Wednesday, July 14, 2021

America's Witness for Christ

This past Friday the Church hosted a commemorative broadcast for the Hill Cumorah Pageant. It was a formative experience for Ryan and me when we were each young adults. We both said our piece when the church announced the end of Pageant (see Ryan’s post here and my post here), but I would feel incomplete if I didn’t say something now. 

It was a blessing to hear Pageant staff speak to us and reminisce and talk about the history of the Hill and their experiences at Pageant. Like any missionary work, it was a influential experience for all of us in the cast who loved it. Proselyting in the crowd each night gave us the opportunity to share our testimonies with member families from around the world and with non-members from the area.

But like Elder Christofferson said in the devotional, most members of the church and investigators will never visit church history sites. They’d never see the Pageant. So it makes sense to end the Pageant financially; the money and manpower that would have gone into rejuvenating Pageant can be put to use for full-time missionary work, temples, and other works of salvation. Even though the Pageant has ended, the work isn’t over.

“The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”
--Joseph Smith

I remember memorizing the Standard of Truth when I was a ten-year-old boy at the Hill Cumorah, my first time in the cast. The words of the prophet Joseph are even more relevant now than any other time we said goodbye to the Hill. Each time, we said farewell to a Zion community and readied ourselves to return to the world.

Now, we’re back in the world and that Zion community won’t even be the same as it was at the Hill. Instead, it’s up to us to take what we felt at Pageant, as cast, crew, staff, or audience, to use them to help others to come unto Christ. As one Pageant cast alumni Andrea (in the cast 2017-2019) told me “It's our job to accurately document and share our experiences and how they strengthened our faith for future generations to read.”

We’ve left the Hill and Pageant has ended, but America’s Witness for Christ lives on in each of us (even if you don’t live in the United States). As members of the church, we are witnesses of Christ, just as the Pageant was for over 80 years. In a world that needs the light of the gospel more than ever, we have the privilege of being that light. Pageant testified on the truthfulness of the gospel and the Book of Mormon.

Now it's our turn.

For those who missed the Hill Cumorah Pageant devotional broadcast, the devotional will be available until July 23 and the recording of the Pageant will be available on the church's website.

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