On 4 April 1999 during the closing session of General Conference, President Hinkley announced that the Historic Nauvoo Temple would be rebuilt to match the 1846 appearance, with some minor changes. One of those minor changes, in the end, turned out to be at the top of the dome on the stately tower.
The original tower, as you know, was topped with a weather vane in the shape of an angel. This angel, rather than being a flat cutout of an angel has been described as “a finely produced three-dimensional shape appearing almost humanlike”.
When it came to decide on what to place on the top of the reconstructed temple, the Church approached Karl Quilter for design proposals. One of the designs was a multidimensional shape, representing as closely as possible the original Nauvoo weather vane.
Another design he presented, while looking more like the Moroni members of the Church are accustomed too, was never the less different. It was in a run-like pose, appears to be flying, and is more reminiscent of the scripture in the book of Revelation than the full upright angel we typically see.
In the end, the design that President Hinckley decided upon was a larger scale version of a small statuette that Brother Quilter originally carved for his grandchildren as a gift for when they finished reading the scriptures. This statue is a standing statue like the two other designs Karl Quilter sculpted for temples, but with an open and relaxed left hand.
This Angel was first placed on the Reno Nevada Temple to see how it would look when used on a temple. In addition to Reno and Nauvoo, this Angel is also in use on the Manhattan New York Temple, where it is turned south west so that it’s trumpet points out over the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts across the street.
Note: The above sketches are from photos shared with me during the process of assembling this book. The Photo is of the Angel at Nauvoo Illinois Temple.
All information was verified through photos and ldschurchtemples.com