After the church announced that 2019 would be the last year of the Manti Pageant, at least sponsored by the church generally, we decided we wanted to make sure we made it down with the kids.
I have written about my previous experience with the Manti Pageant and the unfortunate crossing paths with roadkill on the trek home to Logan that night. While I enjoyed the pageant in 2004, some of the parts were not well done and became distracting. But the overall spirit of the Pageant was one that I wanted my children to experience.
We went down and attended on Thursday 13 June 2019. I am glad we went down on a Thursday, we hoped the crowds would be a little less, and they were. We arrived plenty in advance, got seats, as you can see above, about half way back in the seating. It was a great location, we got to know our neighbors for the show and I made three trips back to the van to change dirty diapers before the show started. A good bus driver from Salt Lake City took this photo of us while we waited for the festivities.
The show went on and I was impressed with Aliza and Hiram, they paid particular attention through the entire show. Most of it is a great review of church history, the restoration, and particular moments the writer thought important to include. Even afterward Hiram said to me he felt drawn to the pageant and learned some things. I hope they will never forget we attended the Mormon Miracle Pageant.
One part of the show that struck me was the interaction between Brigham Young and James Allen and the recruiting process. The Saints were fleeing the country that refused to protect them. There had even been some suggestions that the Saints would side with a nation willing to defend them. But President Polk became convinced to try and use some of the Saints to build relationships between the Saints and the United States. Young quickly jumped on board and sought a battalion to defend the United States and help preserve the moving church. It proved to be very inspired, not only in the basic enlistment, but in all Young’s promises to the battalion.
As I sat there watching that scene, I was again reminded of our duty to not only build the church and the kingdom, but also of supporting and sustaining the United States. As I drove home, I once again evaluated whether I could enlist and serve my nation yet. I am not sure I am in a position to do so, but I am certainly happy to encourage my own children to serve their nation as well as their church. I am also reminded of James’ baby blessing where he was given certain promises that would seem to include military service.
I am sad the Mormon Miracle Pageant will not occur at least every couple of years. Even more sad that The Man Who Knew is already gone and that my children will not get to experience the powerful Clarkston Pageant telling the story of Martin Harris. Even now I get chills when the Spirit confirms to me my witness of the Restoration.
The other powerful part of the Manti Pageant is the testimony of the temple watching over the pageant and the audience in attendance. The two seem to go well together. Just like Clarkston is powerful for Martin’s grave nearby, or Hill Cumorah Pageant for the location.
I snapped this photo as we were leaving. Future visits to Manti will likely be confined to temple attendance for special events. I wonder how Manti will do losing a major event each year. Like most towns, they will revamp, revisit, and move forward. I wonder how I can find other ways as powerful as this to help my children gain testimonies of the Restoration, Revelation, and the beautiful world and plan in which we live.