OREM, Utah — Min Joong Kim has lived in Utah for only a few weeks, but he’s already feeling the impact of the newly dedicated Orem Utah Temple.
The Brigham Young University student from South Korea recently moved to Utah to pursue a computer science degree. Upon arriving, he joined the Orem Utah Sunset Heights Stake’s Korean-speaking ward and was invited to sing with a small group performing at a musical celebration fireside on Saturday, Jan. 20.
The event, held at 7 p.m. at the Utah Valley Institute of Religion in Orem, honored the Orem temple’s dedication on Jan. 21. Hundreds of youth, young adults and community members turned out to share faith, testimonies and a variety of sacred music.
Kim’s group performed an arrangement of “Let Us All Press On,” sung partially in English and partially in Korean, one of 18 musical numbers during the evening. Several other numbers were performed fully or partially in Spanish. All of the musicians belonged to local wards and stakes.
Kim said that right after arriving in Utah, he wanted to do something to show Heavenly Father his gratitude for the new temple.
“This opportunity came to me, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be part of God’s plan,” he said.
Elder Robert T. Smith, an Area Seventy in the Utah Area, said thousands of people will see the new temple as they travel along the major thoroughfare of Interstate 15.
Additionally, tens of thousands of Utah Valley University students will see the temple from their campus and be reminded of Jesus Christ, he said.
“It is good for us to hear the song of the heart, a prayer and a testimony of Jesus Christ,” Elder Smith said.
Performers share their feelings
Jonathan Ashton, a violinist with the Orem High School Seminary Choir, called performing at the musical celebration a blessing.
The Spirit can be shared through music, he said, adding that it was amazing looking out at the audience and seeing so many people experiencing the music together.
Ashton said having a temple in Orem is significant because “it’s another opportunity for so many people just to have [the temple] that much closer.”
Utah Valley University students Bailey Buttars and Kamaryn Wood performed with the Utah Valley Institute Singers, the Utah Valley Institute of Religion’s auditioned choir.
Wood said the Spirit was powerful during the musical celebration. She particularly enjoyed singing “The Spirit of God,” which was also performed at the Kirtland Temple dedication in 1836.
She also loves how visible the new Orem temple is from campus. As someone who’s considering what her college major should be and if she should serve a mission, “every time I see [the temple], I just feel so lucky,” Wood said.
Buttars said she remembers vividly how excited she was when she first heard that a temple was coming to Orem.
Now, “I’m so excited to actually go to the temple and do work for people who’ve passed on,” she said.