August 31, 2016

Tabernacle of Moses Youth Camp and Open House

During the first two weeks of August 2016, a historic Tabernacle Youth camp and public open house were held by members of the Huntington Beach and Murrieta Stakes of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The two stakes collaborated on the project, building one of the most accurate and beautiful replicas of the ancient Tabernacle of Moses. The replica was used to teach youth and adults about this significant, first portable temple.

The first week of events was devoted to helping the youth of the two stakes learn about the importance of the ancient Tabernacle. Youth from the Huntington Beach Stake, as part of their Youth Conference, first were divided into twelve tribes, and then marched into camp, with their tribe leaders and banners leading the way. For the next several days, they then camped as tribes around the Tabernacle, and took a variety of classes to help them learn about the Tabernacle of Moses, ancient sacrifices, and in particular, how these Old Testament ordinances and practices pointed to the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. The classes included teachings about the symbolism of water, the tree of life, olive oil, incense, sacred clothing, and bread in ancient times. Perhaps the two most meaningful classes were on the process of making olive oil. During the class the youth first crushed olives by hand, and then placed the crushed olive mash beneath a replica ancient press, harvesting the olive oil as it oozed out into a container. Youth then learned that the word Gethsemane in Hebrew means olive press, and of how the symbolism of the olive press typify the suffering of the Savior in Gethsemane.

Altar of Sacrifice
For lunch on the first day of the camp, the youth gathered together and broke bread and ate a meal the way it might have been like in ancient times. They took turns washing hands, ate with their hands while seated on the ground, and learned of the importance of communal meals in ancient times. During the camp, the youth also enjoyed swimming, diving, boating, and sliding down the slides at the huge pool. They also participated in various activities and relay races to help create teamwork and establish unity and friendships among the youth. At night the Tabernacle was lit up, with a huge pillar of light, representing the pillar of fire by night as found in scripture. Interestingly, on several mornings the Tabernacle was also covered with a beautiful layer of fog, reminiscent of the cloud by day.

The Holy Place of the Tabernacle of Moses
On the second and last day of the camp, the youth from both stakes toured the Tabernacle. They started in the outer court, learning about the beautifully colored outer gate, the bronze altar of sacrifice with its four horns, the laver for ritual washing, and about the various outer layers of the tabernacle structure. They also learned about the garments of the high priest, and how the clothing pointed to and symbolized Jesus Christ, the Great high priest. They then entered the Holy Place and learned about the golden seven branched menorah, the table of showbread with its 12 loaves of bread, and the altar of incense that was placed before the veil of the temple, repressing the prayers of the saints ascending to heaven. As the last part of their tour, they entered the Holy of Holies and looked into the ark of the covenant. They learned of how the high priest entered this room only once a year on the day of atonement, and how this symbolized Christ entering the presence of God and interceding on our behalf.

The ark of the covenant in the Tabernacle replica
On the Sunday after the last day of the youth camps, the Murrieta stake held there Stake Priesthood training meeting in the outer court of the Tabernacle. From Monday through Thursday of the second week, a public open house was held with over 3,000 attendees touring the Tabernacle. Guests were taken on a 45 minute tour where they learned of how the Tabernacle pointed to Christ, and of how learning about these ancient practices, can better help us understand the atonement of Jesus Christ. Over the two week period, over 3,500 people were able to experience the Tabernacle and witness with their own eyes this unique and sacred structure!

The pillar of fire at night


  1. Daniel,
    Is there any chance that the Tabernacle can "travel" to other areas/stakes when we teach the Old Testament again in seminary?

    1. Dawn, not sure. I hope so, but this is all very new, and I really was only there for filming. I know the Huntington Beach stake plans on having more events, and possibly renting/lending it out, but again, this is a brand new concept so a lot is still being figured out.

  2. AnonymousMay 03, 2017

    This is... I am almost speechless on how incredible this is! Our youth just finished the book of Exodus and to see this is simply amazing. I am very interested as well about the camp traveling to other places. Georgia! Please continue this the educational and spiritual experience is needed!


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