New Year's Eve arrived early for tens of thousands of young people from Utah's Wasatch Front.
The young men and women who gathered in the LDS Conference Center on Nov. 5 and Nov. 6 were "hired" as enthusiastic cast extras during two days of taping for a DVD program entitled "A Brand New Year: A Celebration for Latter-day Saint Youth." Once finished, the DVD will be distributed to stakes, wards and branches throughout the United States and Canada to be utilized by local priesthood and youth leaders during New Year's Eve activities and throughout the year.
The program was full of music, spectacle, dance and inspiring messages anchored to the 2009 Mutual theme: "Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity" (1 Timothy 4:12).
Young people who participated in the taping were counseled by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve to make wise choices and stand up for what is right.
The program also featured Charles W. Dahlquist II, Young Men general president, and Elaine S. Dalton, Young Women general president. Brother Dahlquist and Sister Dalton utilized the large stage that stretched across the Conference Center podium area to speak to young men and women about the importance of living LDS standards and incorporating next year's Mutual theme into their lives.
Each young person in attendance — along with those who will view the DVD during New Year's Eve or Mutual events — were challenged to pray each day and spend at least five minutes a day reading the Book of Mormon. And don't forget to smile and be happy, the general leaders added.
Audience members chanted, joined in with the "wave" and saluted one another with copies of the "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet. They also learned the Mutual theme song designed to help all LDS youth follow the Apostle Paul's admonition to be "an example of the believers."
The taped events had a global feel. A celebration of youth activities in 2008 featured video clips from several events — including youth cultural events from around the world that were staged in conjunction with temple dedications in locales such as Panama, Brazil, California and Idaho.
Suggestions on how to best use the DVD can be found at the Church's Web site, lds.org.