Laurie and Mike Nowland are on a mission to build a giant cross monument that will be bigger in volume than the three Great Pyramids, after being inspired by a dream. It will also serve as "a massive columbarium and mausoleum that will be a physical memorial to Jesus Christ," holding the remains of 1 million believers.
"The goal was to build a landmark that would serve to once again unite the body of Christ," they explained in an informational video, which compares the proposed monument to the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. "The Christian world hasn't built great monuments for a while, and it's time to build another one," said Mike Nowland.
Standing 183 feet tall and half a mile long, the 1 billion dollar Great Cross will dominate the landscape of the Nevada desert near Reno and is designed to last for ten thousand years. It will be clearly visible from space, as its size will be the equivalent of ten U.S. football fields long.
The immense project has an innovative building and funding plan, in which construction will slowly proceed level-by-level from the ground up, continually paid for by membership sales. Mike Nowland explained, "The Great Cross will be built as people become members, and this is why we are certain that it's going to be successful financially." Construction is planned to begin in 2014 if the Nowlands sell 400 spaces, which range in price from $4,000 to $30,000, by April 1, 2014.
The Great Cross Alliance is a for-profit enterprise, because, as Mike Nowland told Northern Nevada Business Weekly, "people don't take nonprofits seriously." The website estimates that the initial costs will be less than 2 million dollars to get the project off the ground, due to the low cost of the desert land among other factors.
The planners claim it will be environmentally friendly, and will be constructed largely from earth graded from the site itself, protected by a reinforced concrete shell made from sand and lime. It will help alleviate the crowding faced by many cemeteries in urban areas, as the plan calls for about one million people to be interred in a mere square mile.
The Nowlands see this project as a "statement of Christian unity," and the Great Cross is not affiliated with any religious denomination or group. It's been developed and advised by Christians across many denominations, and "any person can be interred in the Great Cross without discrimination."
The entire text of the Bible will be engraved inside, in four different languages.
See photos here:
The Nowlands speak about the project in this video: