Gold was discovered by Latter-day Saints and others in the Sacramento region of California in 1848, but last Saturday night, Sept 2, 5,000 youth from 21 stakes celebrated something “More Precious than Gold” as they joined to sing and dance their hearts out in the Arco Arena on the eve of the Sacramento Temple dedication.
The Arco Arena, which seats 17,000, is usually the home of NBA basketball or big concerts, but this gathering was like none other the arena had ever seen as youth came to together to fulfill a prophet’s vision. This was the largest single cast on the Arco Arena stage since its opening.
Just before the Ghana Temple dedication in 2004, President Gordon B. Hinckley said that he wanted to see youth cultural celebrations in association with temple dedications for the purpose of connecting the youth to the temple, to each other, and more fully to their Savior Jesus Christ.
The idea was for temples to be planted in the very sinews and bloodstream of the youth, that memories of their giving their all in time, talent and strength to celebrate a temple would create memories that would change the course of their lives and plant the temple at the very core of their being.
Youth were to dance and sing their testimonies, pattern their hearts around the Lord, and with every practice and costume fitting, personally anticipate the coming of the temple for months in advance.
“With All His Might”
In the Old Testament, we learn that as David delivered the Ark of the Covenant to Judah, he “danced before the Lord with all his might” (2 Sam. 6: 14).
“With all his might.” This suggests going beyond normal boundaries and limitations and giving your utmost consecrated effort. You can just imagine David’s joyous energy, his twirls, his arms and legs alive, expressing his love of God.
All who saw the show agreed that was just what happened at this youth cultural celebration. So many people gave so much — well beyond any reasonable expectation and what happened was just simply a miracle — perhaps a thousand tender mercies that made this celebration come together with such a powerful outpouring of love and the Spirit.
The team that headed up the celebration — Norman C. Boehm, chairman; Scott Eckern, producer; Kieth Merrill, writer and director; Paul Allen, music supervisor and Janine Nelson, choreography supervisor — received this note from President Gordon L. Treadway of the Sacramento North Stake: