Last Friday, May 30, Trish and I and Hans attended the cultural celebration commemorating the dedication of the Draper Utah and Oquirrh Mountain Utah temples. After nearly three months of weekly rehearsals as part of their regular Young Men and Young Women meetings, more than 14,000 youth from 51 stakes participated in "Come Up to the Mountain of the Lord."
Our stake's segment celebrated the role of immigrants in settling and building up the kingdom in the Salt Lake Valley. Parry, Peter, and Ellie all participated in the dancing. Ellie was especially thrilled, as she was allowed to participate before turning 12 on May 7. (Yesterday at Church she was welcomed officially into the Young Women's organization.)
According to Church leaders, these cultural celebrations are more than just celebrations. They are a way to direct the focus of the youth to the temple. For years the First Presidency has authorized a temple cultural celebration with a temple dedication, which gives the youth of the temple district, in particular, a special opportunity to celebrate the dedication of the temple.
Although traditionally temple youth cultural celebrations are held the evening before the dedication, the celebration for these temples was scheduled between the two to accommodate both districts. They are also usually held in open air venues to accommodate the large audiences. Only the huge Conference Center could have accommodated all of the people indoors! The different segments of the celebration were choreographed and directed by the individual stakes. It was quite an achievement to pull it all together. The end result was marvelous!
It was an inspirational program to watch but we were even more delighted to listen to our three children rave about their experience. What an inspired program!