In 2018 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced it was scaling back or altogether canceling a number of the famed pageants produced by locals, which draw in large crowds and require hundreds of hours of work by all involved. Arguably the most famous, the Hill Cumorah Pageant, which has been produced alongside the eponymous hilltop for decades, was among those the Church decided to end altogether. 2021 was to be the pageant’s final year, a grand send-off to a venerable Latter-day Saint tradition. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic had other plans.
Today the church announced all pageants scheduled for 2021 have been canceled due to precautions surrounding the pandemic. While the Nauvoo Pageant and the British Pageant will be rescheduled to 2022, and the Mesa Pageant will return once the temple itself is rededicated after major renovations, the Hill Cumorah Pageant is done. The Church will not sponsor a revival in 2022 to send it off. That’s it. This is like when Full House was canceled and all we got was that lame season finale when Michelle falls off a horse and loses her memory and that’s it! Steve shows up randomly for the sake of some form of closure or cast shot. Steve! Have mercy! Cut. It. Out.
OK, sorry about that. In lieu of any sort of victory lap, the Church has announced it will simply broadcast the 2019 iteration of the pageant. There is obviously only one response to this:
Regarding the push to back off from pageant involvement, in 2018 the Chruch released a statement saying, “Local celebrations of culture and history may be appropriate…. Larger productions, such as pageants, are discouraged.” The Hill Cumorah and Mormon Miracle pageants, for example, were massive productions that had little to do with local history or culture. The Nauvoo, British, and Mesa pageants, on the other hand, seem to involve fewer resources (sure?) and focus less on grand productions and spectacle and more on celebrating specific moments in history.
Why on earth pageants are verboten but trek remains a thing is anyone’s guess.
Many Latter-day Saints were dismayed when the Church announced the end of these pageants. Today’s news will hit even harder, as there will be no reprise.