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Kirtland TempleThe Biography of a Shared Mormon Sacred Space$
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David J. Howlett

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038488

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038488.001.0001

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Staging the Temple, 1972–2012

Staging the Temple, 1972–2012

(p.131) 7 Staging the Temple, 1972–2012
Kirtland Temple

David J. Howlett

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the use of staged performances at pilgrimage sites to establish links between the past and the pilgrim. Since the late 1970s, the Kirtland Temple and its surrounding interpretative sites have served as venues for dramatic performances in which the shrine's past is resurrected and performed on stage. Plays about the Kirtland Temple have allowed audience members and actors to relate Kirtland's past to their present personal and institutional dilemmas and experiences, elevated the temple's status as sacred space, and shaped the way that individual groups socially construct the temple. Moreover, dramas provide an alternative space where the temple is interpreted and incorporated into a “useful past” that shapes the lives of pilgrims. They also further illustrate the process of parallel pilgrimage at the Kirtland Temple, as Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints members have constructed dramas drawing on common stories, with very different applications for those narratives.

Keywords:   staged performances, pilgrimage sites, Kirtland Temple, dramatic performances, sacred space, dramas, parallel pilgrimage

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