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Ravell Call, Deseret News
The Angel Moroni statue is placed on the Ogden Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Tuesday, May 7, 2013.

OGDEN — The ongoing reconstruction of the 41-year-old Ogden Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reached a milestone Tuesday morning when a 14-foot, 800-pound, gold leaf-covered fiberglass version of the church's iconic Angel Moroni statue was lifted and fastened into place atop the temple's new spire.

Dozens of people watched from various locations around the temple's fenced-off construction site in the heart of downtown Ogden as construction crews used two towering cranes — one with a basket attachment for two workers and one for the statue — to lift the statue into place and to secure it to the spire. The entire process took about 50 minutes.

The Ogden Utah Temple, dedicated in January 1972, has been closed for reconstruction since April 2011. The work is extensive, including a complete reconfiguration of the temple exterior — it will now face east and be covered in stone and feature art glass windows.

Rooms inside the temple will also be redecorated and refurbished, and its electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems will be updated. Parking facilities and landscaping will be redone, and there will also be changes to the nearby Ogden Tabernacle that will increase the temple's prominence on the 18-acre site.

Completion of the reconstructed temple is expected in late 2014, at which time it will be rededicated.

The Ogden Utah Temple was the 14th operating temple in the LDS Church. It was actually the first LDS temple to be dedicated in the state of Utah — the four older Utah temples in St. George, Logan, Manti and Salt Lake City were all dedicated before Utah achieved statehood. It was built as a sister facility to the Provo Utah Temple — the two temples were constructed simultaneously — but the Ogden Temple was dedicated three weeks before the Provo Temple.

Temples are sacred buildings to Latter-day Saints, who consider them to be "the House of the Lord." While the general public will have an opportunity to tour the newly reconstructed Ogden Temple when the work is completed, after it is dedicated it will be open only to active, practicing church members who have been recommended by their church leaders for performing the highest sacraments of the church, including marriages and baptisms. Weekly worship services are not held in temples but in neighborhood meetinghouses, which are open to the public.