by Ian M. Houston
Woodbridge Stake Director of Public Affairs
Youth of the Woodbridge Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Lattter-day Saints journeyed to historic Kirtland, Ohio for Youth Conference the week of July 28-30.
Speaking from inside the Kirtland Temple to the youth on Thursday evening, Woodbridge Stake President Clark Price said, “The Lord wanted each of you here.” Stake First Counselor Val Hilton reflected in his remarks on how inspired it was for the Woodbridge Stake to have made this journey and that it came from inspiration that President Price received. Evening speakers included stake youth leaders and Latter-day Saint author and long-time Ohio resident Karl Ricks Anderson. Brother Anderson brought to light with humor and a deep understanding the unparalleled events and divine manifestations that were given during those early years of church history. Construction on the first Mormon temple was started on June 6, 1833 and the building was dedicated on March 27, 1836. In his dedicatory prayer, President Joseph Smith asked “that all people who shall enter upon the threshold of the Lord’s house may feel thy power.”
Audrey Scott, 17, of the Lake Ridge I Ward said of the trip: “It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to broaden my perceptive on the hardships of the early pioneers.”
“The stone quarry was a very cool system of engineering and science,” said Dallin Gulick, 14, of the Quantico Ward after the group toured the quarry where marks in the stone can still be seen. The youth also toured sights sacred to Mormon history including the Isaac Morley Farm, the Johnson Home, and the Newel K. and Ann Whitney home and store.
Saturday held a special opportunity for the youth to bear testimony of the experience and express what it meant to them. Many youth mentioned the evening temple experience as particularly moving.
Planning for the Youth Conference commenced over a year ago. The Young Women’s and Young Men’s Stake Leadership spent countless hours refining and revising details. Stake Young Women’s President Debbie Roderick said on the journey home on Saturday evening, “It was amazing to be in Kirtland with the youth and to feel their excitement and awe as we walked where the Prophet Joseph walked and visited rooms where God the Father and his son, Jesus Christ stood.” She added, “they are the future leaders in our church and they are strong!”