Monday, June 16, 2008

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?

1 comment:

Tom Accuosti said...

People don't know what to make of it because Haas is suing the GL, that's why. (Ex-)members actually bringing a public/civil suit against the fraternity are very rare, and I think that nobody knows what to make of it.

In the US, because we don't have a body that oversees all of the jurisdictions, we've had a long history of looking the other way while the various GLs do their own thing - as long as it doesn't stray too far from the norm. The other GLs aren't going to pressure WV because it would set a precedent that could have some unintended consequences.

Haas is taking a huge risk in trying to get himself re-instated via civil courts, and personally, I hope that hes' successful. But understand that Montgomery was not acting in a vacuum; obviously there are a number of brothers who support his actions. Maybe we should be asking why.