Since his appearance to the 17-year-old Joseph Smith on the night of September 21, 1823, the Angel Moroni has been a central figure and symbol of the ongoing Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During 127 years atop the tallest spire of the Salt Lake Temple, the beautiful golden Angel Moroni statue had even survived without damage a F2 magnitude tornado in 1999 aimed directly at Temple Square.
Magnitude 5.7 Earthquake Strikes
On March 18, 2020, just after the Salt Lake Temple seismic upgrade and renovation had begun on January 2, 2020, a 5.7 magnitude earthquake hit Utah centered near Magna, just ten miles away from the Temple.
The Angel Moroni statue had seemed immune to any signs of weather or seismic related damage for over 100 years. However, after this earthquake in 2020, it was discovered that day that the angel’s trumpet had fallen off the statue after the quake and some of the support stones for the statue had shifted.
Design and Construction of the Salt Lake Temple
Brigham Young began the design and construction of the Salt Lake Temple immediately after entering the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. Just two days into exploring the valley, “Brigham Young suddenly stopped and stuck his cane in the ground, exclaiming, ‘Here shall stand the Temple of our God.’ ”
In Elder Gary E. Stevenson’s talk at the April 2020 conference entitled “A Good Foundation against the Time to Come,” he described in detail the design and construction of the Salt Lake Temple including the modern issues regarding the upgrading of its ability to withstand larger earthquakes.
As prophesied by the Prophet Isaiah, “The mountain of the Lord’s house, [would be] established in the top of the mountains” (Isaiah 2:2).
At general conference in April, 1851, there was unanimous support to a motion to “build a temple to the name of the Lord” and two years later in April 1853 the site was dedicated by Heber C. Kimball with thousands attending. 
Elder Stevenson quoted from the report from Presiding Bishopric to the First Presidency as well as his own observations of the process of building this magnificent temple.
“In reviewing this brief history, I am in awe of the seership of Brigham Young—first, his ensuring that, to the extent possible and, using construction methods available at that time and place, the Salt Lake Temple would be built in a manner to endure throughout the Millennium and, second, his prophesying of the growth of future temples worldwide, even to number them in the hundreds.”
“The best engineering, skilled labor, construction materials, furnishings, and other period-available resources were used. … The granite exterior and interior floor joists and support beams are in good condition. Recent studies confirm that the location chosen by Brigham Young for the temple has very good soils and excellent compaction qualities.”
“As you may recall, President Brigham Young himself was involved in great detail in the construction of the original temple foundation, which has served the temple well since its completion 127 years ago. The newly proposed seismic upgrade package for the temple would utilize base isolation technology, which was not even imagined at the time of its construction. This is considered the latest, most state-of-the-art engineering for earthquake protection.”
“During the coming years, may we allow these improvements made to the Salt Lake Temple to move and inspire us, as individuals and families, so that we too—metaphorically—will “be built in a manner that will endure through the millennium.”
“We will do so as we fulfill the charge of the Apostle Paul to ‘[lay] up in store for [ourselves] a good foundation against the time to come, that [we] may lay hold on eternal life.’ ”
The Nauvoo Temple Angel and Weather Vane
Now let’s trace the development of the angel on the temple from the Nauvoo Temple to the Salt Lake Temple.
Weather vanes were quite popular on top of buildings in 1846 when the Nauvoo Temple was built. The design of the Nauvoo Temple with its angel and weather vane on the pinnacle of that temple prepared the way as it were for the much more complicated design of the top of the much larger temple that was being built in Salt Lake City.
I was excited to find this Churchnews.com article by Scott Lloyd that included an architectural drawing of the weather vane/simplified angel that was on the top of the Nauvoo Temple.
“It began with a weather vane placed atop the newly completed Nauvoo Temple in 1846. Over the years it has become what is arguably the most recognizable symbol of the Church.”
Scott Lloyd concluded his comparison of the Nauvoo and Salt Lake Temple:
“It took 40 years to complete the [Salt Lake] Temple, however, by the time it was finished in 1893, aesthetic tastes had changed, and weather vanes were no longer in vogue. Instead, a standing angel sculpture, gold-leafed, was commissioned to grace the temple’s highest spire.”
President Wilford Woodruff’s Expansive Specification
President Wilford Woodruff wanted a larger, much more complex and realistic angel statue than what had been done at Nauvoo. He selected sculptor Cyrus Dallin to provide input on what the work would look like and which Angel should be selected. Cyrus Dallin was also the sculptor for the Brigham Young Monument at Main and South Temple. 
Sculptor Cyrus Edwin Dallin
Cyrus Dallin, born in Utah, had become a famous sculptor known particularly for sculpturing Native American subjects. His most famous work is “Appeal to the Great Spirit.” His life work included more than 260 sculptures.
How Moroni was Chosen as the Angel
President Wilford Woodruff commissioned Cyrus Dallin in 1890 to sculpt an angel statue for the temple. Dallin was to also recommend the specific angel to depict.
“Dallin studied the scriptures for inspiration of what to sculpt, and settled on Moroni—the last prophet in the Book of Mormon who also appeared to the prophet Joseph Smith” Moroni is also considered the most likely angel that fulfills the prophecy in Revelation 14:6-7.
“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, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”
President Woodruff was very much in agreement with Cyrus Dallin’s recommendation.
“Of his experience creating the statue, Dallin said, ‘I considered that my ‘Angel Moroni’ brought me nearer to God than anything I ever did. It seemed to me that I came to know what it means to commune with angels from heaven.’ ”
A 12.5 Foot Tall Angel Moroni: Symbol of Faith
The spectacular golden Angel Moroni statue was completed by Cyrus Dallin in 1892. It would become the Temple’s crowning feature and an identifying symbol of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout he world.
Made of hammered copper covered in gold leaf and weighing over a ton, the 12.5 foot tall statue was placed on the 210 foot high pinnacle of the Temple on April 6, 1892, exactly one year before the Temple’s dedication on April 6, 1893.
Angel Moroni Statue Removal for Repairs
As of this writing, a large crane is now in place to remove the Angel Moroni statue from the spire of the temple for repairs from the earthquake damage and any other refurbishing work that needs to be done.
Yet another Unexpected Bonus as We Prepared for Conference
This unexpected earthquake just before conference and the damage it caused to the Angel Moroni statue on the Salt Lake Temple has led many of us to ponder the significance of this beautiful work of art along with its history and symbolism. It will be a fun ongoing project to monitor its progress and the reinstallation of this beloved representation of one of the foremost angels in the councils of heaven and this magnificent earth.
 “Angel Mooni,” wikipedia.org, Retrieved 4/10/2020.
“ “1999 Salt Lake city tornado,” Wikipedia.org, Retrieved 4/10/2020.
“The 1999 Salt Lake City tornado was a relatively rare tornado that occurred in Salt Lake City, Utah on August 11, 1999. …
Carter Williams, “It completely changed everything: remembeing the salt lake city tornado–20 years later,” ksl.com, 8/8/2019,
Jody Genessy, “1999 Tornado still seems a freaky thing,”,deseretnews.com August 11, 2004.
 Peggy Fletcher Stack, “Salt Lake City’s Temple Square begins four-year construction and renovation,” The Salt Lake Tribune. Jan 3, 2020.
“Crews begin to prepare the grounds for the 4-year renovation of the Salt Lake Temple and Temple Square on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020.”
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Newsroom, “Condition of Salt Lake Temple After Utah Earthquake
Sacred structure sustained minor damage,” March 18, 2020.
“The Salt Lake Temple, which is undergoing a seismic upgrade, sustained minor damage during Wednesday morning’s earthquake. The trumpet on the Angel Moroni statue fell off, and there is minor displacement of some of the temple’s smaller spire stones. No workers were injured. Crews on the job site have been sent home for the day, and a full assessment is underway to determine needs going forward. This event emphasizes why this project is so necessary to preserve this historic building and create a safer environment for all our patrons and visitors.”
“2020 Salt Lake city earthquake,” Wikipedia.org, retrieved 4/13/2020.
“After the earthquake, Utah Emergency Management said that serious damage was not expected, but there were reports of minor damage. Bricks fell off some buildings. The Salt Lake Temple was undergoing a seismic upgrade at the time of the earthquake, and sustained minor damage. The Angel Moroni statue that sits atop the highest spire lost its trumpet following the earthquake. Some stones were displaced as well. The construction crews working on the seismic upgrade were sent home.”
Brian Maffly, “Utah’s earthquake took its toll on at least 77 historic buildings,” Salt Lake Tribune, April 1, 2020.
“Utah’s big earthquake: Buildings damaged, but no major injuries, as state braces for days of aftershocks,” Salt Lake Tribune, March 18, 2020, updated April 1, 2020.
“A magnitude 5.7 earthquake struck Magna at 7:09 a.m. Wednesday, March 18, shaking homes from Logan down to Utah County. It was the state’s largest since a 1992 earthquake in St. George. The last Salt Lake County earthquake of at least a magnitude 5 was in 1962.”
“The earthquake has caused damage to downtown buildings and even the Salt Lake Temple, where the Angel Moroni statue lost its trumpet.”
“The iconic Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is in the early phases of undergoing a four-year upgrade, including a seismic retrofit. A church spokesman said there is damage to church facilities. The golden Angel Moroni statue has been damaged. It no longer holds a trumpet and some of the temple’s smaller spire stones had shifted.”
 Daniel Burke, “Utah earthquake damages Mormon temple and knocks trumpet from iconic angel statue,” CNN.com, March 18, 2020.
 Gary E. Stevenson, “A Good Foundation against the Time to Come,” General Conference, April, 2020.
 R. Scott Lloyd, “Another angel: Moroni depiction bespeaks defining doctrine of Restoration,” ChurchNews.com, 21 Dep 2008.
“It began with a weather vane placed atop the newly completed Nauvoo Temple in 1846. Over the years it has become what is arguably the most recognizable symbol of the Church.”
“The apostle John recorded this from his grand vision: “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, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of the waters” (Revelation 14:6-7).
“Latter-day Saints believe, of course, that this prophecy foreshadows the angelic ministry by which the gospel was restored in latter days. That belief was reflected by the weather vane angel in Nauvoo, shown in a drawing by temple architect William Weeks as a prone figure with trumpet to his lips and holding a book in his right hand. Perrigrine Sessions, who witnessed the fixture being set in place on Jan. 30, 1846, described it as “an angel in his priestly robes with a Book of Mormon in one hand and a trumpet in the other which is over laid with gold leaf” (journal entry quoted in Glen M. Leonard, Nauvoo, a Place of Peace, a People of Promise, p. 254).
William Weeks architectural drawing, above, shows weather vane angel that was placed on original Nauvoo Temple. Credit: Courtesy Church History Library”
“Richard G. Oman, an exhibit designer at the Museum of Church History and Art, pointed out that weather vanes were a familiar ornament for buildings in the New England architecture to which many Church members of the time were accustomed. It was a cultural element they would carry with them to their new Zion in the Rocky Mountains, as evidenced by an early architectural drawing of the Salt Lake Temple, which depicts a weather vane angel atop the center spire on each end of the edifice. It took 40 years to complete the temple, however, by the time it was finished in 1893, aesthetic tastes had changed, and weather vanes were no longer in vogue. Instead, a standing angel sculpture, gold-leafed, was commissioned to grace the temple’s highest spire.”
“By then, it was not just regarded as the prototypical angel of the Restoration foreseen in vision by John, but was given a specific identification: Moroni, the last prophet of the Book of Mormon and custodian of the Nephite record, he who as a resurrected being had delivered the golden plates to the young Prophet Joseph Smith.
“Ironically, this first angel Moroni statue was sculpted by a man who was not a member of the Church and who didn’t even believe in angels. Utah-born Cyrus Dallin was commissioned by President Wilford Woodruff to do the work. He declined at first, but the Church president persisted. Ultimately it was Dallin’s mother in Springville who persuaded him to accept the commission, saying, “Every time you return home and take me in your arms, you call me your ‘angel mother”‘ (quoted in Richard Neitzel Holzapfel, Every Stone a Sermon, p. 48).”
 “President Wilford Woodruff,” ldsmedia library, 4/13/2020.
 Brandon Johnson, “Cyrun Dallin and the Angel Moroni,,” utahhumanities.org, 10/1/2006.
“The Angel Moroni is an iconic symbol that sits atop the LDS temple in downtown Salt Lake City. But did you know it was sculpted by a Protestant artist?
“In 1891, the plaster model for the statue of the Angel Moroni that sits atop the tallest spire of the Salt Lake LDS Temple was completed. Born in Springville to Mormon pioneer parents, the angel’s sculptor, Cyrus Dallin, had strong ties to Utah. But he never identified with Mormonism, perhaps because the LDS church appears to have excommunicated his father for supporting non-Mormon political candidates. Members of the Dallin family later converted to Presbyterianism and young Cyrus attended a Presbyterian school.”
“Dallin won his first art competition, part of a local fair, at a young age. Recognizing his talent, a couple of local men paid for his train fare to Boston where he studied with the famous sculptor Truman Bartlett. After opening his own studio a few years later, Dallin saved up enough money to travel to the art capital of the world—Paris—where he continued his art instruction under two master sculptors. Over time, Dallin developed into a first-rate artist, winning a number of important commissions. Perhaps his most famous, titled Appeal to the Great Spirit, sits in front of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Other Dallin pieces can be found in Chicago’s Lincoln Park, the Library of Congress in Washington DC, and around Utah. A copy of his statue Massasoit stands outside the state capitol building, and the Springville Museum of Art, which Dallin helped found, owns several of his pieces. The sculpture of Brigham Young at the intersection of Main Street and South Temple in SaltLake is also a Dallin. But, because of its visibility and symbolic importance to members of the LDS church worldwide, Dallin’s most popular work is arguably the Moroni statue.”
J. Michael Hunter, “The Monument to Brigham Young and the Pioneers : One Hundred Years of Controversy,” BYU Scholars Archive, 2000,
This article is about the Brigham Young Monument at Main and South Temple. Cyrus Dallin was also the sculptor of that work and this article adds some details on his family history and religion in his family. “The statue of Brigham Young was completed by Cyrus Dallin in 1893. Many delays in raising funds caused the monument not to be finished until 1900.” This article: “The Monument to Brigham Young and the Pioneers: One Hundred Years of Controversy” reviews the political disagreements and debates that often surrounded the monument.”
Cyrus Dallin family history note in this article:
“Dallin was born in Springville, Utah, on November 22, 1861, as the second oldest of nine children. His father and grandfather, sailmakers in England, converted to the LDS church in 1849 and immigrated to Utah in 1851. Once in Utah, however, his parents joined the Presbyterian Church. Dallin received his early education from Presbyterian schools and his art appreciation from his parents.”
“Cyrus Edwin Dallin,” wikipedia.org, retrieved 4/13/2020.
“Dallin, the son of Thomas and Jane (Hamer) Dallin, was born in Springville, Utah Territory, although his parents had left The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) before their marriage. At age 19, he moved to Boston to study sculpture with Truman Howe Bartlett. He studied in Paris, with Henri Chapu and at the Académie Julian.”
“Dallin Converted to Unitarianism and initially turned down the offer to sculpt the angel Moroni for the spire of the LDS Church’s Salt Lake Temple. He later accepted the commission and, after finishing the statue said, “My angel Moroni brought me nearer to God than anything I ever did. His statue became a symbol for the LDS Church and was the model for other angel Moroni statues on the spires of LDS Church temples.“
“Appeal to the Great Spirit,” Wikipedia.com, retrieved 4/13/2020.
“Appeal to the Great Spirit is a 1908 equestrian statue by Cyrus Dallin, located in front of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. It portrays a Native American on horseback facing skyward, his arms spread wide in a spiritual request to the Great Spirit. It was the last in Dallin’s four-piece series, The Epic of the Indian.”
 “Come Follow me: for families and individuals,” “New Testament,” 2019, page 199.
Who is the angel that John saw preaching the gospel?
One fulfillment of the prophecy in these verses occurred when Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith and
led him to the records that he translated and published as the Book of Mormon. This book contains the
“everlasting gospel” that we are charged with preaching unto “every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” (Revelation 14:6).”
 “Cyrus Dallin American Sculptor,
“In 1890 at the age of 29 Dallin was asked to sculpt a statue for the temple. He had by this point spent years studying sculpture in Boston and Paris and had gained international recognition for his sculptures of Native Americans. Dallin has already been commissioned to create the Monument to Brigham Young that currently stands at the south end of the Temple Square Plaza when President Woodruff asked him to do the Angel for the temple as well. The Salt Lake Temple was the first to have a statue specifically identified as the Angel Moroni. Cyrus Dallin chose Moroni, the Book of Mormon prophet who revealed the Gold Plates to Joseph Smith, as the subject of his sculpture. This statue has become a symbol for the Church.”
Danielle Christensen, “10 Things You May Not Know about the Angel Moroni Statue,” LDSliving.com, March 18, 2020.
“The Angel Moroni statue was sculpted by Cyrus Edwin Dallin, who was not a member of the Church. Dallin was originally asked to sculpt something for the central spire of the temple by President Wilford Woodruff, but the artist initially declined, claiming he didn’t believe in angels. However, Dallin’s mother reminded him that he called her his “angel mother,” and she encouraged him to accept the commission. Dallin designed the Angel Moroni which stands atop the Salt Lake Temple today and is also the sculptor of the Brigham Young Monument on Main Street in Salt Lake City. Additionally, he created the famous “Paul Revere” and “Appeal to the Great Spirit” statues in Boston.
According to the Daily Herald, Dallin studied the scriptures for inspiration of what to sculpt, and settled on Moroni—the last prophet in the Book of Mormon who also appeared to the prophet Joseph Smith. President Gordon B. Hinckley said Moroni was “guardian and deliverer of the golden plates, the translation of which became the Book of Mormon, another witness of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
“Of his experience creating the statue, Dallin said, “I considered that my ‘Angel Moroni’ brought me nearer to God than anything I ever did. It seemed to me that I came to know what it means to commune with angels from heaven.”
“There was a weather vane atop the Nauvoo temple depicting an angel, though it did not represent a specific angel. After studying Revelation 14 and other Latter-day Saint literature, Dallin suggested the upright design which is seen today. The Angel Moroni statue on the Salt Lake Temple was molded in hammered copper and covered in 22-karat gold leaf. On April 6, 1892, the statue was placed on top of the Salt Lake Temple, exactly one year before the temple was completed.According to templesquare.com, the Angel Moroni trumpet symbolizes “the spreading of the gospel and the Second Coming of the Savior.” The angel also typically faces the east, as it states in scripture that Christ will come from the east during the Second Coming. The statue is 12 feet, 5 inches tall and likely weighs between 2,000 to 4,000 pounds, although the exact weight of the statue is unknown, according to templesquare.com.
“The Angel Moroni statue on the Salt Lake Temple shows Moroni in robes and holding a trumpet in his right hand, his left hand down by his side. However, there have been other designs of the statue over the years, depending on the artist that has been commissioned to cast the statue for each temple.
“Not every temple has an Angel Moroni, including the St. George Utah Temple, the Oakland California Temple, the Laie Hawaii Temple, the Logan Utah Temple, the Paris France Temple, the Manti Utah Temple, the Cardston Alberta Temple, the Mesa Arizona Temple, and the Hamilton New Zealand Temple. See pictures of those temples here. The early Angel Moroni statues were made from bronze, copper, or aluminum, but were leafed in gold. Today, the statues are made in lightweight fiberglass and are leafed in gold.”
 Peggy Fletcher Stack, “Angel statue will be brought down on Salt Lake LDS Temple as earthquake repairs, renovation work continue,” sltrib.com, April 3, 2020.
“Crews rig a giant crane on the grounds of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Salt Lake Temple, April 2, 2020. The temple, closed in December for seismic upgrades, sustained minor damage during the March 18, 2020, earthquake. The trumpet on the Angel Moroni statue fell off, and there is minor displacement of some of the temple’s smaller spire stones.”
“Stone Removal Set to Begin at Salt Lake Temple After Earthquake–Angel Moroni also to be temporarily removed,” Church newsroom, April 2, 2020.
“Church spokesman Daniel Woodruff released the following statement to media April 2, 2020 regarding the next phase of work on the Salt Lake Temple renovation:
“Workers at the Salt Lake Temple project site are installing a crane on the temple’s south side to begin removal of some of the stones on the temple spires that were displaced during the recent earthquake in Salt Lake City. Workers will then remove additional stones from the east and west sides of the temple for preservation during the project. They will also temporarily remove the angel Moroni statue. Scaffolding will be constructed around the temple spires for better access for workers. This work is expected to last several weeks.”
 “SLC temple at night,” wikipedia.org, retrie\ved 4/13/2020.