Mormon Miracle Pageant: Behind the Scenes

manti-utah-temple
Each year hundreds of Latter-day Saint youth participate in the Mormon Miracle Pageant.  In the pageant cast members have the opportunity to share their testimonies by reenacting stories surrounding the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  People come from all around the world to see the pageant held in Manti, Utah every year in June.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes peak at what it’s like to be a cast member in the Mormon Miracle Pageant.

Being a cast member in the Mormon Miracle Pageant

Practice

A month before the Mormon Miracle Pageant begins, cast members practice 2-3 times/week for about two hours.  As the pageant draws closer, cast members practice Monday through Saturday from 8 p.m. until about midnight.

Despite some very cold nights, children of all ages gather to rehearse their parts.  It is sweet to see older children give their jackets to smaller children so they will stay warm.

Besides the cool weather, some challenging aspects of practicing include: practicing on Manti Temple’s steep and often slippery hill.  Another challenging aspect for cast members can be switching costumes in between scenes- for example some cast members are dressed as Native Americans in one scene and pioneers in the very next scene.

Costumes

Every cast member in the Mormon Miracle Pageant has a costume to wear, many of which are homemade.  On top of their costume, cast members wear an identification badge.  Generally cast members cannot take their costumes home- rather, they wear their costumes for the duration of the practices and then return the costumes to be cleaned.

According to cast members some of the most interesting costumes include: the costumes for Queen Lamoni, the Lamanite dancers,  the warriors and the sacrifice.

Set-up

Several weeks before the Mormon Miracle Pageant begins, pageant staff begin setting-up.  This includes placing artificial rocks and trees on temple hill.  Several large light and speaker towers are erected.  As the pageant draws closer local priesthood leaders enlist local volunteers to set up thousands of chairs.

In between each scene cast members move around props, such as handcarts, a volcano and an ancient temple.

Cast missionaries

Before the Manti Pageant begins many of the cast members go out in costume to mingle with the audience. They have a special cast missionary meeting before going out. They go in pairs of two following the pattern of full-time LDS missionaries, welcoming the audience, bearing testimony of the gospel, and asking people for missionary referrals.

Devotionals

Before each performance, there is a special cast devotional. Sometimes general authorities come to speak. It’s a great way to keep the whole cast in a spiritual mindset, strengthen their testimonies and remind them of the purpose of the pageant.  The devotional helps cast members understand their role in helping the audience feel the spirit of the message of the Restoration.

“For years I have been waiting for someone to do justice in recording in song and story and painting and sculpture the story of the Restoration…Our writers, our motion picture specialists, with the inspiration of heaven, should tomorrow be able to produce a masterpiece which would live forever.”

– Spencer W. Kimball

I enjoyed participating as a cast member in the pageant for several years.  It strengthened my testimony of Jesus Christ and the church He restored through the prophet Joseph Smith.  If you’ve never had a chance to see the pageant, I’d highly recommend it.

“Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations”

Doctrine and Covenants 115:5

*Guest post by the Boekweg twins.

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