UPDATED: The Fate of the Church’s Seven Pageants

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Mormon Miracle Pageant in Manti.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently issued a statement inviting Church leaders and members to focus on strengthening the home and family. As a part of this statement, the Church mentioned that while “local celebrations of culture and history may be appropriate,” pageants and larger productions are “discouraged.”

As a result of this statement, the Hill Cumorah Pageant will discontinue their performance after their 2020 season. Neil Pitts, the Hill Cumorah Pageant President, is supportive of the decision to bring the production to an end.

“We had a wonderful run,” Pitts said in a statement. “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…We have been blessed by exceptional relationships with our friends in Manchester and Palmyra. We thank those communities for their years of generous support, and we will continue to work with them on future endeavors.”

Image from the Hill Cumorah Pageant in New York.
Image from the Hill Cumorah Pageant in New York.

Suzanne Hollist has been a participant in the Hill Cumorah Pageant for years, along with her husband and seven children. She mentioned her disappointment in the decision to discontinue to pageant.

“I think it’s very sad,” Hollist said. “It’s been a part of our family for such a long time and a way that we could say to our friends, ‘Come and go with us to this production.’ It was a nice way to expose people to the teachings.”

However, not all pageants will make the same decision to stop production. John Ricks, the Nauvoo Illinois Stake President, released a statement regarding the continuation of the Nauvoo Pageant.

“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.

Mormon Miracle Pageant in Manti, Utah.
Image from the Mormon Miracle Pageant in Manti, Utah.

And although the Church will no longer be supporting the annual Mormon Miracle Pageant in Manti, Manti Utah Stake President Mark Olson stated that there will be an effort to continue the pageant in Manti.

“There will be some modifications. We are currently planning further discussions with various local leaders, the pageant presidency and others,” he said. “Those discussions will determine whether or not we will continue with the pageant after 2019.”

The Church lists seven pageants on their official website. Whether each pageant will make the decision to continue or not, the Church has emphasized the need for members 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.”

Go to Deseret News to read the full article.

UPDATE: 

Here’s a summary of Church pageants and the changes announced as of November 1, 2018:

  • The Mormon Miracle Pageant in Manti, Utah, will no longer be directly supported by the Church after its 2019 run.
  • The Castle Valley Pageant in Castle Dale, Utah, is held every other year on even-numbered years. No changes have been announced.
  • The Clarkston Pageant—subtitled “Martin Harris: The Man Who Knew”—in Clarkston, Utah, is held every other year on odd-numbered years. No changes have been announced.
  • The Mesa Easter Pageant in Mesa, Arizona, is held annually in the spring prior to Easter. Due to renovations of the Mesa Arizona Temple and temple grounds, the pageant has been temporarily suspended, but will resume in 2020 following the completion of the temple renovations, with public renderings showing a pageant stage and seating accommodations.
  • The Hill Cumorah Pageant in Palmyra, New York will be discontinued entirely following its 2020 summer production.
  • Two Nauvoo pageants (featuring early Church history in both the United States and the British Isles) in Nauvoo, Illinois, are held annually between July and August. No changes are anticipated.
  • The British Pageant in Chorley, England, is held annually in August. No changes have been announced.

Brittany is a graduate of Brigham Young University-Idaho and is currently working as an intern for ThirdHour.org. Brittany enjoys quoting movies, hiking, and eating chocolate covered pretzels.