News Release

Back to the Middle Ages with Latter-day Youth

On Saturday, September 2, 2023, youth from the St. Gallen, Zürich and Bern Switzerland stakes celebrated a medieval festival.

More than 300 excited youth dressed in medieval garb poured onto the grounds of a 13th century estate in northeast Switzerland. These youth came from the St Gallen, Zürich and Bern Switzerland stakes of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They spent a full year preparing for their Medieval Day at the Tobel Manor near Affeltrangen in the Swiss canton of Thurgau. Armed guards at the entrance welcomed the youth.

"I was thrilled to see so many happy faces! Many of these youth have never been able to come to one of our national activities" said Sandra Bassler, St Gallen Stake Young Women president. This was by far the largest youth group ever gathered for this type of event by the three Swiss stakes.

A special guest at the festival was Elder Jack N. Gerard of the Europe Central Area presidency. Elder Gerard has been serving the Church in Europe since August 1, 2023, and did not want to miss this historic event. When he spoke to the youth, he reminded them that the Dark Ages were followed by a period of enlightenment and encouraged each of them to seek gospel enlightenment centered on Jesus Christ, just as the Prophet Joseph Smith had “learned for himself." He thanked them for their great example and accomplishments. “These young people are a bright light in a challenging world.”

Woven throughout the day was the New Testament lesson of the Good Samaritan. A beggar circulated through the crowds asking for help and money that the young people could earn at the market stalls. By day’s end, the beggar had collected more than 300 guilders. These young women and young men took to heart the Savior’s message to help those in need.

Under clear, sunny skies, the 11-18-year-olds were able to take part in more than 30 medieval attractions that they had helped to prepare. At market stalls they worked with leather, put together herbal bags and practised calligraphy. There were plenty of fun competitions, from archery to stick fighting and knight duels, as well as a blacksmith stand, a place for carving shingles and of course, plenty of delicious food. Perhaps the highlights of the day were the two one-hour shows where the youth displayed their talents. Among other things, there were skits, dance performances and a rousing medieval band. Acrobats also performed to roars of excitement and wild applause. Thierry Schröder, a young man from the St Gallen Stake, shared his feeling that “when we have fun, we learn more.”

The day ended with dancing under the stars and an impressive fireworks show. In reflecting on the activity, Oliver Bassler, St Gallen Stake high councilor commented: “I’m grateful that the youth of our church were able to develop their individual talents, learn to work well together, strengthen friendships and experience the joy of serving like the Savior. What a great day!"

Lynn Winterhalder, a young woman from the Zürich Stake, said, “To go through everything with friends who have the same priorities that I have is one of the greatest things I’ve experienced in my youth.”

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