Why President Nelson announced a new Church symbol during general conference

During his historically rich general conference message Saturday evening, President Russell M. Nelson introduced a new Church symbol that signals “the central place of Jesus Christ” in His Church.

Aptly, the symbol includes the name of the Church — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — contained within a cornerstone. As taught since Biblical days, Jesus Christ is the “chief corner stone” of His Church. (Ephesians 2:20).

“At the center of the symbol is a representation of Thorvaldsen’s marble statue, the ‘Christus’,” said President Nelson. “It portrays the resurrected, living Lord reaching out to embrace all who will come unto Him.

“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.”

Read about President Nelson’s call for another worldwide fast

The new symbol, he added, should feel familiar to all identifying the restored gospel with the living, resurrected Christ. The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will direct how the new symbol is used, and detailed usage guidelines are being developed.

President Russell M. Nelson speaks during the Saturday evening session of the 190th Annual General Conference on April 4, 2020.
President Russell M. Nelson speaks during the Saturday evening session of the 190th Annual General Conference on April 4, 2020. Credit: Screenshot, ChurchofJesusChrist.org

“The symbol will now be used as a visual identifier for official literature, news and events of the Church. 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 president, of course, has repeatedly spoken of the vital importance of using the correct name of the Church. Much has been done to accomplish this correction.

“I am very grateful to President M. Russell Ballard and the entire Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who have done so much to lead these efforts,” President Nelson said. 

Church leaders and departments, related entities, and millions of Latter-day Saints and others now use the correct name of the Church, he reported. 

The Church’s official style guide has been adjusted, along with its principal website: ChurchofJesusChrist.org

Bertel Thorvaldsen's original Christus statue is in the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018.
Bertel Thorvaldsen’s original Christus statue is in the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. Credit: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News, Deseret News

Email addresses, domain names and social media have also been updated. And the Church’s storied choir is now “The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.”

“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,” he said. “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.”

President Nelson reminded his global general conference audience that if Church members “would do our best” to restore the Church’s correct name, the Lord would “pour down His power and blessings upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints” as never before.

“I renew that promise today.”

On Aug. 16, 2018, President Nelson released a statement asking for a stop to the use of nicknames, abbreviations and incorrect names — such as Mormon and LDS — that had overtaken and overshadowed the Church’s appropriate name.

Two days later, at a devotional in Montreal before thousands gathered in the Palais des congrès de Montreal, President Nelson made his first public comments on the matter as he testified of the truthfulness of the Church, using and emphasizing its full name.

“The name of the Church is not negotiable, because the Lord has told us what His church shall be called,” said President Nelson to his Canadian audience. “So, we’re not changing names. We’re correcting a name — that’s important to note.”

He then repeated the Lord’s own words from Doctrine and Covenants 115:4: “Thus shall my church be called … The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”