Los Angeles Temple Visitor’s Center Holds Interfaith Celebrations

Contributed By Jan Hemming, Los Angeles Public Affairs Office

  • 26 December 2014

Over 450,000 lights adorn the grounds at the Los Angeles Temple.  Photo by Jennifer Lee.

Article Highlights

  • Eight hundred people attended the interfaith choir concert called “Sing His Praises” at the Los Angeles Temple Visitor’s Center.
  • Dignitaries from 21 countries were among distinguished guests who attended a gala also held at the visitor’s center.

“They were taking God and Christ out of Christmas and we wanted to find a way to restore what Christmas was all about.” –Linda Hansen, UCLA institute instructor


From 450,000 shimmering lights to an outdoor interfaith choir concert and a glittering gala attended by foreign consuls general, California political leaders, and faith leaders, LDS Temple Hill in Los Angeles is making spirits bright this Christmas season.

Outdoor Interfaith Choir Concert

Choirs from the African-American, Korean, and LDS communities united in concert praising Christ and the spiritual meaning of Christmas December 6 at the Los Angeles Temple Visitors' Center.

About 800 people attended the evening song-fest, called “Sing His Praises,” held outdoors on the temple grounds. Traditional Christmas music as well as original seasonal pieces were performed by the Santa Monica California Stake Relief Society Choir, the Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church Choir, the Korean Choir of Southern California, and the Celebration Mass Choir of the California Missionary Baptist State Convention.

Linda Hansen, a Latter-day Saint institute instructor at UCLA, organized the event, which was held for the first time. She spearheaded the holiday festival when the City of Santa Monica shut down a 60-year tradition of displaying Nativity scenes.

“I was really sad about that,” said Sister Hansen. “They were taking God and Christ out of Christmas and we wanted to find a way to restore what Christmas was all about.” Pastors and ecclesiastical leaders representing all four choirs gave messages about Christ.

Annual Public Affairs Council Christmas Gala

Dignitaries from 21 countries were among the distinguished guests attending the 2014 Southern California Public Affairs Council’s annual Christmas Gala at the Los Angeles Temple Visitors’ Center on December 3. World-class pianist William Joseph, a David Foster protégé, performed during the evening program, and Shawn King, director of the Larry King Cardiac Foundation, delivered a brief Christmas message.

Also attending the evening reception and concert were several California State Assemblymen, aides to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, city councilmen and women, business and civic officials, along with 80 faith leaders from nine different religions and denominations.

Gary Wilde, director of the Southern California Public Affairs Council, said the Christmas event “builds bridges of understanding with many prominent thought leaders and influential people in Southern California and the high attendance this year by so many foreign consulates was a plus.”

Temple Hill Lights

Two days after Thanksgiving, 450,000 shimmering lights were officially turned on at the Los Angeles Temple Hill. Hundreds of volunteers from stakes throughout the Los Angeles California Temple district prepared the grounds for the holidays by hanging lights on palm trees, olive trees, and throughout the gardens and walkways during November.

Greg Gollaher, director of the Los Angeles Temple Visitors’ Center, estimates that during December about 25,000 people visit the Visitors’ Center to see the lights and hear nightly musical presentations.

Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church Choir performs in front of the Los Angeles Temple Visitors’ Center. Photo by Jan Hemming.

The Los Angeles Temple Hill lights and a shot of the crowd attending the Interfaith Christmas Choir Concert. Photo by Jennifer Lee.