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Attending Hill Cumorah Pageant an experience rich with memories, spirit

By Cathy Carmode Lim

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, July 14 2011 3:48 p.m. MDT

Hundreds of seats are arranged for audience members to watch the Hill Cumorah Pageant. In this photo, members of the Lim family wait for a performance in July 2006.

Cathy Carmode Lim

The Hill Cumorah Pageant holds a special place in my heart because of the many sweet memories I have of attending. I spent the first 10 years of my life in Pennsylvania, about a three-hour drive from Palmyra, so those memories are attached to nostalgia for days of my youth.

I remember my father taking me on that short drive to Palmyra for the pageant. We enjoyed special one-on-one time together at a beautiful event touched by the spirit.

My mother has clear memories, too. She told me that she and my father took me there when I was just a toddler. The rain was pouring that day, and they could hear clearly the music and announcements coming from the loudspeaker as they sat in the car and feared they wouldn't be able to see the pageant after driving all the way from Pittsburgh. But, she says, the man who gave the opening prayer "commanded" the rain to stop, and the sky right over the hill immediately cleared, making it possible for the show to go on. The rain resumed as soon as the performance concluded.

As an adult, I have taken my own children to the pageant twice, making a long drive from where we were living in Alabama. Attending the Hill Cumorah Pageant is a powerful experience, and I wanted to share that spirit with my children.

The play itself is a professional production, the music is beautiful and the spirit is strong as the truths from the Book of Mormon are shared on the sacred stage that is the Hill Cumorah. Knowing you are visiting the actual site where the plates were buried by Moroni and unearthed by Joseph Smith compounds the special quality of being there in person for this show.

My children enjoyed the play but especially appreciated how the cast members came around to visit audience members before the pageant. Cast members have an opportunity to share their testimonies of what they are performing, to do missionary work with those who are not members of the LDS Church and to get everyone ready for the show.

I have always appreciated the play itself; the whole show is a top-notch production, much like seeing a Broadway play with lots of special effects. The set is grand and multi-tiered, and the scenes are acted out clearly. I love the lush setting of the hill; there are so many trees and green grass. It is particularly beautiful in the early evening, when everyone is waiting for the play to start (right around dark). There are always hundreds in attendance, but the atmosphere still feels reverent.

Being at the Hill Cumorah is an awe-inspiring opportunity, and seeing the stories from the Book of Mormon shared in such magnificence in a gorgeous setting is an experience one can never forget.

Cathy Carmode Lim is the founder of RatedReads.com, a website that reviews books and gives them ratings according to content.

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