Deseret News Archives

Editor's note: With temples scheduled for open houses and dedications in Sapporo, Fort Collins, Freiberg and Philadelphia in the coming weeks and months, we take a look back at this list from our archives.

Did you know that one of the heaviest Angel Moroni statues weighs 4,000 pounds, that one statue was colored white or that the statue usually faces east?

With temples all over the world, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has adorned the skyline with angel statues for 169 years, ever since the Nauvoo Temple was dedicated in 1846.

The Nauvoo Temple, however, did not feature the same type of statue LDS Church members are familiar with today.

According to articles in the New Era and Liahona magazines, the statue's design has gone through many iterations and has an intriguing history.

How much do you know about this Mormon icon?

Here are 20 little-known facts and stories about the Angel Moroni statue.


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A historical tour through LDS temple Angel Moroni statues

Why choose Moroni?
Deseret News Archives

The idea to use the prophet from the Book of Mormon to top the temple came from sculptor Cyrus Dallin, who was not a member of the LDS faith.

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. It was Dallin who decided to sculpt Moroni because he believed Moroni was a good representation of the restoration of the gospel.

Source: New Era magazine

Which temple was the first to have an angel?
Church History Library

The Nauvoo Illinois Temple.

This was the first LDS temple to have an angel atop the holy building.

It was dedicated in 1846 and was said to have had a horizontal angel attached to the lightning rod in the form of a weathervane.

While this was the first angel to top an LDS temple, it was not specified as being the Angel Moroni.

Source: Liahona magazine

Which temple had the first official Angel Moroni statue?
Deseret News Archives

The Salt Lake City Utah Temple.

This was the first temple to have an angel statue that was identified as Angel Moroni.

Which temples don't have a statue?

1. St. George Utah Temple
2. Logan Utah Temple
3. Manti Utah Temple
4. Laie Hawaii Temple
5. Cardston Alberta Temple
6. Mesa Arizona Temple
7. Hamilton New Zealand
8. Oakland California Temple

What scripture is often used in reference to the statue?
Deseret News Archives

Revelation 14:6.

This scripture reads: "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth."

Many members of the LDS faith believe that the Angel Moroni statues represent the angel in John’s vision in the New Testament.

Source: Liahona magazine

Which temples had a statue added to them after dedication?

1. Freiberg Germany Temple
2. Ogden Utah Temple
3. Provo Utah Temple
4. São Paulo Brazil Temple
5. Bern Switzerland Temple
6. London England Temple

Why does the statue hold a trumpet?
Deseret News Archives

The trumpet, which is held in Moroni's right hand, symbolizes the spreading of the gospel and the Second Coming of the Savior.

In Matthew 24:31, it states that the angels with trumpets will gather the righteous together for the coming of the Lord. Every statue of the Angel Moroni atop a temple has this symbol.

Source: New Era magazine

How many versions are there of the statue?
Deseret News Archives

There are six versions of the Angel Moroni statue.

1. Cyrus Dallin sculpted the first version for the Salt Lake Temple. It was covered in 22-karat gold leaf.

2. Millard F. Malin sculpted the second version for the Los Angeles California Temple. This statue also holds a replica of the gold plates in its left hand.

3. Avard Fairbanks sculpted the third version, and the Washington D.C. Temple was the first to display this version. This statue also holds the gold plates.

4. Karl A. Quilter sculpted the fourth version with the help of LaVar Wallgren. Two different molds were created.

5. Karl A. Quilter also sculpted the fifth version for the small-temple design. Several of these statues featured a scroll in the hand of Moroni.

6. Torlief Knaphus designed an Angel Moroni statue for the spire of the Washington D.C. chapel in the early 1930s. This mold was also used for three temples: Idaho Falls Temple, Atlanta Georgia Temple and the Boston Massachusetts Temple.

Source: Liahona magazine

Which temple displays a statue with unique clothing?

The Los Angeles California Temple.

This statue has distinct Native American features with the cloak displaying Mayan designs, a headband and sandals on his feet.

Source: New Era magazine

How did the sculptors make the statues look life-like?
Deseret News Archives

Each sculptor had their own techniques.

Karl Quilter used human models to help him accurately represent a human body by shaping the muscles correctly and structuring the statue to be balancing on the ball.

Source: New Era magazine

What items have different statues held?
Deseret News Archives

The gold plates and a scroll.

The second and third versions of the statue each held gold plates. The fifth version occasionally held a scroll.

The scroll is said to represent the "everlasting gospel" that is stated in Revelation 14:6.

Which direction does the statue usually face?
Deseret News Archives


In Matthew 24:27 it states that Christ will come from the east. When possible, the Angel Moroni is placed to face eastward.

The statue atop the Los Angeles California Temple used to face southwest, but after a request from President David O. McKay, it was adjusted to face the east.

Source: New Era magazine

How heavy is each version?
Deseret News Archives

The first few statues were made of bronze, copper or aluminum, causing the statue to be extremely heavy. The most recent versions of the Angel Moroni have significantly decreased in weight.

The second version weighed 2,101 pounds, the third version weighed 4,000 pounds, both of the fourth versions weighed 350 pounds and the sixth version weighed 645 pounds. Weight for the first and fifth versions were not available.

Source: Liahona magazine

Which original version is the tallest?
Deseret News Archives

1st Angel Moroni: 12 feet 5 inches tall

2nd Angel Moroni: 15 feet 5 inches tall

3rd Angel Moroni:18 feet tall

4th Angel Moroni: One mold was 9 feet 9 inches tall, one was 7 feet tall.

5th Angel Moroni: 6 feet 8 inches tall

The Jordan River Temple has the tallest statue at 20 feet tall.

Source: Liahona magazine

Which temple had a white Angel Moroni statue?
Deseret News Archives

The Monticello Utah Temple.

This temple featured the fifth version in white, but after one year the white statue was replaced by a regular gold-leafed Moroni because it was too difficult to see the white statue.

How long does it take to gild a statue?
Deseret News Archives

Today it only takes one day to cover, or gild, the statue in gold.

Once the statue is gilded, it cannot be touched with anything but gloved hands to avoid marking the delicate surface.

Source: New Era magazine

Which temple was destroyed, yet the statue survived?
Deseret News Archives

On July 9, 2003, the Apia Samoa Temple was destroyed by a fire. This was the first time in church history that an operational temple was completely destroyed by fire. Yet, the Angel Moroni statue was not harmed.

After the temple was rebuilt, the original Angel Moroni statue was placed on the rededicated temple.

Source: A historical tour through LDS temple Angel Moroni statues

Which temple's statue was struck by lightning before its dedication?
Deseret News Archives

The Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple.

The Angel Moroni statue was struck by lightning before the dedication of the temple and was replaced 10 days before the dedicatory service in 2009.

Source: A historical tour through LDS temple Angel Moroni statues

Which temple's statue rotated during an earthquake in 2013?
Deseret News Archives

The Cebu City Temple.

During the Oct. 15, 2013, earthquake in the Philippines, the Angel Moroni statue turned 90 degrees, according to a report.

Which temple's statue rotated during an earthquake in 2011?

The Tokyo Japan Temple.

During the earthquake in Japan the Angel Moroni rotated approximately 45 degrees, according to a report.

Which temple had the trumpet fall out of Angel Moroni's hand?
Deseret News Archives

The Santiago Chile Temple.

During an earthquake that took place in 2010 in Chile, the trumpet of the Angel Moroni fell out, according to a report.

This has also been reported to have happened with the Angel Moroni statue atop the Tokyo Japan Temple and the Apia Samoa Temple, according to Mormon Soprano.

Which LDS chapel had an Angel Moroni statue?
Deseret News Archives

The Washington D.C. chapel.

In the early 1930s, church leaders requested that Torlief Knaphus design an Angel Moroni statue for the spire of the Washington D.C. chapel. The statue is a replica of Dallin's angel and weighs 645 pounds. The statue was eventually removed in 1976 and can be viewed at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. The statue has been used in the production of the "Legacy" and "Mountain of the Lord" films.

Source: New Era magazine

Where is the one Angel Moroni statue that is not placed on top of a building?
Deseret News Archives

The Hill Cumorah Monument.

This statue was sculpted by Torlief Knaphus and is the only Angel Moroni statue that does not hold a horn. Instead, his right arm is raised as a gesture of priesthood authority.

Source: New Era magazine