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Of souls and soles

Participants prepare donated shoes during a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Multi-Stake Youth Conference in Troy, Ala., Friday, July 15, 2011. (Messenger Staff Photo/Thomas Graning)

Mormon youth gather, celebrate

More than 700 youth, ages 14-18, from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are attending the “Multi Stake” Youth Conference themed “We Believe,” this weekend at Troy University.

Tasha Quinnelly, LDS Church director of public affairs for South Alabama, is attending the conference for the first time and said that she has been “blown away.”

“Yesterday, I was listening to these young people sing ‘Especially for You,’ which is a medley of about three or four hymns, and it was so beautiful that I got chill bumps,” Quinnelly said. “This is such an incredible conference. It’s an opportunity for young people from South Alabama, South Mississippi and the Panhandle of Florida to come together to strengthen their testimony of Christ and have fun together.

“The Conference is packed with spiritual things and we come together as believers and share with one another.”

The “Multi Stake” conference opened on Thursday with get- acquainted activities, including a talent show, a dance and a pizza party.

Spiritual meetings with featured speakers filled much of Friday’s agenda along a performance by Marvin Goldstein, an acclaimed pianist and performer, the culmination of the conference service project, “Soles 4 Souls” and a banquet.

“We know how important service projects are and, as part of the conference, we wanted to encourage service to others,” Quinnelly said. “We’ve partnered with the ‘Soles 4 Souls’ organization and asked the young people to bring any extra shoes they could spare to give to those in need, especially those in Third World countries. The shoes will be given to the ‘Soles 4 Souls’ charitable organization to be distributed.”

The conference will close today with Rulon Munns, managing shareholder at Bogin Munns and Munns, as the featured speak. Munns is a graduate of Brigham Young University. All 700 youth voices will come together to sing “Especially for You” and the young people will have an opportunity to share their testimonies.

“This will be a very special time for the conference,” Quinnelly said. “It has been a wonderful three days of being together to share our beliefs and our testimonies.”

Quinnelly said she is often asked about the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to which she responds, “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous and in doing good to all men. We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.”