Saturday, May 7, 2011

Alternatives to Angel Moroni Statues

I've already written a lengthy post about Angel Moroni statues on LDS temples.  This post is about other notable temple toppers.

The original and rebuilt Nauvoo Illinois Temple had(have) a bell tower on the top.  Yes, the original temple had a flying Angel Moroni weather vane and the rebuilt one has a statue of Moroni.  In addition to this, both temples contain(ed) a bell as the tower is a bell tower.  The tower in the completed temple can be seen in the picture on the left.  The original temple bell was taken with the saints from Nauvoo when they crossed the plains and settled in Utah.  It currently sits atop a tower at temple square, south and a little west of the Salt Lake Tabernacle.
I like the idea of a temple bell.  On my mission I remember being in Cambridge at Easter and hearing church bells ring out from Great St. Mary's Church.  It was impressive.  I would love to see a bell added to another temple, although I don't expect to see one.  This is mainly  because we like to build in neighborhoods and bells might annoy neighbors.  Also, now days we (all of society, not just the church) don't tend to use bells very often.

This brings up another temple topper, also from the Nauvoo Temple - a clock tower.  The Nauvoo Temple tower has clocks on all four faces.  This was mainly added because it was popular to add clock towers in the 1840s.  Also, at that time, most buildings were considered a community asset and would have many functions.  Adding a clock would provide one more community service.  You have probably also guessed that the Nauvoo Temple bell was installed for use with the clock.  To this day it chimes the hour at temple square.  It probably wasn't intended, but a clock can act as a symbol of time and eternity and of order.


Weather vanes are another temple topper that has been used a few times.  The Kirtland Ohio Temple was built with a weather vane (the current one is a replica).  The original Nauvoo Illinois Temple had a weather vane angel that would have helped people determine the wind direction (you'll notice that the Nauvoo Temple had a lot of practical features for the community).  The St. George Utah Temple was built next and has a weather vane on its tower.  Similar weather vanes top the Logan Temple east and west center towers.  Today one faces north and the other faces south.  I assume that they originally rotated with the wind, but have since been replaced when the towers were replaced with fiberglass replicas.  The weather vanes on these three temples are all arrows.

The Cardston Alberta Canada Temple has no tower or spire, however its gently sloping pyramidal roof has a light or lantern at its peak, a fitting topper to a temple.

The remaining temples have had some sort of finial or spire when they haven't had Angel Moroni statues but have had towers.

Please comment and let us know what you think about these unique temple features from before Angel Moroni statues became standard.  I like these unique features and hope we keep them intact.

7 comments:

Clark Herlin said...

I like your blog (it's my favorite), but once again, no citations as to where you get your info . . . :) Good job. A lot better than mine :)

Scott said...

Clark,
What did you want me to reference? These are features you can see directly from photos or visiting in person. The current Nauvoo Temple bell location can be found out if you visit Temple Square and see the Relief Society monument which is the bell tower. If I was writing a thesis I might find references for these things, but common knowledge, or things obviously shown in pictures I posted, doesn't need a reference.

Don said...

The angel atop the original Nauvoo Temple referred to the angel in Revelation 14:6, but I've never been able to find anything indicating that it was associated with Moroni. As far as I know, Cyrus Dallin came up with the idea of making Moroni the angel on top of a temple when he sculpted the topper for the Salt Lake Temple.

Karl said...

I personally think it would be very fitting to put a bell tower in one of the Philadelphia temple's towers or spires, seeing as how it will be constructed in a highly urban zone, and the fact that Philly is home to one of the most recognized bells on the planet. Just saying it would be cool.

Scott said...

Don, you are correct that the angel was not originally identified as Moroni. Talmage calls it Moroni in his book, but evidence suggests that it wasn't until the Salt Lake Temple was built that the angel topping it was referred to as Moroni, an association used on other temples since.
Karl, I highly agree that that would be neat and fitting and work. Maybe the architect will have the same thought.

Ryan said...

What do you think about Moroni-ing temples like Manti, Logan, St. George? They are classic architecture as is, but the statue would be cool.

Scott said...

I'm very strongly opposed to adding Moroni statues to the St. George, Logan, Manti, Laie Hawaii, Cardston Alberta, and Mesa Arizona temples. I like their uniqueness. There are a few other temples without Angel Moroni statues and I am less opposed to them receiving one, although I do like keeping history.