June 23rd, 2019: the Manti Miracle (and Pageant)

Monday our FHE activity was going to a park to watch the new Spiderman movie. I wasn’t interested or willing to commit that much time, so instead went for the spiritual thought, and called it good. Actually, most of the people who showed up weren’t interested in the movie, so we ended talking for a while. I then remembered that I needed to turn in some library books, and made the short hike to BYU. I’ve continued checking out books the last two months but recently the due date has all been the same, June 17th.  Sure enough, my access to the library is gone. Sad day.

Tuesday I had my EQP meeting. We are making real progress, and my counselors continue to do a great job. This coming Saturday will be our first activity, and we’ll be having smoked ribs. After that, my Come Follow Me study group came over. This week was a small turnout, but  it was perfect, and perfectly timed. At about 7:15, our downstairs neighbors called, and said they needed to go to the hospital, and asked if I could watch their kids until a relative could make it over to babysit. I don’t know if I would have made it alone. Thankfully, the group consisted of two ladies who LOVE kids (or appeared to) and they calmed the crying 6-month old, and helped the other two children, ages 3+5, behave adequately until the babysitter arrived.

Wednesday is book club day. I’ve turned down a lot of activities to continue to meet with them, and my group of friends is quickly learning that I’m committed. It’s always a highlight of my week and I leave having learned lots. This week we started the Gulag Archipelago. I began reading this while eating dinner and felt sick. What the prisoners had to go through was truly horrible. I knew this, but the author, Solzhenitsyn is so descriptive and bares all. The core of the book group is fantastic and we each bring nuanced insights that add to our understanding of the works, but are generally all in line. However, there are two Commies who come occasionally and they made sure to attend this week. It was tense. They didn’t want to discuss the book, only ridicule it and defend communism. And Stalin. Turns out they are full-fledged Stalinists. They avowed that our prison system is worse than the Soviets and were ridiculous in many assertions. I almost left early, but thankfully tempers cooled and the last 20 minutes (of two hours) good discussion flowed.

Last week, having finished our Plutarch only a short time before, one member, Nicol, made a recipe from Cato Sr., which is sort of like an ancient type of cheesecake. It was interesting, not bad at all, and sweetened entirely by honey, with lots of poppyseeds on top.

On Thursday I had originally planned to go watch the Toy Story 4 premier with Kayla. However, she was called into work, and I didn’t want to go that much, and headed over to institute. That was cancelled because of finals at BYU for the Spring semester this week so with time on my hands I was able to visit Jacob W., one of my counselors. We had a special experience, as he asked for a blessing, and the Spirit was so strong. I left knowing that the Lord is always mindful of our situation and earnest desires. Kayla called letting me know she was off work, so I was able to go see her for the first time in a few weeks. I brought some flowers from my yard, and she filled me in with the exciting things going on in her life, namely the recent development of a boyfriend.

Friday started off disastrously. I made it all the way to work at 7 am, before realizing I had left my computer at home. So back it was. I didn’t clock in until 7:50, which although annoying would not be that big of a deal, except I had planned to leave a little early and head to Manti with some friends for the pageant there. So lunch was cut short, and I made it out of work okay, able to leave to head to Manti. This weekend was the last of the Manti Pageant, after a 62 year run.

Waiting for the show to get started. There was 15,000 chairs on the other side of the fence set up, and they were all full at this time, a few hours before the start.

I drove the faithful van, and was joined by Carson, Dan Raleigh, Emily Kwok, Sandra Shurtleff. We made the drive in a little over an hour, and were amazed by the amount of people in the town. Normally it’s a small town, with a population of only 3,500. They’ve since released the figures for attendance, and turns out we went to the biggest night, as Friday had over 30,000 watching the show. We arrived well in advance, found a stellar parking spot that the homeowner only charged $5 for, and visited various food trucks before going back to our seats and enjoying the performance. The pageant felt more like a spectacle and wasn’t my favorite (or anything close to it) but you could tell the cast worked hard to put it on, and we all enjoyed our time there. The plot portrayed part of church history mingling facts with fictitious characters, but seemed overly dramatic. Our group booked it out at its heartwarming conclusion, and we beat traffic and made it home without a problem. It was one of the best activities I’ve participated in, and I’ll fondly remember this trip. Sandra was riding shotgun, and we had some good conversations, including speaking lots of Portuguese to the chagrin of the others. I also pulled my classic trick on the way back, and turned on my classical music. I’m used to listening to it while driving, and don’t get sleepy, but it made the rest close their eyelids. We returned a little after midnight.

Pic from the performance. It is hard to see the actors on the hillside.

Manti is notorious for bad signal, and no one had service almost the entire night. The one exception was when my phone rang, surprising me. Turns out it was the Bishop and there was an urgent situation with a new member of the ward who had just moved in. Neither of us had met him and it was a true miracle that I had service at the time, and we were able to quickly put together a plan to help.

And one more picture of the Manti temple, because it was such a fabulous night. And this is where my grandparents were sealed over 60 years ago.

Saturday, after so much chaos and work the previous weekends with the farmers market, I loved relaxing, watching the Red Sox play a game, and reading after.

One book that I just finished and highly recommend is Heidi Swinton’s bio of Pres. Monson. Uncle Aaron included in one of his letters a few years ago the phrase that people are the spice of life. Its true. Reading about Pres. Monson, I was amazed and inspired by his countless acts of service, and his constant desire to love and help others. As Matthew 20:26-27 says, “Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant,” Pres. Monson so emulated. This was a great man!

Serving others we feel God’s love for his children.  Service does “exalt the poor, and humble the rich.”

One thought on “June 23rd, 2019: the Manti Miracle (and Pageant)”

  1. Hi Hunter,

    I see by the date that you are trying to catch up. These must have been in line waiting to be published.

    You are always busy doing something. By the way, wouldn’t the Library reinstate you? Did they fine you for being a week late with your books? Just curious.

    The picture of the cheesecake looked a little too well done–? burnt poppyseeds? I’ve never had a cheesecake with poppyseeds. How was it?

    Not much going on here. A quiet Friday afternoon.

    Love, Aunt Shirley

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