ORLANDO, Florida — Before addressing a crowd of more than 15,500 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints here, President Russell M. Nelson quietly acknowledged a dark day in this city known for theme parks and happy memories.
During a VIP reception at the Amway Center on Sunday evening, President Nelson spent a few minutes with the owner of the local business where 49 people lost their lives in a mass shooting three years ago this week.
Barbara Poma, the CEO and founder of onePULSE Foundation, said words from the highest ranking Latter-day Saint official meant a lot.
“I was moved that he knew what we were doing, moved that he was so kind to me,” she said.
Poma said the community is still healing from the June 12, 2016, shooting at Pulse nightclub, a gay club in Orlando not far from the arena where President Nelson would later speak. A memorial at the site includes tributes to those who died and to the 68 who were injured. Photographs, banners and messages communicate one resolve: “We will not let hate win.”