East: the direction of the rising sun; a symbol of the resurrection as well as the coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ; a sign of renewal and rebirth and new life. There are many reasons why east is a strong symbol for Latter-day Saints and for all cultures.
And, within a Church built largely on symbolic learning, it only makes sense that our most symbolically rich place of learning (temples) would use this symbol to instruct. And the temples do quite frequently. Many temple exteriors are adorned with pictures of suns and many angel Moroni's are positioned to face the rising sun every morning.
Many, but not all. There are six unique depictions of the angel Moroni statue on temples today, and the direction they can face varies as much as their design. In fact, there are nine temples that are either completed or under construction that do not have an angel Moroni at all (Saint George Utah, Oakland California, Cardston Alberta, Paris France, Mesa Arizona, Manti Utah, Laie Hawaii, Logan Utah, Hamilton New Zealand).
But3D Temples recently investigated this myth a little further, giving more insight into how it was generated and whether or not it was true. They used photographs and satellite photographs to determine the direction that the angel Moroni faces on every temple. Check out this amazing infographic they produced as a result.
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(For more about this, check out 3D Temples.)
Lead image from Wikimedia Commons.