Three Meridian, Idaho, wards of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently transformed their Mormon church building into a "Journey to Jerusalem," involving almost 300 church members in the creation of an Easter pageant for the community, April 20-22.
The program recreated the story of Easter through actors performing the testimonies of the people who knew him: the apostles, his mother, those who falsely accused him and finally Mary Magdalene, who told of his return at the garden tomb.
“So much work goes into it,” said Melissa Holding of the Silverleaf Ward and a set designer. “We do our best to show the story. Then we help others to know the sacrifice he did for us through the Spirit as we listen to the actors.”
Tiffany Wheeler, director and writer of the "Journey to Jerusalem," said the project invited the community into the church building and testified of Jesus Christ. More than 1,600 people attended the pageant this year, and copies of the Book of Mormon were given away.
The program began four years ago as a way for members of the Paramount Ward to share their testimonies with their neighbors, Wheeler said. This year, three wards — Silverleaf, Lochsa Falls and Paramount — worked to put together elaborate sets, costumes, refreshments and ticket distribution for the three-night performance.
Relief Society members decorated and sewed costumes, youths put up sets and performed, and the elders quorum members helped distribute tickets and take down sets. Even Primary children wrote testimonies to be displayed following the "Journey."
Missionaries and Boise Idaho Mission President Kent H. Cannon attended the event.
“It has been so very powerful to hear the testimonies of those who were present at the time of the Savior. The Easter 'Journey' brought those testimonies to life,” he said.
Angie Miller, a mother of two, is an online communications instructor for BYU-Idaho and freelance writer.