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Latter-day Saints gather to celebrate 95th birthday of President Nelson

FILE - In this April 19, 2019 file photo The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Russell M. Nelson speaks during a news conference at the Temple Square South Visitors Center in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will celebrate the 95th birthday of President Russell M. Nelson with a gala in Salt Lake City.

The Friday night event at the church conference center will include performances by Donny Osmond, Nathan Pacheco and the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square. A church news release says the event will focus on Nelson’s lifelong service to the Utah-based faith.

President Nelson has been a transformative president since he took over in January 2018. Earlier this year, he rescinded rules that banned baptisms for children of gay parents and branded same-sex couples apostates subject to excommunication.

He also launched a campaign calling on people to stop using the shorthand names “Mormon” and “LDS.”