In the bustling Mountain America Exposition Center, thousands of people recently gathered for the second annual “Restore” event, a two-day assembly brought to life by Faith Matters. This gathering offered an opportunity to celebrate the inspiring and elevating aspects of Mormonism, all while addressing the challenges it presents. From renowned musicians to prominent figures like Steve Young, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, and more, “Restore” was a melting pot of Latter-day Saint luminaries.
The event showcased an array of art forms, from music to poetry, speeches to sermons, offering attendees an experience that blended elements of the early Sunstone Symposium with the spiritual resonance of LDS General Conference.
Founded by Bill Turnbull and his family, Faith Matters has become a pivotal space for examining and discussing the restored gospel in an expansive and radiant manner. Their podcast, which boasts between 250,000 and 300,000 monthly downloads, paved the way for their print publication, “Wayfare: Explorations in Faith,” featuring essays by Latter-day Saint writers and thinkers.
Last year, “Restore” brought together more than 1,500 people. This year’s turnout reached an astonishing 3,500 attendees, all drawn to the powerful spirit of love, hope, and connection that permeated the event. “Restore” has provided a platform for discussing the joyful truths of the restoration with fresh language, music, and art.
In the face of an increasingly secular society, today’s Latter-day Saints are confronting hard questions. “Restore” has emerged as a productive and constructive intersection between modernity and deeply held religious beliefs. It’s a place where the faithful can engage with challenging issues and find a sense of community.
The event didn’t focus specifically on LGBTQ issues, but a live poll revealed that these concerns were of paramount importance. The community’s response gives hope for increased support and discussion surrounding LGBTQ matters in the future.
Notably, “Restore” isn’t the only place where spiritual exploration takes place. For some, like Rosalynde Welch, their sense of God is deeply rooted in the local chapels, and the most profound spiritual experiences occur within their immediate surroundings.
Onstage, Brandon Flowers, lead singer of The Killers, found a spiritual connection in a simple Latter-day Saint hymn, quoting verses from “Lord, I Would Follow Thee.” Flowers, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shared his profound appreciation for this hymn’s depth, likening it to the lyrics of Lennon and McCartney.
Flowers’ journey within the Church was intertwined with his music career, leading him to a place where he not only appreciates the beauty of hymns but also finds comfort in celebrating the restored gospel. His faith has led him to create songs inspired by reconciliation and spiritual growth, even if not everyone fully comprehends the depth of his messages.
In the end, the “Restore” event was an amalgamation of artistic expression, spiritual introspection, and a powerful sense of community, where attendees could explore their faith in an inclusive and expansive manner. As they grappled with complex questions, the event provided them with the support and encouragement they needed to engage with both modernity and their deeply held religious beliefs.