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Martin Harris Pageant opens in Clarkston

Published: Friday, July 29 2011 4:01 p.m. MDT

CLARKSTON, UTAH — You may have seen the LDS Church's annual Martin Harris Pageant before, but you've never seen it quite like this.

A new set and enhanced lighting will make the 29th annual pageant presentation in this small, northern Utah community a new experience, even for those who have attended in the past.

"Martin Harris: The Man Who Knew" opens today and continues Saturday and Aug. 2-6 and 9-13.

The new set includes a multi-level stage with backdrop of cabin and other buildings, said Don Jeppesen, pageant president. "It's very different than the painted fa?de we've used in years past."

The pageant is performed in the Clarkston amphitheater, 11000 N. 8400 West, adjacent to the cemetery where Martin Harris is buried. Harris was a prominent figure in the early history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His name appears in every copy of the Book of Mormon as one of the book's "Three Witnesses." He is known for having disassociated himself from Mormonism for a period of time, but never denying his witness of the Book of Mormon. He eventually rejoined the church in Utah a few years before his death.

"The Man Who Knew" was first performed in 1982. Jeppesen said two members of this year's cast of 85 were in that original production. Members of the cast and production crew come from Cache and Box Elder counties, and from neighboring areas in southern Idaho.

Clarkston is a tiny community, Jeppesen pointed out. It has "neither a grocery store nor a gas station, so the community steps up in a big way" to make this production happen each year.

Admission to the pageant is free, but reservations are required because seating is limited. Pre-show games and entertainment begin at 7:15 p.m., with performances nightly at 8:30.

EMAIL: jwalker@desnews.com

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