SALT LAKE CITY — The final pageant decision is in.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Wednesday it will end four of its seven large, faith-promoting pageants and continue three of them.
The church immediately discontinued two biennial pageants in Utah — the Castle Valley Pageant, which had been held in even-numbered years, and “Martin Harris: The Man Who Knew,” which was performed in Clarkston in odd-numbered years.
Two others will be canceled after scheduled events over the next two years. “The Mormon Miracle Pageant” in Manti will end after its 2019 performances. The final performances of the Hill Cumorah Pageant in Palmyra, New York, will be held in July 2020.
Three pageants will continue to operate with varying levels of church support:
• The Nauvoo Pageants will continue with support from church headquarters. Held outside the Nauvoo Illinois Temple, hundreds of volunteers annually put on a pair of events: The Nauvoo Pageant about persecution of early Latter-day Saints who fled to the area, and a British Pageant, “Truth Will Prevail,” about early church members in the British Isles.
• The British Pageant in Chorley, England, will continue every four years under area leadership; the next performance is scheduled in 2021.
• The Mesa Easter Pageant, on hiatus during the renovation of the Mesa Temple, will resume in 2021 under area leadership.
Church leaders announced in October that they were reconsidering the pageants and communicating with community leaders. The decision to scale back on pageants was made to simplify efforts, according to a statement issued Wednesday.
Several of the pageants required more than 1,000 volunteers. In 2011, the director of the Hill Cumorah Pageant said it required more than 200,000 hours of volunteer service for cast and crew.
“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,” Wednesday’s 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.”
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