While severe thunderstorms raged through Illinois, the Nauvoo temple was struck by lightning shortly after 2 p.m. on Friday, June 28, 2019. The blast startled those in attendance at the temple, according to Nauvoo Mercantile.
"I was actually looking up at the tower exactly when the strike happened," Alex Claiborne, who was across the street from the temple when the bolt of lightning struck, told Nauvoo Mercantile. "There was smoke coming off the Moroni statue."
The temple is currently in working condition, and the angel Moroni took on the brunt of the damage. Much of the gold leafing covering the statue was burned and melted and a piece of the trumpet was blown away.
Despite the damage done to the angel Moroni, the statue worked exactly as it was intended to do. In 2016, the Deseret News reported:
"Statues of the Angel Moroni on most temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are more than symbolic landmarks. They also are equipped with lightning rods, which means they are designed to attract lightning strikes away from other parts of the faith's . . . operating temples around the world."