Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Two Nights of Outdoor Productions - The British and Nauvoo Pageants!


The British Pageant tells the stories of some of the over 8,000 converts who joined the church between 1837 and 1840 in England. This man is the narrator and one of those converts.

People gained a testimony of the truthfulness of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ by reading the Book of Mormon and learning about the Prophet Joseph Smith and the First Vision. 

The day the missionaries first arrived in Preston, England, it was Preston's election day- with banners and all. It seemed fitting that the truth of the gospel was about to be taught to this people.   

These actors portrayed real people and all had stories to tell thru song and narration. It was very well done. 

The British Pageant follows the sea travels of some those who immediately immigrated to America because they wanted to join with the Saints in Nauvoo, Illinois. Between 1840 and 1846, over 3,000 Saints immigrated Nauvoo. 

There were hardships along the way, but their faith in Jesus Christ and His restored gospel saw them through. The British Pageant ends with people arriving in Nauvoo, meeting the Prophet Joseph Smith, building their homes, and settling in. 

the next night...the Nauvoo Pageant...

There are 3,000 or so seats set up outside. 

The actors visit with people before the show begins. 

(more cast visiting)

A large fair happens before the performance begins. There are hot dogs, family history kiosks, wood burning booths, and kids games and activities. 

People can even get to learn how to dance like they did in the 1840s. 

I met a woman who is in the Pageant for the first time. She was loving it. She has only been a member of the church about a year. 

There were pipers too. (Mom, you would love it!)

The performing missionary with the flute is our neice Sister Jamie Walton. Her mission is for 3 months. She and her companion Sis. Tietjen play in the Nauvoo Brass Band are having a fantastic time. 

The Nauvoo Pageant starts with a grand entrance to "Praise to the Man" with bagpipe accompaniment. 

Then we all sing the "Star Spangled Banner". Notice  the Nauvoo Brass Band and pipers. 

Then the show begins. You may recognize some of the actors. The same people do both the British and Nauvoo Pageants. There are 20 core actors that stay thru the whole month of July for all the shows while 150-180 other cast members rotate thru each week. They rehearse week 1, perform week 2 and then go home. Meanwhile, the next cast arrives during the previous cast's week 2. The new cast practices for a week and performs the next week. And so it goes. The casts are made up of families including small children. 

This is the part of the show where some of the Saints arrive from England to Nauvoo. 

Joseph and Emma Smith welcome everyone.

The storyline follows several families and one is from Scotland. In this family, the mother's strong faith and testimony cause her to be baptized a member of the church while in England and her husband supports her desire to move to America even though he isn't a member. In Nauvoo, he helps build the Temple, gains a testimony of the truthfulness of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for himself by reading the Book of Mormon and studying the teachings of the church.

At several points, there's lots of dancing and singing as the Saints have fun together.  

Here, the Saints are taught how we can be joined with our ancestors who have passed on thru ordinances done in the Temple. The people in white at the back represent the deceased relatives.

This was a powerful part just before Joseph and Hyrum Smith are martyred. 

The "building" of the Nauvoo Temple was really inspiring. 

The Temple goes up...and up...and up. 

Until it is completed! The original Nauvoo Temple is destroyed by arsonists after the Saints leave Nauvoo in 1846. Then a tornado takes down most of the walls with the remaining wall being taken down for safety.  

Then at the very end of the show, they put spotlights on the now-standing-in-real-life Nauvoo Temple built in 2002. What a thrill to see it. Then all the cast comes on stage, spreads out and sings the finale. I'm so glad we could see it and now you all have been able to "see" it too. 

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