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The leadership pattern exhibited by the prophet and apostles felt like it was tuned by President Russell M. Nelson.

He has perfect pitch, remember?

President Nelson and other senior church leaders modeled on Sunday at general conference exactly what they’ve asked the church’s 31,330 congregations to do on Easter Sunday next week.

Focus intensely on Jesus Christ. They even turned to a term they haven’t often used in the past to do so.

Latter-day Saints have focused on Christ since 1820, when Joseph Smith reported that he appeared to him with God the Father. But nearly five years ago, President Nelson reemphasized the full name of the church, then introduced a new church logo two years later.

Both make Christ’s name a focal point.

The prioritization continued Sunday, when President Nelson closed the conference on Sunday afternoon with invitations to:

  • Study the church “Come, Follow Me” curriculum this week about the final week of Christ’s life and his Resurrection.
  • Again study this week the resurrected Christ’s appearance to the people of the Book of Mormon.
  • Come unto Christ for relief.

Then right after conference, President Nelson further directed the church’s attention toward Easter. He released a new video, “Forgiving others,” through his social media accounts. He called Christ the epitome of forgiveness and issued another invitation.

“I invite you prayerfully to consider if there is someone whom you should forgive,” he said.

Many viewers noticed that speakers repeatedly mentioned that it was Palm Sunday, tying Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem with the other events of that week — the Last Supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, the cross and the empty tomb.

The mentions of Palm Sunday were striking.

In fact, leaders mentioned that day 20 times on Sunday. That’s one more time than that exact term had been said in general conferences in the first 192 years of the gatherings, according to the LDS General Conference Corpus. (Of course, speakers have spoken about Christ’s entry to Jerusalem more often than that. “Triumphal entry” returns 15 results, for example.)

If that wasn’t enough, every one of the 10 hymns performed by the Tabernacle Choir on Temple Square was Christ-centered.

OK, that isn’t so unique, but it does model next week’s Christ-centered Sacrament meetings.

Even Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, who was home with COVID-19 instead of at the Conference Center, tweeted about Christ ... on Saturday.

“I hope you will join me in recognizing and appreciating that all sins and sorrows, all disappointment and depression, all temptation and all tears may be put behind us through the divinity, atoning sacrifice and triumphant resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ,” he wrote.

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About the church

President Nelson announces 15 new temples to close conference.

The Deseret News published three comprehensive lists about temples on Friday:

To read summaries of every talk on Saturday, visit this page at the Church News.

Behind the scenes

Attendees listen through interpretation during the Sunday morning session of the 193rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 2, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shakes hands with two young girls after the 193rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 2, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Attendees look over the Salt Lake Temple renovation construction from the Conference Center during the Sunday morning session of the 193rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 2, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News