By Cecily Markland
The LDS Church’s commitment to service and its widespread humanitarian efforts are touchingly portrayed in an interactive, multimedia exhibit on display now at the Mesa Temple Visitors’ Center.
The theme of the exhibit, “Love Thy Neighbor,” is based on the phrase in Galatians 5:13, “by love, serve one another.”
According to Visitors’ Center director, Linford Beckstrand, the display focuses on four major areas of humanitarian service that the Church is involved in worldwide. The four areas, and their titles (taken from Matthew 25:36) are: Food Production—“I was Hungered,” Digging Water Wells—”I was Thirsty,” Disaster Relief—”I was a Stranger” and Wheelchair Donations—”I was Sick.”
Huge screens curve around the perimeter of the room, with internal projectors that show video vignettes about each of the areas. The videos can be shown in English, Spanish or with subtitles.
Sister Moreno Hourritiner, from Venezuela and serving as a missionary at the Visitors’ Center, said the tour shows “how small acts of service or charity can change people’s lives, even something as small as a smile. Those who view the exhibit are inspired to serve others in their own community.”
Another missionary, Sister Ana Avanesjan, of Frankfurt, Germany, said, “I was moved to see and learn all of the many things our Church has done for other people. Those who come will be surprised to discover how much humanitarian service is being done around the world.”
Kristy Gustafson and Tori Adair, Cub Scout leaders from the Mesa 46th Ward, Mesa East Stake, took their Scouts to see the display as a way to help them complete part of their Duty to God achievement.
Nikolas Gustafson, 8, said he enjoyed exhibit.
“It was about helping people,” he said.
Eight-year-old, Dallin Bowers agreed.
“I learned that helping each other gives blessings,” he said.
Ethan (10), Colby (7) and Sadie (4) Price, from Tucson, visited the display with their grandmother. At the end, each of the shared a service idea.
“I can help my brother and sister,” Ethan said, and Colby said he could “help my mom with the dishes.”
“The exhibit is very powerful for everyone—young and old. Those who come—whether LDS members or not—feel the spirit of it,” said Elder and Sister Ballard, a senior couple serving at the Visitors’ Center.
“Love Thy Neighbor” is a “traveling exhibit” that was first shown at the Visitors’ Center in Los Angeles, Calif., then went to St. George, Utah, before coming to Mesa. It will remain in Mesa until the first part of November, when it will be replaced by the annual nativity displays of during the Christmas season.
The exhibit is free and is open to the public daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. It takes about 20 minutes to complete.