Saturday (Sabbath), September 18th, 2021 on a sunny, warm afternoon, members and friends of the Bemidji Seventh-day Adventist Church gathered in celebration for the dedication of the recently rebuilt 10 Commandment monument that now stands on the church property at 4400 Eckles Rd NW Bemidji, MN on U.S. Hwy 2.
This rebuilding took place because the former monument that stood on the private property of Don and Ramona Larsen (pictured above), one mile West of this new location, had to be demolished in 2015. The Minnesota Highway Department had found it necessary to revamp the Southern terminal end of MN Hwy 89 in an effort to achieve safer traffic flow onto US Hwy 2, so the 10 Commandments had to come down.
Don Larson (93), a life-long resident of Eckles Township (Bemidji, MN) where the monument is located, is the original builder of the first 10 Commandments monument, standing at 14-foot-high by 18-foot-wide is the size of the concrete tablets which Don began back in 2006. When it was decided to build another monument of the same, his son Richard (Dick) Larsen, also of Eckles Township, was willing to do the work. Dick also had help from his daughter-in-law, who is from Guatemala in the rebuilding.
The Seventh-day Adventist church was happy to welcome this monument to their property, locating it in a place of prominence where easily seen by West-bound travelers along the busy U.S. Hwy 2.
When originally constructed, Don's primary goal was to bring a reminder to those passing by these essential guidelines our Creator instructed us in, through Moses, so long ago at Mt. Sinai. When obeyed, they honor our heavenly Father and benefit all of us. “It seems to me we need the commandments more than ever with all of today's issues and problems”, the senior Larsen said when building the monument.
The Word of God is true and steadfast. It never changes despite what goes on around us. What was Don's purpose then is also the desire of the Bemidji Seventh-day Adventist Church today; to be a witness to the eternal Law of God and to live in harmony with all. We would do well to heed these commandments. As a community of faith, it is our hope and our mission to bring others to a close relationship with Jesus, and to have confidence His word gives life to those who believe in Him.
Visitors wishing to get a closer look at the monument may now stop in a dedicated parking area on the church property, which is complete with sidewalk, a park bench, nearby picnic tables, and night-time lighting. Written information about the 10 Commandments is available in a small kiosk at the parking area.