The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) holds its annual Hill Cumorah Pageant just south of the town of Palmyra, NY, about 25 miles east of Rochester. This year was the 80th anniversary of the pageant and it ran from July 14-15 and 18-22 with yesterday’s performance being the final night. The church reports that around 35,000 people attend the pageant annually.
The production is a reenactment of the claims of the church’s Book of Mormon, that Jews immigrated to the Americas around 600 BC and split into two warring factions, that they were visited by the resurrected Jesus Christ, and that the one group, the Lamanites (supposed ancestors of the Native Americans) obliterated* the godly Nephite civilization. Angel Moroni (the last surviving Nephite) allegedly appeared to young Joseph Smith at Palmyra in 1823 and one thing led to another with the eventual establishment of the LDS church in 1830.
The Mormons buy a lot of television time in the Western and Central New York areas advertising the pageant. It’s billed as a “must-see event” and “possibly the largest annual outdoor theatrical production in the United States” with its 750 volunteers, ten-level stage, state-of-the-art light and sound systems, and 8,000 seats. While the church advertises the pageant as a free theatrical extravaganza, the entire purpose of the production is to draw non-LDS and expose them to the Mormon religion. Mormon missionaries canvas the crowd prior to each performance, asking people to fill out contact information forms for post-pageant follow-up.
The gospel of the LDS church has nothing to do with the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. The church’s many unorthodox beliefs are totally contrary to Scripture and the Gospel of grace. Many people today have no knowledge of the Bible and get sucked into the church’s pro-family, pro-morality, pro-USA facade.
*According to the Book of Mormon, the last remnant of the Nephite civilization, 230,000 people, engaged the fierce Lamanites in one final, desperate stand at Hill Cumorah, the site of the pageant, around 385 AD. The B of M text claims all of the Nephites perished during the battle except for Moroni. One would rightly assume that such a mammoth gathering and conflict would have resulted in thousands of ancient artifacts, but the Smithsonian has no plans for an archaeological dig at Hill Cumorah any time soon. In fact, the Smithsonian issued a statement citing absolutely no archaeological evidence for the ancient Nephite and Lamanite civilizations as alleged by the Book of Mormon. See here.