Sisterz in Zion, directed by Melissa Puente

The film Sisterz in Zion is a one-hour documentary following the experiences of twenty-six young Latter-day Saint women from New York City who travel to Utah to attend a session of Especially for Youth at Brigham Young University. As one of their Young Women leaders, Renee Larson, remarks, these teenage girls are “really trying hard to be good Latter-day Saints—read their scriptures, pray, and do what Heavenly Father would want them to do—but they’ve never seen anybody else do it, and it’s like they’re making it up as they go along.” Their Church leaders hope that at EFY the young women will have the opportunity to be surrounded by youth who are striving to live the gospel. As another leader, Jaime Rasmussen, explains, “We wanted to create a connection [between these young women and] . . . other youth in the Church.”

The film highlights the experiences of several young women. They live in various parts of New York City, come from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and participate in typical LDS youth activities, such as early-morning seminary and the Young Women program. In virtually every case, they are the only LDS teenagers in their schools, and they are all fairly recent converts to the LDS Church. Daisy Andino is from Honduras and immigrated with her family when she was ten years old. Wendy Lee was born in Malaysia and moved to New York City when she was sixteen. Syretta McQuiller lives in the Bronx with her mother and sister. Massiel and Vanessa Gutierrez are from the Dominican Republic and now live in Manhattan. They all value and enjoy living in New York City specifically because of its cultural diversity. As Jaime Rasmussen explains, “One of the things that we were concerned about was the fact that [at EFY] they’d be probably the only nonwhite kids with . . . suburban teenagers, and [we were] not really sure how they’d react, whether they’d feel welcomed, whether they’d like it.”

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