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Salt Lake Temple Renovation: New Video Shows Angel Moroni Statue Removal and Temple Foundation Strengthening

by | May 19, 2020

From the Church

This story will be updated throughout the Salt Lake Temple renovation. Click the links below for individual updates. Find more information at templesquare.org

Salt Lake Temple Renovation Updates

► You may also like: What Exactly Will Happen During the Salt Lake Temple Renovation? Here's What You Need to Know


New Video Shows Angel Moroni Statue Removal and Temple Foundation Strengthening

Church Newsroom released a video on May 18, 2020, showing the removal of the angel Moroni statue and capstone and explaining how workers are strengthening the temple foundation. The video and accompanying press release are below. 

In the latest stage of the renovation of the Salt Lake Temple, the angel Moroni statue and circular capstone beneath its feet were removed from the temple’s central east spire. These historic items were carried Monday morning through the air to the ground via crane for preservation and refurbishing. This will prepare both items for a later reinstallation.

“The Salt Lake Temple is the house of the Lord, and it is being shored up and strengthened to be able to stand for generations to come,” said Andy Kirby, director of historic temple renovations. “Each aspect of this project plays an important role in helping this sacred structure to remain a symbol of permanence, optimism, and faith for people around the world.”

The removal of the statue and capstone had long been planned as part of the temple’s years-long structural and seismic renovation. The timeline for this portion of the project was sped up following a 5.7 magnitude earthquake in March 2020 that shook the trumpet out of Moroni’s right hand and caused other minor damage.

While no crew members were injured during the quake, Paul Lawrence of Jacobsen Construction said the trembling earth was a reminder of the importance of a seismic upgrade.

“The earthquake loosened some of those pieces [on top of the temple],” said Lawrence, the renovation’s seismic project manager. “And in order to make the surrounding area safe, we’ve simply had to move those activities forward and take them off now instead of later. The recent event that we had simply reinforces the vision and direction that we’ve been given to strengthen the temple.”

The renovation of the historic building will include the installment of a base isolation system to help the building withstand a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. Lawrence said this system connects the base with the temple roof through secure rods and cables in the towers to protect the building from further damage.

“We create a safe zone around the perimeter of the building where that building can move,” Lawrence said. “It allows the building to move with the earthquake up to four or five feet in any one direction.”

Before the base isolation system can be installed, workers are drilling to strengthen the stone foundation of this structure first completed in 1893. Crews are pumping grout into the foundation’s gaps—a process that increases its solidity and strength as well as the appreciation of Lawrence and his team for the fine work of those 19th-century pioneer builders.

“I feel a reverence for the craftsmen and individuals that have gone before us and built this wonderful structure,” said Lawrence, who plans to retire when this temple renovation is complete. “To be a part of what they did so many years ago and everything that they had to sacrifice—that hit me when we uncovered the original foundations and saw the markings and the evidence of the work they did.”

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Image titleForty Years: The Saga of Building the Salt Lake Temple, written by master storyteller Mark Henshaw, tells the narrative of the building of that iconic temple—a place of worship and refuge forty years in the making. From the chilly February day in 1853 when the prophet Brigham Young drove a shovel into the soil to break ground for the Salt Lake Temple until its dedication in 1893, the Saints moved forward with faith to complete the temple that would become a symbol of their determination to serve the Lord. Available now at DeseretBook.com


Angel Moroni Statue and Capstone Removed from Salt Lake Temple

Daniel Woodruff, spokesperson for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, released the following statement to the media on May 18, 2020:

This morning, crews on Temple Square are working to remove the angel Moroni statue and capstone which stand atop the Salt Lake Temple. This has long been planned as part of the temple renovation, but the timeline to do so was accelerated following the earthquake in March. The statue and capstone will be preserved and refurbished before being reinstalled at a later date. Work also continues to remove stones from the upper spires of the temple for preservation during the project. Those stones will be reinstalled in the future.

The angel Moroni is being removed as part of the ongoing renovation of the Salt Lake Temple, May 18, 2020. © 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Workers prepare to remove the angel Moroni atop the Salt Lake Temple, May 18, 2020. © 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

The angel Moroni and capstone being removed by a large crane as part of the ongoing renovation of the Salt Lake Temple, May 18, 2020. © 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

The angel Moroni and capstone being removed by a large crane with artisan journeyman viewing in the background as part of the ongoing renovation of the Salt Lake Temple, May 18, 2020.  © 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

The angel Moroni and capstone being removed by a large crane with artisan journeyman viewing in the background as part of the ongoing renovation of the Salt Lake Temple, May 18, 2020.  © 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Construction workers gently remove the angel Moroni and capstone with a large crane as part of the ongoing renovation of the Salt Lake Temple, May 18, 2020. © 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

The angel Moroni and capstone being removed by a large crane as part of the ongoing renovation of the Salt Lake Temple, May 18, 2020. © 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

The angel Moroni and capstone touch down on the ground, a part of the ongoing renovation of the Salt Lake Temple, May 18, 2020. © 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Workers removed the Angel Moroni and capstone as part of the ongoing renovation of the Salt Lake Temple, May 18, 2020. © 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Time-Lapse Video of Salt Lake Temple Renovation Project 

Progress on the Salt Lake Temple renovation project continues. Watch a time-lapse video captured during the first three months of construction released by Church Newsroom on April 16, 2020. 

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Stone Removal Set to Begin at Salt Lake Temple After Earthquake

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.”

► Related content: Angel Moroni’s Trumpet Falls in Salt Lake Earthquake

Please see the accompanying renderings for an idea of what this phase of work will look like. 


An artist's rendering depicts a crane placed on the south side of the Salt Lake Temple on Thursday, April 2, 2020, to begin to remove stones displaced in last month's earthquake as part of the temple renovation.
An artist's rendering of a crane removing stones from the Salt Lake Temple that were displaced during an earthquake in March 2020.

An artist's rendering of a crane removing stones from the Salt Lake Temple that were displaced during an earthquake in March 2020.

An artist's rendering of a crane removing stones from the Salt Lake Temple.

► Related content: 10 Things You May Not Know about the Angel Moroni Statue

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Pictures Show Temple Furnishings Removal

On January 17, 2020, Church Newsroom released photos that show the progress of furniture removal inside the temple. 

The Salt Lake Temple Celestial Room

The Salt Lake Temple Chapel

The Salt Lake Temple Assembly Room

The Salt Lake Temple Assembly Room

The Salt Lake Temple Assembly Room


The Salt Lake Temple Assembly Room

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Demolition Begins on South Visitors' Center, Statues Removed

On January 17, 2020, demolition began on the South Visitors’ Center.

Statues south of the temple, including statues of Hyrum and Joseph Smith—each of which weighs approximately 18,000 pounds—were removed and put into storage.

Trees and vegetation were also removed from the site.

“We are working to carefully preserve some of the trees, transplant them and then replant them at the end of the project,” Andy Kirby, director of historic temple renovations, told Church Newsroom. “We will also plant additional trees when we finish the renovation, so there will be more trees on Temple Square than there were when this project began.”

Special care is being made to preserve the Cedar of Lebanon tree, which was planted more than 70 years ago.

Excavation around the Salt Lake Temple to install the base isolation system will begin soon.

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Decommissioning the Temple


Church Newsroom released a story on January 7, 2020, that explained the Salt Lake Temple was undergoing decommissioning. The process involves removing items from the temple, including temple clothing, furniture, temple records, and other items used in the completion of temple ordinances. Additionally, preparations were made for construction with temporary power and utilities and asbestos abatement.

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Images from Intellectual Reserve, Inc. 
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