Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Manhattan Temple Jubilee


Imagine walking up to the Radio City Music Hall and seeing: Manhattan Mormon Temple: Standard for the Nations Youth Jubilee in block letters. This was so out of place and so exciting. On June 13, 2004, as part of the opening of the Manhattan Temple, the youth from the NYC Metropolitan Area prepared a Jubilee to welcome the Prophet and celebrate the opening of the temple. I had a small part in helping some of the kids from Queens prepare. Below is an excerpt from my journal two years ago today:

We sat on the top mezzanine. I was so impressed with all that had come together to make a very professional event. There were 6 groups that performed: Pioneers, Europe, Harlem, Latin, Asia & Broadway. It began and ended with a children’s chorus dressed with white robes, singing “Teach me to Walk in the Light” and “The Lord is my Light”. The youth in the audience held up small lights. It was a great sight. I was weeping for much of the performance. Especially when I saw the prophet on the screens on either side of the auditorium, and the kids stand up and give him an ovation. Then as soon as the pioneer group began, I cried some more. I was surprised at how emotional I was, but the spirit was very strong. The group that I have been working with is Asia, and my specific task was to teach them the hymn: “High on a Mountain Top” in Japanese. We had prerecorded it, but our youth sang with it to begin our presentation. It was accompanied by TAI CHI and followed by a Chinese dragon an Indian Dance, a Korean Fan Dance, a Chinese Ribbon Dance, a Polynesian War Dance, a Lionhead Dance and a Final Pose. Our kids bragged before the performance that they were the best group. They were definitely a spectacle and one of the best, but each group had positive elements to it.

One cool element of the Manhattan Stake's presentation was a special recording of AS I HAVE LOVED YOU sung by Gladys Knight that was broadcasted on a big screen above the stage. That was unexpected and awesome. In between each presentation there were video segments about NYC, the youth, and the kids who would perform next. They showed rehearsals of each group and interviews with kids. It was in the typical, professional church style. It had fun and modern music. It was such a unique event.

After the show there was a special fireside. I wanted to share a few parts of the fireside that stood out to me. President Hinckley said that he wanted to put a little fun into the lives of the youth and the Saints. He has started “ordering” jubilees for every new temple being built. A quote from his talk: “Let’s make the gospel and church fun for the young.” He also encouraged the youth to accept this phrase: “I will make a difference because of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” He also said: “Walk with pride but not with arrogance or self righteousness”. Robert D. Hales was also present and spoke. A poignant and important point from his talk: 2 ways to tell if you are a good friend and have good friends: 1. Your friends will not make you choose between their way and the Lord’s way. 2. Good friends make it easier to live the gospel.

In the video, Henry B. Eyring said something like: “Don’t act better, just live better”. I liked that too. He also spoke about growing up in New Jersey and being the only members in their county and how church was held in their dining room. I think that my Grandpa attended church their when he was at Princeton, because I know Henry Eyring looked up to my Grandpa Zundel at one point. He testified that Heavenly Father had sent him good friends and confidantes when he was alone in the gospel. All of the apostles interviewed in the video were chosen for having spent time growing up in the NY area: Hales, L. Tom Perry, & Eyring.

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