On July 23rd of 1967, a small crowd of about 2,000 people sat quietly chatting together in the early evening in the grandstands of the Sanpete County fairgrounds in Manti, Utah, and listened as rain fell on the metal roof above them. Two angry dark storm centers wheeled together overhead, and occasional flashes of lightning were answered with the sharp cracking and rolling of thunder. In the arena where broncos and bulls were ridden at fair time, the soft earth had been set with transplanted sagebrush, a grove of trees, and a wooden platform which served as a stage. The pioneer movement was represented by one handcart. Two Book of Mormon prophets, Mormon and Moroni, were seen on Temple Hill across the fences to the east, portrayed as a mortal on the west slope by Larry Stable, and as an angel on the temple annex by LeGrand Olson. Doug Barton had hung 100 watt light globes in gallon cans on steel posts to light the hill. Trees east of the fairgrounds had been trimmed to make the temple hill visible to the audience.One lone woman sat apart from the audience, oblivious to threatening storm, but reluctant to take shelter in the grandstand. When encouraged to come up into the protected seats she commented that this first night of the pageant was very crucial. ‘ ‘If it doesn’t go tonight,it will never go.” She chose to sit by herself in the rain.That woman was Grace Johnson. And although she felt that the initial presentation was vitally important, she could never have known the scope and grandeur that would come to the pageant, or the impact that it would have on the lives of people world-wide.
Miss Johnson wrote other books and plays. She had planned to spend her retirement years in writing, but with the request that her Mormon Miracle be prepared to be presented in 1967, she decided to put her writing away for just one year. That year extended into seventeen years, as she gave of her unique talents to help with the pageant. Grace received dramatic instruction at the University of Utah and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, and was a member of the Broadway Dramatists Guild and the International Platform Association for many years. She died in 1984.