Summarized by Kent Larsen
Manti Mormon Miracle Pagean Opens, Called 'Flowery'
BYU NewsNet 19Jun00 A3
By Marilyn Lau: NewsNet Staff Writer
MANTI, UTAH -- The Mormon Miracle Pageant, held each year on the grounds of
the LDS Temple in Manti, Utah, opens today, running through June 24th. But
BYU Newsnet's Marilyn Lau says the while Manti itself is fun, the pageant is
The pageant presents the history of the Restoration, telling how Joseph
Smith received the First Vision and was given the golden plates, from which
he translated the Book of Mormon. It also depicts the westward movement of
the Mormons till they arrive in Utah.
But Lau calls the script, "over-dramatic," and says it "shadows the sweet
and simple story of the Restoration." "Verbose and flowery language
describes the action of the play, using phrases like "spiritual ecstasy,"
"ideal utopia" and "malarial infestation." Lau continues, "This type of
dramatic dialogue takes away from the aesthetic experience the audience is
supposed to enjoy. The audience is jarred from their suspension of disbelief
to laugh at the awkwardness of the language."
Lau also takes issue with the "artistic liberty" taken in the script, such
as the virgin sacrifice that the pageant depicts and the Indian chief that
helps Brigham Young decide to provide men for the Mormon Battalion. She is
also bothered by the choice of music for the pageant, saying that in many
scenes it "barely correlates with the action." "Eerie, Twilight-Zone-like
music plays in the background of such scenes as the reunion of pioneers
Robert and Mary Kenshaw in the Spirit World."
Lau concludes, "The Joseph Smith story is true. However, the presentation
leaves little room for the Spirit to abide. The truths of the gospel need to
be uncovered from the theatrics of the pageant."