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'Treasure the Light' - 9,200 celebrate their heritage and the temple

President Monson blesses youth to serve,'always walk in truth'

BOISE, IDAHO

Waving yellow flags to represent light, some 9,200 youth gathered Nov. 17 on the campus of Boise State University and reveled in their greatest treasure — the gospel of Jesus Christ and a temple returning to their city.

The Church staged the youth cultural celebration, titled "Treasure the Light," the night before President Thomas S. Monson rededicated the Boise Idaho Temple, which closed 15 months ago for extensive renovation.

President Thomas S. Monson addresses youth during a cultural program held Saturday evening in Taco B
President Thomas S. Monson addresses youth during a cultural program held Saturday evening in Taco Bell Arena on the eve of the rededication of the Boise Idaho Temple. Saturday, Nov., 17, 2012. | Photo by Gerry Avant

"The beautiful Boise Idaho Temple, which will be rededicated in the morning, is the reason for this great celebration," President Monson told the crowd, made up almost entirely of youth. "It shines as a beacon of righteousness to all who will follow its light. We treasure that light, and we thank our Heavenly Father for the blessings this temple and all temples bring into our lives."

President Monson praised the young people for their goodness, asked them to never forget the feeling of standing together with other Latter-day Saints, and left them with a special blessing. "My young brothers and sisters, I pronounce a blessing upon you tonight, that you may feel the love which we have for you," he said. "May you know, also, that our Heavenly Father loves you. I bless you that you will ever have a desire to serve Him and His Son Jesus Christ. I bless you that you will always walk in truth and treasure the light of the temple."

The program highlighted the many things Church members in the Boise Idaho Temple District treasure: the light of faith, heritage, industry, families, youth, liberty, service and the gospel. In a grand finale, as they sang "True to the Faith" and "Carry on," the youth then celebrated the greatest light in their lives — the light of Christ.

On Sunday, Elder David A. Bednar said there was enough energy during the program "to power every home in the United States for six months."

The production was less about dancing and more about preparing for the temple, said Gary Walker, youth cultural celebration sub-committee chairman.

President Thomas S. Monson addresses youth during a cultural program held Saturday evening in Taco B
President Thomas S. Monson addresses youth during a cultural program held Saturday evening in Taco Bell Arena on the eve of the rededication of the Boise Idaho Temple. Saturday, Nov., 17, 2012. | Photo by Gerry Avant

"The vision for this was that every youth that participated would have a mighty change of heart and make a life-long commitment to live a life of righteousness," he said.

And the youth responded in great numbers. Brother Walker, a former Area Seventy, said substantially more teens participated in the program than expected. Because of the large number, the youth filled the Taco Bell Arena and their families and others gathered in remote locations to watch the program, which was broadcast to stake centers throughout the temple district.

Arlin Jones, executive producer, said organizers wanted all the youth to be the center of the celebration. "They wouldn't fit on the floor," he explained, "so the whole arena became the stage."

Swirling ribbons add to the brightness of a routine performed by young women during the cultural cel
Swirling ribbons add to the brightness of a routine performed by young women during the cultural celebration held Nov. 17.. | Photo by Gerry Avant

The focus, he added, was "the kids themselves."

Organizers called 60 youth, two from each stake in the temple district, to help determine the direction and theme of the program.

"We wanted to treasure the light and the light that we all share is the light of Christ," said committee member Marshall Calley, 18, of the Kuna 7th Ward, Kuna Idaho East Stake. "We wanted to include that theme in our presentation to the prophet and let him know that we have the light of Christ and we want to share it with the world."

Jessica Brinkerhoof, 17, of the Butte Ward, Emmett Idaho Stake, said the youth focused their ideas for the program on "light and how wonderful the light of the gospel is in such a dark time."

"We talked about the youth in the area and how we could change their lives," she added.

President Thomas S. Monson enjoys watching a cultural program held in conjunction with the rededicat
President Thomas S. Monson enjoys watching a cultural program held in conjunction with the rededication of the Boise Idaho Temple. Elder William R. Walker of the Seventy is at his left; at his right are Elder David A. Bednar, Sister Susan Bednar, Sister Debora Christensen, Elder Craig C. Christensen. | Photo by Gerry Avant
Youth celebrated the rebuilt Boise Idaho Temple with song and dance Nov. 17 in the Taco Bell Arena.
Youth celebrated the rebuilt Boise Idaho Temple with song and dance Nov. 17 in the Taco Bell Arena. The Boise Idaho Temple, orginally dedicated in 1984, will be rededicated by President Thomas S. Monson on Nov. 18. | Photo by Sarah Jane Weaver

In the end, she was the person changed most. "I have come to understand that as youth we matter," said Jessica. "Our leaders don't just say that, they see it."

Jay Patterson, 17, of the Nampa 1st Ward, Nampa Idaho North Stake, said the youth knew why the performance was important. "It is our temple," he explained. "It is not just a temple. It is our temple and we need to celebrate."

Youth celebrated the rebuilt Boise Idaho Temple with song and dance Nov. 17 in the Taco Bell Arena.
Youth celebrated the rebuilt Boise Idaho Temple with song and dance Nov. 17 in the Taco Bell Arena. | Photo by Sarah Jane Weaver

Kylee Neil, 17, of the Kuna 3rd Ward, Kuna Idaho East Stake, said participating in the celebration left her with one resolve. "I want to go to the temple," she said. "I am so grateful to be part of all of this."

Jessica's parents were sealed in the Boise temple in 1994. "Now eighteen years later it is a new temple," she said. "It is our temple now. It was sacred to them. Now it is a really important part of my life as well."

sarah@desnews.com

Youth celebrated the rebuilt Boise Idaho Temple with song and dance Nov. 17 in the Taco Bell Arena.
Youth celebrated the rebuilt Boise Idaho Temple with song and dance Nov. 17 in the Taco Bell Arena. The Boise Idaho Temple, orginally dedicated in 1984, will be rededicated by President Thomas S. Monson on Nov. 18. | Photo by Sarah Jane Weaver
Youth celebrated the rebuilt Boise Idaho Temple with song and dance Nov. 17 in the Taco Bell Arena.
Youth celebrated the rebuilt Boise Idaho Temple with song and dance Nov. 17 in the Taco Bell Arena. The Boise Idaho Temple, orginally dedicated in 1984, will be rededicated by President Thomas S. Monson on Nov. 18. | Photo by Sarah Jane Weaver
Youth celebrated the rebuilt Boise Idaho Temple with song and dance Nov. 17 in the Taco Bell Arena.
Youth celebrated the rebuilt Boise Idaho Temple with song and dance Nov. 17 in the Taco Bell Arena. The Boise Idaho Temple, orginally dedicated in 1984, will be rededicated by President Thomas S. Monson on Nov. 18. | Photo by Sarah Jane Weaver
President Thomas S. Monson presides over event held in conjunction with the rededication of the Bois
President Thomas S. Monson presides over event held in conjunction with the rededication of the Boise Idaho Temple. | Photo by Sarah Jane Weaver
Youth celebrated the rebuilt Boise Idaho Temple with song and dance Nov. 17 in the Taco Bell Arena.
Youth celebrated the rebuilt Boise Idaho Temple with song and dance Nov. 17 in the Taco Bell Arena. The Boise Idaho Temple, orginally dedicated in 1984, will be rededicated by President Thomas S. Monson on Nov. 18. | Photo by Sarah Jane Weaver
Clad in western-style clothing, young men and young women perform a dance number that pays tribute t
Clad in western-style clothing, young men and young women perform a dance number that pays tribute to the pioneer settlers who came to the area that is now included in the Boise Idaho Temple District. | Photo by Sarah Jane Weaver
Youth celebrated the rebuilt Boise Idaho Temple with song and dance Nov. 17 in the Taco Bell Arena.
Youth celebrated the rebuilt Boise Idaho Temple with song and dance Nov. 17 in the Taco Bell Arena. The Boise Idaho Temple, orginally dedicated in 1984, will be rededicated by President Thomas S. Monson on Nov. 18. | Photo by Sarah Jane Weaver
Youth celebrated the rebuilt Boise Idaho Temple with song and dance Nov. 17 in the Taco Bell Arena.
Youth celebrated the rebuilt Boise Idaho Temple with song and dance Nov. 17 in the Taco Bell Arena. The Boise Idaho Temple, orginally dedicated in 1984, will be rededicated by President Thomas S. Monson on Nov. 18. | Photo by Sarah Jane Weaver
Youth celebrated the rebuilt Boise Idaho Temple with song and dance Nov. 17 in the Taco Bell Arena.
Youth celebrated the rebuilt Boise Idaho Temple with song and dance Nov. 17 in the Taco Bell Arena. The Boise Idaho Temple, orginally dedicated in 1984, will be rededicated by President Thomas S. Monson on Nov. 18. | Photo by Sarah Jane Weaver
Near the conclusion of a program celebrating the rededication of the Boise Idaho Temple, young peopl
Near the conclusion of a program celebrating the rededication of the Boise Idaho Temple, young people hold aloft red, white and blue banners to form an American flag. | Photo by Sarah Jane Weaver
Youth celebrated the rebuilt Boise Idaho Temple with song and dance Nov. 17 in the Taco Bell Arena.
Youth celebrated the rebuilt Boise Idaho Temple with song and dance Nov. 17 in the Taco Bell Arena. The Boise Idaho Temple, orginally dedicated in 1984, will be rededicated by President Thomas S. Monson on Nov. 18. | Photo by Sarah Jane Weaver
Yellow banners, representing light, are paraded during a program held Nov. 17, on the eve of the red
Yellow banners, representing light, are paraded during a program held Nov. 17, on the eve of the rededication of the Boise Idaho Temple. Yellow banners, representing light, are paraded during a program held Nov. 17, on the eve of the rededication of the Boise Idaho Temple. | Photo by Sarah Jane Weaver
Youth celebrated the rebuilt Boise Idaho Temple with song and dance Nov. 17 in the Taco Bell Arena.
Youth celebrated the rebuilt Boise Idaho Temple with song and dance Nov. 17 in the Taco Bell Arena. The Boise Idaho Temple, orginally dedicated in 1984, will be rededicated by President Thomas S. Monson on Nov. 18. | Photo by Sarah Jane Weaver
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