Author Grace Johnson herself set the stage for the evolution of the Mormon Miracle from a one-woman show to the spectacle of drama, music and technical effects it became."To fulfill itself, there must be in this pageant a free flow of ideas. It must improve from year to year. If there are better ways of telling the story, they should be used."Some changes were forced by human circumstances. When the talented narrators of the first two seasons moved from the valley, replacements were sought. R. Clair Anderson called Francis Urry to narrate and asked him to recommend a female voice. He submitted the name of Macksene Rux. Mrs. Rux, who like Mr. Urry was an established artist in theatre and broadcast, had never been to Manti in her life. When contacted by telephone, she was initially reluctant to commit herself to the project. She later related that after hanging up the telephone she turned to her husband in disbelief at her own affirmative response. "Did I really say I'd do that?" She confesses that the only thing which kept her from immediately returning the call and declining the request was that she had forgotten the name of the man who called. For the two performances of the 1969 season, Macksene Rux and Francis Urry narrated the Mormon Miracle live in front of screens on either side of the stage. She never actually saw the performance. When she woke the following morning to return to Salt Lake City, her voice was gone. No cold, no soreness, but no voice. Stake President Vernon Kunz administered a blessing of health in which he was moved to say that she "had a mission to fulfill in Manti."
In December of 1969, Macksene Rux became director of the pageant. Every summer from this time until 1988, Mrs. Rux took up a six-week residency in Manti. This was done at considerable personal sacrifice since she also had to consider the care of her husband, Andrew Rux, who had been confined to a wheelchair as the result of an accident. Mr. Rux was supportive of his wife and endeared himself to Manti residents and pageant staff by his unselfishness and patience. The first major undertaking by Mrs. Rux was to adapt the existing script into true pageant form. By June of 1970 she had completed that task, and had directed a professional sound tape to carry the voices, the music and sound effects of the pageant. The tape was produced at Bonneville International in Salt Lake City. Macksene Rux' single mindedness and discipline served the pageant well for 20 years. She directed with enthusiasm and expected perfection. And her casts responded to that call. Vernon L. Kunz and his counselors, R. Clair Anderson and Milton G. Armstrong, were released. This group, along with committees and individuals from the communities of Ephraim, Manti and Sterling, had been primarily responsible for the pageant.
Rumors began to circulate that the Mormon Miracle Pageant might be taken from Manti to be presented somewhere else, with casting and all phases of the production to be professionally done. Those who knew of the rumors were concerned, and Mrs. Mabel Anderson, wife of Executive Committee Chairman R. Clair Anderson, wrote a letter on 10 March 1972, to Elder Mark E. Petersen in Salt Lake City, expressing her concern. It says in part: My husband told me something this morning that shook us to our very roots. And I can't believe it might be true -that the most successful and beautiful thing we have ever done in our Stake, the pageant that has become such a labor of love from young to old could be taken from us. ..after shedding many tears I got the feeling I must write to you what I feel, and I know just speaking as a member of Sanpete South Stake that I express the feelings of nearly all, if they had the opportunity. I know you brethren will be inspired to do what is right and this letter may seem most presumptuous, yet -still, I feel that because you are "away" from our locale and might not understand all about our pageant and our feelings on the subject that you might not mind this "look" into our hearts, so I would surely appreciate it if you would read my plea: Mrs. Anderson continued with three full pages outlining the great dreams and hopes for the pageant, as well as the growth and development that came to those who were working with it. She concluded with the following: We believe that more and more our valley will become identified with The Mormon Miracle Pageant. That people will come again and again to renew their spirits and that visitors from allover the world will find their way to our hillside, that it will be the mecca for many a pilgrimage. We believe that each year will find more and more people taking the road leading to the pageant on the Temple Hill in Manti. Don't take that dream away from us. Don't take away the best thing our stake has tried to do, all working in unselfish devotion and dedication to The Miracle, getting involved in something beautiful that is OURS. On 11 March that same year, Grace Johnson wrote a letter to Elder Petersen, formally donating the use of the "Mormon Miracle' , as she had written it to the LDS Church. She said: "The Mormon Miracle was freely given by the Lord and must be returned to Him just as freely for His blessing. The knowledge that I have done the right thing will give a peace of mind in my older years I couldn't otherwise have known."
In a Mormon Miracle planning meeting held at the Visitors' Center on the Temple Hill in Manti 28 March 1972, under the Direction of Elder Mark E. Petersen of the Council of the Twelve, a new organization for the pageant was formed. Elder Peterson was unanimously approved as chairman and Elder Gordon B. Hinckley as vice chairman. Members of the Advisory Committee included Temple President Reuel E. Christensen, and Stake Presidents of the Region, Wilbur W. Cox, Ralph Blackham, Roger Allred, and Lamar Stewart, as well as Sister Grace Johnson. Macksene Rux was to continue as pageant director with Helen B. Dyreng and Jane Braithwaite as assistant directors. Eight additional committee members were R. Morgan Dyreng, Production Chairman; Larry Stahle; Elliott R. Braithwaite; Carol Braithwaite; Dorothy Gray; Leslie J. Anderson; Glen W. Lee; Vernon L. Kunz and Louis G. Trevort. President Wilbur W. Cox was designated as chairman of the Regional Advisory or Executive Committee. He has been followed by President Lee R. Barton and President Greg Maylett of the Manti Utah Stake. Elder Petersen promised favorable and immediate action on tree removal. Other business included a pageant budget of $15,000 from general church funds, improvement of roads, publicity, arrangements for restroom facilities, and the sale of programs. A final paragraph in those minutes states: "Priesthood leaders in the local stakes are to encourage their people to come the forepart of the week, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, reserving the week ends for those out of the immediate vicinity." In keeping with the Church's emphasis on Family Home Evening, Monday evening performances were discontinued.
In 1969, a twenty foot lower stage was constructed. Another lectern was built, and one was placed on either side of the stage. Grace Johnson gave her permission to add more Book of Mormon scenes to the pageant. New lighting and sound effects were furnished by BYU and Snow College; however, sound continued to be a problem. Cordless microphones were hung throughout the choir. Even with larger amplifiers, this did not fully solve the problem of evening winds blowing the sound away from the listening audience. The pageant played for two nights and drew crowds of about 5,000 people each night. That year, an alfalfa field and potato patch on the lower temple grounds were dug up and the ground leveled. Sprinklers were later installed and grass planted, and a few more trees removed. Grace Johnson, author of the Pageant, said, "We roll into the age of electronics," as a new electronic sound track highlighted the pageant in 1970, insuring the sound against the vagaries of the weather. There were new challenges each year with the sound system being continually upgraded. Paintings used in pageant scenes, which included portable panels showing our world in its place in the universe, the rocks on the hill, a sacrificial altar, and temple used in the worship of a pagan god by a declining people, were directed by artists Osral Allred and Carl Purcell. Vernon Larson, LaRue Jennings, Ann Buchanan and other local artists assisted. The pagan altar and temple were designed and built on moveable wagons. (The world scene was replaced by a slide presentation in 1986.) LaRue and Ann found there were new painting and touch up jobs to be done each of the 17 years they served. Jim Aston painted the first signs used, and Lawrence Anderson of Gunnison constructed and painted most of the signs used in later years.