The Miracle of Conversion
The most pivotal miracle of all that occurs in Manti every June is the awakening and renewing of thousands of testimonies.
Jordan Call, one of the actors who portrays Joseph Smith, shared that "good missionary moments come from being in the pageant."
For example, one year while he was walking amidst the audience after the show, a man, Travis, came up to him. Travis had not been active in the Church in 15 years.
"He came up to me with tears in his eyes and said, 'Everything you said was true. I went up to a protestor and told him everything you said was true that Joseph Smith really did see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.'" Because of his experience that day, Travis's testimony was strengthened in a way that helped him become re-activated in the Church.
But those in the audience are not the only ones who come out with stronger testimonies—those in the cast do as well.
"There is a special spirit about it," David E. Allred, who portrays Christ, says. "I think of Christ in new ways than I would have if I hadn't been cast in this role, but I realize too that we're all trying to be like Jesus and so I am no different from anybody else."
Baptisms and engagements have also emerged from the pageant. A teenager who was cast as the witch doctor last year was a nonmember who first heard about the pageant while on a youth campout. The boys saw him doing handstands and other gymnastics and said, "You've got to be in the pageant." He wasn't so convinced himself, but with persuasion eventually joined.
As he participated in the pageant, he would ask questions, feeling overwhelmed by the Spirit. The following fall, he was baptized as a member of the Church.
Fun Fact: One year, the cast members playing Mary and Robert began dating during the pageant. At the final dress rehearsal, right at the moment Mary becomes reunited with Robert to take him to the spirit world, the actor playing Robert dropped to one knee and proposed to Mary in front of the entire cast.
While researching for her new book on the pageant, Merilyn Jorgensen, also known as the "Angel Lady" for her work with the angels in the pageant, was visited by one of the girls who had been an angel in the 1970s. She had heard Jorgensen was writing a book and felt she needed to tell her story.
"She came from a pretty difficult home and told me 'the pageant literally saved me life.'"
Jorgensen has heard many other extraordinary testimonies and miracles while talking to those who've been involved in the pageant for five decades, including some who have seen angels or heavenly beings they thought were actors but later discovered were not cast in the play.
Whether granted with visions, the Spirit, a renewal of testimony, or a chance to serve, there's no doubt that the Mormon Miracle Pageant transforms lives and touches hearts, something let's hope they'll continue to do for another 50 years.