Mormon Miracle Pageant
|Mormon Miracle Pageant|
|Written by||The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints|
|Subject||Book of Mormon, First Vision, Mormon pioneers|
|Setting||South lawn of Temple Hill, Manti Temple, Manti, Utah|
The Mormon Miracle Pageant is a Latter-day Saint Pageant (an annual outdoor theatrical performance) held in Manti, Utah. It is produced by an amateur cast of over five hundred members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The nightly program takes place on the south lawn of temple hill at the Manti Temple. The two-week pageant typically draws an average of 15,000 people per night over an eight-night performance.
For LDS Church members, the pageant is a faith-promoting family event. The pageant portrays the relationship and chronology of three separate, but related, faith-promoting accounts from an LDS perspective. Opening with the experiences of the first LDS prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr., during his young-adulthood in the burned-over district of New York in the 1820s. Including the recovery and translation of the Book of Mormon, the restoration of the "Church of Jesus Christ" in 1830 (which was renamed "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" in 1838) and its infancy, and the death of Smith in 1844. During the dramatization of the translation of the Book of Mormon an overview of its contents it presented. The wars and contentions of the native Israelite inhabitants of North America are represented, along with their teachings of Jesus Christ, leading to his post-resurrection appearance in the first century A.D. The pageant concludes with the persecution of the Mormon pioneers in the East and their subsequent exodus to Utah, led by the second LDS prophet, Brigham Young, and the group of pioneers sent to central Utah (now Sanpete Valley), where the Manti Temple stands.
The performance begins shortly after sunset, during the early summer (usually late June). People often start arriving several hours before the performance. In addition to restaurants in the town, there are special food stands for the event. Light security is provided at the performance site and the surrounding streets to ensure general order and to direct traffic.
The pageant was first produced by the Manti Utah Stake in 1967 under the leadership of stake president Vernon Kunz. Helen and Morgan Dyreng of Manti directed the production. Although simple and unpolished in comparison to the current pageant, the performance was accompanied by a 25-piece orchestra. The original music directors were McLoyd Erickson, Harry A. Dean, and Evan Bean. Among the orchestra members was Richard Nibley (brother of Hugh Nibley), who had trained most of the rest of the musical group. The original script was based on the 1950 book The Mormon Miracle.
Pageant evangelists and protesters
There are usually several evangelical Christian church groups, who attempt to proselytize the largely LDS attendees prior to the nightly event. These evangelists typically hand out anti-Mormon (or pro-Evangelicalism) literature and engage pageant-goers in religious discussion as they approach the site. Some evangelists carry picket signs and wear "overtly anti-Mormon t-shirts." In addition, some local "fundamentalist Mormon" groups have been known to carry picket signs in the approach area, criticizing the position of the LDS Church on polygamy and abortion; the LDS Church abandoned the practice of polygamy in the 19th century, and believes that abortion should be allowed only in rare cases, such as rape or incest.
- http://www.mormonmiracle.org/information.html. Accessed 11 April 2006.
- Mormon Miracle Pageant: Book of Mormon and LDS Church history in pageant form - Manti, Utah[dead link]
- Findlay, Linnie M. (July 1982), "News of the Church", Ensign
- "Ephraim Church of the Bible Manti Pageant Outreach 2007". www.mormoninfo.org . Accessed 2 July 2007.
- Bean, Kent R. (2005). Policing the Borders of Identity at the Mormon Miracle Pageant. Doctoral Dissertation. Bowling Green State University.
- Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 1:Stake Presidencies and Bishoprics, 2006, p. 185.
- The pageant page at the LDS Church website
- The unofficial but authoritative Mormon Miracle Pageant website
- Another pageant link
- The Manti Temple
- The Sanpete County website
- "'Manti’s ‘Miracle'", New Era, July 1978, p. 18
- Pageant Visitor Information Page
- Mormon Miracle Pagent Special Edition - 2011 supplement from the local Sanpete Messenger newspaper