SALT LAKE CITY — President Russell M. Nelson, leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, announced a new symbol to identify the church in official literature, news, and events in the Saturday evening session of the church's general conference.
The new symbol includes the church’s full name contained within a cornerstone, meant to symbolize Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone of the faith.
The center of the new symbol is a rendering of Bertel Thorvaldsen’s Christus, a marble statue which the church has included in various sites for its temples, including an 11-foot statue in its Temple Square North Visitors' Center.
In the new symbol, the Christus stands underneath an arch, invoking the resurrection of the Savior emerging from His tomb on the third day following His crucifixion. Such imagery is meant to represent the church’s emphasis on a living, resurrected Christ.
Now, President Nelson said, the symbol will be used as a visual identifier on all official literature, news and events of the church. He also said the symbol will serve as a reminder to all that everything the church does is centered on Christ and His gospel.
President Nelson contextualized the change by emphasizing that, while the Restoration of the church is important, members are not part of the church of Joseph Smith. He pointed out that early revelation explicitly names the faith as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The religion is sometimes shortened to “the LDS church” and its members are frequently referred to in popular culture as “Mormons.” In recent years, President Nelson has encouraged the abandonment of such abbreviations, stating that such names omit the name of Jesus Christ and create separation between Him and the church.
On Saturday evening, he reemphasized statements he made in a 2018 conference talk, “The Correct Name of the Church,” saying that if members “do our best to restore the correct name of the Lord’s church,” God would “pour down His power and blessings upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints, the likes of which we have never seen.”
“Symbolically, Jesus Christ is standing under an arch. The arch reminds us of the resurrected Savior emerging from the tomb on the third day following His crucifixion.” #PresNelson | #GeneralConferencepic.twitter.com/XE0Ho6a6re— GeneralConference (@ldsconf) April 5, 2020
He then encouraged those who follow Jesus Christ to put actions behind their faith.
President Nelson again called for a worldwide fast on April 10, Good Friday, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. He stated that such a fast would “put our faith in the Lord into action.”
He asked members and nonmembers of the church, alike, to fast for relief from the pandemic, protection for caregivers, a strengthened economy and a return to normal life.
Fasting, he said, is both an ancient doctrine used by biblical heroes such as Moses, David, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Isaiah, Daniel, Joel and many others, but also a monthly part of modern church life.
“I invite all, including those not of our faith, to fast and pray on Good Friday, April 10, that the present pandemic may be controlled, caregivers protected, the economy strengthened and life normalized.” #PresNelson | #GeneralConferencepic.twitter.com/DanS7zD5Bd— GeneralConference (@ldsconf) April 5, 2020
During such times of distress when an illness reaches pandemic proportions, President Nelson said that calling on Heavenly Father and His Son, the Master Healer, is the most natural thing to do.
President Nelson emphasized the fast was for all those whose health would allow them to participate. He said that while a 24-hour period or a fast of two meals is customary, individuals could identify what would constitute a sacrifice for them as they remember the supreme sacrifice of the Savior.