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Thousands gather to watch angel Moroni ‘fly’ atop new Brigham temple

July 26th, 2011 Posted in Arts and Life

Story & Photos by Todd Hamann

BRIGHAM CITY, Utah—Four city blocks were closed and businesses shut their doors for a few hours as thousands of people showed up to watch the statue of the angel Moroni placed atop the new Brigham City Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The placing of the golden statue was delayed by two hours by high winds. As people waited, LDS music was played over loudspeakers and missionaries sang hymns.

Shortly after noon, a crane hoisted construction workers in a basket to gauge the wind speed. The maximum wind speed allowed to raise the statue safely was 5 mph. The wind was measuring between 35-40 mph.

Jennifer Hamann of North Logan was part of the crowd. “There was a rumor that it would have to be postponed because of the wind,” she explained. “People started leaving, so I went to a construction worker and asked about it. He told me that they would still raise the statue if the wind died down.”

At 1:30 p.m. the crane raised some workers for another check. “I noticed groups of people that had stopped what they were doing, some were praying.” said Hamann. The blast of an air horn signaled the go-ahead and applause erupted from the crowd. Within minutes the statue was raised by a second crane and another air horn blast signaled its ascent. There were more cheers, whistles and applause.

“What an experience,” Kaye Barlow, a Nibley grandmother, said. “I’ve never seen an ‘angel Moroni’ placed on a temple before.”

Barlow laughed at some people who parked at gas pumps to see the setting of the statue.

Moroni was lifted above the center spire on the east side of the building, slowly turned until he faced due east, and lowered into place. From the LDS tabernacle across the street, the hymn “High on a Mountain Top” played and onlookers cheered.

“It was really neat,” 6-year-old Brody said. “They lifted it up on a big crane and put it on the top.”

Setting the angel Moroni statue marks the completion of the outer structure, marking a major step to the completion of the temple. Statues of the angel Moroni cap nearly all LDS temples around the globe.

The angel Moroni is credited as an angelic tutor of the boy prophet Joseph Smith, the founder of the LDS faith. Moroni is also the caretaker of the gold plates from which Smith translated the Book of Mormon and the angel is spoken of in Revelations 14:6.

“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.”

—Revelations 14:6

The Brigham City temple was announced in October 2009 and the groundbreaking was performed the following July by President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Temple grounds will include just over 3 acres.

Temples are revered by the church and considered by the faithful to be the holiest structures on Earth. Only members of the church in good standing, holding a temple recommend obtained by the local priesthood clergy, may enter. Inside the temple, sacred ordinances are performed for participating church members and on behalf of deceased loved ones.

The inside of the temple is slated for completion mid-2012. After a customary public open house, the dedication of the temple is scheduled for late 2012, with official dates yet to be released. It is expected that the temple will be dedicated by Thomas S. Monson, president of the LDS church.



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