Does Kirk Cameron's Monumental Movie Have Some Monumental Problems?
Opinion and Commentary
By Brannon S. Howse
On March 27, 2012 the movie Monumental is to be released in theatres throughout America. I believe those involved in this project are very sincere in their endeavor, however, I have serious reservations about the message this film project appears to be conveying.
Let me first begin by saying that I want to be gracious with people on this topic because for many years I was committed to the fallacy of moralizing, Americanism, Christian activism and the need to "reclaim America". I even pulled one of my own books which was published in 2005. I have pulled several Worldview Weekend DVDs that promoted the reconstructionism or "reclaiming America" message. I have asked my radio and television audience to forgive me if my example caused them to take their focus off our ultimate calling which is the proclamation of the gospel.
I called my friend Kirk Cameron and left him a voice mail in the early summer of 2011 to warn him of the Americanism trap that had ensnared me for a time and I wanted him to learn from my mistakes. If Kirk had returned my call I would have shared some of the information contained in this article concerning America's founding. This article and movie grieves me because Kirk has been a friend for several years and has stayed in my home and traveled and spoken for many Worldview Weekends. In addition to asking him to privately examine this evidence with me, I also invited him to be a guest on my radio program for February 27, 2012 to discuss his film and his appearance on the TV program of Mormon Glenn Beck to discuss his Christian film; but that did not take place.
Therefore, even at the risk up upsetting friends, I must now turn my attention to warning the church of the trap of uniting the things of God with the ungodly things of this world and believing that God will bless our nation when such actions will only hasten God's judgment on our land.
Aside from the "let's get back to our founding fathers" message that I find objectionable because many of America's founding fathers were hostile to the gospel, the movie Monumental appears to use as one of its major props The National Monument to the Forefathers, formerly known as the Pilgrim Monument. The monument is a major part of the artwork and publicity of the film including in the movie trailer. Kirk refers to this monument in a speech online and holds up a picture of the monument and declares that he and his family are going this way. [Statement is made at the 3:30 mark]
It is my belief based on hours of research that the Monument to the Forefathers is not a Biblically acceptable rallying point or symbol for Christians or Christian families or the way we should go for several reasons. One major reason would be that historical documents report that the monument had its cornerstone laid by Freemasons who were involved in part in funding and erecting this monument. The historical record also reveals that the cornerstone includes a plaque with the name and title of the Grand Master of the Lodge of Freemasons of Massachusetts. The historical record also reports that members of the Pilgrim Society that assisted in establishing and paying for the monument included freemasons and funding from freemasonry lodges. Below I have included the speech given by the Mason Grand Master of Massachusetts at the cornerstone ceremony on August 2, 1859.
Documented in the book Plymouth Memories of an Octogenarian by William T. David, published in 1906, the laying of the cornerstone for the Monument to the Forefathers included a "Masonic procession" consisting of a long list of Masonic lodges and the Knights Templar, a Catholic order.
At ten o'clock a Masonic procession was formed on Main Street, consisting of the Massachusetts, Boston and DeMoley encampments of Knights Templar, under command of John T. Heard, [Mason Grand Master] and marched to the Rock, president of the Pilgrim Society and invited guests, St. Paul's lodge of South Boston, lodge of Cambridge, Liberty lodge of New Bedford, Star of the East lodge of New Bedford, King Solomon lodge of Charlestown, Boston brass band, Washington lodge of Roxbury, the Plymouth lodge, Plymouth brass band, Royal Arch chapter of New Bedford, Boston encampment of Knights Templar, Royal Arch Chapter of South Abington, South Abington band, DeMoley encampment, Grand lodge of Massachusetts. Source: http://www.archive.org/stream/plymouthmemorie01davigoog/plymouthmemorie01davigoog_djvu.txt (pages 372-374)
When you add in the Knights Templar, a Catholic Order, the Masons and the Pastor of the First Church that offered a prayer, this was a real ecumenical project and monument so why are Christians rallying around it?
One of the sculptors of the monument was Alexander Doyle who also was involved in a marble sculpture of Mason President James Garfield. This sculpture stands over the crypt that contains President Garfield remains in Cleveland, Ohio.
2 Corinthians 6:14, Romans 16:17, 2 John 9-11, forbid Christians from being bound together with unbelievers in a common enterprise. These verses further reveal that there can be no agreement between the temple of God [Christians are the temple of God] and idols. These verses make it clear that the church, [and Christians make up the church] are not to take the practices, methods, symbols, and enterprises of the unsaved world and incorporate them into our worship and service to God.
In I Kings 18:21 the Prophet Elijah admonishes the Children of Israel to stop mixing their worship of God with paganism.
And Elijah came to all the people, and said, "How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people answered him not a word.
Ironically, the Masons worship Baal. As researcher and Mason expert Ed Decker reveals:
It is in the Royal Arch Degree that the secret name of the Masonic deity is revealed. That name is "JAHBULON." "JAH" is the short form of the Hebrew name of God, "Yahweh," or "Jehovah." "BUL" is a rendering of the name, BAAL. "ON" is the term used in the Babylonian mysteries to call upon the deity, "OSIRIS"! The secret ritual book of the Craft prints the letters J.B.O. It states that:
"We three do meet and agree-in peace, love and unity-the Sacred Word to keep and never to divulge the same-until we three, or three such as we do meet and agree."
Let's be very clear; this statue was built by people that had no convictions about having it erected, funded, and dedicated even in part by men that served Satan. Should Christians now unite around and worship God at this monument? Should Christians invite the church to use this statue as a symbol of spiritual service to God? Should Christians use this statue as a symbol of anything but to reveal man's vain and futile attempts to mix God or Christianity with paganism? Should this monument really be a Gilgal stone for Christians? [Notice comment made at 17 minute mark in this video]
Whether they know it or not, Christians are uniting with a worldly and pagan symbol when they rally around a statue or symbol that has been erected in part, dedicated and approved by men that worship Satan as found in the religion of freemasonry.
In Deuteronomy 7:51 we read where God instructed the Children of Israel to have nothing to do with the statues or idols of the pagans.
But thus shall you deal with them: you shall break down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and chop down their Asherim and burn their carved images with fire.
Ezekiel 22:26 warns us that the Children of Israel were mixing their worship of God with paganism.
Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean;
The Pilgrim Society described their statue in this manner in a book they published in 1863:
The Statue of Faith rests her foot upon the Forefather's Rock; in her left hand she holds an open Bible; with the right uplifted she points to heaven. Looking downward, as to those she is addressing, she seems to call them to trust in a higher power Her look is upward, towards the impersonation of the Spirit of Religion above.
Would this be the higher power of Freemasonry, Mormonism, and Universalism? The very creators of this statue described the statue as pointing to a non-descript "higher power" and "Spirit of Religion" and yet Christians want to assume that a statue that was created and erected by such people and dedicated by men that practice the occult of freemasonry is going to be pleasing to God? The statue faith also has a pentagram or five pointed star on her forehead. As Mason experts, such as Ed Decker have testified, the five pointed star or pentagram hold significant meaning within freemasonry.
John T. Heard, the Grand Master Mason who laid the cornerstone and gave a speech, which is below, stated that the message of the statue was consistent with the worldview of the masons. The statue is filled with Masonic messages and images. Just because the statue contains phrases such as education, morality, or faith does not make it an acceptable symbol for Christians.
Freemasons take part in occult ceremonies such as wearing a blindfold and kneeling before the Grand Master and swearing that they are lost in darkness and need the light of freemasonry to save them. Should Christians unite around and be inspired to serve God through a statue that was in part erected, funded, and dedicated by men that believed that their salvation depended upon the occult of freemasonry and dedicated this statue in their service to Satan? The answer is a resounding no!
If you would like more information on freemasonry I invite you to watch a short video clip by Rev. Ron Carlson, an expert on freemasonry. Even at this very Worldview Weekend, I personally saw three men approach Ron at the conclusion of this talk. I saw one of these men weeping in remorse and repentance. All of these men were 32nd degree masons and all three thanked Ron for his bold stand for Biblical truth and announced to him that they were going to return home and resign from the Masonic Lodge.
In addition, the trailer of the film reveals an interview with Dr. Os Guinness one of the signers of Evangelicals and Catholics together. Reports are that David Barton was also interviewed for this film. This is troubling as David Barton has declared that Mormon Glenn Beck can wear the title Mormon and be a Christian.
Christians seeking to "reclaim America" or "get back to the founding fathers" will not invite God's blessing by holding up men, institutions, traditions, and symbols that are not honorable to God. Christians will not invite God's favor but God's judgment when they disobey His Word and mix pagan beliefs, a pagan statue, and worldly symbolism with our worship and service to Him. Such activities regardless of how well intentioned is a monumental mistake.
Dr. John MacArthur put it well when he wrote:
[quote] Society has taken a nosedive into greater and greater evil, debauchery, violence, and corruption, and outside the church, the landscape seems filled with "modern barbarians." The temptation is strong for believers to jump into the cultural fray as self-righteous social/political reformers and condescending moralizers Our duty as we relate to an increasingly secular and ungodly culture is not to lobby for certain rights, the implementation of a Christian agenda, or the reformation of the government. Rather, God would have us continually to remember Paul's instructions to Titus and live them out as we seek to demonstrate His power and grace that can regenerate sinners. Changing people's hearts one individual at a time is the only way to bring meaningful, lasting change to our communities, our nation, and even the whole world. [end quote]
Author John Seel compliments the message that I now proclaim after much study of God's Word as well as accurate American history that reveals that many of our Founding Fathers were very hostile to the gospel of Jesus Christ including the deity of Jesus Christ.
[quote] A politicized faith not only blurs our priorities, but weakens our loyalties. Our primary citizenship is not on earth but in heaven. ... Though few evangelicals would deny this truth in theory, the language of our spiritual citizenship frequently gets wrapped in the red, white and blue. Rather than acting as resident aliens of a heavenly kingdom, too often we sound [and act] like resident apologists for a Christian America. ... Unless we reject the false reliance on the illusion of Christian America, evangelicalism will continue to distort the gospel and thwart a genuine biblical identity.....
American evangelicalism is now covered by layers and layers of historically shaped attitudes that obscure our original biblical core. [end quote] (The Evangelical Pulpit [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993], 106-7)
Please join me in praying that Christians will be discerning and not fall into the snare of Americanism and mix the gospel with the message or motive of "reclaiming America." Pray that fear for our nation's future does not cause the church to compromise but that we recommit our time and energy to the proclamation of the gospel and place our trust in God's sovereignty.
The cornerstone for the Monument to the Forefathers was laid on August 2, 1859. The book, The Illustrated Pilgrim Memorial, was published in 1863 by the Pilgrim Society. The following information was taken directly from that book. The following text may contain misspelled words which must have occurred when the library scanned the book and placed it online.
From "The Illustrated Pilgrim Memorial, 1863:
The address of Gov. Banks was folic wed by prayer by Rev. Richard S. Storrs, D. D., and then by the Masonic ceremonies of laying the corner-stone and consecration by the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Massachusetts, - including a most pertinent and eloquent address by the Grand Master, Col. John T. Heard. In the underside of the corner-stone is a cavity, in which a leaden casket, eleven inches by seven and five inches in height, was placed by Dr. Nathaniel B. Shurtleff, of Boston, at the request of the Building Committee. Upon its cover were the following words : - Placed in the corner-stone of the National Monument to the Forefathers, by The Pilgrim Society of Plymouth, 2d August', 1S59. Within the box were deposited, before the sealing of the cover, the following articles of interest, viz. : - 1. The plate, which measures 73 by 5 J inches, bears the following inscription, engraved in very plain and legible letters, by Mr. E. W. Bouve: The Corner-Stone of the National Monument to the Forefathers, laid in presence of The Pilgrim Society of Plymouth, by the M. W. Grand Lodge of Freemasons, of Massachusetts, M. W. John T. Heard, G. [Grand] Master, on the second day of August, A. D. 18-59, A. L. 58-59. being in the two hundred and thirty-ninth year since the first settlement of New England by the Pilgrim Forefathers.
In the under side of the corner-stone is a cavity, in which a leaden casket, eleven inches by seven and five inches in height, was placed by Dr. Nathaniel B. Shurtleff, of Boston, at the request of the Building Committee.
Upon its cover were the following words: --
Placed in the corner-stone of the National Monument to the Forefathers, by The Pilgrim Society of Plymouth,
2d August, 1859.
Within the box were deposited, before the sealing of the cover, the following articles of interest, viz.: --
1. The plate, which measures 7 3/4 by 5 1/4 inches, bears the following inscription, engraved in very plain and legible letters, by Mr. E. W. Bouve:
The Corner-Stone of the National Monument to the Forefathers, laid in presence of, The Pilgrim Society of Plymouth, by the M. W. Grand Lodge of Freemasons, of Massachusetts,
M. W. John T. Heard, G. [Grand] Master, on the second day of August, A. D. 1859, A. L. 5859. being in the two hundred and thirty-ninth year since the first settlement of New England by the Pilgrim Forefathers. Richard Warren, President of the Pilgrim Society; Building Committee, John H. Clifford, Nathaniel B. Shurtleff, Samuel Nicolson, Charles G. Davis, William Thomas, Eleazer C. Sherman; Hammatt Billings, Architect; Willard M. Harding, Financial Agent. James Buchanan, President of the United States. Nathaniel P. Banks, Governor of Massachusetts. William T. Davis, Chairman of Selectmen of Plymouth.
Original Source: "Laying of the Corner-Stone of the National Monument to the Forefathers," The Illustrated Pilgrim Memorial, 1863, page 33. Available here:
Address of G. M. [Grand Master] John T. Heard.
Mr. President: - To celebrate the deeds of the benefactors of mankind, is a service dictated alike by gratitude and the benevolent desire to transmit the blessings of their examples to posterity. The memory of the good and brave, whose virtues and exploits challenge admiration and homage, should be honored and perpetuated; and the establishment of institutions affecting happily the welfare of our race is eminently worthy of commemoration. A people capable of greatness will not forget the virtues of their fathers; reverently will they chensh them, and gratefully present them in all their lustre for the respect and imitation of after ages. Impressed with sentiments like these, we are assembled here to-day to solemnize an undertaking designed to perpetuate the renown of that peerless band- the first settlers of New England. It was here on this spot, then the border of a wilderness nearly as vast as the continent, where they landed on the 21st of Dec. 1620. Here, therefore, it is appropriate that a National Monument to their memory should be erected; a work which, we are happy to see,
has been commenced under the most flattering prospects of success. To the Pilgrim Society belongs the honor of initiating this grateful and patriotic enterprise; and under its auspices it will be, we doubt not, triumphantly accomplished. In compliance with your courteous invitation to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts to lay this corner-stone, that body will now discharge that agreeable duty according to the ancient usages of the Craft.
It is not known, sir, that any of the passengers of the May Flower were Freemasons; certainly no record of the fact has been discovered. But since it is authenticated that our institution was in a flourishing condition
in England in 1620, it is not improbable that some members of a society which, from the earliest times, has been tolerant as regards modes of religious worship, should have united with the members of the Church of the Pilgrims and fled with them from the persecutions- inflicted on the Dissenters by the Established Church.
That there are no accounts extant of private or subordinate Lodges in the earlier days of the colonies, is not to be taken as evidence that none existed in them. In the constitution of the Lodge previous to the past century, it was not necessary that its existence and proceedings should have official or durable record; it received no warrant or charter from the General Assembly - the Grand Lodge of that time ; nor were its meetings confined to any particular time or place ; it is not to bo wondered at, that under those circumstances, and after a lapse of two centuries, all traces of it should be obliterated. Thus it is apparent that a Lodge might have existed even in the May Flower, and been composed of Pilgrims, without the knowledge of their associates or posterity. The principles of Freemasonry are in no way incompatible with the professions of the Forefathers in moral or religious belief, but, on the contrary, are such as would have been approved and vindicated, by them.
It will not be out of place for me to mention Aere a coincidence derived from the history of our society and that of the first settlers: - and I allude to the fact that two of the Grand Masters of England were also members of the " Council established at Plymouth " by the Great Patent which passed the seals on the third of November, 1620, and became the foundation of all subsequent grants of territory in New England. They were William, the third Earl of Pembroke, and Thomas, Earl of Arundel; the former was Chancellor of the University of Oxford and Lord Chamberlain of the King's household, the latter Earl Marshal of the realm. Pembroke, who was senior Grand Warden under the Grand Mastership of Inigo Jones, his friend, and a celebrated architect, succeeded him as Grand Master in 1618, and continued to preside over the Fraternity until the time of his death in 1630. Arundel was elected to the office in 1633, and filled it for a space of two years.
It is worthy of remembrance that though the Plymouth Company possessed the privileges of a monopoly, it having exclusive right by its patent to all the lands in New England, the members of the Council were lenient in their measures affecting the colonists. Towards the Pilgrims, especially, they showed much liberality. The latter, compelled by treachery to settle on this spot instead of that farther south, which they had selected before their departure from Europe ? found themselves without privileges within the territorial limits of the Plymouth Company. The Council did not, however,
look upon them as trespassers; but, through the influence or one of its number, caused a patent to be issued in their favor. This generous act of the government of the company indicates that its counsels were controlled by sentiments of humanity - by sentiments of brotherly-love, such as it might be supposed would influence the action of those members of it, at least, who were Masons.
On former occasions the Fraternity [Mason fraternity] have been called upon to consecrate, by their rites, statues and other memorials erected in honor of the distinguished dead. To the illustrious Washington, to Franklin, Warren, Jackson, Clav - esteemed and venerated of our countrymen esteemed and venerated also as Freemasons - have lasting monuments been reared whose commencement and completion have been thus signalized. But it is not to eminent characters who were of us alone, that our ceremonials of honor are confined; we recognize and respect exalted worth in whomsoever it exists or has existed, and are always ready as a society to manifest our appreciation
of it. Important events, like that we are now commemorating, which have promoted the progress and improvement or general society, and conferred great benefits on the intellectual, moral and religious well-being of man, may be celebrated with greater propriety by Masons with all the distinction which their ceremonies can bestow.
This occasion naturally carries our thoughts back to the times of the forefathers, and suggests the recital of their trials and sufferings, and triumphant struggle for religious freedom; but this duty I leave for others to perform. Though that instructive tale has been often told with power and beauty by the historian, orator and poet, until it has become familiar to all, still it is not a work out-told; its recitation never falls upon listless ears, or fails to move the sympathies and arouse the patriotic feelings of an American audience.
The Pilgrim Monument will be one of the most imposing ana beautiful monumental works in the world. The design, so creditable to the taste and genius of the artist, prefigures a structure of vast, yet harmonious
proportions. While it will mark the place of the first settlement of New England, it will, also, by inscriptions, devices and sculpture, signalize the leading events in the lives of the forefathers, and by appropriate figures symbolize their cherished principles. May it endure for ages, and decay only when our descendants shall cease to appreciate their rich inheritance of civil and religious liberty."
Members of the Pilgrim Society are listed to include:
St. Andrew's Lodge of F. A. Masons,
Onion Lodge of F. A. Masons.
Plymouth Memories of an Octogenarian 1906 by William T. Davis.
This is from another book titled: Plymouth Memories of an Octogenarian copyrighted in 1906 by William T. Davis. David actually gives more information that includes the involvement of the Knights of Templar, which is a Catholic Order, under the direction of the Grand Master of the Masons for Massachusetts. When you add in the Catholic Knights, Templar, The Masons and the Pastor of the First Church, this was a real ecumenical project and monument so why are Christians rallying around it?
CHAPTER XXXVII. (pages 372-374)
In 1859, the necessary arrangements having been concluded for beginning work on the canopy over the Rock and on the National Monument, it was decided by the Pilgrim Society to lay at once the corner stones of those structures with suitable ceremonies [Masonic Ceremonies] The committee decided on the following plan for the celebration: The laying of the cornerstone of the canopy by the Masonic order; a procession; the laying of the cornerstone of the National Monument with Masonic ceremonies; a dinner provided by J. B. Smith of Boston in a tent, capable of holding twenty-five hundred persons, pitched in the field below the present store of Wm. Burn's, now occupied by three dwelling houses, owned by Mr. Emery ; fireworks, and a ball in the evening in Davis Hall. At ten o'clock a Masonic procession was formed on Main street, consisting of the Massachusetts, Boston and DeMoley encampments of Knights Templar, under command of John T. Heard, and marched to the Rock, where addresses were made by President Warren and Mr. Heard, and a hymn was sung, composed by John Shepard. At half past eleven the grand procession, whose various divisions had been forming while the ceremony at the Rock was going on, started from the headquarters of the chief marshal near the Samoset House, and proceeded through Court, Main, Market, High, Summer, Pleasant, Green, Sandwich, Market, Leyden, Water, North, Court and Cushman streets to Monument hill. The procession marched in the following order: Mounted police, Boston brigade band, Standish Guards, New Bedford City Guards, Braintree Light Infantry, So. Abington Infantry, New Bedford brass band, chief marshal and aids mounted, president of the Pilgrim Society and invited guests, St. Paul's lodge of South Boston, lodge of Cambridge, Liberty lodge of New Bedford, Star of the East lodge of New Bedford, King Solomon lodge of Charlestown, Boston brass band, Washington lodge of Roxbury, the Plymouth lodge, Plymouth brass band, Royal Arch chapter of New Bedford, Boston encampment of Knights Templar, Royal Arch Chapter of South Abington, South Abington band, DeMoley encampment, Grand lodge of Massachusetts, American brass band, Odd Fellows, New England Society of New York, Massachusetts Historical Society, American Antiquarian Society, Historic Genealogical Society, Cape Cod Association, Finney's band, Plymouth Fire Department, Campello Engine company, North Bridgewater band, and six groups on flats representing the Landing, Indians, advance of civilization, the thirty-three states, different nations, and the marine interests of Plymouth.
After addresses at the monument by President Warren, and the ceremony of laying the cornerstone, conducted by the Grandmaster, John T. Heard, the invited guests were escorted to the dining tent, where Rev. Edward H. Hall, pastor of the First Church asked a blessing. Besides the president the speakers were, Gov. Banks, Salmon P. Chase, Wm. Maxwell Evarts, Gov. Buckingham of Conn., John P. Hale, Francis P. Bair, Jr., Anson Burlinghame, Gov. Kent of Maine, George Sumner and Rev. Mr. Waddington of Southwark, London. I have room for notices of only a few of these speakers .
Further sources for research:
Freemasonry, Masonic Lodge and the Shriners: Are They Compatible with Biblical Christianity?
Video: Separating From Unbelievers by John MacArthur (This sermon might help answer the question as to whether Christians should work with people that are hostile to the gospel to promote Christian books, DVDs, or plans for "reclaiming America")