By Associated Press - Sunday, October 28, 2018

MANCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) - An annual Mormon pageant that drew thousands of visitors to upstate New York will be staged for the last time in 2020 as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints moves away from large-scale productions.

The Salt Lake City-based church released a statement Saturday saying its local leaders and members are being encouraged to focus on gospel learnings in their homes and participate in Sabbath worship and church programs.

The statement says large productions such as the Hill Cumorah (kuh-MOR’-uh) Pageant in Ontario County are being discouraged.

Last summer’s 81st pageant, held on a large outdoor stage in the town of Manchester, drew 25,000 attendees.

Mormons believe that their faith’s founder, Joseph Smith, found metal plates in the hills of nearby Palmyra in 1823 that became the Book of Mormon.

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