Church pageants may be going away

SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement Saturday discouraging its members from participating in large-scale events such as pageants. In the statement, it states that “conversations with local Church and community leaders are underway to appropriately end, modify or continue these productions.”

In Cache Valley, the church produces a pageant every-other-year in Clarkston about the life and testimony of early church member Martin Harris, who is buried in the town’s cemetery. It was not produced this past year and is scheduled to be done in 2019. The church’s statement did not specifically state which pageants may be continued or eliminated.

The statement released by the church encourages local church leaders and members “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” as these changes and pageants come to an end.

Local celebrations of culture and history “may be appropriate” but larger productions, such as pageants “are discouraged.” According to a report in the Democrat and Chronicle, the Hill Cumorah Pageant in upstate New York will end in 2020 after a more than 80 year run. It is estimated that 25,000 people see that pageant every year.

Other large scale pageants take place in Manti, Utah, Nauvoo, Illinois and Mesa, Arizona.

According to the statement, the goal of church activity “should be to increase faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and to share His gospel message throughout the world.”

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