Angel Moroni Statue Placed on Spire of Washington Temple
July 1973

“Angel Moroni Statue Placed on Spire of Washington Temple,” Ensign, July 1973, 127

Angel Moroni Statue Placed on Spire of Washington Temple

The structure of the Washington Temple began to take form recently as a statue depicting the Angel Moroni was hoisted 300 feet to the top of the new edifice.

The gold-leafed statue sits upon the tallest of six spires, which were fabricated of structural steel and coated with structural enamel before being lifted into position at each end of the building. For some months the structure has been at the square at a height of 120 feet.

On hand to watch the statue being placed were Elders Thomas S. Monson and Boyd K. Packer of the Council of the Twelve. Sister LeGrand Richards, wife of Elder LeGrand Richards of the Council of the Twelve, was in Washington and also witnessed the event.

“The Angel Moroni statue, which appears on the top of several of our temples, is a reminder to us that God is concerned for all his people throughout the world and communicates with them wherever they may be,” said Elder Monson.

The statue at the Washington Temple is the largest of three representations on temples of the angel who appeared to Joseph Smith to give him the Book of Mormon plates. The other two stand atop the Salt Lake City and Los Angeles temples.

Stretching to a height of 18 feet, the Washington statue weighs two tons. The tower upon which it rests weighs 12 tons.

Dr. Avard Fairbanks of Salt Lake City, nationally noted sculptor, designed this most recent statue of Moroni. In describing the concept of the statue, he said:

“I wanted the statue to conform to the spirit and architecture of the temple, that of aspiring upward. I wanted the feeling of that upward reach accomplished by the stress of vertical lines. I thought of the Angel Moroni coming to the world to herald the advent of the latter days and bringing the gospel plan to the people of today.”

The statue was cast in bronze in Italy and finished in gold leaf for protection and color.

The figure on top of the Salt Lake Temple is 12 feet 5 1/2 inches tall and was made of hammered copper and gilded with gold leaf by Cyrus E. Dallin, early Utah sculptor. It was raised to its present position in 1892.

The Moroni statue atop the Los Angeles Temple was the work of Millard F. Malin of Salt Lake City. In Mayan design, it stands 15 1/2 feet tall on the 265-foot tower of the single-spired temple.

Another statue of Moroni stands on the spire of the Washington, D.C., chapel of the Church on 16th Street. It is a replica of the figure on the Salt Lake Temple and is the only such statue to adorn an LDS chapel.

A statue of Moroni also stands on the top of the Hill Cumorah near Palmyra, New York, where Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith.

The Washington Temple will be the largest temple of the Church when it is completed June 1, 1974. It will serve 300,000 members living in stakes and missions east of the Mississippi River. Church members in the Washington Temple District may begin submitting names to the Genealogical Society on November 1, 1973, for processing preparatory to ordinance work in that temple.

Architects for the Washington Temple include Fred L. Markham, chairman; Emil B. Fetzer, Church architect; Keith W. Wilcox, Henry P. Fetzer, and Harold K. Beecher.

An objective of this committee was that the Washington Temple “be immediately recognized as a Mormon temple. It suggests and brings to mind the best-known and most easily recognized symbol of the Church—the famed Salt Lake Temple—by means of a new and unique expression and form without the design being a literal copy of the Salt Lake Temple.”


Photo by Bill Ferber