MANTI PAGEANT TRANSCRIPT
RECORDED ACROSS THE STREET FROM PAGEANT PERFORMANCE IN MANTI, UTAH ON PUBLIC PROPERTY.
Manti Officials prohibited any recordings on Pageant property.
A single occurrence may set in motion a chain of events that covers years even centuries and changes the lives of millions of people. Such an event occurred in 1820 when a boy of fourteen went into the woods to pray.
Tonight you will see a story unfold that is based upon this one singular event. It is a story that cannot be told dispassionately. Because it is a true story, it is colored by the hills of heroic drama by violence of life and death, by sublime faith, deep and moving tragedy, by curse, prayer, temple and tomahawk for this is the story of the Mormon Miracle.
To comprehend the Mormon Miracle we must comprehend the ingredients that went into its making. The year is 1820.
The humble folk of the western New York frontier are caught up in the fervor if religious revival, a setting of woods and sky, the sound of singing, the exhortations of contending preachers, each proclaiming his own church the only avenue of escape, from the horrors of a burning hell. An atmosphere of frenzied emotion with amen and hallelujah.
Editor’s note: (Done in a prideful, boastful, arrogant manner)
'And I stand here tonight to tell you that the day of retribution is nigh at hand. God is everywhere without body parts or passions. We cannot hide our sins from him. And we are all sinners my friends, born in sin. Is there any redemption from this bondage of sin? Yes, my friends, through baptism we shall be saved. (Shall be saved) But he that is not baptized shall be doomed to purgatory or worse.' (Shall be dammed)
'But why don't you tell us why we're here? What's the purpose of this life?'
ROBERT'S WIFE MARY
'Oh he's not going to answer you Robert. Let's see what this other minister is saying. Come on.'
GROUP SINGING 'At the Cross'
Editor’s Note: Group sings the hymn and especially the refrain in a mocking way:
Words of hymn added by editor. Not in original
At the Cross
Alas! and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For sinners such as I?
At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!
Thy body slain, sweet Jesus, Thine—
And bathed in its own blood—
While the firm mark of wrath divine,
His Soul in anguish stood.
Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!
Well might the sun in darkness hide
And shut his glories in,
When Christ, the mighty Maker died,
For man the creature’s sin.
Thus might I hide my blushing face
While His dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt my eyes to tears.
But drops of grief can ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give my self away
’Tis all that I can do.
Words: Isaac Watts (1707)
'Think of thief who hung on the cross next to Jesus. (Next to Jesus) The Lord said to him, 'This day shalt thou be with me in paradise'. Now I ask you, when and where was this thief baptized? So you see my brethren, it is by faith alone that you are saved.' (By faith are ye Saved !)
'But where is paradise? Did we come from there? Who are we?
GROUP SINGING 'At the Cross'
'Come on Mary, he doesn't have the answers either'
'Lo in this place my little flock you will hear the real interpretation of the Bible. It is only here that you will find the way to salvation.' (Only here .... only here ... )
'Can you tell us where we'll go after death?'
'When death separates you from all your kinsmen, your friends and your loved ones, you will be alone brother. And either heaven awaits you, where there is peace or the infernal pit wherein dwell the lost and wicked souls. Where do you think you will go without salvation? As you have come to the right place, for right here we can show you the path that will lead to your salvation.' (The only true church .... )
GROUP SINGING 'At the Cross'
On the rim of the crowd we see a young boy, arms too long for his homespun coat, looking on, bewildered, moving from one group to another, listening, wondering, dubious, then utterly confused at the spectacle of these so called professors of religion
declaiming their widely differing views, debating, arguing, and threatening, all supposedly for the sake of the Lord. (Music) Greatly troubled by these claimants to holy authority, he turns away and walks alone under the stars, his honest young face perplexed, for he has a strong desire to join God's only true church. He knows there must be only one. For God could not be divided against himself. But, which one? Later that night we find the boy poring over his Bible earnestly seeking an answer to his all important question, 'Which one, which church.'
Suddenly his face brightens as he reads James Chapter I verse 5. He reads it again. 'if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God who giveth to all men liberally and upbroideth not and it shall be given.' It does not,say if any great king or statesmen lack wisdom. It says any of you. That may mean even the very humble, even a frontier boy in homespun.
'This may mean even me. I can ask of God.'
So it was that on the morrow, spring morning, down, clear and sparkling, the young boy with the words from the Bible still impressed upon his mind, slips away from the house and goes alone into the woods to pray The woods are near his home in Palmyra,
New York. The boys name is Joseph Smith. Crossing the field on his way to the woods he noticed many things. The dew on the gross under his feet, the bird that took flight from a tree top, and now he is here, completely alone, he is suddenly filled with an awkward sense of embarrassment.
'But the Bible said, 'any of you'. I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart unto God. Scarcely had I done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power that entirely overcome me and had such an astonishing influence over me so as to bide my tongue so that I could not speak. The darkness gathered around me and it seemed as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.
But the very moment when I was about to sink into despair, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head which descended until it gradually fell upon me. No sooner had it appeared then I felt delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two personages whose brightness and glory defy all description standing above me in the air, one of them spoke unto me. Calling me by name and said, pointing to the other, 'This is my beloved son, hear him'.
Joseph's purpose in going to inquire of the Lord, was to ask which of all the different religious sects was right, that he might know which to join. No sooner therefore did he get possession of himself so as to be able to speak then he asked the personages, which of all the churches was right and which he should join. 'I was answered that I should join none of them
'They draw near me with their lips, but their hearts ore for from me. Teaching for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.'
Then the same personage again forbade me to join any of the churches of the world and many other things did he say unto me which I cannot reveal at this time. When I come to myself I found myself on my back looking up into heaven.
We must return now to the interior of his home. It is early evening. We find Joseph with his mother. The boy stands by the fireplace, he sways a little, his hand clutching the mantle
'Well but now Joseph, you say you know, you are not yet fifteen years of age. How can you know that my church is not true?'
'I know mother, because I have seen and talked with God the Father and His son Jesus Christ. And they told me so.'
NARRATION The vital spark and force of this miracle lies in the fact that Joseph Smith never denied these words. (Music) He never denied these words even when he was hounded like a fugitive from six states.
Not even when he was arrested 38 times, imprisoned in vile jails, cold, filthy without a bed to lie on, sickened with rotting foods, not even when he was abducted, stripped and, beaten, his bleeding body covered with tar and feathers and left for dead. Not even when later his followers were driven from state to state and Governor Boggs of Missouri issued his exterminating order and finally not even when he looked out of the windows of a jail in Carthage, Illinois into the pointed faces of a mob, bent on his murder. His words still ring down the corridors of time.
'For I had actually seen the light and in the midst of that light I saw two personages and they did in reality speak to me. And though I was hated and persecuted, for saying I had seen a vision yet it twos true. And while they were hating me, reviling me and saying all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying I was led to say in my heart.
Why persecute me for telling the truth, and who am I that I can withstand God? And Why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen. For I had seen a vision, I knew it, and I knew God knew it, and I could not denyit, neither dare'd I do it. (Music up)
NARRATION (With music)
Because in the year `1820, a boy of 14 went into the woods to pray, this boy was to become the instrument through whom an American witness for Christ was to be revealed. Three years have now passed since that first vision. They have been uneventful years in a way. With the exception of the bitter hatred and persecution heaped upon young Joseph by the professors of religion and their congregations when his vision become known.
Shocked and anguished by their attitude and accusations the young boy earnestly sought further knowledge from the Lord in fervent prayer. He was thus engaged on the night of September 21, 1823. When all at once, he become aware of a light gradually appearing in his room which continued to increase in brilliance until suddenly a personage appeared standing in the air for his feet did not touch the floor.
JOSEPH SMITH He had on a loose robe of exquisite whiteness, it was a whiteness beyond anything earthly I had ever seen, not only was his robe exceedingly white, but his whole person was glorious beyond description. When I first looked upon him I was afraid, but the fear soon left me.
NARRATION He called Joseph by name and sold unto him, that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God and that his name was Moroni. He told young Joseph that God had a work for him to do. That there was a book written on plates of gold deposited in the earth of a hillside not for from the boys home. That this record contained the history of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. But more important, this book also contained the fullness of the
everlasting gospel recorded just as it hod been delivered by the savior himself to these ancient inhabitants when he visited them here shortly after his resurrection. That the time was soon approaching when the gospel in its fullness would again be revealed to the world for the lost time. That also contained in the receptacle holding the plates of gold where two stones and silver bows that God had prepared for the purpose of translating the book.
JOSEPH SMITH 'He told me that I was to be the translator and that when I got the plates of which he had spoken, I should not show them to any person only to those to whom I should be commanded to show them, and while he was conversing with me the vision of their location was open to my mind, so that I could see the place where the plates were deposited so clearly and distinctly that I knew the place when I went there.
To comprehend the Mormon Miracle we must now visualize a series of strange and exciting scenes although the visit of the heavenly messenger lasted through the entire night, as soon as the sun was up the seventeen year old boy goes straight to the hill of his vision. Eagerly climbing, his eyes bright with excitement, he scans the hill looking for the rock that will mark the hidden place.
'That? No. Too big, too rough. The one over there? No, wait yes, this is the one. Rounding at the center and sloping toward the edges.
Stooping, he inserts a lever at the stones edge and lifts.
It's true They are there! The plates of gold, held together by three rings at the side.
NARRATION Gold, oh the things that gold will buy. For a fleeting moment this thought must of raced through the mind of the boy as he eagerly reached out to take the plates from the hill. But he is stunned by a sudden physical shock and there beside the stone he sees Moroni, the heavenly messenger.
Nay, Joseph. The time is not yet that ye should take the plates. You must first return to this spot every year for four years. To receive instruction on intelligence regarding the manner in which the Lord wishes his kingdom to be conducted in the lost days. I shall meet you here each year for that purpose. Replace the stone. Cover it again with earth. And now, depart until we meet at the appointed time.
And now we must hurdle the interim of those four years to the actual scene of translation. An attic bedroom, in a humble home in Pennsylvania. In the room are two young men, Joseph, now 21, and a young man named Oliver Cowdery, a school teacher, and Joseph's scribe.
Joseph is separated from Oliver by a drawn curtain, hour after hour, Joseph pours over this ancient scripture. Translating it with the aid of the two stones, into the English tongue.
As he converts the ancient characters into spiritual and political drama, he learns of three distinct civilizations in this western hemisphere. Three immigrations from the old world to the Americas under the guiding hand of God are herein recorded. The first arriving as long ago as two thousand years before Christ. And now in 1829 the voices of these peoples rise from the dust to again be heard and speak to
this generation. Thus, the curtain rises shedding light for the first time on American antiquity.
DRUMS AND HORNS PLAY
Tourists who visit Salt Lake City today look up, up to a majestic figure atop a lofty spire of the great granite Mormon temple located in the heart of that city to see thefigure of a man, an angel sent from the God of heaven with a trumpet to his lips, for he is heralding the restoration of the fullness of the everlasting gospel now being given to the world again through the divinely inspired translation of his ancient record by the prophet Joseph Smith.
This angel in mortality was a Nephite prophet who died 1300 years ago. And he knew much about the geography of this great land, for he fought mile by mile over the greater part of it. And there is a tradition that once he stood upon the crest of this
very Manti hill. And here he did a strange and wonderful thing. He knelt down, bowed his head in prayer and dedicated himself for the building of a temple to the glory of the Lord. In 1823, it was this some Moroni, resurrected from the grove and returned to this earth and to this country, appearing to Joseph Smith as a glorified being.
It was Moroni's ancestors who came to these shores 600 years before Christ (and to remind) those peoples who left vast ruins of great civilization in Central and South America. As Oliver strains to keep up with Joseph's translation, he sees on the manuscript before him the implements of pen and ink turning into scenes of high adventure, violent, spiritual ecstasy, degeneracy, and death. To further comprehend the Mormon Miracle, we must now look at the beginning and then we too must see some of the scenes contained in the book and watch the living drama arise from its pages.
Imagine God the Father contemplating the planet earth, rotating in rhythmic majesty out in infinite space. It is the work of his creative mastery, he has organized it out of the ever present substance of the universe. He has seen it through its successive creative steps, to become a planet of oceans, lands, lakes and rivers. God the Father observes this revolving world, observes the shape of land, and sea. Then scrutinizes a certain land mass
which he sets apart. As Joseph studies the ancient record, he discovers that this particular continental block we now know as North and South America, is a divinely chosen land known as the land of Zion. Set apart and reserved by the God of heaven as a cradle of liberty and freedom. Choice above all other lands on one condition:
Oliver, read that lost sentence back to me. For this is the voice of God resounding through the lips of ancient American prophets to Americans of our day whom he chooses to call Gentiles.
And this shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles?
Yes, yes that is correct. Now continue writing. And there shall be no kings upon this land who shall rise up unto the Gentiles in that latter day and I will fortify this land against all other nations, if they will but serve me. For I the Lord will be their king and he that fighteth against Zion shall perish sayeth God. You know Oliver it comes to me that Zion might also be the state
of a man's soul. And he who fights against his better nature yielding to slavish appetites and greed shall just as surely perish.
You mean if the people become corrupt Zion will fall?
The people will fall Oliver. They shall be swept off. The Lord says here very plainly, that Zion is fortified only if the inhabitants thereof serve him the God of heaven. Man cannot serve two masters. We are but stewards of this land, choice above all other lands, and if ever there are those who do not value it and cherish it, and who cease to preserve it, then Zion will surely be lost to them physically and spiritually.
How true are these words. For the first of the ancient colonies to this land known as the Jaredites, regardless of the Lord's ringing promise of freedom ignored the condition upon which it was irrevocably decreed and after a civilization of 1400 years perished in the colossal suicide of civil war.
SOUNDS OF WAR
They left only their records and the whitening bones of their unburied dead. A grim warning to the ancestors of Moron! who on a later but forgotten day arrived and anchored their ship off the shores of this same western hemisphere 600 years before Christ. As Joseph gets deeper into the book, he discovers that the descendants of this later group, although springing from one family, finally takes sides against each other forming two mighty nations-those who believed and followed the Lord their God and those who did not.
The first were called Nephites the followers of Nephi a righteous man. The latter were called Lamanites the followers of c who ironically had been a brother to Nephi, but who had rebelled against the authority of God.
One of the most memorable meetings between the two hostile forces reached a climax when Moroni, not the angel Moroni who appeared to young Joseph, but a young Nephite by the some name, who lived generations before and at the age of 25 years was made captain over all the Nephite armies, confronts Zerahemna, chief of all the Lamanites on the field of battle.
MUSIC PLAYS (HORNS AND DRUMS)
MORONI Behold Zerahemna, we have not come out to battle against you that we might shed your blood for monarchy or power. Neither do we desire to bring anyone to the yoke of bondage, but this is the very cause for which ye hove come against us. We are fighting for our homes, our wives, our children and our liberties. Yea, for the rights of worship and for our church. Ye hove hated us for our religion. But I would hove ye understand that the Lord has delivered you into our hands because of our faith in Christ and now ye see that ye cannot destroy this, our faith.
We do not believe that it is God that has delivered us into your hands, we are not of your faith, it is your cunning that has preserved you from our swords. Behold, it is your breastplates and your shields that have preserved you. We do not accept defeat. We have many more warriors on our side. We shall destroy you.
Yea, it is true that I have fewer men, but nevertheless you aresurrounded, completely cut off, there is no way of escape, and
God will never suffer that we shall be destroyed, except we should deny our faith. And now Zerahemna, I command you in the name of that all powerful God, that ye deliver up your weapons of war unto us and we will spare your lives, if you will go your way and take an oath that ye will come not ever again to war against US. If ye do not this, I will command my men that they shall fall upon you and inflict upon you the wounds of death that ye become extinct.
Take our weapons of war, we will deliver them up to you, but we will not suffer ourselves to take an oath unto you which we know we shall break and also our children. But suffer that we may deport into the wilderness, otherwise we will retain our swords and we will conquer or perish.
I cannot recall the words which I have spoken. Therefore ye shall not depart except ye depart with an oath! That ye will not return again against us to war. Either we will spill your blood upon the ground or ye shall submit to the conditions which I have purposed.
SOUNDS OF WAR (ARMOR HITTING)
Hand me the sword, arise Zerahemna, place your hand upon our two swords and swear the oath.
And it come to pass that Moroni did take his cloak and wrote upon it In memory of our God, our religion, our freedom and our peace, our wives and our children.' And he fastened it upon the end of a pole and this he coiled the title of liberty. And he bowed himself to the earth and he prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren so long as there should be a bond of Christians remained to possess the land.
And it came to pass also that he caused the title of liberty to be hoisted upon every tower in all the land which was possessed by the Nephites. And thus Moroni planted the standard of liberty among the Nephites and they began again to have peace in the land.
And now we see how the evil spirit of only one man can influence an entire people until the truth is lost. Without truth people turn savage and fall into idolatry and wickedness.
But we can also see how the righteous spirit of only one man can save a notion, for there were no more wars for the duration of Moroni's captaincy, yea there was never was a happier time among all the people of Nephi then in the days of Captain Moroni. For he knew the nature of the enemy and although Zerahemna had sworn an oath, he had also made it plain that he would not, nor would his children keep it.
Therefore during all their years of peace, Captain Moroni never disarmed. Instead he waxed stronger in weapons and manpower. He cut off the strongholds of the Lamanites, limiting their supplies and without the necessary provisions, it was impossible for the Lamanites to wage war. For Moroni knew that you cannot compromise with evil. If you do, evil always wins. But oh, how foolish, how vain and how quick to do iniquity are the children of men.
HORNS AND DRUMS
Yea, how quick to set their hearts on the vain things of the world for, behold the Lord had so blessed the Nephites with the riches of the world, that they set their hearts upon their
riches, they began to seek to get gain that they might be lifted up one above another. Therefore, the moral part of them had turned out of the way of righteousness, and did trample under their feet the commandments of God and did turn unto their own ways, and did build up unto themselves idols of their gold and their silver. And Lo, all these iniquities that come unto them in the space of not many years.
Whereas, at this some time, the greater part of the Lamanites had been converted to the truth through the tremendous spiritual impact Of 0 small group of missionaries who had come into their midst at the time of their tribulation. And the Lamanites did now observe strictly to keep the commandments of God. And so the tables are turned.
And it come to pass there was one Samuel a Lamanite who come to the Nephites to preach repentance unto the people. But they cost him out of the city. And behold, the voice of the Lord come unto Samuel that he should return and prophesy unto the people, but the people would not suffer that he should enter into the city. Therefore he went and got upon the wall thereof and stretched forth his hand and cried with a loud voice the things which the Lord put into his heart. (Music up)
SAMUEL THE LAMANITE
Behold, I Samuel a Lamanite, do speak the words of the Lord to this peoples that the sword of justice hangeth over this people. Yea, heavy destruction awaiteth his people and nothing can save his people say that he repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ who surely shall come into the world and shall suffer many things and shall be slain for His people.
Thus sayeth the Lord because of the hardness of the hearts of the people of the Nephites, I will take away my word from them and I will withdraw my spirit from them and I will suffer them no longer and I will turn the hearts of their brethren against them. Yea, woe unto this people for ye cost out the prophets and do mock them and cost stones at them and slay them.
Behold, the time cometh that he curseth your riches that they become slippery that ye cannot hold them and in the days of your desolation ye shall cry unto the Lord in vain when your enemies come against you ye shall seek your swords to do bottle that they will have been taken from you. Thus sayeth the Lord 400 years shall not pass away before I visit this people in my fierce anger and I will cause that they shall be smitten. Yea and I will visit them with the sword and with famine and with pestilence until they become extinct. (Music up)
And as they went forth to lay their hands on him, behold he did cost himself down from the wall and did flee out of the land and behold he was never heard of more among the Nephites.
Again we must hurdle the span of years. The greatest event of the book we do not show you because of its scope and magnitude it is saved for you to experience individually as you read it and re-read it for it tells of the coming of the resurrected Christ to this land, a fact kept hidden from the world for centuries. So great was the impact of this visitation upon the people, that the spiritual crescendo of their lives mounted and they lived in peace for 200 years. Two hundred years of spiritual and economic utopia.
But then, as now, the old familiar pattern of greed, dissension and the rise of class hatreds gradually usurped their peace and ushered in 200 years of decline. Ending in the complete loss of the brotherhood of man. The Nephites again succumbed to their enormous prosperity, their lives of ease turned into sloth and idleness. Their minds searching only for the new and untried pleasures of the flesh. Surely these people are speaking to this generation. Materially, they lack for nothing and so little by little they forsook the true and the living God. For the gods of the world and the time spoken of by the prophet Samuel was upon them.
The Lamanites had also forfeited much of their spirituality, but still they were the worthier of the two nations.
In the last years of the Nephite civilization, there arose in their midst a great general named Mormon. Spiritual, military, an educational advisor to his people, he also performed a stupendous literary task of abridging the records of the ancient Americans. The colossal task of
editing done, he adds some words of his own. Now, Joseph translates them.
Three times have I delivered my people out of the hands Of their enemies and they have repented not of their sins. And it come to pass that I Mormon did utterly refuse to be a commander and a leader of this people because of their wickedness and abomination. Behold, not withstanding their wickedness I had led them many times to battle and had loved them with all my heart.
And my soul had been poured out in prayer unto my God all the day long for them. Nevertheless, it was without faith because of the hardness of their hearts. And now seeing that the Lamanites were about to overthrow the land, therefore I did take up all the records of my people. And now behold, this I speak unto their seed and also to the Gentiles of the latter day. Realize and know from whence thy blessings come. Now many things are herein written and they are to be hid up unto the Lord that they may come forth in his own due time.
Mormon had sent for his son Moroni, that some Moroni who delivered the record of gold to Joseph Smith in 1823. He also was a prophet, warrior, and hero of that lost and terrible
holocaust of civil war that swept mile by mile eastward over the whole face of this great land. As the tired beaten Nephite armies were locked in final conflict, General Mormon delivers up the precious records to his son, instructing him to bury them.
Behold, my son, this is the commandment which I have received, that I should not suffer these records which have been handed down by our fathers and which are sacred to fall into the hands of the Lamanites. For the Lamanites would destroy them, see that they are hid up unto the Lord to come forth when he shall see fit in his wisdom.
And now I must return to my wretched, but beloved people, for I have repented of my oath that I would no longer assist them, but I go without hope, for I know the judgments of the Lord which shall come upon them. Kneel, my son, for a father's lost blessing and then farewell my son, farewell.
Visualize now the sublime tragedy of Moroni, the last surviving soul of a great civilization. His people lying in unburied heaps upon the face of the land, himself a fugitive, hounded, hunted, hiding in wood and hill inscribing his lost words upon the plates of gold. Oh, hear them as Joseph translates.
My father hath been killed in battle. And all my kinfolk and I have not friends. And whither I go, it mattereth not.
A man bereft of all for which men strive. Yet, triumphantly looking forward to continued life beyond the grave. He projects his love across the centuries to later peoples who should live in the Americas to us here tonight.
Remember, oh remember he that doth possess this land shall serve God or be swept off. Behold I speak unto you as though from the dead for I know that ye shall hear my words. Be wise in the days of your probation, strip yourselves of all uncleaness.
Ask, not that you may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that you will serve the true and living God. Condemn me not because of mine imperfections, neither my father because of his imperfection, but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been.
Then that lost night when Moroni buried the records, it must have been a dark night, when he climbed the hill with cautious stealth, finally stopping, listening, stooping, digging, burying, covering the plates with the facing earth. Rising, moving over the hill, then silence.
And now the work of translation is finished. The Book is at the publishers, volume by volume dropping from the printers bindery, its cover stamped with the title 'Book of Mormon'. Reaction is swift .
People murmuring 'He is a fraud' etc., etc.
This book is true, it is a work of God. American scripture. Where else but in a country of religious freedoms would the Lord wish to restore his gospel in its fullness and establish His church.
Sir, sir, I am Robert Henshaw and this is my wife Mary. If that book is a work of God, can you answer us this. Who are we? Where did we come from, and why are we here?
We have asked these things of others, but not one has answered.
Ye are the children of the living god. He came to earth to take a physical body, that your spirits might have a tabernacle in which to dwell. That you might have full expression. And after death, the physical body shall be resurrected and you shall return home to him who gave you life.
The Bible and the book of Mormon beareth witness of these things.
Oh sir, is it true? Shall we see and know each other again after death? Shall we be as we are now? You see, Robert and I love each other so deeply.
Aye, that you will. Men and women who love and marry and have children, keeping the commandments of the Lord under the new and everlasting covenant, shall remain a family unit throughout all the eternities for you are of divine parentage, eternal in nature and forever expanding.
The secret of the Mormon Miracle lies in its theology, in a day when man's esteem of himself was uniformly worm-like in character, when the body was looked upon as something lowly to be despised, Joseph Smith declared the supreme worth of human personality.
The body, an instrument of infinite dignity and importance. Couched in the authoritative language of 'Thus saith the Lord', the Mormon prophet pronounced a revolutionary concept of man and his destiny.
Know ye not that the universe exists, for the individual development of God's children? Nothing is more important than man's development. All things converge in him. All the spiritual forces of the universe find focus in him. You ore the greatest miracle you will ever see, eternal in nature, forever expanding, advancing, in progressive cycles of living, loving,
learning toward a goal of eternal godhood. (people gasp in amazement). Joseph Smith is truly a latter day prophet.
MUSIC/NARRATION Undoubtedly, it was this theology that permeated the souls and inspired the heroic pageantry of our pioneer forefathers. From the moment the boy of fourteen went into the woods to pray there began a tragic and tumultuous drama that stretched from a New York woodland to the desert valleys of Utah. Because there were those who recognized and embraced the truth, they were called heretic. And expelled from one place after another.
And this in the land which was settled for religious freedom. The persecution gathered momentum from the instant of its inception. Nevertheless the church held within itself a compelling force that nothing could stop it. The eviction from New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri and Illinois could not stop it. Mobs, killings, beatings, burnings could not stop it.
An America that expelled it from its civilization, men, women, the aged and babes in arms in the dead of winter could not stop it. Prairie, mountain, desert, Indians, death and starvation could not stop it. With the inevitability of ocean tides, it swept from the extremities of a New York backwoods cabin to teeming cities and towering temples erected in a desert in the first generation of its existence.
Jackson County, Missouri 1833 (Crowd shouts jeers: move on, we don't want you here, etc.)
Father, is this thy kingdom of heaven on earth? Mobs, killings, burnings, beatings, oh shut out the sight. Shut out the sight of 1200 homeless under rain, drenched skies.
There, there, there, there my baby I hove no shelter to give you, but bend my bock above you. We hove no home you see, but this is not rain you feel my darling. These are my tears. My tears are those of only one. But they're mingling from the tears of heaven this night. Oh Father in heaven forgive me. I don't mean to complain. These are the words of the flesh, not the spirit.
Clay County, Missouri 1836
(Jeering crowd: move on, you can't stay here, move on etc.)
Yesterday, homes, gardens, waving fields of grain. Today,
Weary feet plodding, wagon wheels rolling.
Gray Gallatin-DeWitt Counties, Missouri
NARRATION (Angry voice)
Move on or be exterminated. This was not the yell of mobs. But the exterminating order from Governor Boggs of Missouri. Fifteen thousand people so recently turned out of Ohio, now from Missouri homeless again. Weary feet plodding, wagon wheels rolling.
Navoo, Illinois 1842
Oh Father, at lost this is thy kingdom of heaven on earth. It seems just yesterday this place was just a malarial swamp in a great horseshoe bend of the Mississippi River. Today, it is Nauvoo. Our city. beautiful. We thank thee for our homes, our wide beautiful streets, our university, and the rising temple.
We thank thee for this security and the education that now we have for our children. But most of all we thank thee for thy restored gospel, to direct our lives and give us purpose.
Carthage, Illinois 1844,
A man of 38 waits in an upper room of a two story jail. The time-five o'clock in the afternoon. The man knew he was going to die. It wasn't the treachery of his jailers, it was the foreknowledge that comes to our prophet. Incarcerated with him are his brother Hiram and two dear friends, Elder John Taylor and Dr. Williard Richards.
The heat of the June day is oppressing. The air stagnant, their spirits depressed. Joseph says, 'Sing something, John'. (Singing) 'Sing it again, John' (Singing) (Shots ring out/crowd jeers) (more shots)
(More shots) (Voice)
Oh my dear brother, Hiram.
They're escaping through the window.
Save yourselves Williard, I am the one they want. Up John.
(Joseph is fatally shot)
Oh Lord, my God.
38 is young to die. The deed was done by a howling obscene mob with pointed faces. Joseph and Hiram, leaders of the church are dead, martyrs both, sealing their testimonies with their blood. But if their enemies thought death would silence the prophet, they were wrong. In life he had but one voice, in death he acquired a thousand.
And his words would encircle the globe. A new leader, Brigham Young come forward to take the reins when yet again the people were expelled from their beautiful city of Nauvoo in Illinois. He led them like Moses of old across a vast wilderness beyond the boundaries of the United States to a land as foreign to them as the moon is to us.
WINTER ON THE PRAIRIE 1846
Exposure, starvation, disease, death, despair, but the voice of Brigham Young rang out like a clarion call through the sharp cold air.
Come now, come now my people, laughter has not died from the world. Sing, dance, yes dance. That will worm the blood in your veins. Where's some music? Let's have some music. There now, yes that's right, on your feet little ones. Here up we go. Now will someone call the tune. ?
SQUARE DANCING MUSIC
HORNS AND DRUMS AS TO MARCHING
Sir, I am Captain James Allen of the United States Army. The United States is at war with Mexico. I have been sent here to accept the services of four or five companies of Mormon men from your camp who are willing to fight for their Country.
Do you realize that we have been refused our constitutional right of religious liberty by the United States?
Yes, sir I do.
Do you realize that we are now in the act of leaving the boundaries of the United States?
Yes , sir I do
Do you also realize that many of our able bodied men are scattered over these plains helping those less able bodied?
Yes sir, but those are my orders sir.
We shall defend and preserve this land for our liberties under God, for our religion, our homes, our wives and our children.
Oh great spirit of our Fathers, whose voice we hear in the winds, and whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me. We love this land, we know not other lands, we will remember that the use of this land is a privilege given to our Fathers, and can be lost. Oh great spirit, make my people good keepers of this, thy land. So that when life fades as the rising sunset, our spirits may come to thee without shame.
The voice of my country I can never hear, but with veneration and love. Every step by which the people of these United States have advanced, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency. The propitious smiles of heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which heaven itself has ordained.
We shall need the favor of the being in whose hands we are. Who led our fathers as Israel of old, from their native land and planted them in a country flowing with all the necessaries and comforts of life. Oh preserve this land and stay united.
We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers and magistrates and obeying, honoring and sustaining the laws. This is a land choice above all other lands. Oh my brethren be mindful of your stewardship.
Tell the United States Army, yes. If we cannot find enough young men, we shall find old men.
And now, there are fifteen thousand faces turned toward the setting sun in the west, the forward strain of oxen, the forward roll of covered wagons, stretching endlessly across the prairies. Indians, distance, dust.
Oh, Father, I know there is nothing so hard as to bury a child upon the plain. The tender little body, the hand that crept so confidently into mine, to be left for the tearing of savage wolves. No, no you move on, I'll stay here with my baby. Father in heaven, please forgive me, I know that nothing is lost, that I shall have this little one again, but oh it is so hard.
Robert, Robert my beloved, if I should die before
Shhh, Mary you must not talk that way. I couldn't face life without you.
Well whenever our time comes then. If I should go first, beloved, don't be afraid, I shall come for you and take you by the hand.
Wyoming, the sweet water country 1848,
The winter has come too early, they have come too late. Two hundred caught in freezing blizzards, men, women, children and animals trapped.
My beloved wife, Mary and child, laid in the cold earth of Wyoming, and not even a stone to scratch her name upon. Only sixty of us left in this company to move on. Yet, we must move on.
As the remnants of Robert's straggling company emerge from a canyon in the Rocky Mountains, overlooking a vast desert and a great lake of salt they are overwhelmed with exhaustion and disappointment.
We can go no farther ....
Welcome my good friends, welcome, welcome. Yes this is the place.
But it's nothing but a desert.
Ah, but you shall see it blossom as the rose.
Oh, how could this ever be.
Open your eyes to the vision I see. We have the great and exciting task of building up the spiritual and temporal kingdom of God or Zion upon the earth. Prepare for the coming of the son of man in power and glory.
If our hearts are united as one and are pure and holy, the earth under our feet will be holy for Zion is the abode of the pure in heart. And in that abode we do not hurt or destroy. If we as a people are filled with the spirit of God, every animal and creeping thing shall be filled with peace. The soil of the earth will bring forth it's strength and the fruits thereof will be meat for man.
We shall turn the creeks upon the land and water, the sun baked soil, furrow by furrow, we shall bring the tall trees from the canyon, rock from the hills, we shall erect homes and temples and tabernacles and great Universities. For this is not to be a single city but a far flung commonwealth of cities starting at this place. And we shall raise our children and worship our God in peace and harmony. And we cannot do this by sitting and praying alone.
It will take the work of every man and beast. So be mindful of them. Teach your children to treat their animals with kindness and respect. For we should learn to appreciate the delicate relationship of all things on earth. For the more kind we are to each other and all living things, the more peace will increase and the savage nature of the brute creation vanish away.
Let the people of this land or any land be possessed of this spirit and wherever it is found those people will gradually bring the millennium into existence, so that it will spread over oil the world. Not until then will the era of peace be ushered in.
Is Zion to be found in other parts of the world too then? Ah the Lord has abundantly testified that one of the great works which he will accomplish in this latter day will be to gather His children in the places of refuge so that they will be sheltered from the storms of his wrath when it should be poured out upon all nations.
This is the eleventh hour of the reign of Satan upon the earth. Zion must be built up in the hearts of the people and the kingdom of God established wherever the pure in heart are found who will accept the gospel of Jesus Christ. We shall be blessed in these mountains. Be thankful for that. But the time will come when
the kingdom of God will go forth from the morning to the evening. From the rising of the sun to the going down of the some. Ushering forth the gospel until the whole earth is deluged with it. And where ever in the world you will find a stake of Zion, there you will find refuge.
Well we are with you brother Brigham. We will do the best we can.
Good. Now all follow me and we will find you refreshment and then I will show you our plan. (Music) We have already sent companies to the North, the East, the West. After you've have had plenty of time to rest and acquire provisions, this company will go south to a beautiful valley known as Sanpete. It is an Indian name, and that will be your home from now on.
At long last, they would have a home from which they would never again be expelled. Oh they would work, and they would sing, and with the Lord's help they knew they could make the desert blossom as a rose.
Robert's company finally left Salt Lake on the last lap of their journey south in the fall of that year.
ROBERT AND OTHERS - TALKING
Stop. Listen. Indians. No. that's a wolf. No, no that's how they signal to each other, quick, go around, go around, hurry men, move! Get your heads down, quick.
Oh, I'm hit, the arrow, so swift, no, no don't pull it out. This is the end for me. But you, must move on, you're almost there. Home. Just over the next bridge. Safe. You must move on.
Who are you?
It is I beloved, Mary, your wife, whose body you laid in the cold earth of Wyoming. Come, I've been waiting for you. Oh, don't be afraid. Death is just like passing from one room into another. Remember, I told I would come for you. Here, take my hand. Now, now you are here. It was true Robert, we are together again. See, and hand in hand we shall go home.
And now the curtain of the years drops down. The Mormon miracle secures the knowledge that was lost in the confusion of the dark ages that no matter what the suffering or tragedy of this life might bring, nothing is lost. For all human experience moves forward to the glorious triumph of the resurrection. The reuniting of the spirit with the physical body.
We look forward to the day when the restored gospel of Jesus Christ rules all nations of all peoples til peace, Christ's peace shall fill the whole earth. And oil men will come to the realization that they ore truly brothers and sons of the living God.
(Music - Up full/Choir)
For these truths were again restored to the earth one fragrant spring morning when a boy of 14 went into the woods to pray.
May God go with you Amen and Amen.