Photo Essay

Cultural Event Celebrates Church’s Latin American Heritage

Elder Christofferson encourages youth to be shining light

Colorful costumes, dancers and music sung in Spanish entertained audiences in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City at a special Latino youth and young adult cultural event.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from several areas in Utah presented two evening performances of “Luz de las Naciones: Juventud de la Promesa” or “Light of the Nations: Youth of Promise,” Friday and Saturday, October 23–24, 2015.

Thousands of people attended the cultural celebrations, which were followed by a devotional on Sunday.

Mormon singer David Archuleta was the featured guest artist for the free, ticketed event. Archuleta served a mission for the Church in Chile and speaks Spanish.

David Archuleta performed a musical number with his mother, Lupe Mayorga.

The program included musicians, a volunteer youth and young adult choir, musicians and dance groups who performed a variety of contemporary and traditional dances from Latin America.

Traditional dances included Guadalajara, a Mexican folk dance, which was accompanied by a Mariachi singer.

Another musical performance featured entertainers in soccer outfits, who paid tribute to the sport that is so popular in Latin America.

Many of the dancers wore authentic costumes.

The volunteer choir was made up of young men and women from northern Utah.

Returned missionaries who served in Spanish-speaking missions were also given the opportunity to take the stage for a special musical performance.

Many men and women in the Church are called, for a period of 18 to 24 months, to preach the gospel, in Spanish-speaking missions in the United States and other countries.

Although the performances were in Spanish, English and Portuguese translations were available over headsets.

“Over the past two days you have been favored with inspiring music, watched amazing dancers, and have heard messages celebrating the rich cultural heritage that is yours,” said Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who presided and spoke in Spanish at the devotional. “What a wonderful celebration of community and faith this has been!”

Elder Christofferson served a mission in South America and has traveled extensively in Mexico, Central America and South America with his wife as a Seventy and as an apostle.

He encouraged the audience to spend time “regularly in the scriptures” and “on your knees in prayer” to develop a relationship with “God and our Savior.”

Elder Christofferson then focused specifically on the youth in the audience, urging them to prepare for temple marriage, to obtain an education or vocational training and to live clean lifes. “Your goodness and strength are needed in this world now. You are and will continue to be a tremendous force for good. You can be a shining light to those who walk in darkness,” he added.

David Archuleta also shared a message at the Sunday devotional. 

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