In a brief announcement at the LDS Newsroom, the Church has indicated a desire to move away from big pageants, the most famous of which is the Hill Cumorah Pageant. Here is the statement:
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 are underway to appropriately end, modify or continue these productions.
On the same day, a Deseret News story gave more specific information: “The Hill Cumorah Pageant of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will cease its 81-year run after its 2020 season.”
If you think the real reason for this change is that the real Hill Cumorah must be in Mesoamerica, you’ll be disappointed that there are no plans to move it to, say, the Hill Vigia in Veracruz State in Mexico, or the nearby Cerro San Martin, both possibly plausible candidates that could provide the military advantage and access to water required by the Book of Mormon.
Many of us will miss the Hill Cumorah Pageant, but in an increasingly complex and turbulent world, the Church’s emphasis on family and local learning and simplification is probably a very wise thing, in spite of the fabulous tradition that this and other pageants have been over the years.
8 thoughts on “Moving Away from Big Pageants: New Announcement”
The reason is simple: they're corny, embarrassing, and don't accurately reflect the beliefs or doctrines of the Mormon church as currently taught.
Seriously, you can find a transcription for Cumorah and Manti and other pageants online. Or watch them on youtube. Such silliness! All are FULL of information not correlated with the Church Education System.
Got any examples there of non-doctrinal bits in the Manti Pageant anon? Nothing has ever stuck out to me.
For one thing, Brigham Young never saw a hillside covered with Boy Scouts in the shape of the American flag. Read the rest for yourself, bunker. You be the judge!
I think many of us can take a little silliness in stride, but errant doctrine could be an issue. Interested in knowing what issues stand out in your mind. But content could be changed if that were the only issue.
I know the Church took a huge role in helping re-write the script just a few years ago. I doubt they left much if any untrue doctrine.
Seriously: go watch them on youtube. There are plenty of clips. Laughable representations of the church and its history. Correlation would have to take a full year per pageant to bring these silly spectacles into line with what the church actually teaches and doesn't teach. There's no coincidence that the lds gospel topics essays are going to get a new emphasis very soon. The members of the lds church are going to have a hard time coming to grips with versions of their doctrine and their history that they are not familiar with (in spite of the apologists who will undoubtedly say "we've always known about the rock in the hat!" and "we've always known polygamy is REQUIRED for full celestial glory."
The pageants are just the beginning, friends.
Speaking of religious spectacles, there's a really good movie, Jesus of Montreal, about a Catholic church that decides to update its stodgy old passion play. A talented young actor/director is hired for that purpose, and all sorts of profundity ensues as life begins to imitate scripture. Truly a wonderful (and IMHO deeply Christian) film.
Another reason they are going away is that they are under the Missionary Department not the Public Relations. They may engender good will but they don't lead to convert baptisms so the missionary dept has decided they are a bad use of funds. Finally, it is another thing that is largely North America only which the church is trying to move away from.