'Luz de las Naciones' conveys testimonies through song, dance
Event celebrates Latino, Polynesian LDS culture
Fili Sagapolutele is a busy man — a local attorney with a heavy caseload and plenty of professional and family obligations.
But when the Lehi resident was asked earlier this year to help choreograph the Samoan and Hawaiian dances for the Church cultural program, he eagerly accepted.
"It's been a big time commitment — but what better way to serve than to share your talents?" he said.
Brother Sagapolutele is just one of about 1,500 Utahns involved in the production of "Luz de las Naciones: Sus Promesas" (in English "Light of the Nations: Your Promises"). It's a colorful, festive program of song and dance that was staged Oct. 26 and 27, in the Conference Center.
The cast included hundreds of volunteers from across the Beehive State, performing songs, dances and instrumental numbers from a variety of Latino and Polynesian cultures and traditions. The program was presented in Spanish, but its message of restoration and gospel truths was, again, universal.
The Church staged similar cultural programs in 2004 and 2006.
"Ours is truly an international Church," said Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy. "Our members can be found in nearly every nation and represent many diverse cultures and backgrounds. Here in Utah, the Church recognizes and appreciates the great diversity found in the community."
"Luz de las Naciones," he added, reflects the Church's vast global family.
"While the program is produced locally by hundreds of volunteers, we hope its impact will stretch far beyond the boundaries of Utah through subsequent distribution and broadcast," Elder Clayton said. "Our support of the event is another example of the Church's international outreach and inclusivity."
The program recounted the varied traditions of a great white god that's prolific among the native inhabitants of North and South America and the Pacific Islands. The coming forth of the Book of Mormon and the prophesied return of Jesus Christ are also highlighted. The cultural performances culminated in a dramatic depiction of the resurrected Christ appearing to the Book of Mormon people in the Americas. A young actor also portrayed Joseph Smith symbolically accepting the Book of Mormon from the prophet Moroni.
Cast members hoped audiences would be moved by the program's inclusive message.
"This [is] a wonderful event to help bring communities together," said cast member Annya Becerra, an Orem resident and a native of Mexico.
"Luz de las Naciones" was recorded for future international broadcasts via BYUtv International.
The event was not limited to the performing arts. An art exhibit featuring the works of Latin American and Polynesian members was displayed at the Conference Center.