Bent Lodge 42
A.F. & A.M.

Introduction to
Masonry in Taos
Prepared by:
Brother Wayne Rutherford

 • In old England, Freemasonry was defined as a “system of morality, veiled
in allegory (or story) and illustrated by symbols”.
 • A more modern definition might be “Freemasonry is an organized society
of men symbolically applying the principles of Operative Masonry
and the principles of architecture to the art and science of character
 • Operative masons construct buildings with stone and mortar.
Most Masons today are Speculative Masons; we symolically apply
the principles and tools of Operative masonry as we study and teach
the philosophical and practical applications of Freemasonry.

 • Masonry predates the written record; King Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem is considered to be the first Lodge. The oldest existing
Lodge is Kilwinny Lodge No. 0 in Scotland, dating back to AD 1140.
 • During the Middle Ages masons were skilled workers who had served
as apprentices, advanced to craftsmen, and rose to be masters of their
trade. These highly sought-after workers were free to travel from
place to place in a time when most people were tied to the land
on which they worked.
 • Masons were responsible for construction of the great masonry cathedrals
across Europe; they kept their method of building secret.
Few wereadmitted to their ranks, and then only after due trial
and strict examination.
 • Early Lodges were structures erected against the masonry walls of
the Cathedral to allow Masons to continue their stone carving work
during winter weather.
 • Freemasons are members of the largest and oldest fraternity in the world.
Masonry includes men from many countries and cultures and all
stations and walks of life. It is said that at the end of the 19th Century
25% of all adult men in the United States were Masons.

 • The first Taos Lodge was chartered before the Civil War as part of
Grand Lodge of the State of Missouri; tensions arising from the War
between the States caused the Lodge to go dark.

(Let There be Light, and Light There Was)

Original Charter of Bent Lodge 204 issued from the Grand Lodge of Missouri in 1860.
A.S. Ferris, Master; Ferdinand Maxwell, SD; Christopher 'Kit' Carson, JD; and Bretheren Ceran St.Vrain, Peter Joseph, John Franciscos.

Click to Enlarge
 • Bent Lodge was chartered in early 1909 as part of the Grand Lodge
of the Territory of New Mexico.
 • The first Bent Lodge was located just down the hill from Cantu Plaza.
 • Current Lodge was built in 1960 or 1961 on land donated by
the Gusdorf family.
 • Photos of deceased Worshipful Masters are on north wall,
living past Worshipful Masters are on south wall.
 • Many Taos streets bear their names; Bent, Albright, Gusdorf, etc.
 • Lodge Brothers included Taos’ first doctor, first dentist, business leaders,
and regular folks; they applied Masonic principles in times of war,
during economic upheavals, epidemics, and personal tragedies.
 • The ranks of Masons include many men who have served our country
in the military, however, Masonry believes that universal peace
is made possible by teaching its doctrine through the Brotherhood
of man and the Fatherhood of the Great Architect of the Universe.
Most men who have seen war agree that peace through brotherhood
ranks among the most worthy of goals.

 • Masons believe the Universe is governed by a Grand Architect;
the symbol 'G' inside the Square and Compasses represents the Grand
Architect of the Universe, but can represent Geometry or God.
 • Masonry is not a religion and is not a substitute for a religion,
and religion is not discussed at Masonic meetings. There is no dogma
or theology and Masonry has no wish or means to enforce religious
authority; it offers no sacraments; and does not claim to lead to
salvation by works, by secret knowledge, or any other means.
Masonry’s moral teachings are acceptable to all religions.
Masons are encouraged to support the religion of their choice.
 • In many US and European Lodges there is a Holy Bible on the altar;
however, any Volume of Sacred Law can be placed upon the altar.
 • Masonry is not a political organization, and politics are not discussed at
Masonic meetings. Masons are encouraged to be good citizens and
perform their civic duties, including, as freethinking adults, dissent in
the appropriate legal context. Many of the Founders of our country
were Masons and they provide exceptional examples of men who
could not and did not shirk from dissent as their civic duty.
 • Masonry is not a secret society - we do not conceal our existence as
a group, nor do we conceal who our members are. The dates and
locations of our meetings are made know to all who inquire.
Our secrets are few in number and deal with esoteric parts of our
ritual, portions of our Obligations to Masonry and one another,
and with our modes of recognition.
 • Our purposes, ideals, and principles may be learned by anyone who
inquires. The body of knowledge that Masonry has distilled over
the ages can be found by anyone with a desire to learn more about
how the Grand Architect of the Universe has ordered our world.
 • Masonry uses symbology and ritual to pass sacred knowledge to those
seeking light in Masonry. For example, the Square symbolizes
the things of the earth as well as principles such as honor, integrity,
and truthfulness. The Compasses symbolizes things of the spirit
and the importance of having a well-developed spiritual life. Further,
we are taught to symbolically apply the principles of plumb, level
and square in our dealings with every human being. Our rituals are
used to effectively teach important ideas such as the enduring moral
values we hold in such high regard. Lodge prayer inculcates in us
the duties and virtues that cement us together in our society.
 • Masonry provides an ongoing opportunity to learn and grow; how often
does an adult male in our society have that opportunity after college
or after learning a trade?
 • No one tells a Mason what to believe... instead we are encouraged to
develop an understanding of and apply universal values as we travel
along the many paths of life.
 • Masons enjoy the fraternity of men on a similar path; it is rare to find
a group of people who strive to live lives of honor and integrity,
and who believe that personal responsibility, faith, honesty, compassion,
love, trust, duty and knowledge are of enduring importance.
 • It has been said that Masonry makes a good man better; certainly we are
expected to live a different life as the result of becoming a Freemason.
We are to adopt Masonry as a way of life and to become better fathers,
husbands, sons, siblings, friends, and community members. We seek to
live in a manner that helps the world to be a better place for all.

 • Pancake breakfasts for non profits and other worthy enterprises that
support the people around us.
 • Bent Lodge #42 owns and operates the Kit Carson Home and Museum,
which serves the Taos community and host about 25,000 visitors
 • Relief to distressed Masons, widows, and orphans.
 • World-wide, Masons are responsible for donating $3.5 million daily to
charity including, the Shriner's Children's Hospitals, Knights Templar
Eye Foundation and linguistic disorders clinics.
 • College and vocational scholarships.

 • We do not ask others to join our society. We are, however, available
to tell an interested man more about the fraternal society of Masonry
and what it means to us.
 • An interested man must state he has a belief in a Supreme Being or God.
He must be a man of good character, of sound mind, over 18,
have a means of making a living, and he must desire to become
a better man... but, we recognize
“All saints have a past, and all sinners have a future”.
 • Petitioners are interviewed and their background is checked by
a committee of Masons.
 • After the Petition is submitted and reviewed the Lodge Brethern vote
whether to Petitioner is to be accepted as a Brother member
of the Lodge..


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