LDS youth share beliefs at cultural celebration

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Youth gather in the Dee Events Center Saturday night for the Ogden Temple Cultural Celebration. (Photo by Kaitlyn Johnson / The Signpost)

With all the traffic problems the Ogden LDS Temple open house has caused, some residents may be excited to see the temple dedicated and traffic congestion relieved.

Kamille Peterson, Kennedy Hunter and Mariah Ford, all seniors at Bonneville High School, are excited for the Ogden LDS Temple to be dedicated, but not because they’re worried about making their way through traffic. These girls were excited for the temple to be dedicated so they could express their beliefs as part of a youth choir for the temple dedication.

The Ogden temple will serve 76 stakes, which is a religious administrative unit similar to a deanery or diocese, from Pleasant View to Kaysville to Riverton, Wyoming. The youth from each stake performed in one of two celebrations held on Sept. 20 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the Dee Events Center.

“It’s been really fun,” Ford said. “There are a lot of kids and it’s really cool to get together . . . We’ve been practicing for two months, and I’m excited for it to finally be here!”

Ford said that much of the music performed in the celebration was original and that her choir director helped compose much of it, either composing entirely new songs or adding verses to existing hymns.

“A lot of the songs are about the temple and the youth of this generation and the trials of this generation, and how we have to be strong in our standards,” Ford said.

Peterson said that having this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform as part of a temple dedication celebration has helped her reaffirm her decision to, in the future, be married in the temple.

“It’s always been a goal for me to get married in the temple and to be sealed to my family for eternity,” Peterson said. “When you have someone you love pass away, you realize how short life really can be and how you really want to be with those people forever.”

Members of the LDS church believe that by being married in the temple and performing sacred ordinances there, they will be sealed to their families for time and all eternity. This provides families the opportunity to continue living together in heaven instead of as individuals.

Peterson said that she hopes that individuals of the LDS faith and those outside of it can learn from the principles taught in the temple dedication celebration. For members, Peterson hopes they realize that missionary work isn’t as difficult or as challenging as many think. For non-members, she said she hopes they feel the love and peace that comes from feeling the Holy Ghost, whom she and members of the LDS church believe is a messenger from God.

Hunter said that for her, and many other youth, participating in the cultural celebration was about more than being able to perform; it was about expressing her excitement about being able to prepare to enter what she believes is the house of God.

According to Hunter, not all the songs the youth have learned for the cultural celebration are religious, though many of them are. For example, the youth choir performed an arrangement of “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” as part of the cultural celebration.

“We’ve learned a lot of songs about how we are the chosen generation and about being prepared to enter the temple,” Hunter said.

Hunter said that she and members of the LDS church are very lucky because they have something than many people don’t.

“I think it’s important for people to know that even though we’re just in high school, we still know more than most teenagers know,” Hunter said. “We know that there is a God that loves us and wants us to live with him again and that’s something that not many people understand and that’s something they need to understand.”