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President Nelson addresses huge crowd in Arizona

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speaks to attendees after speaking at the State Farm Stadium in Phoenix on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019. (Rex Warner)

GLENDALE, Arizona — President Russell M. Nelson of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints addressed a huge crowd at State Farm Stadium Sunday night, in the perhaps the single largest gathering of Latter-day Saints in Arizona and among the largest crowds ever to hear a president of the Church.

It is estimated that between 65 and 68 thousand people filled the NFL stadium for the devotional.

Church members who went say it was incredible to be in one spot with others of the same faith, hearing from their prophet.


Local church member Chase Lauritzen has been to State Farm stadium for an NFL game, but he told KSL Newsradio Monday morning that this had a completely different feel.

“It was just a great gathering of strength and unity of the local congregations here in Arizona,” he said.

He said President Nelson bore testimony of the Book of Mormon. President Dallin H. Oaks talked about recent changes in the church, with the Come Follow Me curriculum and home-centered church.

“That although there have been some of these changes in the Church, the change needs to come within us,” said Lauritzen.

On Sunday President Nelson wrote an op-ed at the request of the Arizona Republic newspaper, where he spoke about how faith in God and Christ can heal hearts.

And he and President Oaks spoke to local Arizona TV stations before the devotional as well:  “We would like to spend our time building bridges of cooperation, rather than walls of separation,” said President Nelson.