Monday, April 13, 2009

Did you go to the Mesa AZ, Easter Pageant?

Every year at the Mesa Arizona Temple there is a wonderful portrayal of Jesus Christ's life, death, and resurrection. Thousands of hours are put into the preparation and actual performance of the production. Over 100,000 people attended this year. I am used to seeing protesters standing on the periphery holding signs disagreeing with the biblically accurate performance.

Unfortunately, this year the protesters went too far, and we need your help if you witnessed their abusive language shouted throughout the performance. From the Bee-line E-Letter

Easter Pageant Leaders Need Your Help -- Please Voice Your Concerns Regarding Protestors
Apr 13, 2009
Dear Friends,
We greatly need your help -- and hope you will forward this e-mail to as many people as you can, or to any of your group e-mailing lists.
If any of you attended the Easter Pageant this year, particularly this past Thursday or Saturday nights, you are aware that the protestors’ interference with the Pageant performances was extremely disruptive and disturbing, not only because of the constant shouting throughout the Pageant, but especially because of the many vulgar things that were yelled continually -- and with thousands of children present.
This is a free event to the public, and as taxpayers, we should not have to worry about taking our families to a family-oriented production and having them exposed to such crude language and alarming protests. Many people from out-of-state came to Arizona this year to see the Pageant, and like all of us, they were extremely offended and distracted.
This is a horrible representation of our City. We have met with attorneys and city officials, and are in the process of asking for a public hearing requesting that a “disturbing the peace ordinance” be enforced next year, or interpreted to apply to the Easter Pageant.
However, the ONLY leverage we have is YOU. If any of you were in attendance this year during the nights the protestors were there, here is what we need you to do – so we can present this issue effectively to the City of Mesa – and appeal to them to take action:
1. Please write a brief letter (even a short paragraph), complaining about the protestors this year at the Mesa Arizona Easter Pageant. Tell briefly why they were offensive to you, and ask for the City of Mesa to take action. (We are already preparing for next year’s production.)
2. Address the letter as follows: City Officials of Mesa, AZ, To Whom It May Concern:
3. Sign and date your letter, indicating your city and state.
4. Mail a hard copy of the letter to: (or you can fax it to Wudel, Inc. 480-834-4271)
Nanci Wudel
1716 No. Almond Street
Mesa, AZ 85213
WE MUST HAVE PAPER LETTERS – NOT E-MAILS. When we receive these letters, we will forward them, en masse, to the appropriate officials and agencies.
We need for you to do this as soon as possible … and please forward this to your friends, or anyone else you know who attended the pageant.
There are too many people who come from all over the world to Mesa to see this pageant (the largest, annual, outdoor Easter Pageant in the world), to have their experience so rudely disrupted. In addition, it is unacceptable that, as citizens and taxpayers, we should have our families polluted by these vile protestors. It is inexcusable.
The beautiful message we are telling through the Easter Pageant is for all ages, cultures, races, and religions – as evidenced by the more than 100,000 people we had in attendance this year. Each attendee’s civil rights should be protected to be able to attend the production, hear it, and enjoy it without being stirred to anger, distracted from the presentation, or worse, sickened by the impact of these protestors on our families and children.
PLEASE HELP US! After much investigation, meetings with city leaders, and legal counsel, as Easter Pageant leaders, our hands appear to be tied without a grassroots protest from the community and those who were in attendance.
Thank you, in advance, for taking a few minutes to make such a difference.
Much gratitude,
Nanci Wudel
Mesa Arizona Easter Pageant


Shari said...

After seeing what the Church Leaders' response was to the "Big Love" episode showing temple ordinances, I'm wondering if this response is a Church-approved response. It seems like having police officers around the perimeters of the grounds will not be a great missionary opportunity. It's really sad that there were disruptions, but if it were this bad, couldn't the police have been called at the time for a "disturbing the peace" complaint? Just wondering?

Dan and Wendy said...

Comparing this to the church's response to Big Love is apples and oranges. The church doesn't produce Big Love. Though still a little apples and oranges, I think a closer example would be to the church's views on prop 8 in CA and prop 102 in AZ.

The church, and the city of Mesa, go to great lengths to put on this production. We all know that protesters will be there. Some of my favorites are the guys that dress up in devil costumes and have signs that say "These are my servants" The signs have arrows on them and they stand next to the missionaries with their arrows pointed at them. I find them very humorous.

However, when it becomes near impossible to perform the play due to the vulgarity being shouted at the tops of people's voices, then it needs to be stopped. The minority protesters are infringing on the majority listeners rights to come and experience the play they hoped to see with their families.

Weston Krogstadt said...

Thank you for posting this. The Mormon-haters are mad because no one wants to listen to their nonsesne. They have their freedom of speech but they don't have the right to interrupt a religious gathering like the Easter Pageant.

Good job.