The Mormon Miracle Pageant, which is in its 47th year, is well into production, and participants anticipate thousands of visitors for a night under the stars.
The pageant, which took place June 20–22 and will continue June 25–29 on Manti’s Temple Hill, tells three stories. The first tells the story of Joseph Smith and the restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The next focuses on the Book of Mormon. The third tells the story of the Mormon pioneers’ journey west to Utah and the Sanpete Valley.
“(The pageant’s) goal is missionary work,” said Michael Jorgensen, president of the pageant. “It’s to strengthen people’s testimonies — (people) that come to visit (and) that are already members, and those that aren’t — to spark their interest and bring the gospel into their lives.”
The cast will reenact many of the events that occurred in the Americas, including the appearance of the resurrected Christ to the people of the New World.
The cast, which is made up of volunteers from the Manti area, includes more than 900 members, about 80 percent of whom are under the age of 18. They have been rehearsing since June 4 on Manti’s Temple Hill for about four hours, five days a week.
“A lot of families have decided they’re all going to be in it as a family, and they participate that way,” said John Keeler, director of the pageant. “It’s just a good, wholesome place for youth to be and learn a little bit about the gospel and learn how to serve and learn how to dedicate their time to a cause.”
The pageant attempts to appeal to all viewers with its themes, costumes, dancing and battle scenes. The backdrop of the Manti Temple behind the huge stage also attracts visitors.
“You’d have to come and see it to appreciate it,” said Doug Dyreng, first counselor of the presidency over the pageant. “People just really love it. The same thing has gone on 47 years, and people keep coming back time and time again.”
The first Mormon Miracle Pageant took place on July 23, 1967, at the Sanpete County fairgrounds in Manti. The stake president in Manti had approached Dyreng’s mother, Helen, about putting on a celebration to commemorate the arrival of the first Mormon pioneers. Helen Dyreng had heard of a booklet called “The Mormon Miracle” that describes the trek of the pioneers, from which she developed scenes to make up the first Mormon Miracle Pageant.
“It went really good,” Doug Dyreng said. “People came and loved it, and they wanted to do it again the next year.”
The next year the pageant moved to Manti’s Temple Hill, the site that has been its stage ever since.
For more information about the Mormon Miracle Pageant, visit mormonmiracle.org.