Sister Helen Dyreng and her husband made the first adaptation of the Booklet, The Mormon Miracle into pageant form. They spent countless hours in planning and organizing committees to gather and build props, lighting, scenery, a speaker’s stand, a stage and a handcart for that first production.
She has written: “My life has been deeply touched by the Mormon Miracle Pageant. It was a telephone call one sunny Sunday afternoon in June 1967, inviting us to adapt the booklet, The Mormon Miracle, written by the gifted Grace Johnson, into a pageant and to direct it for the July celebration commemorating the arrival of the first Mormon pioneers into what is now Utah, that brought this touching story to our lives. Little did we realize that commitment would involve us for 25 years. But it has been a labor of love as we have seen the pageant evolve from a one night stand at the County Fair Grounds to the spiritual spectacular that it is today as it unfolds on the Manti Temple Hill.
“The pageant is now known near and far for its inspirational beauty and excellence. It has been an inspiration not only to see the pageant grow into the moving and beautiful production that it is, but more importantly to see the young people respond and blossom as they have participated in the pageant. The casts, the production staffs, the various committees, and everyone involved have worked unitedly together in harmony and love; giving their very best for a cause they have believed in and have been proud of. Such dedication is more than remarkable, it is miraculous!
“Each evening for an hour or so before the performance, there is much excitement and comradery among all those taking part in the pageant. They are a busy group exchanging experiences, helping each other with make – up, hair styling, or fitting of costumes. Testimonies are borne. Lifetime friendships are formed and love abounds among those participating in the pageant. They strengthen and support each other as they serve as missionaries in this spiritual experience.
“Just prior to pageant time they all assemble in their colorful costumes and make-up and seat themselves on blankets on the lawn for prayer meeting. Members of the Manti or Ephraim Stake Presidencies are in charge. They introduce an inspirational speaker, perhaps a general authority, who speaks to the cast, expressing love and appreciation for their anticipation in this missionary effort. The speaker evokes a blessing upon them. They all kneel and unite their faith in prayer. “Immediately they load into three yellow school busses which transport them to the temple hill. There is always much excitement as they become aware of the huge crowds assembling to see them perform. The Lamanites ride in a large red trailer pulled by a truck. They are required to remain standing to avoid smearing their paint. Their exhuberance is very noticeable.
“We have been privileged not only to have had a great pageant to produce but we have been blessed by an excellent director and script writer, Sister Macksene Rux. We will never forget the exhilarating enthusiasm we felt when we first heard the new script as it had been re-written and recorded on electronic tape. This was an answer to prayer! Everyone responded to their various callings determined to make ‘our’ pageant a success. Sister Rux inspired us to reach beyond ourselves and magnify our talents in the service of our Lord. We express our love to Sister Rux and Sister Johnson for the marvelous gift of the Mormon Miracle pageant.
“We have felt the spirit of the Lord with us and an out-pouring of His blessings. We have been inspired every time we have heard the beautiful truths of the pageant. We have seen our children grow in testimony and understanding of their life’s purposes. We have seen ‘inactives’ become ‘active’ members of the Church. We have seen spectators become converts. We have all grown and had our testimonies strengthened as we have witnessed the miracles within the’Miracle.’ We are grateful for the privilege of being a part of the pageant, for the people we have rubbed shoulders with. They have become an important part of our lives. We are thankful to our Heavenly Father for this mission of truth and love and for the opportunity to serve in this effort. God bless everyone who has served so faithfully and so well for so long. Thanks for the memories!”