On Friday night, Robin and I decided to make the two hour drive down to Manti to visit Robin’s maternal grandparents and attend the Mormon Miracle Pageant. After stopping for refueling and dinner in Nephi (complete with a 30-minute wait in line at the Wendy’s there), we arrived in this unique town in Sanpete County that is adorned with one of the largest and most beautiful temples in the world. The temple dominates the city and seems to permeate everything the people do.
Upon arriving, we saved our seats with blankets and went to visit Robin’s grandpa, Max Call. (Her grandmother is in the Gunnison hospital and we hope to visit her before we head back today.) We then drove back to the temple grounds, watched the pageant and then, at about 11:30 drove back to Robin’s grandparent’s home to crash for the night. (Our kids were SOOO tired…)
Anyway, I haven’t seen the pageant for about 10 years and they have made some major changes to it, including more sophisticated sets, better special effects, more elaborate costumes and better staging. The best change is a new scene that depicts the Savior’s visit to the Americas, which was very moving. Of course, the essence of the pageant (including most of the original narration and music) remains unchanged.
Pageants are just that… pageants. The “acting” consists of waving one’s arms about and totally exaggerating one’s movements so that people can see that you’re the one who is talking. It’s pretty melodramatic and larger-than-life, and it takes a little getting used to.
The principal narrators, a man and a woman, are very dramatic in their readings and the script uses flowery language that is uncommon today. And many parts of the recording is downright “roll-your-eyes” cheesey, but in a campy, endearing sort of way.
Now, don’t take that the wrong way — I don’t want to sound snobby or condescending (too late) — I enjoyed the pageant very much. There is a very sweet spiritual feeling on the temple grounds, sitting under the stars surrounded by 16,000+ people who are watching a cast of 500 youth and adults share the powerful doctrines of the restoration in this unique way. It was a wonderful spiritual experience, and my heart was filled with gratitude that I could share it with my little family.
The last time we saw the Pageant was about 10 years ago. And we’ll probably wait another 10 years before we see it again. Just think, Parley will be 18 years old and will be getting ready to go on his mission. Brianna will be nearly 16 and Lily will be a Beehive (13). The yet-unnamed baby will be 9. I wonder where we will be in life at that time…