Youth in blue, fluorescent green and yellow t-shirts all bore the phrase, “Harvest of Faith.”
The logistics of pulling together a youth celebration involve detailed planning. How do you convey to 3700 kids where to stand or when to enter? How do you feed them?
All the kids brought baskets to store the pieces of their costumes in—and the parking lot was filled with them.
In one patriotic number the kids all waved American flags. In a tribute to missionaries, they all waved flags from different nations. Where do you find all those flags? That is no small detail. Beverly Yates, who was the chairman of the cultural celebration, said the people were so eager to help with the temple celebration, all they had to do was ask and immediately needs were met.
So that everyone could participate in celebrating the temple, mosaics were created that allowed many with art skills to create squares that reflected their testimonies.
Though the entire picture created the temple, each square was a complete picture in itself. One woman painted a dragon fly, a symbol of eternal life. Her nine-year-old son, Ryan, died the day the Angel Moroni was placed on the temple. At his funeral, friends and family let balloons of his favorite color float away into the sky. Among them was a dragon fly, a tender mercy to her and sign that God was aware of her.
A representation of the harvest that comes after good seeds are planted.
Here is sea of kids who acted in unity. What a powerful representation it was of the youth of the Latter-days. Shall the youth of Zion falter? No.
One 13 year old said: “Why is it when you are hot, your hair is a mess and you are the most tired that you feel the Spirit the most?” And a 14 year old boy remarked: “It was the most amazing thing I have ever done!”
The kids said, “I like to think we’re performing in front of our Heavenly Father and I really want to make him proud.”
Beverly Yates, chairman of the Brigham City Temple Cultural Celebration, said she could see the Lord’s hand in pulling this all together. “Many times,” she said, “I was able to deal with issues that normally I would not have been able to.”
“Hi, Mom!” kids wave.
More than five thousand people came in two performances to the cultural celebration. Still, many others volunteered to be behind the scenes helping the kids, knowing they would not get out to see the show. They were helpers, not viewers.
Directly east of this group of green stood the temple, standing as a reminder of why there is a reason to celebrate.
An aching arm in a sling is no reason not to dance and sing about the temple.
Later, the youth would march on to sing about missionary work happening all over the world, but these sisters were called to Utah.
So that so many youth could participate, schools changed the dates of Homecoming Dances and football players were given breaks from practices.
The youth sit here before three backdrops –the temple on the screen, the new temple waiting to be dedicated in the background, and the mountain of the Lord.
The General Authorities who presided at the Cultural Celebration wave at everyone as they roll in. Elder L. Tom Perry and his wife, Barbara seem glad to see the crowd.
Elder Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Wendy. Elder Nelson told the youth that they looked like stripling warriors, but he added, “I don’t think the stripling warriors had beautiful costumes like this.”
Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy and his wife, Kathy. The General Authorities also spoke at the temple dedication.
Elder Perry is always generous with his attention and love and reaches out to greet members of the crowd.
He is a leader who believes that meeting the people and being among them is one of the joys of his job.
Elder Perry told the youth, “Don’t worry about your performance tonight. We just hope you’ve made a lot of friends that will stay with you into the eternities.
The celebration of a Harvest of Faith began with banners waving.
Animated faces indicate that the kids were having a great time.
As the show begins, the moment the youth have practiced for five months has finally come.
One of the most beautiful scenes of the evening was not choreography, but a moment of love between a mother and son. Here Michele Taylor of Honeyville helps her special needs son, Cody, so he can be a part of the celebration.
She whispered in his ear instructions and encouragement.
With that radiant smile, she helped Cody raise his arm at just the perfect cue.
She was with him all day long, coaching, helping him, and being the shadow behind his performance so he could always know he had been part of the celebration. Watching this love made me cry.
Native Americans first lived in these valleys. Chief Sagwich Timbimboo was a prominent Shoshone who helped his people. His grandson, Moroni, Timbimboo was as the first Native American bishop in the mid 1900’s and continued serving even after he moved far from the ward boundaries.
A group of Danish immigrants moved to a valley a few miles east of Brigham City I 1863, which they called “Little Copenhagen.” In 1864, Lorenzo Snow renamed the city Mantua after his birthplace in Ohio.
A group of Welsh immigrants moved further north in the 1860’s and settled Fort Stuart which was later renamed Malad, Idaho. Today this region has the highest concentration of Welsh ancestry per capita outside of Wales itself.
Latino families immigrated to the area to help meet the agricultural demands.
These girls’ dresses weigh 10 pounds and have 14 yards of fabric.
It required 1800 seamstresses to volunteer to make costumes for the event.
A flamboyant dance ended with a “kiss” behind the sombrero.
The new settlement of Brigham City formed a business cooperative to create paying jobs for the Saints, here portrayed with a big saw, while giant backdrops arise bearing business names.
Apostle Lorenzo Snow put up the start-up money for the building, and the co-op’s first business was a hotel on Main Street.
The Brigham City Co-op became a model of cooperative enterprises and built more than 30 businesses while it operated.
These high-stepping square dancers celebrate the industrious people who made a co-op work in a frontier village.
The music, choreography and videography for the show were all done by professionals who volunteered their time.
One of the seamstresses was delivering bloomers and trying to get counts on the kids, and one day she was sitting in the parking log, with everything weighing on her. She looked down to find that someone had written “I love you” on the bloomers, meant to be an anonymous message from the seamstress to the performer. Instead, it was what she needed right then in her overwhelmed moment. It was a little message that buoyed her spirits.
The joining of the railroad at Promontory Point in 1868 was portrayed as a group of Irish, pictured here, joined a group of Chinese. Track was laid across the field and two “iron horses” chugged in to portray the moment.
Workers cheer as the railroads finally connect. “This is where the east has met the west!” Several pieces of original music were composed for this celebration and a choir performed them magnificently.
Harvest celebrations make the area with “Peach Days” in Brigham City and a Welsh festival in Malad.
The kids said they just seemed to sing and dance better knowing the temple was right behind them.
In 1942, the Bushnell Hospital was opened in Brigham City to care for injured soldiers. Through its six years of operation it served nearly 13,000 soldiers. The teens loved their World War II nurses and soldier outfits.
This hospital in Brigham City was the first military hospital to use penicillin. That is worth dancing about!
They make these soldiers younger every year.
Remembering an era with a little bit of swing.
These kids have the rhythm and the moves.
Jump for joy, the temple is coming. To teach these dances, videos and explanations were posted online.
Their leaders said that from the very first practice, the kids took learning the dances and the songs seriously.
Where do you get this many flags? Beverly Yates said they asked the wards to each come up with ten and soon they had more than enough. A spirit permeated the preparation of this program that made everyone willing volunteers.
The flags bring a riot of color and a sense of celebration.
The entire audience stood up and crossed their hearts, including, of course, all of the General Authorities.
In the mid-1800’s, it is estimated that there were 45,000 of acres of wetlands in Box Elder area. With the settling of the area, however, the wetlands had shrunk to two or three thousand acres. That’s when citizens stepped up to protect them, and a dance with shimmering fabric to represent water, captured the beauty of this fragile piece of nature.
With the dancers jumping and turning with birds in their hands, this dance was particularly unique.
A growing population in the area was supported by industries like Thiokol, not ATK, attracted by land which allowed them a place to grow and an industrious workforce.
“We are as the armies of Helaman. We have been taught in our youth. And we will be the Lord’s missionaries to bring the world his truth.” The youth carry flags from many nations.
These are beautiful youth. Note that some of the kids who have special needs are put right up in front where they can appreciate being included. From the beginning, the committee determined that each youth in their stakes who wanted to perform would be able to perform. Where needed adults or youth were assigned to help those who needed special help.
They are singing and feeling the words to “I love to see the temple; I’m going there some day.
One girl said, “It was wonderful. I wish we could do that every Saturday.”A 14-year-old boy said, “It was the most amazing thing I have ever done.”