Over the weekend, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement regarding local celebrations sponsored by the Church across the country.
The statement reads:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is growing across the earth. As this occurs, local Church leaders and members are encouraged to focus on gospel learning in their homes and to participate in Sabbath worship and the Church’s supporting programs for children, youth, individuals and families. The goal of every activity in the Church should be to increase faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and to share His gospel message throughout the world. Local celebrations of culture and history may be appropriate. Larger productions, such as pageants, are discouraged. As it relates to existing pageants, conversations with local Church and community leaders are underway to appropriately end, modify or continue these productions.
Many of the seven pageants supported by the Church have responded on their future plans.
Hill Cumorah Pageant
The Hill Cumorah Pageant is one of the most well-known pageants of the Church, hosted yearly in Palmyra, New York on the Hill Cumorah, an important site of the Restoration. It tells the story of the Book of Mormon, from Lehi and his family leaving Jerusalem to Joseph Smith receiving the plates on the Hill Cumorah.
According to Hill Cumorah Pageant President Neil Pitts, the pageant will end after the 2020 season. In a statement to Deseret News, Pitt said, “We had a wonderful run. Our church has asked us to focus more on the family, and this is certainly in line with that desire. We have had a wonderful 81 years and will focus on making the next two years an amazing experience for our cast, crew and audience.”
The Nauvoo Pageant is held in Nauvoo, Illinois, and focuses on celebrating the restored gospel, the prophetic mission of Joseph Smith, and the legacy of early Latter-day Saints in Nauvoo.
Nauvoo Illinois Stake President John Ricks confirmed the pageant will continue.
“The Nauvoo-British Pageant will continue in the future the same as it has in the past, being fully supported and funded by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” he said.
Manti Mormon Miracle Pageant
This pageant performed near the stunning Manti Temple intertwines the stories of the Restoration of the gospel, the Book of Mormon, and the journey of faithful pioneers to the Sanpete Valley.
The Mormon Miracle Pageant will continue in 2019 and local Church leaders are beginning the process to see how they might continue the production without the full and direct resources of the Church.
“There will be some modifications,” said Manti Utah Stake President Mark Olson. “We are currently planning further discussions with various local leaders, the pageant presidency and other. Those discussions will determine whether or not we will continue with the pageant after 2019.”
Mesa Easter Pageant
Helde very spring at the Visitor’s Center of the Mesa Arizona Temple, this pageant helps others experience the story of Jesus Christ’s birth, ministry, selfless death, and miraculous Resurrection through music, dance, and drama.
There has been no official announcement as to the future of the Mesa Easter Pageant, but it is important to note the Mesa Arizona Temple and Visitor’s Center are undergoing major renovations which will not be completed until 2020. The heavy construction in the area will likely affect the final decision on the pageant for the foreseeable future.
At this time, the Church supports three other pageants:
- “British Pageant” in Lancashire
- “Castle Valley Pageant” in Utah
- “Clarkston Pageant – Martin Harris: The Man Who Knew” in Utah
No word has been given yet on how or if these pageants will continue.
Have you been involved with the Church’s pageants in the past? How do you feel about these decisions?