Dallin’s Moroni

Cyrus Dallin's Angel Moroni Statue - Temple Square
SLC Moroni – Brian Olson
Sculptor
Cyrus E. Dallin
Commissioned
19 August 1891
Material Copper covered in 22-karat gold leaf
Height 12′ 5.5″ (3.8 Meters)
Weight 1,500 lbs (680.4 kilograms)
Currently On
1 temple
This Angel still sits on the Salt Lake City Temple

Creation of an Icon

While weather vanes had been all the rage during the early years of the Church, fashions change. So it was that President Willford Woodruff approached Cyrus Dallin with a commission, not for the weather vanes, but a single standing statue more in the modern style for the East spire of the temple.Initially, Dallin declined the commission for the statue, saying he did not believe in angels. President Woodruff persisted and asked Cyrus to consult with his mother about taking the project. Upon telling his mother that he did not wish to take the commission and his reason why, she replied “Why do you say that? You call me your ‘angel mother.’ ” Dallin accepted the commission, and it was Dallin himself, not a member of the Church, who chose the visitation of Moroni to Joseph Smith as the subject of his sculpture and a fitting symbol of the Restoration.

Like the Nauvoo weather vane before it, Dallin’s statue wears robes, this time in layers, and a cap on its head. It holds a trumpet in the right hand and the right arm raises it skyward in proclamation. The left arm is at the statue’s side, both it and the left fist tense. Unlike the Nauvoo weather vane, the 12 foot 5 inch statue stands immovable on a massive granite sphere.

While it was Dallin’s statue that firmly linked the angel icon with the prophet Moroni in the minds of the members of the church, it was not the start of the tradition of an angel on nearly every temple. In fact, another 5 temples would be built and another 62.5 years would pass before another Angel Moroni Statue would be placed on a temple.


References

J. Michael Hunter “I Saw Another Angel Fly” Ensign, January 2000.
“Angel Moroni Statues on LDS Temples” mormonnewsroom.org.
Improvement Era April 1968 page 4.
Scott Lloyd “‘Another Angel’” ldschurchnewsarchive.com 20 September 2008.
“8 Facts about the Salt Lake Temple Angel Moroni” templesquare.com, 18 September 2014.
Wendy Kenney “Looking Up to Moroni” New Era, November 2009.

Cyrus Dallin's Moroni Statue - Icon 1

Features

Cape

Cyrus Dallin's Salt Lake Moroni - Cape
LDS.org

In addition to having robes, Dallin’s Moroni has a short cloak with arm holes. This gives a more layered look to the robe than most other Moroni Statues have.

Bare Arms

Cyrus Dallin's Salt Lake Moroni - Bare Arms
Brian Olson

This first angel Moroni has bare arms. Sculptors of later statues would give Moroni at least short sleeves.

Cap

Cyrus Dallin's Salt Lake Moroni - Cap
Brian Olson

Dallin chose to sculpt Moroni wearing a cap with a short brim, which can be seen sticking up above his hair.

Granite Sphere

Cyrus Dallin's Salt Lake Temple - Granite Sphere
Brian Olson

This granite sphere was unique to the Salt Lake Temple until the recently placed Statue at Philadelphia. Moroni stands on a gold disc that matches the curve of the sphere. The sphere is 2 pieces, upper and lower and is part of the unique counter balance that supports the statue.

 


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