The 2021 Youth theme of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “A Great Work,” is taken from Doctrine and Covenants 64:33-34. The scripture reads, “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great. Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days.”
That theme was at the center of the Wednesday, 17 March 2021, 53-minute broadcast of the 2021 Youth Theme Music Festival, which featured virtual performances from Latter-day Saints from around the world and messages from Church leaders, including a message from President Russell M. Nelson. In his message, he called young Church members “the hope of Israel” (referencing the hymn).
During the Christ-centered concert, Church leaders and youth alike focused on how the younger generation can bring hope to the world as they invite others to believe in Jesus Christ. The event, which included songs from the 2021 Youth Theme Album, was presented in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Italian, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese, and ASL. Hosts and performers for the event were in different parts of the world, including Brazil, the Caribbean, Germany, South Africa, New Zealand, the Philippines, and the United States.
One of the event hosts, Tyla Tuala, from Auckland, New Zealand, commented, “The miracle that Jesus Christ died and rose again is at the center of this event. We gather in song and testimony to celebrate the power of His Atonement in our lives today, and to join in His great work.” Patch Crowe, a singer from Bountiful, Utah, who sang “If You Believe,” said, “I hope that people out there are able to feel the spirit that comes from this, to go out and be actionable about what [they] believe to be true.” And Emily Bea, a performer from Lehi, Utah, said, “It’s bringing us all together, as the world and just humans, and I think that’s amazing.”
From Māori Battalion drums to electric guitars, global performers played different musical styles of songs that focused on faith in the Savior. In addition, persons who tuned in to the gospel music festival experienced interactive youth-led tours of a Church historic site in Palmyra, New York, the exterior of the Campina Brazil Temple, and the first Church meetinghouse in Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines.
Nicholas Shigekiyo from Campinas, Brazil, commented, “The great work of our Heavenly Father starts small. It starts in neighborhoods and cities, like this one, all over the world. I love the temple because it reminds me that I am a beloved son of God, that my Heavenly Father has a plan for me, and that He trusts me to be a part of His great work.”
Latter-day Saint youth also appeared in prerecorded video messages to share what they have done to overcome personal challenges during the pandemic and ideas on how to invite others to find hope through the Savior.
Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, the Young Women general president, speaking from the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, said, “You have inspired us. Our Heavenly Father has given you gifts and talents that are needed to bless others right now. Even during this pandemic, you have brought joy and light wherever you are.”
Brother Steven J. Lund, the Young Men general president, added, “The events of this past year have been challenging and have changed the way many of us do our part in the Lord’s work, but they haven’t stopped or slowed the work down. All over the world, you are making a difference.”
At the conclusion of the event, President Russell M. Nelson appeared in a prerecorded video with a message for youth and then played “Hope of Israel” on the piano. In his remarks, he talked about the “profound influence” music has had on his life. He said, “It [music] has lifted my spirits during sad days, and it has helped me feel joy at other times. I’ve also found that listening to uplifting music is one of the best ways to feel the Spirit and hear the voice of the Lord.”