Friday , June 01, 2018 - 5:15 AM
SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints commemorates the June 1, 1978, restoration of the priesthood with its Be One event Friday.
Held at the LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City, the event is set to be a celebration of faith and the 40th anniversary of the revelation on the priesthood. Prior to 1978, and except for a few early black pioneers, LDS men of color could not hold the priesthood. The revelation, received by President Spencer W. Kimball, opened the opportunity for all worthy men to receive all the blessings of the priesthood and rescinded the restriction on priesthood ordination. It also extended the opportunity for temple ordinances to all worthy members.
Tickets to the event are completely sold out, but it will be broadcast live at 7:30 p.m. Friday through local television stations, the church satellite system and online at LDS.org.
The musical event takes its theme from the LDS Church's Doctrine and Covenants 38:27, “be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine,” and will feature messages from church leaders intermingled with performances by Gladys Knight, Alex Boyé, the Bonner family, the Unity Gospel Choir International, various other choirs and dance groups.
From the moment Yvonne Baraketse found out about the event, she wanted to be a part of it, she said during Thursday evening’s dress rehearsal. She felt the spirit drawing her to participate, and organizers needed her talents. Originally from Rwanda, Baraketse is a teacher, choreographer and leader of multiple groups sharing the African culture with Utahns. She choreographed the Be One dance numbers.
“It’s been wonderful,” she said of participating in the event, “from the moment I heard this would happen, and they are celebrating — which is what we do. African people, we like to celebrate.”
They have only been rehearsing since the beginning of May, but she feels like everyone involved was already prepared. She described the process similar to an orchestra performance — just gathering all the talented players into the same place. She says she felt the spirit working within her as she choreographed the dances and movements to symbolize unity and joy.
“I hope people take with them that we are all children of God, and he is mindful of them,” she said as the Be One choir, comprised of various gospel choirs, raised their voices and filled the massive conference center with praise.
Temanuata Laussen is a member of one of those choirs, the Saints Unified Voices led by Gladys Knight. During Thursday evening’s dress rehearsal, she said she felt extremely grateful to be performing in the Be One event.
“The world is in so much turmoil; we need this more than ever,” she said, adding that the highlight for her is that LDS President Russell M. Nelson was the impetus behind this event, and the church as a whole is celebrating modern-day revelation. “He really has a charge from the Lord to do exactly this. How blessed I am to be a part of this.”
She, too, hopes viewers on Friday night will feel the love of God from the experience.
“I hope people leave wanting to be one … and going home really wanting to make changes in their lives so they can be one. If in any way in their life they were not a builder instead of a murmurer — let’s all go home and be builders,” she said.
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