Elder and Sister Watts

Elder and Sister Watts

Hill Cumorah Visitors' Sites Mission Statement

"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life."
3 Nephi 5:13

Thursday, July 29, 2010


This post continues the story of the Hill Cumorah Pageant:
The picture below protrays the Nephites after a battle with the Lamanites.  Even though the Nephites were fewer in number, they "put their trust in the Lord" and were victorious.  After the battle they knelt and gave the Glory to God for their success. (This is a great life lesson for all of us - trust in God and give Him the Glory!)

Shortly after this, King Noah became the king of the Nephites.  But, "he did not keep the commandments of God and he did cause his people to commit sin, and do that which was abominable in the sight of the Lord."

Because of their wickedness, the Lord commanded a prophet, Abinadi, to call the people to repentance.  Abinadi said, "Behold, thus saith the Lord, 'Go forth, and say unto this people, Wo be unto this people, for I have seen their abominations, and their wickedness, and their whoredoms; and except they repent I will visit them in mine anger.'"

Naturally, King Noah did not like Abinadi's preaching.  He said, "Who is Abinadi, that I and my people should be judged of him, or who is the Lord, that shall bring upon my people such great affliction?  I command you to bring Abinadi hither, that I may slay him." (Sometimes we, like King Noah, lack the humility needed to correct our lives as well.)
There was a young man, Alma, one of the priests of Noah, that believed the words which Abinadi had spoken and began to plead with the king that he would not be angry with Abinadi, but let him depart in peace.  This made the king even more angry and he sent his servants after Alma to slay him.  Alma hid himself and they were unable to find him.

Then the priests of King Noah bound Abinadi and caused that he should suffer death by fire.

After Alma fled and hid he wrote down all the words of Abinadi.  Then he began to preach these words   privately.  Two hundred and four people believed him and wanted to be baptized and he did baptize them at a place called the waters of Mormon.

Interestingly, King Noah also suffered death by fire when the Lamanites invaded the land.

Many years passed and then, a few years before Jesus Christ was to be born, Samuel, a righteous Lamanite, prophesied of the birth and death of the Savior and the signs that would appear in the Americas.  Samuel told the Nephites that when Christ would be crucified there would be a great destruction in the Americas, followed by three days of darkness.
Final pageant post next week: Christ appears in the Americas

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Today marks one week since the Hill Cumorah Pageant ended.  What a busy, glorious time it was.  We went to see the pageant every night including the dress rehearsal.  I took lots of pictures, but I'm not very good at using my SLR camera at night.  I read my instruction book, consulted Pioneer Woman Photography, and did a Google search for help.  In the end I was pleased with many of my pictures, especially considering I took them from 120 yards distance.  However, it ended up being Divine help that enabled me to take the pictures (the results of which I was happy, even though they are not the greatest quality). I say Divine help because I thought I put my camera on the aperture setting but it was too dark for me to check the setting.  When I got home I realized I had it on a manual setting.  So I accidentally ended up getting pretty good pictures, some may say it was an accident, I say it was the tender mercies of the Lord.

In the next three posting of this blog I will tell the story depicted in the Hill Cumorah Pageant using pictures and words.  So. . .here is Part I:
The pageant begins as trumpeters play from the top level of the stage, and the cast, that has been mingling with the audience, forms an impressive processional onto the stage. (Two pictures below)

Lehi (below in blue) is a prophet in Jerusalem 600 years before the birth of Jesus Christ.  He warns the people of Jerusalem that they must repent, but instead they try to kill him.  He takes his family and flees into the wilderness.

While in the wilderness Lehi has a vision of the tree of life.  He partakes of the fruit of the tree and desires his family to partake also.  The fruit is very desirable and represents the love of God. (Nephi, Lehi's son is in the striped blue robe.)


After Lehi tells his family about the vision, his son Nephi wants to understand the meaning of it.   He has the same vision, in which an angel gives him an interpretation and also foretells the birth, the ministry and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. (Below the angel shows Nephi, in vision, the birth of Christ and Christ calling His 12 apostles.)


Lehi leads his family (with Ishmael's family that joined them) further into the wilderness and they come to the ocean.  Nephi is commanded to build a ship but his older brothers mock him, "Our brother is a fool, for he thinketh that he can build a ship. . ."


Nephi's older brothers even tried to throw him into the sea but by the power of God they could not touch him or else they would wither as a dried reed.  Then he spake some profound words to them: If God had commanded me to do all things I could do them. . .how is it that he cannot instruct me, that I should build a ship?
After that, Nephi's brothers, Laman and Lemuel began to help him build the ship.  When it was finished they all sailed to the promised land, the Americas.

Once in the new world, the family prospers and Lehi blesses his children, then he dies.  Nephi keeps a record of his people on plates of metal which will eventually become part of the Book of Mormon.

Laman and Lemuel are still rebellious and plan to kill Nephi and his followers.  Warned by the Lord, Nephi leads his people to safety.  His family comes to be know as the Nephites and their enemies come to be known as the Lamanites.

Next post: The burning of Abinadi and the Ministry of Alma

Friday, July 16, 2010

THE HILL CUMORAH PAGEANT IV: Guests from Everywhere!

Pageant excitement is in the air in Palmyra, New York this week!  People come from all over the world to see the Hill Cumorah Pageant.  They come by plane, by tour bus and by cars.  I walked around the Smith Family Farm parking lot yesterday and in 5 minutes found cars from 20 states and two provinces.


Sunday, July 11, 2010


The Hill Cumorah Pageant is here!  We were so excited to attend the dress rehearsal on Thursday, July 8.  Then last night we were assigned to work in an information booth from 6:00 PM until 11:00 PM.  We also worked at the Hill Cumorah Visitors' Center as many many guests came on tour.  What fun!

The sites have been incredibly busy.  We had 699 visitors at the Hill Cumorah Visitors' Center on Thursday; a record for us since coming on our mission.  Yesterday there were 1500 visitors there and at the Book of Mormon Historic Publication Site.  The Smith Farm has been very busy too!  We have never seen the parking lot this full or the overflow parking full, but it is now.

The tour buses just keep on coming!  Yesterday at the Smith Farm there were 2400 visitors!


As mentioned, we worked at an information booth at the pageant opening night and it rained and rained.  However, the show went on and the guests came, over 5,000 in all last night.  We were pretty wet too, but excitement was in the air and everyone seemed to be in great spirits in spite of the rain.


For about two hours before the pageant starts the cast members mingle with the guests while in costume.  Guests enjoy talking to them, getting pictures with them and giving them name of friends or family members that might like to receive a free Book of Mormon or DVD, The Plan of Happiness.
The man in the picture below is my brother Mike's bishop from California, Bill Heath, with two of his children.

I wasn't able to get very good pictures of the pageant itself because we were in the information booth at the back of the audience.

Next post: More Pageant Fun!