Forefathers Monument

The National Monument to the Forefathers explained

Thank you to Deb Roux who experienced The National Monument to the Forefathers herself this year and wanted to share her photos with in the hopes of spreading some knowledge and inspiration to those of us who were not aware this monument existed.

PLYMOUTH, Mass. – The National Monument to the Forefathers is one of the most inspiring and complex monuments in America. Its granite is packed with interesting history and wisdom. But its wisdom most young people aren’t going to learn about in today’s secular education system.

Pilgrim descendant Paul Jehle tries to keep the Pilgrims’ wisdom alive for future generations as a Pilgrim re-enactor and head of the Plymouth Rock Foundation.

Dressed in his Pilgrim regalia, he told CBN News, “America’s schoolchildren, especially those of faith who really believe in Jesus Christ, need to know their own heritage. And their own heritage where people were willing to die for those beliefs and we often take them for granted. And because of that, there’s this giant gap.”

Faith Points the Way

The Forefathers monument could help fill that gap since it provides a complete guide to the Pilgrims’ keys to liberty, godliness, and success.

Its overarching lesson: people must have faith, and that’s the name of the massive female statue dominating the rest of the monument.

“She’s pointing directly to heaven,” Jehle said, arching his neck to look up at the towering figure. “In other words, the Pilgrim was a child of the Reformation. They believed there was only one way to have a relationship with God and that was through Jesus Christ.”

It’s important that Faith holds an open Bible because its opening only happened after the Reformation made it available to all. 

This Religion Honors the Mind

The Holy Spirit, often described as a wind, is blowing it open.

“They believed if the Holy Spirit didn’t open up the Scriptures, you wouldn’t understand what it meant anyway,” Jehle said.

On Faith’s forehead: a star, which represents honor.

Jehle asked, “Why’s it on her forehead? Because the Pilgrims believed that you could reason from the Scriptures and find out what God said about anything. And therefore, there was this honor of the intellect.”

Why They had to be Blown Off Course

Faith’s foot rests on Plymouth Rock, the Pilgrims’ unintended landing spot in the New World.

“They were blown off course,” Jehle explained. “They were intended to go down where Manhattan is today. So here they’re blown off course, and yet, the Pilgrims wouldn’t have looked at it that way. They would say, ‘no, we were brought here by the Providence of God.'”

That’s because if they had landed at their intended destination, the settled colony, they would have remained under Old World law. 

On their own, they set their own laws in the Mayflower Compact, revolutionizing how the world could be governed. 

The Pilgrim re-enactor declared, “The Compact begins ‘in the name of God, we whose names are underwritten’ and then ‘the loyal subjects of our king.’ So it’s God to the people and then to the government. That would foreshadow the Declaration of Independence: ‘we are given our rights endowed by our Creator’ and then we form a government by our consent.”

Below Faith sits Morality, without eyes because the Pilgrims believed morality should come from looking within and being self-controlled. She provides the guide, however, with the Ten Commandments in one hand and the Book of Revelation in the other, representing Old and New Testament, both crucial for guiding a person’s sense of right and wrong.

Mercy and Justice Go Hand-in-Hand

“Their whole morality externally was based on the Bible. Not part of the Bible, the whole Bible,” Jehle stated.

The statue of Law is holding law books in one hand, but the other is extended in mercy because law needs to be a balance of justice and grace. Below the statue is artwork of the peace treaty between the Pilgrims and Native Americans, a treaty honored some 50 years. 

The reason the peace lasted so long? The Pilgrims showed the Indians these new settlers could be trusted because their justice would be absolutely equal, for instance when a settler murdered an Indian.

The Pilgrim re-enactor explained, “When your law says the death penalty, and when the Pilgrims actually put to death an Englishman, saying they are equal to a native, then the natives said, ‘oh, now we know you’re serious.'”

Why There’s a Dead Lion

Another statue, Liberty, wears the armor of God, ready to defend freedom, but his sword is not drawn. 

Jehle explained, “You don’t aggressively advance the kingdom of Christ by sword. You never do that. It’s done peacefully.”

Since England’s symbol was a lion, there’s a dead one behind the statue, symbolizing that the Pilgrims’ choices in the New World had set them free from the tyranny of the Old World.

Not a Bad Thing to be Founded on a Rock

Right below Liberty is a rendering of the landing on Plymouth Rock.

“It’s not a bad thing for a nation to be founded on a rock,” Jehle argued. “Especially when a rock symbolizes their beliefs, which they were unwilling to compromise, that they drew from the Bible, that were convictions in their heart.”

This Plymouth Foundation leader wishes all Americans would learn these lessons, declaring, “We need to recognize that, aspire to that, and once again re-teach our children. And re-teach it in such a way they embrace it in their heart, not just their head.”

How All in this Land can be Blessed

Jehle believes if Americans follow what’s represented on this monument, they will see a blessed life and land.

He said of the Pilgrims, “It’s imperative we all know what they believed, because what they believed produced such fruit, that it was a blessing.”

Jehle concluded, “When you live out the Christian faith, live it out in your character, you’re likely to make peace. And you’re likely to see, as in the parable of Jesus, a mustard tree grows with enough shade so that all people, everywhere, can be blessed under it.”

The Forefathers Monument is a towering, stunning work of art. But what you learn as you study it is that what’s really stunning is how the people memorialized in its stone shaped history. The character, morality, and virtues they lived out began to transform this New World into the shining City on a Hill they prayed for. 

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