26 July 2006

Hill Cumorah Pageant: Reflections, Part 1

I recently attended the Hill Cumorah Pageant (known simply as, “Pageant”—no article—by locals). I want to share as a series of posts a few thoughts I had while there.

In one of the first scenes of the Pageant, Lehi is shown calling the people of Jerusalem to repentance. Lehi is depicted standing above a crowd of people yelling, “Wo, wo, unto Jerusalem, for I have seen thine abominations!” He goes on to tell them they have rejected God and the scriptures, and to repent or be destroyed. The people laugh, then get angry, then try to capture him.

We were sitting in back—near the highway—which means we were in hearing distance of the protestors with megaphones. A few were saying things that I can only think were meant to be rude. Others were just being argumentative (though, thankfully, I never saw anyone actually going over to argue).

But there were two hecklers who were saying almost exactly what the Lehi character was saying: “You need to repent! The god you are worshipping is a false god. You have turned your backs from the true way. You have rejected the scriptures.” And so on.

I had listened to their shouting for about two hours before the show began—and grown quite weary of it—so the Lehi character’s shouting disturbed me all the more in its similarity. I began to wonder:

• How did Lehi actually go about telling the people to repent? (See 1 Nephi 1)
• What do the scriptures mean when they say “cry repentance”? (Such as here, here, here, and here.)
• If Lehi didn’t actually yell, what made the people so mad? (Yes, I am implying that persistent yelling is grounds for lynching, though I stop short of endorsing such action.)

Please Note: I understand that the Hill Cumorah Pageant is theater, and pageant theater at that, so it is necessarily going to exaggerate and be overly emphatic at times. This post is not intended to imply that the show be rewritten.


Robert C. said...

Samuel the Lamanite seems even more similar in my mind. Good question to think about. I often felt a bit self-conscious on my mission "bugging people" b/c I know sometimes I'm put off by people who disrupt what I'd rather be doing. To me, this makes me have that much more respect for prophets who were persecuted, and makes me want to emulate their example of faith (and it makes a bit more tolerant of those who approach me unsolicted; I do think think there are more and less effective ways to approach people by the way, and of course better and worse reasons for doing so...).

BrianJ said...

Yes, Samuel the Lamanite is a great example. I was spared from this as a missionary in Brazil: if people are available to talk, then they sit on their porch. Which means that knocking on a door is sure to find your host: a) in the shower, b) asleep, c) eating, or d) out of the house.

Anonymous said...

you should tell them how similar they are to the prophet :) they probably don't realize it. then that'll make them think twice about what they say xD.