Here is king Benjamin standing on his tower, preaching to the people about love and service. You can begin to see how much they really put into all of this. All of the speeches were pre-recorded and sound systems were spread throughout all of the acerage (1200 acres on a ranch) and powered by generators. We were in the middle of nowhere...with rolling hills and a lake...it was beautiful.
Here is an exmple of the many battles that took place. Each youth had a sword and a shield. They received battle training, and learned war cries of the Maori people. A little barbaric, but hey, it's a big part of any scripture.
Imagine the youths surprise when 100 youth were marching toward 100 other youth in the final and "Big Battle" after a day of off-and-on battle preparation and the one group knealt down and prayed instead of battling. I think it made what the Anti-Nephi-Lehis did very real. Just like in the Book of Mormon, some youth continued with the battle, some dropped their swords along side them.
Here is Alma the Younger and the Sons of Mosiah. YOu can see that they are all sporting mohawks and are sitting here during a discussion being very irreverant. They were acting like jerks all morning, and no one could tell what they were up too, anyway, soon after they went through their "change" and came back and their mohawks were shaved and they were perfect gentleman. The kids loved it.
This is Abinadi. Major pyrotechnics going on here. This was a reenactment going on at night. They did a really good job showing how good Abinidi was, and how sad his ending was. I think we all left with a new appreciation for Abinidi.
For our part, we were trying to teach the youth the importance of Powerful Prayer. To illustrate this, we invited "guests" from the book of mormon to share their first hand account of how Prayer impacted their life and how the youth could do the same. Our guests included Alma and Amulek, The Brother of Jared, and Enos. Pictured below is Enos. These boys memorized paragraph after paragraph of scripture and did an amazing job. We were so lucky to have them help us.
Sister Dibb, Councilor in the Genreal Young Women Presidency, and daughter of President Monson heard about what we had going on and felt she needed to witness it herself. Lucky for us, she also wanted to participate so this is a picture of her tallking to us about how Prayer impacted her life. She also allowed us to ask her questions about her dad, the Prophet.
Of course, all 200 of us were in full Book of Mormon attire. This is an example of a tribe in their garb.
Here is a close up of a battle. This is more during one of the training sessions.
As the pinnacle, we led the youth by blindfold to a spot in the forrest where they sat and listened to a reccording of the time of the resurrection of christ. They had some great audio and speakers so you could feel the wind and the rain and the earthquakes, and the reader of the text did a great job reading the text of the Christ's visit to America. After all of the build up up the music and the thundering and reading about the darkness and despair, at the point where Christ comes to the people, we moved through the crowd and had them remove their blindfolds, and in front of them was this scene. It's a famous painting of Christ's visit to the America's but instead we had youth leaders stand in place of the paintings characters. I will say they did have a Christ figure too, but only after guidance from Chrurch Leaders. The momment was only 2 minutes long before they covered the scene up, but I doubt it's a 2 minutes any of us will ever forget.