TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES (BNM) - On Feb. 25, Dudley Bristow, pastor of First Baptist Church, Truth or Consequences, watched his vision become reality: workers were installing a granite monument, inscribed with God’s Ten Commandments. The monument stands visible in front of First Baptist Church, facing North Broadway Street.
Bristow had been “mentioning” his vision of the monument for at least two years. Then, God put His plan into action. Funding became available; the monument’s price was “very reasonable;” and, the church’s members voted unanimously to proceed with the project.
After the purchase, members Mick Montgomery, Jimmy Schraner and Tommy Norton began building the monument’s base. On Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, the granite monument arrived. The installation crew, with Norton operating the forklift, set it in place. Jeff Sorg slowed and directed the passing traffic during the work. By mid-afternoon, the job was complete - with photos to commemorate the occasion.
A large crowd was present to watch the installation, despite cold, windy weather. People driving by on the street, during the several hours it took to complete the work, honked and shouted approval and encouragement. The church interpreted the public response as meaning that many city residents approved and took pride in the public display of God’s Commandments. Bristow and the church’s members said they felt the same way.
The monument’s installation occurred in time for the church’s 100th anniversary, April 23. A celebration had been planned for the weekend of April 25-26. But, public orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic caused the church to cancel those events. In an earlier article about the celebration’s postponement, the Baptist New Mexican reported, “The church said, “Our events have been postponed indefinitely but we’re still ‘celebrating’ the fact that our charter will be one hundred years old on August 23, 2020 and the fact that our mortgage was paid off early in February.” The events were also to include an ordination and several baptisms.