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That website didn't seem like a theme park website to me. It seemed like a website announcing something worth seeing, especially for people like me whose ancestors were forced by the intolerance and hatred of fellow Americans to leave their own city, which they built with their own sweat and blood, during freezing conditions, and march over 1000 miles to an uninviting new home in the middle of nowhere, buring their loved ones by the wayside in shallow graves guaranteed to be dug up by wolves seeking meat.

John, forgive me if I have offended you or your ancestors. You might notice that one of the images in my new banner (which has already garnered a "worst banner ever" award!) depicts the citizens of Nauvoo crossing the frozen Mississippi in their wagons in the dead of winter after being forced out of their homes by their wonderfully intolerant Christian neighbors.

I see what you are saying. I have been kicking around the idea of a religious themed amusement park for sometime. I had come to the conclusion that there weren't enough Mormons, although I guess I was wrong. Anyway, I was going to start a evangelical christian amusement park. It will feature an old and new testaments biblical lands (I am particularly excited about the Jonah ride [although I am worried about infringing on a Disney copyright]), rock concerts, and revivals as well. All-in-all, wholesome entertainment for any fun loving christian family. I wasn't sure how everyone would feel if they found out a Mormon owned it though. Would this be priestcraft?

There's a bible theme park near Disney in Orlando.

Hmmm. In order to preserve Mormon heritage and history, the Church puts a lot of cash into cities like Nauvoo and Kirtland. It seems a bit mean-spirited to say that they are commercializing Nauvoo and Church History for the prospect of more baptisms. Turning Nauvoo into a dunking booth, if you will.

Most of the visitors will be members of the Church looking to learn about their past. Do you also disagree with Church advertisements for the Book of Mormon, Bible, videos etc.? Most of these are useful tools for getting people interested in the Church, especially when done in a tasteful manner.

The only strange vibes that I got from the website came while looking at the extremely cheesy actors. They remind me too much of the Young Ambassadors.

Here are a few websites for comparison purposes.

Disneyland

Six Flags

Sea World

Matt, I'm not saying Nauvoo *is* a theme park, only that it is being packaged and promoted in ways that resemble how entertainment attractions are promoted. I think the increasing popularity of semi-official LDS dramatic pageants also explains some of this. Manti is a temple site that, in the summer, puts on a pageant. The New Nauvoo looks like a year-round pageant-like experience that incorporates a temple into its living script.

I'm not really saying there's anything wrong with this, it's just interesting. The Church does a better job changing with the times (at least in how it designs and implements its missionary outreach efforts) than most denominations. Hey, compare the wonderful LDS.org, a site full of tools, materials, and useful resources (if somewhat tricky to navigate and decorated with sappy photos) with any other denomination's site. The Vatican site is terrible!

Other amusement center links:

Branson, Missouri

The Holy Land Experience in Florida

I think Dave may be on to something. Just look at this news article!

They need to drum up business somehow. The Nauvoo Temple (my home temple, incidentally) has frequent days when numbers of temple-goers are in the single digits. For the entire day.

That said, I think the restored shops and homes are excellent. Nothing there is overly preachy, but geared mostly to history. I have had no reservations about recommending Nauvoo to my neighbors as an interesting place to visit. (I am usually a little uneasy about making similar recommendations about Temple Square, as the missionaries intimidate ME.)

Thanks for the "on the ground" report of an actual visit, Epstein. It really does sound like a nice place to visit. Maybe we should call it an open-air living historical museum rather than a "religious theme park."

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