A 5.7-magnitude earthquake hit Utah on Wednesday, March 18, causing power outages, damage to buildings, and closure of the Salt Lake International Airport.
The quake was also felt on top of the Salt Lake Temple, which is currently undergoing a seismic upgrade during the building's four-year renovation. During the shake, the trumpet held by the Angel Moroni statue slipped from his hands. The Church released the following statement about the statue:
“The Salt Lake Temple, which is undergoing a seismic upgrade, sustained some 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.”
The Angel Moroni statue stands atop the Salt Lake Temple with its trumpet missing after an earthquake in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. Credit: Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
The Angel Moroni statue has long been atop temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But where did the statue originate from and what does the trumpet symbolize? Here are 10 facts about the iconic statue. You can also learn more about it here.
- 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.