By Mabel L. Anderson, this article originally appeared in the May/June 1971 issue of Pioneer Magazine
[Editor’s Note: The mormon miracle pageant” in Manti will end after its June 2019 season. The 2019 Season performances will be held June 13-15 & 18-22. Performances begin at 9:30pm. Admission is FREE.]
In beautiful Sanpete Valley in Central Utah, as you follow Highway 89 you see the inspiring sight of the majestic Manti Temple silhouetted against the skyline. It was on the gentle green slopes of Temple Hill there was enacted last July the “Mormon Miracle” pageant, which attracted in four performances an estimated 37,000 people who were thrilled to see a magnificent, professional production of great spiritual impact — a production that a noted critic said was a great contribution to the Mormon Theatre, inspiring those who were part of it and those who witnessed it.
Under the inspired and able direction of Mrs. Macksene S. Rux, this beautiful pageant will again be presented under the stars this coming summer from July 12 to 17 to thousands who will come to have their spirits revivified by this rich spiritual experience.
The pageant, three years in the making, is based on the story by Grace Johnson [titled] “The Mormon Miracle,” and adapted to pageant form by Mrs. Macksene S. Rux and taped by the Bonneville International Corporation. The narrators are Mrs. Rux and Francis L. Urry.
Light of Pageantry
The sound and light of pageantry is one of the most appealing and convincing ways by which the pages of history can be made to live again.
As extremely well-played scenes move on, the viewers feel the figures of this history passed this way only yesterday, having the effect of taking them back in time, as imagination and emotions are awakened.
All this happens in the glow of a majestic building, a temple built not for the moment, but for all time. Maybe even in the hearts of the builders was the dream of creating in this peaceful little valley a spiritual sanctuary. For the pageant cannot be duplicated anywhere else, staged as it is with the Manti Temple and its rocky ramparts as a backdrop. Certainly it is the focal point of the pageant, as on its lofty setting it stands as a bastion of righteousness, a sentinel against evil influences and a symbol of the continuity of our lives.
The Moroni Story
A cherished tradition among the people in the host community is that Moroni dedicated the site of the temple. Some believe that his blessing and benediction included all the valley; that the pollution of too much civilization has been withheld to suit the gracious purposes of the Lord. Brigham Young, when he dedicated the cornerstone, prayed that the hills would keep their riches hidden from the people of this valley. He also said, “It Is as good a valley as you ever saw…and I prayed to God that he would never suffer an unrighteous man to live there.” The people here believe their little towns must have been saved for a heaven-ordained purpose; Providence must have led the early leaders to settle here and present leaders to hold on to the qualities they hold dear.
Manti Pageant Gains Acclaim
This is a pioneer countryside, this pageant land—old towns, small villages in which one may see houses and churches of the mellow native stone, sturdy houses standing almost as if they had grown there naturally. There is a tranquil and serene atmosphere where streams of clear water run off the mountains, where the air is clean and spiked with the smell of cedar and pine and from the growing things in the family gardens. Here the summer nights are soft and cool. Those who travel to the pageant will find pleasure in discovering venerable old houses off the beaten track, and traces of history both Indian and pioneer. And in the cool of a summer night will enjoy sitting under the stars at the foot of the temple to enjoy the pageant.
It is believed that more and more this valley will become identified with the Mormon Miracle Pageant; that people will come again and again to freshen their spirits, and that visitors from all over the world will find their way to this hillside; that it will be the mecca for many a pilgrimage. Most assuredly, each year will find more and more people taking the road leading to the pageant, to Temple Hill in Manti, Utah and that this summer in the six nights of presentation, thousands will follow that road.
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