A historical tour through LDS temple Angel Moroni statues

Church History Library
You may think you are familiar with the Angel Moroni that tops many Mormon temples. But did you know the idea of having a Moroni statue atop the Salt Lake Temple came from someone who was not a member of the LDS Church?

The idea to use the prophet from the Book of Mormon to top the temple came from sculptor Cyrus Dallin. LDS Church President Wilford Woodruff had asked Dallin to create something for the central spire of the Salt Lake Temple, so Dallin searched through LDS scripture for inspiration. Dallin decided to sculpt Moroni because he believed Moroni was a good representation of the restoration of the gospel.

With temples all over the world, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has adorned the sky with angel statues for 166 years, ever since the Nauvoo Temple was dedicated in 1846. The Nauvoo Temple, however, did not feature the type of statue LDS Church members are familiar with today, and this is just one example of how the prominent symbol has changed throughout the years. According to articles in the New Era and Liahona magazines, the statue's design has gone through many renovations and has an intriguing history.

Here are some facts about the gold statue of the Angel Moroni, along with a list of temples and which version of the statue they feature.


2012 Church Almanac

"Taking Temples to the People," Ensign

Temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
Buena Vista, VA

Sure looks interesting. To bad there isn't a print version, because I'm not inclined to go clicking through 148 items.

Salt Lake City, UT

I don't read any of the "lists" that they put in this format. It is such a waste of time to have to click through each one individually. It's not like Letterman's Top Ten list where they need to build up some suspense, it is just annoying. The purpose of the news is to give us information, not to make us play stupid games with our browsers.


So is the staute fiber glass or not?

Boise, ID

I agree with those who are unhappy with DN's "lists." Why not have a complete list, with links to each of the elements of that list? PLEEEEASE, DN Webmaster!! (It ain't Rocket Science, it's only Computer Science!)

Also... I'd SURE like to get a weather vane for my house, patterned after the "recumbent Moroni" that was on the original Nauvoo Temple. Is anybody aware of the availability of such? If so, please post! Thanks.

Florissant, MO

The article stated this about the DC temple. "He was instructed to make the mouth of the statue look more like Angel Moroni was playing the trumpet. Fairbanks had a man model how it looked when someone was playing a trumpet and fixed the mouth accordingly." My mission president, Keith W Wilcox was the architect who dreamed what the temple was to look like and worked with a team of architects on designing this temple. He went to see the progress of the Angel Moroni and told Mr Fairbanks that it looked like the angel was eating the trumpet. President Wilcox had played the trumpet and so he was the model for the mouth.

Jerry M
Provo, UT

I found it interesting that the Boston Temple is listed twice: #47 with the 4th version and #139 with the Washington DC Chapel version. Which is correct?

Holladay, UT

This looks like such an interesting article and list, but I have to agree with the other comments on so many "clicks" to see it. Please be aware that some people may have conditions that make it hard to do all that clicking-like carpel tunnel syndrome, arthritis, neuromuscular conditions, etc. or just plain old hands. Thanks for referring to your sources so we can learn more there.

Mililani, HI

Hawaii Temple was rededicated on 11/21/2012?? I believe it happened same date but 2010...

Auburn, WA

This is very interesting.

I'm surprized about the complaints about no print version.

This is just like a book. You turn the pages electronically. Only without the paper cuts.

Adrian Martin
Birmingham, England

I am just very grateful for the time and trouble taken to make this information available for us. I am surprised at the lack of gratitude shown by some readers. Didn't President Monson encourage us to have an "attitude of gratitude"? Thank you DN!

Buena Vista, VA

@ Haynsey - how many books do you read with only 1 paragraph per page? And for those on slow connections, or with slow computers like this one, "turning the page" can take 5-10 seconds. Multiply x 148 pages.

@Adrian - I don't think this is a question of gratitude. It is rather a question of if someone is going to take all that time and trouble to compile the info, wouldn't it make sense to make a product that is more accessible? And all that has to be done is to take the information already gathered and put it on a simple print version so that it all can be read in one long page. Plus, the page would be searchable by using the find command so I could find any given Moroni statue without having to click through all the items. Plus, I could download and save it all as one file so I could go back and read it again. Or print it off and give it to a friend to read. And none of this would require any more effort than went into the original project.

Phoenix, AZ

Completely agree re: DN Moroni list -- could have been an easily accessible, teaching tool -- Aggravated enough to leave a comment - would rather have seen the list with clickable thumbnails beside each temple.

Third try screen name
Mapleton, UT

I think it has something to do with auditable clicking activity. The more you click, the more they can charge for ads. It's all about traffic.
Besides, it makes it look like you stayed and browsed awhile.

Florissant, MO

Good heavens, what a new society we have created with the internet and other electronics. People who use to be so polite and watch what they say are now very negative and very abrupt at times. All of you complaining to DN, write them a private note or walk in and have the guts to say it face to face. I have written them private emails when something has bothered me. Oh, and by the way, I am a very brutally honest person, but I am that way in life, I would never be as impolite as some things I read. I have to be honest, the things here are not as bad as some others. We are living longer, but man can you see all the grouchies in the social media in 50 years, watch out world, they are going to be cantankerous old people typing away and very miserable. OH well.

Mark C
Gilbert, SC

There is a very important omission from this list--the very beautiful and prominent Angel Moroni by Torleif Knaphus that sits on the Hill Cumorah in Palmyra, New York--the very place where it all began. The statue has an wonderful history that must be included to round out this collection. See Ensign article, July 1890.

Mark C
Gilbert, SC

Oops! 1980.

Lehi, UT

I don't think the right wbe able to make comparisons between them, to see the differences and changes with time, after all there are so many if a person wants to study them as I would like to do.
. ords are complaint or ingratitude, but instead the lack of convenience. The ability to see them all together,
It does make a lot of difference on how the presentation is made. It was a nice article.

Lehi, UT

I don't know how my earlier comment got all messed up, but this is the way it should have read.

I don't think the correct words that were used by others are complaint or ingratitude, but instead the lack of convenience. The ability to see all of the pictures in one place, being able to make comparisons between them, to see the differences and changes with time are significant. After all there are so many if a person wants to study them as I would like to do it cannot be done.

It was a nice article.

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