Bean describes one unexpected blessing at the pageant: bullhorn-armed protestors. “As difficult as it is to endure the boisterous bombardment of rude language,” he says, “ guests of other faiths have told us that the contrast between this onslaught and the welcoming and friendly spirit of the cast and staff of the pageant are starkly juxtaposed, and they can clearly see who the Christians really are.” These pageant-goers feel an extra special spirit, and their hearts are softened as they notice the contrast between the shouting at the gate and the pleasant families who greet them and help them find a seat.
Cast members come from places as far away as South Africa and New Zealand, and for some of them, they not only witness miracles while at the pageant, but their participation in the pageant is a miracle in itself. One of these cast members is Rebecca Seehootoorah from Kent, England.
Photo courtesy of Rebecca Seehootoorah
Photo courtesy of Jim Miranda
Seehootoorah was raised Muslim, though her mother joined the Church when Seehootoorah was a child. At 18, she knew the Church was true, but fear of hurting her still-devout Muslim father kept her from baptism. After two years of living the gospel without baptism, however, she had a spiritual experience that told her it was time to move forward—with or without her father’s approval. Though Seehootoorah’s father disowned her for a short time, her decision has ultimately strengthened her family and her own faith.
The first time she was accepted to be in the pageant, she was unable to attend. Later, however, the prompting came back loud and clear. “The thought occurred to me that Heavenly Father had said that I should be there [at the pageant]. And if that was true, shouldn’t I be there?” Soon after, everything seemed to fall into place, and Seehootoorah found herself in New York, where she had many opportunities to share her talents and testimony. Of her experience, she shares, “The Hill Cumorah Pageant, this pageant, is the Book of Mormon come to life. It will teach you and illuminate your life! I’m a better person from it.” She concludes, “It’s changed my life forever.”
If you are interested in participating in the Hill Cumorah Pageant, visit hillcumorah.org/Pageant. Applications are accepted in September and October, and families, couples, or singles may apply. If you would like to watch the pageant, admission is free and no reservations are necessary. Visit the Hill Cumorah website for dates and times.
For more fun tidbits about this incredible production, check out the July/August issue of LDS Living, available at Deseret Book stores or on deseretbook.com.