For the third consecutive year, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will host an all-Spanish gathering, this one billed as "a celebration of Hispanic culture."

Luz de las Naciones will be held on Saturday, Nov. 13, at the Conference Center, beginning at 6 p.m. As in past years, the event will feature a religious message in Spanish from one of the church's general authorities as well as Spanish-language music. But this year's event seeks to cast a wider net, with organizers hoping to attract not only Latter-day Saints, but Hispanics of all faiths.

Rather than simply a religious program, as in years past, the event will include artists and performers presenting traditional music, dances and songs in in the Conference Center lobby from 6 to 7 p.m. The formal program of inspirational music, dance and narration begins inside the auditorium at 7:30 p.m.

"We are getting the word out to Hispanic congregations of the church along the Wasatch Front," event spokesman Jorge Becerra said in a press release. "But we want to emphasize that Luz de las Naciones is for everyone in the Hispanic community."

The church has had sustained success in reaching Hispanics in Latin America for the past few decades with its missionary program. Local efforts to expand LDS outreach to immigrant Hispanics, as well as those who have been long-time Utah residents, have escalated in the recent years as the local Hispanic community continues to grow.

"We are inviting the entire Hispanic community and anyone else interested in becoming better acquainted with the church while enjoying an artistic and inspirational program," according to Elder Merrill J. Bateman, a member of the church's Presidency of the Seventy.

The first local Hispanic fireside service, in 2002, was originally scheduled for the Tabernacle on Temple Square, but was moved to the Conference Center after demand for tickets far exceeded the 6,000-seat Tabernacle. More than 15,000 tickets were distributed and participants filled two of the Conference Center auditorium's three tiers. Last year's event was held in the Marriott Center at Brigham Young University and drew a similarly enthusiastic crowd.

Organizers say participants are free to wear traditional clothing from their native countries to this year's event but are not obligated to do so. The celebration is free, but tickets are required and will be available beginning Sept. 28 either online at www.lds.org/events or by calling the Conference Center ticket office at 801-240-0080 (toll-free at 1-866-537-8457). Spanish-speaking representatives will be available to take calls from 2 to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Tickets are also available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at Door 4 of the Conference Center.

The event will not be broadcast via satellite nor transmitted via the Internet, and no language translation will be available at the Conference Center.


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