Young men from the Mesquite Nevada Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints attended a gathering on Kolob Mountain in Utah June 24-27 called Camp Helaman, named after a great prophet and warrior from the Book of Mormon. These young men, ages 16 to 18 years of age had the opportunity to learn and experience the responsibilities of being missionaries as they were joined by their counterparts from the Hurricane Utah LDS Stake bringing the number of attendees to 130. Each boy was paired with a companion they had not previously met just as they would be on their future mission. All were expected to keep mission hours of 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and use that time in scripture study, gospel education, and inspirational meetings.
Camp Director Robert Bunker and Assistant Camp Director Shawn Hughes had planned an amazing program of hard work and spiritual experiences for the young men. They were assisted by a council of young men from the stake who had ideas and suggestions of their own.
“This camp is very much not a Boy Scout type camp. They may go to scout camp too but here the young men are expected to conduct themselves as missionaries, keeping the schedule, and doing the work necessary to learn lessons they will be teaching,” said Bunker.
Presentations by Priesthood leaders enriched and deepened their understanding of the Gospel and their determination to live their lives in such a way as to be worthy to serve missions and be examples of dedicated Disciples of Christ.
The parents of the young men were given the opportunity to be present and witness some of the activities such as “The Iron Rod” where the attendees were tested on their ability to make choices by listening to voices that encouraged them or tempted them. Parents also participated as their sons taught them a missionary discussion they had studied and learned during their stay on the mountain.
A popular and fun time was Culture Night when the boys got to learn about different countries in the world and their cultures. Because of the world wide nature of the church these future missionaries know they could serve their two years in nearly any country in the world.
Mother Kelli Mitchell said of her son Kai, “It is such a joy to watch your son grow and learn the things that will make him a great missionary. Camp Helaman is the best experience that he could be having.”