The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a new symbol to identify the faith. Church Prophet and President Russell M. Nelson announced it and explained its significance during the Saturday evening session of the April 2020 general conference.
President Nelson said this new symbol is a continuation of the effort he felt inspired to initiate in August 2018 to focus on the Church’s divinely revealed name. Since that time, he said, the Church’s leaders, departments, related entities, main website, members and many others now use the correct name of the Church.
“We have gone to these extraordinary efforts because when we remove the Lord’s name from the name of His Church, we inadvertently remove Him as the central focus of our worship and our lives,” said President Nelson, who has given strong emphasis to the correct name of the Church in his ministry since at least 1990. “When we take the Savior’s name upon us at baptism, we commit to witness, by our words, thoughts, and actions, that Jesus is the Christ.”
This new emblem emphasizes the name of Jesus Christ and His central role in all the Church does. The name of the Church is contained within a rectangular shape that represents a cornerstone. This idea has biblical roots. The Apostle Paul, employing a construction metaphor in a letter to the first century Saints in Ephesus, wrote that the Church is built upon the foundation of apostles and prophets—Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone. The center of the symbol is a representation of Thorvaldsen’s marble statue, the Christus. Jesus stands under an arch as a reminder of His emergence from the tomb three days after His death.
“[The symbol] portrays the resurrected, living Lord reaching out to embrace all who will come unto Him,” President Nelson said. “This symbol should feel familiar to many, as we have long identified the restored gospel with the living, resurrected Christ.”
This symbol will remind all that this is the Savior’s Church and that all we do, as members of His Church, centers on Jesus Christ and His gospel.
— Russell M. Nelson (@NelsonRussellM) April 5, 2020
This new symbol will be used on Church materials as directed by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Detailed usage guidelines are being developed, including possible uses of the new symbol around the world.
“The symbol will now be used as a visual identifier for official literature, news, and events of the Church,” the prophet continued. “It will remind all that this is the Savior’s Church and that all we do, as members of His Church, centers on Jesus Christ and His gospel.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a global family of more than 16 million members worldwide. This new symbol is being created in 110 languages—a complex process that will take several months to complete. As the First Presidency urged in 2019 as the Church made adjustments to better reflect correct use of the faith’s full name, members of the Church worldwide should be patient and courteous as these symbol adjustments are made in their language.
A Bicentennial Proclamation to the World
Another unique announcement came from President Nelson in the Sunday Morning session as he presented a proclamation in honor of the 200th anniversary of Joseph Smith’s First Vision.
Titled “The Restoration of the Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: A Bicentennial Proclamation to the World,” this document outlines core Latter-day Saint beliefs. These include the supremacy of Jesus Christ in salvation, the divinity of Joseph Smith’s revelations and the Book of Mormon, the unique mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the ongoing nature of the Restoration that began with Joseph Smith’s First Vision of Deity in 1820.
The proclamation invites people everywhere to know for themselves that God speaks and that this Restoration of truth is occurring to help them prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
President Nelson introduced and delivered the proclamation (authored by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) in a previously recorded video from the Sacred Grove in Palmyra, New York. That grove was the site of Joseph Smith’s vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ.
Instead of erecting a physical monument in honor of that special time in Church history (as has been done previously), President Nelson said the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles felt inspired to create a “monument of words—words of solemn and sacred proclamation—written not to be carved in ‘tables of stone,’ but in words that could be etched in the ‘fleshy tables’ of all human hearts’ (2 Corinthians 3:3).”
After the reading of the proclamation, President Nelson led the worldwide congregation in the Hosanna Shout. This shout has biblical roots and goes back to the early days of the Church. It is a way for Latter-day Saints to give honor and praise to God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. This is an especially notable act to occur as the Church celebrates the bicentennial of Joseph Smith’s First Vision of Deity.
The 1980 proclamation most closely resembles the one President Nelson introduced Sunday. During the April 1980 general conference, the Church celebrated 150 years since its organization by issuing a proclamation from a reconstructed log home on the site of the Peter and Mary Whitmer farm in Fayette, New York. It was in the Whitmers’ original home that Joseph Smith translated some pages of the Book of Mormon in 1829 and formally organized the Church in 1830.