“Let each company, with their captains and presidents, decide how many can go…as pioneers to prepare for putting in spring crops.”
Doctrine and Covenants 136:7
This scripture exemplifies the inspired direction Brigham Young received to guide the pioneers. One Utah pageant that commemorates the sacrifices early pioneers made to follow President Young’s counsel is the Castle Valley Pageant.
The Castle Valley Pageant is held every other year (2010, 2012, etc.). This year it was held at the beginning of August.
The Castle Valley Pageant commemorates sacrifices Utah pioneers made to move from Sanpete to settle in Castle Valley. Before the pageant starts, there are pioneer games and activities. Once the sun sets, the pageant begins. The Castle Valley Pageant is performed on the top of a mountain in Castle Dale, Utah.
Like the Mormon Miracle Pageant, Cumorah Pageant and other LDS pageants, the Castle Valley Pageant teaches several life lessons. Here are some lessons from the Castle Valley Pageant.
Castle Valley Pageant lessons:
Follow the prophet.
A central message of the Castle Valley Pageant is to follow the prophet. In the pageant Brigham Young asked for 50 families to settle in Cast Valley. President Young directed the saints to settle in the desolate area, cultivate it and build up towns and cities in the region. Despite great sacrifices several pioneers moved to Castle Valley.
Get married in the temple.
The Castle Valley pageant teaches the great importance of getting married in the temple. Two main characters in the pageant, Abe and Neva postponed their marriage until they were able to be sealed in the temple.
Face trials with optimism.
The pioneers didn’t let dry soil stop them from farming. The pioneers were able to keep an optimistic outlook despite living among snakes, rats and coyotes.
Take time to have fun.
Perhaps the most entertaining scene in the Castle Valley Pageant is when four men dance and jump in a large mud puddle. The actors showed how it’s OK to have fun, even when you are stressed with a heavy workload.
Trust in God.
One pioneer family lost both it’s parents. The underlying message of the scenes where they pass away is to trust in God. God knows your situation and is intimately involved when a person passes through the veil of death to the Spirit World.
People matter most.
When confronted with the decision whether to move to Castle Valley, or marry his sweetheart in the temple, Abe decides to move to Castle Valley. Eventually Abe realizes his relationship with Neva is far more important than getting a headstart on settling the land. Abe’s choice reminds us our relationships matter more than our material endeavors.
Remember the pioneers.
At the beginning and end of the Castle Valley Pageant, a spokesman encourages the audience to remember the great sacrifices made by the Mormon pioneers who settled Castle Dale, Utah and it’s surrounding regions. The pageant is a commemoration of the heroic sacrifices pioneers made to follow the prophet’s counsel.
Be grateful for those who served in the armed forces.
At the beginning of the pageant horsemen bearing U.S. flags rode in honoring the five military branches. As each horseman rode in, members of the armed forces were asked to stand and be recognized for their service to the United States of America. The pageant then began with the National Anthem, revering the sacrifices of those who gave their lives for freedom.
Seek first to build the kingdom of God.
Amidst the constant trials, the pageant pioneers showed a stalwart resolve to seek first the kingdom of God. Many ancestors of people in Castle Valley wore out their lives in pursuit of building the kingdom of God in one of the most rural regions of Utah.
Be friends with everyone.
In the pageant, the Mormon pioneers encounter Native Americans. Instead of fighting the natives, the pioneers befriended the natives and shared their resources.
Share the Gospel fearlessly.
A few pioneers were assigned to teach the Gospel to the Native American tribes. They taught the natives about their ancient American heritage as described in the Book of Mormon. The missionaries taught the natives about Christ’s ministry in America and the prophecies of Samuel the Lamanite.
Families can be together forever.
One pioneer family in the pageant lost their newborn son and mother. When the father eventually died of sickness, he joined his wife and son in the Spirit World. Their reunion is very sweet and reminds us if we keep God’s commandments and are sealed in the temple by the proper priesthood authority, we can live with our families forever.
“ It’s a simple story woven from the histories of the people who founded this little community with heart, faith and tears.”
Personal Notes: I saw the Castle Valley Pageant for the first time this weekend. It was very uplifting and quite entertaining. I especially enjoyed the narrators’ different voices for immigrant pioneers. The setting for the pageant was gorgeous- out in the middle of Utah, with no civilization in sight. I enjoyed watching the four men jump into the mud puddle- they got soaked- hopefully they were able to shower there. I was impressed how nice the Pageant set was. I recommend taking a trip to the Castle Valley Pageant if you ever get the chance!