Two pivotal anniversaries were the foundation for the Church’s annual Latino cultural celebration held at the Conference Center on Saturday, October 21, 2006.
For Mexican members of the Church, 2006 marked the 125th anniversary of the organization of the Church in their homeland. The developing LDS history in Mexico is a success story. Today more than one million members live in Mexico and enjoy the blessings of a dozen temples.
The lives of Spanish-speaking people everywhere have also been blessed by the translation of the Book of Mormon into their own language 120 years earlier.
Thousands filled the Conference Center for the celebration, applauding and singing along with the hundreds of dancers and choir members who performed on an ornate Mesoamerican-themed stage.
The festive cultural program, entitled “Treasures of the Americas,” featured folk dances and songs from a variety of cultures and lands, including Hawaii, Samoa, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and the Native American cultures of the United States. Each performance was enhanced by native costumes rich in color and design and was accompanied by live folk music. A diverse chorus filled the Conference Center choir seats. Additional music and dances were performed in the Conference Center lobbies prior to the main program.
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles called it an excellent program. “What a wonderful way to get together this evening as brothers and sisters and friends and neighbors,” he said.
Elder Ballard also emphasized the value of each person who attended the event, which included many who are not Church members. “We want every one of you … to know how much our Heavenly Father loves each and every one of you,” he said.