Youth temple celebration depicts cultural history of eastern Arizona

More than 1,600 youth draped in white capes stood on the football field at Eastern Arizona College stadium on May 22 and watched as a replica Angel Moroni — holding his horn aloft — was hoisted high into the air.

The scene was a fitting end to a production staged to celebrate the dedication of the Gila Valley Temple — the Church’s 132nd temple and the third in Arizona. The youth retold — through song, dance and spoken word — the rich cultural history of eastern Arizona. In the final moments of the show, they themselves became the foundation stones of the temple, standing close together wearing white. The Angel Moroni statue, common on most LDS temples — including the Gila Valley Temple — completed the scene as it rose above the man-made foundation.

President Thomas S. Monson presided at the event. A capacity crowd of more than 3,500 attended the celebration, which was broadcast to LDS meetinghouses in the temple district and other locations in the United States.

President Monson stopped on his way into the stadium to address the crowd. "I love these big events," he said. "No one in the First Presidency or the Twelve advocate these big events more than Tom Monson."

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