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SALT LAKE CITY — President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints revealed on Sunday a new proclamation as the church celebrates the 200th anniversary of Joseph Smith’s First Vision.
“We felt impressed to create a monument, not of granite or stone, but of words — words of solemn and sacred proclamation. Not to be carved in tables of stone, but to be etched in the fleshy tables of our hearts,” President Nelson said.
The proclamation, titled “The Restoration of the Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: A Bicentennial Proclamation to the World,” was read by President Nelson in a previously recorded video at the Sacred Grove in Palmyra, New York — the site of the First Vision.
"We solemnly proclaim that God loves His children in every nation of the world. God the Father has given us the divine birth, the incomparable life, and the infinite atoning sacrifice of His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. By the power of the Father, Jesus rose again and gained the victory over death. He is our Savior, our Exemplar, and our Redeemer," it states in part.
It is the church’s sixth proclamation and first since 1995. Church officials said it is most similar to a proclamation issued as the church celebrated its sesquicentennial in 1980. The newest proclamation has already been transcribed in 12 languages, President Nelson said.
This April's conference has been focused on the 200th anniversary of the First Vision, when the church's founder Joseph Smith said he saw God the Father and Jesus Christ; Joseph Smith then began what church members call the Restoration of the gospel, establishing the church, receiving revelation, and discovering and receiving new scripture. The Book of Mormon was published and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was formed 10 years after the vision.
"Two hundred years have now elapsed since this Restoration was initiated by God the Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Millions throughout the world have embraced a knowledge of these prophesied events," the proclamation states. "We gladly declare that the promised Restoration goes forward through continuing revelation. The earth will never again be the same, as God will 'gather together in one all things in Christ.'"
The announcement was followed by a solemn assembly and a Hosanna Shout, typically performed at ceremonies like temple dedications. President Nelson first announced the assembly would be held during a Saturday morning's general conference session.
Also on Saturday, Nelson encouraged people worldwide to participate in a fast on Good Friday, April 10, to pray for relief from the COVID-19 pandemic.