PROVO, Utah – To celebrate the dedication of the new LDS temple in Payson on Sunday, youth from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints put on a cultural celebration at BYU’s LaVell Edwards stadium Saturday night.
More than 12,000 youth from the Payson, Mapleton and Delta communities participated in the event.
The LDS church does cultural celebrations before every temple dedication.
“I think it’s just very inspirational,” said singer Lillian Helper, who’s participating in the event. “It just spreads so much emotion.”
Youth from the LDS Payson district performed songs and dances reflective of the region.
“I thought it was a really neat opportunity to perform for my church leaders,” said performer Joshua Quist.
More than 500,000 people attended the LDS temple open house in Payson, and more than 40,000 are expected Saturday night at BYU’s LaVell Edwards Stadium for the cultural celebration.
“This is a tradition they’ve had all over the world where they dedicate a temple,” said event coordinator Gregory Duffin. “They come and they have a cultural celebration for the youth, that’s a great chance for them to feel a part and feel the spirit of what’s going on and to share in the festivities of the temple being dedicated.”
Singing and dancing in the football field, thousands of youth performed at one time.
“Each number on the field when we perform it has anywhere from 500 to 1,500 people performing on the field at the same time in different dance numbers, different songs, movements, all meant to kind of celebrate our heritage,” Duffin said.
The young performers said they’re happy to be a part of something that’s close to their hearts.
“I think it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I’m almost graduated so I wouldn’t get the opportunity to do it again,” said dancer and youth performer Keilani Fifita.
LDS Church leaders will dedicate the Payson Temple on Sunday.
“The temple’s been a source of lots of excitement for all these youth,” Duffin said.
Those who could not attend the celebration in person can watch it live on the LDS Church's website.