civil suit.

But the question remains why is everybody talking about what Frank Haas did and what he is now doing? Why isn't anyone talking about what Grand Masters Coleman and Montgomery did? Well we don't question those who hold the Divine Right now, do we?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Gandhi's Ten Fundamentals For Changing The World

We call ourselves a Philosophical Society or at least more of us would like us to be more philosophical and less social and charitable as in Instutionalized Charity. But we can't do that unless we discuss some basics of life that starts with ourselves.

Take #1 -
"You must be the change you want to see in the world."

My Masonic business card has this saying on it: "Populi quidem accipio lumine fieri apparuit mater lumen" - That is >> "They who have been given light, must be the light."

Isn't Freemasonry all about changing or bettering the inner person? This is where all that community/charitable work which should be an outward expression of inner development has overtaken the primary purpose of what Masonry is, thereby obscuring its original purpose. In other words the charitable aspect of Freemasonry should be a by product of its more central focus - making good men better.

How do you do that- make good men better - asks many a Mason. Obviously those who ask belong to Lodges where the Child ID Program, the fish fry and the ladies night dinner and dance is what practicing Freemasonry is all about.

But stop a minute and think about what Freemasonry and the study thereof can do to change you to be a light unto the world.

But that doesn't mean that Freemasonry is to be a study that is a monastic withdrawal. There is to be a marked sense of giving, not only within the brotherhood but also to the world at large. It's just that it is a way of life that is genuine not a giving expecting something in return, not the Institutionalized Charity which has as its goal buying publicity and recruiting membership. Freemasons should not be in the business of bribing people or purchasing recognition.

"And when you see the good in people it becomes easier to motivate yourself to be of service to them. By being of service to other people, by giving them value you not only make their lives better. Over time you tend to get what you give."

A Freemason gives, then, because his heart has been stimulated or stirred by the study of the Craft and internalizing its lessons and virtues. Most of what he does is one on one assistance which is not only seldom seen by others but never bragged about by him.

Gandhi's Ten Fundamentals have a lot to say about focusing on ones self. Instead of pointing the finger of blame at others, instead of being a victim, Freemasons are in control of their own destiny AND THEY BRING THE WORLD ALONG WITH THEM.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Peace & Harmony At Last


Officers of Friendship Lodge No. 84 and Oak Springs Lodge No. 41, Prince Hall Freemasonry, are pictured at the first meeting between members of the two local lodges. (Submitted photo/)(Courtesy of the Hagerstown Herald)

Oak Springs Lodge #41, Prince Hall, visited Friendship Lodge #84, Grand Lodge of Maryland, for the first time recently. The occasion was the conferring of the Master Mason Degree on new members of the State Shield and Square Club, Master Masons who are law enforcement officers at every level of government.

Grand Officers from The Grand Lodge of Maryland and The Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Maryland were in attendance with over seventy Masons from three states.

It has taken us a long time but we seem to be nearing a point of acceptance that hithertofore was impossible. I would like my home state of Texas to take note as recognition was declared there just recently but with the provision of no cross visitation, no socializing and no Masonic discourse (some recognition).

There is no reason that this cannot be repeated across the country. Once we bridge the gap in every state I think that we will find that Freemasonry in the USA will enjoy an even greater surge in membership than we are experiencing now.

Masonry by its tenets should have been leading the parade of racial reconciliation from the start. But it is not too late to show that peace and harmony can prevail if we work hard at it thereby proving that brotherhood is color blind.

Friday, June 6, 2008

When The Pursuit of Truth Is Influenced By A Conflict of Interest

The Masonic Blog "From Darkness To Light" reports that expelled Grand
Master Frank Haas of West Virginia is suing in civil court The Grand
Master of West Virginia and others. This is a sad day in Mainstream

It is a sad day because none of the other Mainstream Grand Lodges in
the USA came to the aid of Frank Haas. They persisted in that
unwritten code of never saying ill about another Grand Lodge no matter
what it does. So wrong gets to be right because a blind eye is turned.

The significance of this event is emphasized here because this is one
of the reasons that The True Masonic Society discussion group came into existence. While
others who purported to be in the pursuit of research and truth aligned
themselves with the Grand Masters of North America, we at The True
Masonic Society held fast to our belief that truth cannot be found in
an alliance with politicians governing the Craft. Much criticism of
our position was heard and we were castigated many times for our
failure to see the worthiness of pursuing truth within the guidlines of
what Mainstream Grand Lodges and their Grand Masters declared truth was.

So here is the rub. Take a look at a portion of the court filing
compliments of "From Darkness To Light" and make your own judgement.
Were we out of line to insist on complete freedom of speech uninfluenced
by anybody?

14. As a result of and in recognition of Plaintiff Haas' membership and
dedicated and
outstanding service in the concordant Scottish Rite Body, Plaintiff
Haas was coronated a 33rd degree
Mason in October 2005, which honor is given only to a limited number of
Masons with outstanding
service and accomplishments.
15. During his Masonic career and as Grand Master, Plaintiff Haas
supported various
progressive reforms in Masonry reflecting the will of the majority of
the members of Defendant
Grand Lodge which reforms were consistent with and promoted rules and
regulations designed to
respect and protect the constitutional and other rights of all Masons
and prospective Masons. The
proposed changes and reforms were not only morally right but were
consistent with and designed
to bring Masonic laws and attitudes into conformity with the
substantial public policy of the State
of West Virginia and the United States of America.
16. Plaintiff Haas' goal was to make Masonry more tolerant, friendly,
decent and
accepting of everyone regardless of nationality, race, religion or
17. Plaintiff Haas shared his beliefs and proposals with the members of
Defendant Grand
Lodge during his service as Grand Master and prior to the October 2006
meeting of Defendant Grand
Lodge when these proposals were presented to and voted on by the
18. During the 2006 Annual Meeting, the members of Defendant Grand
Lodge voted
approval of various reforms proposed by Plaintiff Haas that were in his
opinion designed to make
Masonry more tolerant, friendly, decent and accepting of all Masons and
prospective Masons. These
reforms and proposals were intended to rid Masonry in West Virginia of
the Orwellian, repressive,
regressive and unconstitutional practices that were and are clearly
unconstitutional and against the
substantial public policy of this State.
19. The proposed reforms and changes were designed to:
a. Encourage all Masons to do what is morally and legally right and
wipe away
lingering racism that is tolerated and enforced by telling the Masters
of all
local lodges that they must maintain the peace and harmony of their
b. Eliminate discriminatory practices against the handicapped;
c. Eliminate discriminatory practices against youth organizations and
adults participating in related Masonic organizations and those young
desiring to become a Mason;
d. Allow debate and free speech regarding Masonic issues and possible
without fear of reprisal; and
e. Support other substantial public policy issues that are morally
right and
would promote genuine equality throughout Masonry.
20. Plaintiff Haas' progressive proposals to eliminate various Masonic
practices that are
discriminatory and against the substantial public policy of this State
were voted on and approved by
Defendant Grand Lodge during the 2006 Annual Meeting. Unfortunately,
Plaintiff Haas ' laudatory
efforts were met with resistance by a few Masons determined to
undermine any proposed reforms
regardless ofhow outdated, discriminatory or offensive the policies
were to individual constitutional
rights and the substantial public policy of this State.
21. During the 2006 Annual Meeting, Defendants Montgomery and Coleman
and the
John Doe Defendants individually and collectively tried to undermine
and defeat the efforts of
Plaintiff Haas and to render the actions of a majority ofthe members of
the Defendant Grand Lodge
null and void.
22. At the conclusion of the October 2006 Annual Meeting, Defendant
succeeded Plaintiff Haas as Grand Master of Defendant Grand Lodge.
Rather than accepting the
majority vote ofthe membership of Defendant Grand Lodge and doing what
was ethically, morally
and legally right, Defendant Coleman almost immediately unilaterally
entered various Edicts
rendering the progressive proposals voted on and adopted by a majority
of Defendant Grand Lodge
null and void. As a result, Defendant Coleman reinstated the
unconstitutional and discriminatory
practices that are without question against the substantial public
policy of this State.
23. Defendant Coleman went to great length to try and justify why the
vote of the
Defendant Grand Lodge should and would be set aside citing various
procedural errors all of which
were a subterfuge. No one has been sanctioned for those alleged
procedural errors that Coleman
claimed were dishonest and in violation ofthe Masonic laws. The fact
that the alleged procedural
errors were a pretext is further evidenced by the fact that Defendants
have never allowed the
members of Defendant Grand Lodge to vote on any of the proposals since
they were set aside by
24. During the remainder of2006 and continuing through the 2007 Annual
Meeting, at
which time Defendant Montgomery became Grand Master of Defendant Grand
Lodge, Plaintiff Haas
continued to speak out about the ethical, moral and legal obligation of
Masons to promote changes
that would eliminate those discriminatory practices set forth herein
that are unconstitutional and
against the substantial public policy of West Virginia, most of which a
majority of Defend ant Grand
Lodge had previously voted to change.
25. Plaintiff Haas ' continued efforts angered Defendants Montgomery
and Coleman and
the John Doe Defendants, and they collectively conspired and colluded
to punish Plaintiff Haas and
others for exercising their constitutional right to debate these issues
and their right of free speech.
26. Defendants' efforts to punish Plaintiff Haas and others who
disagreed with their
Orwellian attitudes culminated on November 19, 2007, when Defendant
Montgomery, through
misrepresentation, deceit and bad faith induced Plaintiff Haas to
attend a meeting at Wellsburg
Lodge #2 by telling him the meeting was for the purpose of discussing
the visit of the Grand Master
of Ohio at a previous meeting. Defendant Coleman and John Doe members
of Defendant Grand
27. Having lured Plaintiff Haas to the meeting under false pretenses,
Montgomery directed the Master of Wellsburg Lodge #2 to step aside,
took charge of the meeting
and summarily, arbitrarily and unlawfully expelled Plaintiff Haas and
another individual from
Masonry after lecturing, berating and belittling them in front of
family and numerous members of
Plaintiff Haas' home lodge. Defendant Montgomery's rantings and
outlandish attack on Plaintiff
Haas were based on trumped up allegations that were false and untrue
and were fully protected by
Plaintiff Haas' constitutional rights.
28. As part ofthe Edict expelling Plaintiff Haas from Masonry,
Defendant Montgomery
directed the Edict be read in all lodges throughout West Virginia and
directed all Masons to refrain
from communicating with Plaintiff Haas about Masonic matters.
29. In summarily expelling Plaintiff Haas from Masonry, Defendant
Montgomery denied
Plaintiff Haas a fair hearing by failing to comply with The Masonic
Code of Trials and the
fundamental fairness afforded all individuals who are members of
fraternal organizations.
30. Plaintiff Haas was given absolutely no notice of Defendants' true
intentions at the
November 19,2007, meeting, was not provided with a statement of charges
nor given any of the
other procedural safeguards set forth in the Code of Trials thereby
effectively denying Plaintiff Haas
his right to resist expulsion. Further, Plaintiff Haas was offered no
opportunity to appeal from
Defendants' illegal and wrongful conduct.
31. Defendants deliberately and intentionally refused to follow the
internal procedures
of Defend ant Grand Lodge designed to provide all Masons the
fundamental fairness they are entitled
to when confronted with allegations that could lead to discipline or
32. The record of the November 19, 2007, meeting wherein Plaintiff Haas
summarily, oppressively and without notice given the Masonic death
sentence will clearly show that
Plaintiff Haas was ambushed by Defendants.
33. Defendants' plan, conceived and put together in secrecy, to
deliberately and
intentionally berate and degrade Plaintiff Haas in front of his father
and other members of his lodge
and then summarily expel him from Masonry, was demeaning, repulsive and
outrageous--an act of
bad faith by these officers. Defendants' true character and unsavory
intentions and conduct
regarding Plaintiff Haas were obvious due to the fact Defendants had
the edict expelling Plaintiff
Haas prepared in advance and invited various members of Defendant Grand
Lodge to witness this
unlawful, illegal and outrageous conduct.
34. Defendants' deceitful conduct in secretly scheming, planning,
preparing for and
carrying out Plaintiff Haas' wrongful expulsion from Masonry was
nothing more than an
underhanded and blindsided attack on Plaintiff Haas' reputation and
good character which denied
Plaintiff Haas the fundamental fairness to which he was entitled.
35. Defendants' underhanded and deceitful conduct and their true reason
for getting
Plaintiff Haas to attend the November 19,2007, meeting became painfully
obvious to Plaintiff Haas
and the members of his lodge when Defendant Montgomery pulled out a
previously prepared Edict
which was read aloud, expelling Plaintiff Haas.
36. Even though there are no Masonic laws, rules and regulations, or
guidelines regarding an appeal from being summarily expelled from
Masonry by a Grand Master,
Plaintiff Haas complied with the Code of Trials as ifhe had been given
a fair hearing and timely filed
a written appeal to Defendant Grand Lodge. Plaintiff Haas' appeal has
been totally ignored by
Defendants making his request for relief on appeal futile and leaving
Plaintiff Haas no recourse for
this denial of justice other than :filing this civil action to
vindicate his reputation and good name and
to protect his constitutional and other rights.
37. There can be no dispute that Plaintiff Haas was denied a fair and
regular hearing in
accordance with designated procedures and that Defendants' conduct is
tainted by fraud, bad faith
and arbitrary conduct.
38. Fundamental fairness dictates that even a member of a voluntary
organization charged with such an apparently serious offense as to
warrant his expulsion from
Masonry should be given notice ofthe charges and a reasonable
opportunity to defend himselfbefore
a tribunal appointed to try him.
39. As a result of Plaintiff Haas' unlawful expulsion from Masonry, he
has been, and
continues to be, denied his property, contract and other rights and
privileges to which he was entitled
due to his Masonic membership as well as his valuable personal
relationship with his Masonic
Lodge, the Grand Lodge and all other Masons and Masonic lodges
throughout West Virginia and
in other jurisdictions.