1For the past 141 years, Southern Nevada’s oldest Masonic Lodge, St. John #18 in Pioche, has been an unwavering group honoring rich traditions and its community. These traditions have been carried on since the early 1400s; a time when religious persecution was rampant and unionizing protected a lot more than worker’s rights. Secrecy was the foundation of most organizations back then. However back then, it protected a lot more than prestige. Masons, as well as other prominent organizations today, still protect and honor the same traditions passed down for hundreds of years. The Masonic Lodge, not being a common fixture in today’s mainstream culture, is often misunderstood and perceived as a secret society, when in fact, is just a society with secrets; no different than a college fraternity, which has secret traditions only members know as well, but are more socially recognized.

Last Saturday, Dec. 13, St. John #18, held its annual open installation, which, accompanied by websites like nevadamasons.org and answering questions in person, is one of the ways the Masonic Lodge has become more public friendly. Organization member Richard Sidford said, “We’re happy to open the doors to community and have them share in an important tradition here.”

Each year, brothers of the Masonic Lodge are installed into higher positions of responsibility for the following year. The highest position in each Lodge is the Worshipful Master, and this year, John Linerode was bestowed that honor. After an emotional installation, Linerode thanked everyone that attended and helped him in his journey. He said, “I would like to thank all who came out in the snow to attend… members of the St. John #18, Mizpah Chapter #19 Order of the Eastern Star, family, friends, and the community.”

Three other local members were installed as well: Richard Sidford as treasurer, Bobby Orr as Senior Deacon, and Ron Hibble as Tiler. Members of the Eastern Star prepared a delicious Thanksgiving-style feast for everyone after the ceremony. The community presence was strong, as all available seats were filled.

If you haven’t witnessed one of these ceremonies, and/or you’ve wondered what they’re like, the brothers of St. John #18 Lodge in Pioche encourage you to attend next year’s installation and hope to see you there.