Hill Cumorah Pageant

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The Hill Cumorah Pageant, sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints © Intellectual Reserve

In an official statement from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it was announced that the Hill Cumorah Pageant would continue running through 2020.

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 took place in October 2018 to appropriately end, modify or continue these productions.[1]

History of the Pageant

Every year in July, the Church sponsored one of the largest outdoor pageants in the United States. The pageant took place on a large hill called Cumorah in New York State. This hill has great significance, because it is the hill where in about AD 420, the Book of Mormon gold plates were buried. Moroni, who was the last survivor of a civilization that had existed since 600 BC, buried the plates, and then returned in 1827 as a heavenly messenger and entrusted them to Joseph Smith. From the gold plates, the Prophet Joseph Smith was able to translate the record and published Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

The Hill Cumorah Pageant tells the story of the peoples of the Book of Mormon, how they were guided to the Americas just before the Babylonian captivity and destruction of Jerusalem, and the events that followed. The show depicted all of the things that occurred just before and during Christ’s visit to the America’s. It is an inspiring representation of Christ’s divinity and mission.

The pageant was performed on a large ten-level stage, and employed a state-of-the-art sound and lighting system, able to create the effects of both earthquakes and lightning. There were about 650 people in the cast.

The pageant had its beginnings in 1917, when a group of missionaries of the Church gathered for a conference to celebrate Pioneer Day (July 24th, the day the pioneers first entered the Salt Lake Valley). In 1934, the conference was moved to Cumorah Hill, and in 1937 volunteers put on the first pageant. Since the beginning, the entire pageant has been put together by volunteers. Over the years, the pageant has been rewritten several times.

The pageant’s music, special effects, and script were put together by well-known people. Author Orson Scott Card wrote the current script. Eric Fielding designed the stages. The special effects were created by Rick Josephson, and the music was composed by Crawford Gates. The music was performed by the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, the Salt Lake City Symphony, and a children’s choir with over 100 members.

Admission and parking for the pageant was free, and seating for 9,000 people was available. The pageant began at 9:15 at night.

See also LDS Pageants

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