Past Manti Temple President L.R. Anderson foresaw thousands of people coming to Temple Hill, several years before it became a reality. It could be said that Anderson foresaw the coming production of the Mormon Miracle Pageant.
Glen A. Nelson and his friend, Billy Duncan, were hauling rock for a parking lot on the south slope of Temple Hill during the summer of 1956. Despite working on the project, Nelson felt the excavation of the hill was desecration and being an outspoken individual, confided his feeling to President Anderson.
In a witnessed letter, signed by Nelson and presented to officials of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he reiterated the encounter as follows:
“In the summer of 1956, I was working for the Oakland Construction Company with my large dump truck, engaged in making the south parking lot at the Manti Temple.”
“I would park my truck and the huge machinery would load it. I would always stand away from my truck while it was being loaded. This gave me the opportunity for a few minutes’ chatting with President L.R. Anderson, who was president of the temple at that time. He would come out from time to time to see how the work was progressing.”
One day as we stood on the south rim of the hill, I told him I didn’t like what we were doing, as we would haul the huge rock excavated over the hill.”
“President Anderson put his arm around me, and waving his other hand back and forth he said, ‘Brother Nelson, someday this will be the most beautiful spot of the entire Temple Hill.’
‘And now I am going to tell you something that you cannot comprehend and I don’t know what it is that is going to happen. You will live to see it, but I will not, but there will be thousands of people come to this hillside.’
“He repeated again, ‘I will not see it, but you will.’ It ran through my mind at that time that it must be the gathering of the 10 tribes or some such event during the millennium, or some far off end-of-the-world time, but now I know he envisioned the Mormon Miracle Pageant, which his own son, R. Clair Anderson, was instrumental in starting, which sees over 100,000 people come to the spot L. R. Anderson was talking about.”
On June 12, 1976, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Utah Symphony performed a concert at the foot of Temple Hill as part of the bicentennial celebration.