Knaphus’s Moroni

DC Chapel –
Torlief Knaphus
Material Welded Aluminum covered 22 karat gold leaf
Height 11’ 6” (3.5 Meters)
Weight 645 lbs (292.6 kilograms)
Currently On
0 Temple (Never used on a Temple)

This Angel is in use on the Washington D.C. Temple

Idaho Falls Moroni – Brian Olson
Torlief Knaphus/LaVar Wallgren
Material Fiberglass covered in gold leaf
Height 11’ 6” (3.5 Meters)
Weight 400 lbs (292.6 kilograms)
Currently On
2 Temples

This Angel resides on the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple and the Boston Massachusetts Temple

A New Way to Statue

In the early 1930’s church leaders requested that Torlief Knaphus design an Angel Moroni statue for the spire of the Washington D.C. chapel. While the statue is based on Cyrus Dallin’s Moroni, the statue is a foot shorter than Dallin’s original. The statue was removed from the chapel in 1976 and can be viewed at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. It has never been placed on a temple.

In regards to it, Knaphus said that, while it looks the same from a distance, the arms and shoulders are “beefier” than the original.

A few years later, an artist named LaVar Wallgren would recast the statue in fiberglass to be used on the Idaho Falls temple and a second recast to be used on the Atlanta Temple. This new method of making statues from fiberglass made them lighter, easier to transport to locations around the globe, cost less to make, and could be lifted into place by smaller cranes or even helicopters. Additionally, the temple did not require the heavy structural reinforcement earlier statues required due to being cast from metal. This allowed for statues to be placed on smaller temples and narrower spires, including temples that had not been originally designed to have the statue.

The Idaho Falls statue remains, but the Atlanta Statue was removed, replaced with another model, then refurbished. It now sits on the Boston Temple. This Boston Statue, a recreation of the Dallin Statue, is on the temple closest to the Massachusetts home where Dallin lived for most of his life. as the Atlanta Statue was replaced in the late 1990’s and the Boston temple received it’s statue in the early 2000’s, it is likely that the Atlanta Statue was refurbished and re-used on the Boston Temple. It is likely that only 2 fiberglass castings were ever made of the Knaphus Statue.

Four temples would be built and dedicated in the time between the first use of the Fairbanks Statue until the first use of the recast Knaphus Statue. Of those four temples, two used replicas of Fairbank’s statue. By this point, there had been 20 temples built and dedicated. And of those 20, only one fourth of them had Angel Moroni Statues. With the dedication of the Atlanta Temple in 1983 the statue finally reached the point of coming into regular use. 126 temples have been built and dedicated since then, and of those 126, only 2 did not receive a Moroni before dedication. Those 2 were both designed to have a statue, but due to legal issues, would wait to receive their statue until just short of one year after the dedication.

Additionally, since the construction of the Atlanta Temple, statues have been added to 7 of the 15 original statue-less temples.

In the foreseeable future, this trend will continue. As of writing, there are an additional 13 temples under construction, and 2 temples for which the Church has released the design. All of these 15 temples but one has been designed with an Angel Moroni Statue. That one exception is the Paris France Temple, where a design choice was made to have neither spire nor angel, breaking a tradition running just 30 years but including over 130 temples.


Reed Russell “Guest Post: The Washington, D.C. Chapel”, 26 September 2012.
J. Michael Hunter “I Saw Another Angel Fly” Ensign, January 2000.
Allen P. Gerritsen “The Hill Cumorah Monument: An Inspired Creation of Torleif S. Knaphus” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies Vol. 13 No . 1-2 p. 124-135.
“Torlief S. Knaphus Personal and Family Events”


The Unique Sphere

Brian Olson

Visually identical to the Salt Lake statue and standing on the same gold disc, this statue has a smaller half sphere matching the outer edge of the disc, giving a look of a gold bowl with a lid atop it.