(KUTV) -- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced its decision to end pageants productions including the Manti Mormon Miracle Pageant.
The Church first announced a statement on Oct. 27 about its pageant productions explaining that while “local celebrations of culture and history may be appropriate” to celebrate and spread the gospel message, “larger productions, such as pageants, are discouraged.”
Instead, local Church leaders and members are being encouraged by the Church to focus on gospel learning in their homes and to participate in Sabbath worship. An official statement said:
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.
Below are the decisions the Church has made about its pageants:
Many Manti businesses depend on the pageant each year to bring in revenue. The event draws in thousands to the town of just over 3,500 people.
It’s one of Candies on Main busiest times of year.
“I’m not sure it’s really hit me yet. It’s still kind of a shock,” Christiana Peterson, a candy maker at the shop said.
She just returned from her LDS mission and spent her childhood participating in the pageant.
“I always grew up with it. It was something we looked forward to every summer,” Peterson said.
She said the pageant and its tourism will be sorely missed.
“We all depend on it. There aren’t very many people around here and so when outsiders come here and see what we have then they tend to come back.
But the pageant’s director, Denise Hagemeister, is a bit relieved by the Church’s decision.
“It’s time. They’ve been fabulous, but with the impact on the community and what you ask from the families,” Hagemeister said.
She’s directed the pageant for the last 2 years. This summer will be her third and final show.
“There’s always a loss when something that’s been around for over 50 years goes away,” Hagemeister said.
Peterson said losing the Morman Miracle Pageant is like losing a piece of Manti heritage.
“It’s helped me to know more of where I came from because those are my ancestors. That’s who I am,” she said. She hopes the community rallies together to create their own pageant and carry on the tradition.