July 14, 2016

Todd and I on the Radio

We parked at a local McDonalds and the producer called our cell phones just minutes before we went on air.  This is 30   minutes of us being us on the radio.

All I could think of when he announced me as Miss New York was that I'm SO glad American Mothers did not have a swimsuit competition.  Ha!

(Sorry this link isn't connected-- I can't figure out how to fix it on my phone.)


The Hill Cumorah

I woke up Pageant early (around 8am) and walked to my favorite private bathrooms near the Hill Cumorah.  The hill was so quiet and is now so filled with fun memories for me and my family.

As I sat here in the audience chairs, listening to the chirping birds and feeling just a whisper of morning coolness in the air, I read once again the Introduction to the Book of Mormon.

The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel. 

The book was written by many ancient prophets by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Their words, written on gold plates, were quoted and abridged by a prophet-historian named Mormon. The record gives an account of two great civilizations. One came from Jerusalem in 600 B.C. and afterward separated into two nations, known as the Nephites and the Lamanites. The other came much earlier when the Lord confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel. This group is known as the Jaredites. After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians. 

The crowning event recorded in the Book of Mormon is the personal ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ among the Nephites soon after His resurrection. It puts forth the doctrines of the gospel, outlines the plan of salvation, and tells men what they must do to gain peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come. 

After Mormon completed his writings, he delivered the account to his son Moroni, who added a few words of his own and hid up the plates in the Hill Cumorah. On September 21, 1823, the same Moroni, then a glorified, resurrected being, appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith and instructed him relative to the ancient record and its destined translation into the English language. 

In due course the plates were delivered to Joseph Smith, who translated them by the gift and power of God. The record is now published in many languages as a new and additional witness that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and that all who will come unto Him and obey the laws and ordinances of His gospel may be saved. 

Concerning this record the Prophet Joseph Smith said: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” 

In addition to Joseph Smith, the Lord provided for eleven others to see the gold plates for themselves and to be special witnesses of the truth and divinity of the Book of Mormon. Their written testimonies are included herewith as “The Testimony of Three Witnesses” and “The Testimony of Eight Witnesses.” 

We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost. (See Moroni 10:3–5.) 

Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is His revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the Second Coming of the Messiah. (Book of Mormon, Introduction)

I feel this morning like I have felt so many times in my past, I wish I had words to convey the depth of conviction in my soul.  I am a truth seeker!  I am someone who feels quickly in my soul when something is wrong and someone who is willing to die for what I know is right.  

I know that The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ.  I feel Christ's love as I read the Bible and I feel it even more clearly as I read the Book of Mormon.  Of course the Savior of the world would teach and visit His people all over the world, not just in Jerusalem.

If you have read this blog, you know that I don't believe life is supposed to be easy.  Character is built as we stretch and seek.  My religion has not guaranteed me a life free from pain or trials.  But, it has given me PEACE and perspective through the trials of life. 

I wish everyone could see and feel what I feel as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  There is so much joy and safety being a member of a community of people trying to be loving and unified.  I could not raise my children without the constant examples and mentoring they receive from our community.  Sure, there are times that being a member of a church family is uncomfortable.  But the benefits far outweigh the sacrifices.

As I'm typing this, I just happened to look to my right and noticed Jakob (my oldest) throwing a frisbee with one of his leaders.  The teenagers play a lot of ultimate frisbee here at Pageant.  Jakob came home yesterday morning drenched in sweat and laughingly told me he is no good at throwing a frisbee but is a fast runner.  I'm not surprised at all to hear his leader coaching him and teaching him as they throw back and forth together before the rest of the kids arrive. My children are blessed to be a part of this community.
Yes, being a part of this Hill Cumorah Pageant was hard for me and my family.  We were hot and tired and far from the conveniences of home.  But, oh how amazing it has been to be surrounded by a cast of over 750 good, good people.  How blessed my children have been to listen to devotionals and to interact with happy, kind, modest, good people.  

I would love to send you a copy of The Book of Mormon if you are interested.  Email me at toddnjenifermoss@gmail.com

Life is good!
This book is true!
I will miss this hot, crazy time of life.

July 13, 2016

Being In the Hill Cumorah Pageant as a Family

We are loving The Hill Cumorah Pageant even if I've been too busy to blog about it every day.  

The hardest thing about being in Pageant is doing it with small children.  Our days are hot and long.  For children used to long naps and early bedtimes, staying awake to be in a show starting at 9pm is tough.  We are definitely not doing this for our younger children.  We're doing it for our older kids!  

I would say that the best time to be in Pageant would be when your youngest child is age 8 or 9.  Having younger kids is a real sacrifice, but it is a sacrifice I'm happy to make to give my older children this experience.

Pageant is like a fun summer camp.  The kids are all divided into cast teams by age.  The cast teams meet together daily to play games and hang out.  It is SO fun for the older kids to make friends and perform on-stage with so many other great kids.

That has been the best part for Todd and I also.  We have met some great families here and I'm certain that we'll be friends with them for a long time.

There is also something powerful about performing in a Pageant about the Book of Mormon on the very hill where we believe The Book of Mormon was buried and brought forth to the prophet Joseph Smith by an angel years ago.  This is holy ground and you can feel it.  

When I am here on Cumorah, I look around and feel the goodness of the 750 people performing with us.  I feel that these are my people.  I love Mormons.  I love the devotionals, I love the lessons my children are learning, I love the standards of modesty, I love the large families and strong marriages.  I love the sense of community I feel here.  

Each year, Pageant workers participate in community service projects around town.   We are taught to love and serve.  

We are encouraged to be unified as a cast and to obey with exactness (this is especially important with a set that uses water and fire pyrotechnics).  

Our church and this Pageant is led by volunteers.  On set and in the cast, millionaires work alongside bus drivers.  There are a few beloved members of our cast with special needs.  They are our superstars.  It is beautiful to watch the love and support they are given.  Our cast really feels like a big, happy family.

As we perform the stories of The Book of Mormon, I feel in my soul that I believe this book.  I believe that after Christ left the people in Jerusalem, he visited his "other sheep" in the Americas.  I think he probably visited every civilization that he could have visited.  The Book of Mormon is another Testament of Jesus Christ.  It is named after Mormon, an American prophet who was named after the place Mormon.  The waters of Mormon was a place where many were brought to the knowledge of their Savior, they were taught and baptized there.  I believe that The Book of Mormon also brings men to Christ.  

As a young girl, I was drawn to this church because I saw it was filled with strong, happy families.  It wasn't the most fun church I attended, but it taught good, traditional values.  Every day since then, I have continued to seek for truth.  I feel a great responsibility to teach my children where to look for answers and stability.  I want them to know the purpose of life and I want them to be surrounded by a loving, nurturing community.  We have found this within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  

One of my favorite scriptures says, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, as touching one thing, there will I be in the midst of them, even as I am in the midst of you."

I feel God here in Cumorah.  
I'm grateful for this opportunity.
Just three shows left!  Come see us!

July 03, 2016

The Hill Cummorah Pageant- Day 3

Church at Cummorah was really beautiful.  Ever since the first day I was here, whenever I hear everyone sing together in this pavilion, I cry.  There is such a sweet Spirit on this hill that is magnified by the 750 cast members.

We sit through a lot of training and a lot of devotionals.  One of the best things I did was to pack Ben a little box that is divided into 4 sections- animals, cars, Legos, and PlayDoh.  Ben sits for hours playing with his box of toys.  I'm SO grateful for that little voice of inspiration that prompted me to pack this box before we left.

Hill Cumorah Pageant-- Day 2

I took a nap today and that made all the difference.  Ha!

I started the day a little down, but I'm ending it happy and hopeful.

The weather has been lovely.   The kids really are so good.  We are making some new friends and the schedule is beginning to make sense to us.
This morning I asked our camp directors if anyone ever left Pageant NOT liking it. 😂 (I had only heard of very positive experiences prior to signing up.)  I should have expected they would tell me that, like everything else in life, the hard beginning makes the ending so much sweeter.

I'm sure I'll be talking more about my part in Pageant.  I wanted to be background but I was given a small speaking part (it figures- God always calls on me to speak).  

Ancient American prophets had prophecied that a Savior would be born in Jerusalem.  Years past from the prophecy and non-believers were ready to put the believers to death.  I'm certain the believers were beginning to lose hope  waiting for the sign that they had been promised.  The non-believers promise to kill the believers when the sun sets.  

As the sun is setting, a bright, new star lights the sky over Bethleham and shines in the Anericas.  My part is to say, "A STAR!  A new star!l"  (Basically I'm the female lead.) 😉

Do you know what I love about this part?  I feel like I am HOPE!  In a small way I want to say to the whole world-- Hang on!!  Jesus Christ IS our Savior!  Our Father in Heaven hears us and answers our prayers.  We do have prophets on the Earth today.  You are loved and saved from death.  A STAR!  A new star!!

July 02, 2016

Hill Cumorah Pageant- Day 1

Gee Whiz!  Packing for 3 weeks in an RV is tough, especially if you have 8 children. 

My mother and father in-law saved me by showing up at my house yesterday and magically Mary Poppinsing.  I'm shocked we made it out and although I'm shocked at how much stuff we brought, I'm certain we forgot many things.

The RV wouldn't start when we got in it to go, probably someone had left a light on.  So while Todd and his father jumped it, my mom and I went to return some of Ellie's glasses and head up to Palmyra.  I was supposed to pick up lunch for everyone at McD's.  I wrote down the order and called ahead to have $64 in junk all ready and waiting.  When we got there, we realized I had called the wrong store!!!  So, I needed to reorder AND apologize to the other store.

While I was reordering, I got a text from my neighbor saying our dog was running around in the street!!! We live on a main highway.  They kindly brought him to their house until a storm subsided and then brought him home and realized he had pushed open a gate.  Thank goodness for kind neighbors.  God bless our animals while we're gone!

I didn't take ANY pictures yesterday.  

To be honest, this whole experience is completely overwhelming to me right now. There are many families here who have done this for years.  I feel like I don't know what's going on and it's hard for me to have my children spread all around.  We're outside all day, with a lot of walking and a lot of sitting.  Ben has done pretty well, but he's hard at the same time.

Eve was sitting on some stairs yesterday and started screaming like I've never heard her scream before.  I was in a knee-length maxi skirt and carrying Ben in slow-motion trying to climb the stairs to get to her.  It was HORRIBLE. She got stung by 5 or 6 yellow jackets.  On her hand, in her hair, on her face and nose.  We spent some quality time in the nurses office.  Eve's fine (although she is now jumpy and terrified of bees). She didn't have an allergic reaction.  But I'm honestly teary-eyed just writing this.

Everyone is divided into cast teams by age. Ben stays with Todd and I.  Last night the whole camp of over 750 men, women, and children got cast into parts.  

I can't really remember what parts everyone got.  The whole process tugged my heartstrings.  My Anna is not in dance lessons, but she wants to be.  I knew she really wanted a dancing part but was given a non-believer in a destruction scene part.  She was disappointed.  I really hope this is a positive experience for her.  

Todd is an old world disciple at the time of Christ (I think).  Jakob is a backline Lamanite.  I am a speaking believer.  I'm not sure what everyone else is yet.

Our little RV is perfect and quite humble compared to many other mansion RVs that people have brought.

The 4 teens are sleeping outside in tents.  Todd and I have a bed, the little girls sleep above the car cab, and Ben is on the couch.

We'll see what today holds.
I was SO excited about this experience.  Actually being here, I just feel overwhelmed and hopeful.

Come see us if you live nearby!
I can tell you that we LOVE watching this Pageant, I'm not sure yet if we love being IN it.  😶

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