Recently the Angel Moroni Statues disappeared from the top of the Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The removal of the statue and capstone had long been planned as part of the temple’s structural and seismic renovation, but the timeline for this portion of the project was sped up following an earthquake in March 2020 that shook the trumpet out of Moroni’s right hand.
The Angel Moroni has also recently disappeared from the Gospel Library app and even the number of Latter-day Saints temples without an Angel Moroni statue will also soon double.
Currently 11 Operating Temples Do Not Have an Angel Moroni Statue
Right now the Angel Moroni statues sit atop 157 of the 168 operating temples of the Church but these eleven temples do not have an angel Moroni statue:
- • Cardston Alberta Temple
- • Hamilton New Zealand Temple
- • Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple
- • Laie Hawaii Temple
- • Logan Utah Temple
- • Manti Utah Temple
- • Mesa Arizona Temple
- • Oakland California Temple
- • Paris France Temple
- • Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple
- • St. George Utah Temple
The Hong Kong China Temple, who will reopen sometime in 2022, will also lose its angel Moroni statue as part of its renovation, according to a rendering released by the Church.
In the past, however, an angel Moroni statue was added as part of a renovation. Angel Moroni statues were added to several temples in the 2000s including the Freiberg Germany Temple (2001), the Ogden Utah Temple (2002), the Provo Utah Temple (2003), the São Paulo Brazil Temple (2003), the Tokyo Japan Temple (2004), the Bern Switzerland Temple (2005), and the London England Temple (2008). The Idaho Falls Idaho Temple even received an angel Moroni statue in 1983, nearly 40 years after its original dedication.
More Renderings Released without Angel Moroni Statues
The Church has released exterior renderings of 27 new temples. Of the 27 renderings, 14 temple renderings do not feature an angel Moroni statue. This will bring the total number of temples without an angel Moroni statue to 26. The following renderings do not show an angel Moroni statue:
- • Alabang Philippines Temple
- • Auckland New Zealand Temple
- • Bangkok Thailand Temple
- • Bengaluru India Temple
- • Brasília Brazil Temple
- • Cobán Guatemala Temple
- • Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple
- • Moses Lake Washington Temple
- • Okinawa Japan Temple
- • Phnom Penh Cambodia Temple
- • Praia Cabo Verde Temple
- • San Juan Puerto Rico Temple
- • Tooele Valley Utah Temple
- • Yigo Guam Temple
According to Church Newsroom, “occasionally building codes, possible cultural misconceptions, or architectural designs preclude the use of an angel Moroni statue.”
A Symbol of Gospel’s Restoration
The statue of the Angel Moroni on the top of the temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not a figure of worship, but rather symbolizes Moroni’s role in restoring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth.
The golden statue of Moroni in flowing robes, with a long horn pressed to his lips is symbolic of the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.
“Just as the Statue of Liberty stands at a gateway to America with upraised torch symbolizing freedom and justice to all the world, so the statue of the Angel Moroni, atop the central eastern spire of the Salt Lake Temple symbolizes the golden truths of the everlasting gospel, restored in these latter days.” (Albert L. Zobell Jr.).
According to the Encyclopedia of Mormonism,
“The angel Moroni is the heavenly messenger who first visited the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1823. As a mortal named Moroni, he had completed the compilation and writing of the Book of Mormon. He ministered to Joseph Smith as a resurrected being, in keeping with his responsibility for the Book of Mormon.”
The Encyclopedia further states:
“Because of the angel Moroni’s role in restoring the everlasting gospel to be preached to all the world (Revelations 14:6-7; Doctrine and Covenants 133:31-39), the church placed a statue depicting him as a herald of the Restoration atop the Salt Lake Temple, and later on the Hill Cumorah near Palmyra, New York, where anciently he had buried the Book of Mormon plates.”
The Hill Cumorah features a 10-foot bronze figure of Moroni pointing toward heaven with his right hand and holding a replica of the plates with the left, mounted on a 25-foot shaft of white granite.
This statue was created by Norwegian sculptor Torleif S. Knaphus, and the monument was dedicated by LDS Church President Heber J. Grant on July 21, 1935.
“Moroni was the last in a line of prophet-leaders in the Western Hemisphere whose history is recorded in the Book of Mormon. Latter-day Saints believe John the Revelator foretold Moroni’s angelic ministry: ‘And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people’ (Revelations 14:6),” (Encyclopedia of Mormonism).
It was Cyrus E. Dallin, born 1861 in Springville, Utah, who created and sculpted the landmark Salt Lake Temple’s Angel Moroni, which became a standard for later representations.
Dallin later once said,
“I consider that my ‘Angel Moroni’ brought me nearer to God than anything else I ever did. It seemed to me that I came to know what it means to communicate with angels from heaven. We can only create in life what we are and what we think.”
Other facts about Angel Moroni statues
According to a Deseret News story in 2002, Angel Moroni statues were to be placed on temples according to a “case-by case condition.”
Moroni statues generally come in a 7-foot- and a 13-foot-high variety. Most are covered with gold leaf; however, some are only painted gold.
The metal statues do more than draw visitor attention. They also attract lightning.
David J. May, director of temple facilities in 2002 said, however, that no one’s faith should be shaken by lightning strikes at temples, since lightning is simply a part of nature.