Loving one's neighbor is pageant's message

The simple message of loving one's neighbor is the message of the Independence, Mo., pageant, says its director.

"The Mormons are somewhat incidental to the story," explained director Cheryl Blasnek of Kansas City, Mo. "The person who exemplifies love in the pageant does not even portray a Mormon character in the show."The outdoor pageant, "A Frontier Story," performed June 22-25 for the 10th year and before a crowd of about 14,400, brought together a cast and crew of 250 volunteers from four stakes in the Independence Missouri Region.

Drawing upon actual historical events in the community where they took place 150 years ago, the pageant tells the story of Latter-day Saints coming to Zion on the frontier of the United States.

The friendships, the misunderstandings and the final exodus are chronicled in the show. Woven through the spectacle is the story of LDS settler Kate Johnson and Emily Randolph, a Missourian who become friends in spite of their religious and cultural differences.

"The pageant's message is that we should love one another regardless of race, religion or any other label you want to put on people. The fact is, we just need to love each other better," said Sister Blasnek.

The pageant is also a learning experience, said producer Don Organ of Blue Springs, Mo.

"We're trying to learn how to love through this show and as we give the performance we hope we help those in the audience learn how to show love themselves."

Members of the Church participating in or viewing the pageant have a unique opportunity to "relive and forgive" those events and wrongs of the Independence era, said Brother Organ.

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed