After five decades of waiting, spire is finally graced by statue

LINGFIELD, England — When 13-year-old Aaron Glover heard in his Bristol England Southmead Ward that a statue of Moroni was being placed on the spire of the London England Temple, he "had a warm feeling," and he just knew he "had to be there." His mother got him excused from school, but how he was going to travel the 150 miles to the temple was unresolved.

Bob Horton, also of Southmead, had decided to go to the temple to film this "once-in-a-lifetime event" for his grandchildren, and he invited fellow ward member Paul Webster, who suggested they invite the young deacon Aaron. They did not know of his desire to attend.

The three stood and watched under gray, threatening skies with 150 others while a helicopter flew in from Buckinghamshire, 58 miles away, to lift the 8-foot, gold-leaf-covered statue to the top of the 50-year-old temple. Scaffolding — erected earlier — made it possible for construction workers to access the top of the 180-foot spire and secure the statue.

The event briefly stopped traffic on the busy A22, which passes the temple, and onlookers got out of their cars to peer through the temple gates.

Elder Braden Howard, a missionary in the England London South Mission, said: "The figure spun around and around with his trumpet in hand as it made its way to the top as if to say, 'I am here.' We loved it."

"Talk about dreams coming true," said David Scarlet of the East Grinstead Ward, Crawley England Stake. "The whole of my church life has been miracles coming true, and this is one of them."

The placing of Moroni was the conclusion of the Jubilee Celebration of the London Temple, first dedicated in 1958 by President David O. McKay and rededicated in 1993 by President Gordon B. Hinckley. Included in the jubilee project have been restoring the Manor House and the visitors center, adding new mission offices to the temple site and renovating the accommodation center for temple patrons.

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This story is provided by the LDS Church News, an official publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is produced weekly by the Deseret News.