SALT LAKE CITY — The Saturday evening session of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' General Conference ended with a new symbol introduced by President Russell M. Nelson, along with a call for a worldwide fast for members and non-members alike in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The church's new symbol "emphasizes the name of Jesus Christ and His central role in all the Church does," the church described. It features an image of the Christus, a statue by Bertel Thorvaldsen.
“[The symbol] portrays the resurrected, living Lord reaching out to embrace all who will come unto Him,” said Nelson, the church's prophet. “This symbol should feel familiar to many, as we have long identified the restored gospel with the living, resurrected Christ.”
The statue is portrayed underneath an arch, which the church says symbolizes Jesus' emergence from the tomb, and below is the church's full name inside a rectangle, which the church said represents a cornerstone, used in the Holy Bible as a metaphor to Jesus.
The image is the latest in Nelson's push to increase the focus of the church on Jesus Christ, eliminating nicknames and abbreviations such as "Mormon" or "LDS."
Nelson also called on the world to fast and pray for relief from the novel coronavirus pandemic for a second time. He had previously called for a fast for the same purpose on Sunday, March 29. The next global fast, which he invited members and non-members of the church alike to join, will be held on Friday, April 10. Nelson emphasized the significance of the fast taking place on Good Friday — a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus.
Saturday evening's session also featured youth speakers — one teenage boy and one teenage girl — which is rare in General Conference.
This weekend's General Conference, which takes place twice a year, was also unique in that it was held in a small auditorium instead of the church's 21,000-person conference center. Only those who were speaking or praying attended in person. The church announced the change to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
More information, along with how to watch or read the talks given during the weekend, can be found on the church's website.