Glimpse Into World Of Ancient Free & Accepted Masons

Installing Officer Right Worshipful Brother Mark Oldknow installs Worshipful Master Brother Jake Turin during an installation  ceremony Dec. 13 of the Ancient Free & Accepted Masons of New Mexico at Pajarito Lodge 66 in Los Alamos. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

Members of Pajarito Lodge 66 participate in an installation ceremony Dec. 13 for new officers. Photo by Carol A. Clark/


Los Alamos Daily Post

The officers and members of Pajarito Lodge 66, Ancient Free & Accepted Masons of New Mexico, welcomed the community to observe an installation ceremony Dec. 13 at the Lodge at 1400 North Sage Loop.

The Installation of Officers is one of the few completely public Masonic ceremonies and gave those curious about Freemasonry an opportunity to see what happens inside a Lodge.

“Our tradition is that each year the Master of the Lodge chooses a theme to guide his efforts,” said newly installed Worshipful Master Jake Turin. “Freemasonry is a great institution that does great things for both its members and for the communities in which they live; it also is the subject of some mystery, some rumors and some misunderstanding. By throwing open the doors of the Lodge, I hope to dispel darkness, shed light and share what we have to offer.”

The Dec. 13 ceremony marked the first time some members of the community have stepped inside a Masonic Lodge.

“What you see is very similar to what you’d find in a Masonic Lodge anywhere in the country or the world over the last few hundred years,” Turin said. “The ceremony you’ve just witnessed is very similar to that used to install Worshipful Masters George Washington, Paul Revere, Booker T. Washington, Harry Truman, Earl Warren and thousands and thousands of others.”

Turin explained that the room inside the Lodge that is used to install new officers is rectangular and oriented east-west. In the east sits the Worshipful Master. To the west is the Senior Warden, up two steps, and in the south, up one step is the Junior Warden. The Secretary, Treasurer, Deacons, and Stewards all have their own places geometrically arranged around the room. An alter furnished with the square and compass and a book of sacred writing occupies the center of the room.

The Holy Bible is used in Los Alamos, he said, and in other Lodges one may find the Jewish Tenach, the Muslim Koran or other texts.

“Members of the Lodge gather once a month for a regular meeting, parts of which are highly ritualized, and parts of which are boringly mundane,” Turin said. “Freemasonry is often described as the world’s oldest and largest fraternity. Though there are artifacts that date back to the 1300’s, the structured and well-documented form that exists today was established in 1717 in London. With Lodges all over the world, Freemasonry spans the boundaries imposed by societies.”

The following individuals were installed into office Dec. 13:

  • Jake Turin is the Worshipful Master;
  • Don Carlson is Senior Warden;
  • Tony Fristachi is Junior Warden;
  • Chris James is Treasurer;
  • Robin Justice is Secretary;
  • Scott Miller is Chaplain;
  • Shorty Esch is Senior Deacon;
  • Rick Garland is Junior Deacon;
  • Noah Shapiro is Marshal;
  • Fritz Rene is Senior Steward; and
  • Adam Ullom is Junior Steward.

Freemasonry’s singular purpose is to make good men better, and its bonds of friendship, truth and brotherly love have survived even the most divisive political, military and religious conflicts through the centuries, Turin said. Though there is a requirement for belief in a Supreme Being, Freemasonry is neither a forum for nor a place of worship. It is not a religion, but rather teaches moral philosophy through activity.

For nearly 300 years it has attracted men of high moral character who support the tenets of temperance, fortitude, prudence and justice, he said. Freemasonry employs the tools and instruments of stonemasonry to teach a system of morality, friendship and brotherly love; hence, the standard emblem of Freemasonry is the square and compasses.

The first Masonic Lodges in territorial New Mexico were organized by early pioneers and established under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Missouri, the state at the eastern end of the Santa Fe Trail.

In 1877, the lodges of Las Vegas, Santa Fe, Las Cruces and Fort Union established the Grand Lodge of New Mexico, which thus predates the state of New Mexico by 35 years.

In 1946, shortly after World War II and the Manhattan Project, 13 Master Masons met in the closed city of Los Alamos and formed a Masonic Club. The following year, Pajarito Lodge No. 66 was granted a Charter by the Grand Lodge of New Mexico, and has met regularly ever since. In July 2014, Pajarito Lodge held its 800th Regular Communication.

Pajarito Lodge members support the community with the popular “Bikes for Books” program, regular charity breakfasts, and an annual college scholarship. For more information about Pajarito Lodge or Freemasonry in general, contact


Scene from the Dec. 13 installation ceremony. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

The cermony continues. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

Members and guest Masons of Pajarito Lodge 66 in Los Alamos. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

Councty Councilor David Izraelevitz and his wife Terry chat with members following the installation ceremony Dec. 13 at the Lodge. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

The reception. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

Newly installed Worshipful Master Brother Jake Turin, center, chats with Councty Councilor David Izraelevitz and his wife Terry during a reception at the Lodge. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

Photographs of past worshipful masters line a wall inside the Pajarito Lodge 66 at 15th Street and Sage. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

Inside the Pajarito Lodge 66 in Los Alamos. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

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