LDS Church News

President Monson and President Eyring attend Gilbert Arizona Temple Cultural Celebration

Published: Sunday, March 2 2014 9:15 p.m. MST

He told the youth that some of them were heroes themselves. He said that many of them will go into the world to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ in noble work that will take the kind of sacrifice and endurance experienced by their ancestors, their brothers and sisters and missionaries who brought the gospel to them and their families.

President Eyring encouraged the youth to write in their journals about what they saw and felt so that on some future day they will be able to tell their children and grandchildren "what it meant to you to be a part of the celebration of the completion of a temple of God."

President Eyring blessed the young men and young women that they would feel the love of their Heavenly Father "tonight and always," that their desire to be true to their covenants with God will increase, and that their determination to follow Jesus Christ will grow and remain with them.

"And I bless you that this experience tonight will stay in your memory like a light and will draw you back to the temple time and time again," he said.

Elder William R. Walker, Executive Director of the Temple Department, conducted the program prior to the staging of the celebration. Also present were Elder Tad R. Callister of the Presidency of the Seventy, and his wife, Kathryn; Elder Kent F. Richards of the Seventy, and his wife, Marsha; and Elder Walker's wife, Vicki.

Rosanne Tidwell, who was a writer of the script along with Robert Madsen, Richard Madsen and Jason Barney, told the Church News of some of the logistics of staging the cultural celebration. The first thing she mentioned was what it took to bring together 12,000 youth. They divided the youth into six regions and arranged for each region to practice separately in places such as high school football fields. The whole "cast of thousands" met together for the first time on Saturday, Feb. 22.

"It was amazing," she said as she tried to describe the sight of 12,000 youth filling the soccer fields in view of the temple in the background. Many of the young men and young women sacrificed time and other activities in order to participate in the celebration. Some had to drop out of participating in sports or other school events. Add to that, no cell phones were allowed on what could be called "the set."