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LDS apostle, Mitt Romney among notable speakers at Arizona YSA regional conference

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 8 2014 9:00 a.m. MST

Saturday evening will include a dinner, live music and concerts, and a keynote address by the Romneys, followed by a dance and socializing.

Sunday will feature a two-hour sacrament meeting in the Gammage Auditorium.

President Gilbert said the idea for a large YSA conference began spinning in his mind about two years ago when the church reorganized boundaries in the area, creating five YSA stakes. There were opportunities to mingle but never to bring the entire valley YSA population together, he said.

"I thought if we could bring all five stakes together, with an inspiring cadre of speakers and workshop presenters, that it would be very motivational for these young single adults to both be inspired and simultaneously increase their opportunities to meet with other young single adults where there was really no opportunity to do so on such a grand scale," President Gilbert said.

Brittney Phelps is one of many young single adults who helped to organize the event and is excited to hear the speakers and participate in the activities.

"I'm looking forward to seeing how things play out, seeing the people that attend and the effect it will have on them. ... I feel like this conference could be a great experience that changes lives," Phelps said. "It's been a ton of work, but it will definitely be worth it."

Marc LeFevre agreed.

"We are really excited to have something like this come to the valley. The young single adult scene down here is a lot more robust than I imagined," said LeFevre, a young single adult who recently moved to Arizona from Idaho. "It's fabulous, a lot of fun."

Terry F. Calton, the director of the Tempe Arizona LDS Institute of Religion, is hoping the event will spark an increase in institute enrollment.

"We hope that this event will not only provide a wonderful, Spirit-filled weekend for those attending, but it will provide an impetus for the many young single adults not enrolled in an institute class to come and see how these classes can provide similar Spirit-directed experiences over the course of many weeks," Calton said. "Institute is such an outstanding program for the young single adults. LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson has asked them to 'make institute a priority,' and yet there are many who haven't even enrolled in a class, much less make it a priority."

Phelps laughed when asked about the possibility of meeting a future spouse at the conference.

"In my ward, it’s kind of a joke. I always say you never know, you might meet your future husband, a new best friend or a future wife," she said. "You never know who you might meet, so you don’t want to miss out on that opportunity."

Email: ttoone@deseretnews.com Twitter: tbtoone

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