President Dale Larkin
President Dale Larkin and his sweet Wife Dixie, the Matron of the St. George Temple Are Guests!
We met this month at the American Legion Hall on the 21st to have a marvelous dinner, and listen to President Dale Larkin, president of the St. George Temple. As he was going through the line to get his food, with his wife Dixie, he commented several times on the wonderful choices we had to decide between. He was well pleased with the dinner.
Dale is a native of the St. George area, and has served as the temple president for the past 2 years.
His presentation that evening was on the history of the St. George temple, reminding us that the St. George Temple was really part of restoration in these Latter-day, with it being the third temple in this dispensation, and that with it came the salvation for the dead as it was the first time that the higher ordinances of salvation were performed in this dispensation. His emphasis was on the contributions given to the temple and the saints by the former presidents who presided at the temple over the years, especially Wilford Woodruff and J.D.T. McAllister. There were other key figures who served as presidents. We also have placed in the newsletter an article about the St. George Temple giving the story about the appearance of the Founders to Wilford Woodruff, that President Larkin had but did not have time to talk much about.
Other parts of the newsletter tell of the dinner schedule for the coming year and the speakers who have been scheduled so far. There is also an advertisement about the upcoming convention to be held here in Hurricane in September. These are our Featured Speaker Gerald N. Lund.
We met this month at the Hurricane Stake Center for our annual Christmas Dinner. We had around 80 people in attendance. The meal was great, with Turkey and Ham, Baked Potatoes, Green Beans, Green and Jello Salads, and Pumpkin Pie.
We were entertained by the amazing Kristine Hirschi, daughter-in-law of our new President-elect Tom Hirschi. She sang many Christmas favorites of a spiritual nature.
Our new officers for 2016 and the SUP Board were sworn in, and so we are ready for the new year. Gerry Buckner will be our President for the coming year.
We also advertise the upcoming convention that will be held in September. Our Keynote speaker will be Gerald N. Lund, a famous LDS author, having written many novels about our pioneer heritage. We are honored to have him speak to us at the convention.
The Confluence Park Monument was erected to honor the brave men who, with Parley P. Pratt, made a trek to Southern Utah in 1849. They were looking for places where cities could be established. Parley’s comments about our area are instructive of what this area looked like to the Pioneers at the time. His thoughts about the area are a testament to the courage and tenacity of the people who came to live here. His comments are as follows:
“Southwardly for about eighty miles there appeared a wide expanse of chaotic matter, huge hills, high sandy deserts, grassless, waterless plains, perpendicular rocks, loose, barren clay and dissolving beds of sandstone; in short a country in ruins, dissolved by the pelting storms of ages, or turned inside out, upside down by terrible convulsions. Eastward the view was bounded by vast mountain tables, one rising above the other, and presenting a level summit at the horizon, as if the whole country had occupied a level several thousand feet higher than its present surface. Poor and worthless as was the country broken pieces of pottery, well glazed and striped with unfading colors, lay strewn around.”
This monument is situated in two locations. The first is at the North End of Main Street, overlooking the area where the Virgin River and the LaVerkin Creek converge. The Second is sitting across the chasm on the LaVerkin Side to the North East. Both of these monuments look alike, with the same message.
The view over which the monument presides you will find the first power plant the pioneers built. It was operated by water power taken from the Virgin River. There is also the remains of the old Wilkinson Dairy. Off to the left is the remains of the old Hurricane dump. There is in the river bottom, a tortoise hotel, made of large PVC Pipe. There is also a makeshift “golf” driving range. You will find in the park, many different types of water fowl, and a wide variety of animals.
The Martin Harris Pageant tells of the life and testimony of Martin Harris, one of the three witnesses to the origin of the Book of Mormon. The events that took place in 1829 near Palmyra, New York are presented in the pageant which is staged every other year in the amphitheater adjacent to the Clarkston Cemetery where Martin Harris is buried. A talented cast of local performers present the lively show as the sun sets on the picturesque town of Clarkston, Cache County, Utah
Clarkston, in Cache County, is in a remote spot in northern Utah. And yet, since 1982, thousands of visitors have congregated to the small town every other year. Why? Clarkston is home to the resting place of Martin Harris, as well as the Clarkston Pageant titled “Martin Harris: The Man Who Knew,” is presented nearby in the town’s “Field of Dreams” amphitheater.
Pretty impressive, considering there isn’t even a grocery store or gas station.
“We built an outdoor theater and had never put on a show,” said former Clarkston Mayor Denzel Clark. “We built it on faith without knowing if people would really come — but come they did.”
The amphitheater, marking its 30th year, is expecting 35,000 visitors this year, likely including its millionth visitor in the pageant’s history.
The pageant, a one-hour and 15-minute production, was originally put on independently by the community. As its popularity grew, so did the task of running it. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints eventually took over.
“Everything is donated as far as manpower,” said Paul Willie, this year’s director. “It takes a staff of well over 100 people to pull this off. … Hundreds of local actors, singers and dancers combine their talents to tell of the events that took place.”
Unlike other pageants, not only does the Clarkston Pageant take place in a real seated amphitheater — it’s also not pre-recorded.
“It’s a real production,” Willie said. “The actors are actually saying their own lines.”
The story outlines the time surrounding the coming forth of the Book of Mormon in the spring of 1828, with a special emphasis on Harris’ involvement as scribe and as one of the book’s Three Witnesses.
Rhett James, who penned the original pageant, noticed during his research that Harris was a special character, marked by his remarkable memory, enthusiastic personality and bold testimony — often saying, “I don’t believe — I know.”
“Martin Harris was told in a blessing given by Joseph Smith Sr. that his testimony would be heard by many and that it would ‘convince thousands,’ ” James said.
Though Harris is sometimes regarded as a controversial character in the church’s history — from losing 116 pages of the original Book of Mormon translation manuscript to having a confusing relationship with the church for parts of his life — Willie feels that should not detract from the power and spirit that comes from participating in or watching the pageant.
“He’s a great character,” Willie said. “He’s a great witness to the events of the Restoration.”
Along with that, Willie believes that Harris can also be very misunderstood among people who speculate about certain choices he made, when in reality, his example in those early years is one to be celebrated and remembered.
“Martin’s story isn’t too different than what any one of us face,” Willie said. “He wondered, ‘Am I really going to believe this boy?’ Every member eventually gets backed up to the wall of faith and realizes they need to know for themselves.
“His character kind of plays out what everybody faces: Where do I align myself? Do I believe this incredible story? That’s why it rings a bell with a lot of us, because we can see how we are like him.
“It’s a pretty clear demonstration of a choice a person has to make.”
That is just one facet of many. While Harris’ story is the outline of the pageant, those involved want the main focus to be on the Restoration and coming forth of the Book of Mormon.
“The essence really is that it’s a testimony of the Book of Mormon — how it was translated and published, what the force was behind it,” Willie said. “It really isn’t a one-man story.”With that being said, “Without Martin, it never would have gotten published,” Willie added.