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Church president meets with owner of gay nightclub targeted in Orlando shooting

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ORLANDO, Fla. — The leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke in Orlando, just after meeting with the owner of a gay nightclub where 49 people were shot and killed three years ago this week.

Church officials say President Russell M. Nelson spent a few minutes with the owner of the Pulse nightclub, Barbara Poma.

“I was moved that he knew what we were doing, moved that he was so kind to me,” she said.

Poma founded the onePULSE organization in response to the attack on June 12, 2016. In addition to the 49 killed, another 68 people were wounded in the shooting. The foundation has been working to build and maintain a memorial to the shooting victims among other charitable acts. Poma opened the nightclub in 2004 as a tribute to her brother, who died from HIV/AIDS.

President Nelson and Sister Wendy Nelson spoke to more than 15,000 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and guests at Orlando’s Amway Center.

President Nelson spoke about how Orlando can be the site of many happy memories because of all the theme parks and recreation in the area, but then told the crowd that lasting happiness comes from keeping the commandments.

Elder Uchtdorf of the quorum of the 12 and Elder Bowen of the seventy and their wives Harriett and Lynette also spoke.