Angel Moroni Atop Mormon Temples
Perhaps one of the most recognizable symbols for temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often mistakenly called the Mormon Church), is of the Angel Moroni. The prophet from The Book of Mormon (a companion scripture to the Bible that testifies of Christ), is memorialized in statue form with applied gold leaf atop most Latter-day Saint (LDS or Mormon) temples.
Who Does the Statue Represent?
The statue of Moroni is not a figure of worship, but rather one of respect for his role in the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Moroni was a real person, an ancient prophet in the Book of Mormon who revealed the location of golden plates to the young Joseph Smith in 1823 from which the sacred book of scripture was translated.
With the horn pressed to his lips and his right hand holding the outstretched horn, the statue of Moroni symbolizes the restoration and the preaching of it to the world.
Latter-day Saints believe Joseph Smith restored the original church established anciently by the Lord Jesus Christ.
The symbol is powerful for members of the Church. In modern history in Christ’s Church, the saints (a saint is defined as a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ) initially built temples in near-impossible circumstances and against heavy opposition. More than once, temple building brought violence on the early saints of the Church and they were forced to abandon their precious temples.
Therefore, a temple built is a humbling blessing and triumph for truth in The Church of Jesus Christ. The symbol of the statue of Moroni being lifted atop a temple spire is an incredibly potent and moving moment in the life of a temple.
Ogden Utah Temple Receives Moroni Statue On Top of Spire
The temple still undergoing renovation construction in Ogden, crews placed an angel Moroni statue atop the new temple spire in the beginning of May 2013. The 14-foot, 2-inch figure is the same statue that topped the temple before it was closed. The statue was removed at the beginning of the project and completely reconditioned.
The addition will bring the height of the renovated temple to just under 190 feet. The statue is made of fiberglass coated with gold leaf, supported by a steel structure and weighs nearly 800 pounds.
“The estimated completion date for the temple is late 2014. Dates for the open house period have not yet been announced.
The temple’s entire exterior will be reshaped with new stone and art glass. The entrance to the temple will also be moved from the west side to the east side, where it will face Washington Boulevard.
Inside the temple, some rooms will be reconfigured, but the core building design will remain the same. As has been the case in renovations of other temples, old electrical, heating and plumbing systems will be replaced with modern, energy-saving equipment. Other notable improvements include underground parking and a complete relandscaping of the temple block with a major water feature.”
Seeing the Statue Raised
I’ve only seen an Angel Moroni Statue placed on top of a temple once. I was in college in Rexburg, Idaho, and the temple construction finished shortly after I graduated. I’ve never been in the temple, but I was there for the groundbreaking and other construction milestones.
My roommates and I wanted to participate in the groundbreaking, but being young and silly, we didn’t want to wait in line to overturn dirt. So being cheeky, I guess, we went the next day with what “tools” we had laying around and overturned dirt with our kitchen ladles and spoons.
My experience with the Angel Moroni statue was much more serious. Hundreds waited outside the temple as the statue was lifted by a crane and placed at the top of the tall, sacred building.
I was even more moved than I thought I would be. It was astounding to me that the early pioneers sacrificed all they had for just one temple, one moment like this. And now, temples are being built constantly all over the world.
As I watched that symbolic and beautiful statue lifted higher and higher, I felt it was a fulfillment or prophecy, and that Moroni’s wish was coming true. He had compiled and abridged the ancient scriptures for us in our day, and his entire wish was that we would have them and accept them.
Why Do Mormons Build Temples?
Temples are so significant to “Mormons” (Latter-day Saint or LDS), because it is where God’s ordinances can be preformed. It is where the highest level of the gospel that was restored from Christ’s original church is exercised.
Inside temples, we learn how to return to God. Inside temples we are joined with our families and it is there that we receive the keys to be together forever.
This is why temples are so sacred, cherished and important to a Mormon.
So seeing a symbolic statue raised to the top of one, can, in fact, be a big deal.