Sunday, April 16, 2017
Field of the Woods Bible Park reminds me that they don't build tourist attractions like they used to. The park is best known for the World's Largest Ten Commandments, but the Christian imagery runs throughout the park. The park started in 1945 and was considered an outreach ministry by the Church of God of Prophecy denomination (which had its origins less than five miles away).
Most people come to see the 300-foot wide Ten Commandments which is laid out on the side of a hill. The best vantage point is to climb the hill on the other side of the parking lot so you can get the whole perspective. Or, if you're in good shape you could climb the 350 steps to the top where there is a giant Bible which doubles as an observation deck.
There are plenty of other things to see while you're there, most of which were added during the first decade of the park's operation. When you climb the other hill to get the best view of the Ten Commandments, you're climbing Prayer Mountain and along the way there are several headstone shaped markers which explain some of the Bible's basic principles. Next, there's a replica tomb of Jesus that includes at the entrance a replica of the stone to be rolled away. In the middle of the parking lot is what looks like a radio tower topped by a giant star which is an information booth that probably hasn't been used for decades. There's also a baptismal pool, a decent gift shop, an old missionary's airplane, the All Nations Cross, the curator's residence and a bunch of other random monuments and messages.
One other highlight of the park is a replica Golgotha which is where Jesus was crucified between two criminals. If you think the Golgotha vaguely resembles a face - it does. Golgotha translates to "Place of the Skull." When you view their Golgotha from atop the observation deck you'll notice the shrubs in front of Golgotha are arranged to spell out "JESUS DIED FOR OUR SINS."
I first learned of this place about 20 years ago when my parents stopped by on a trip through western North Carolina. I finally had my chance to visit recently when I went tent camping at a place nearby. Not as many people stop by as they used to. (In one of my pictures, you can see my car is the only one in the parking lot.) If I understood the guy in the gift shop properly, the Church of God doesn't fund it the way they used to, so there's no telling how long they'll remain open. So, if this is the type of place you'd really like to visit, I'd recommend sooner rather than later.