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The Nauvoo Moroni

The restored Nauvoo temple is a beautiful monument to the Mormons of 1840s Illinois. In many ways a faithful reproduction of the original, there are, however, certain differences (beyond architectural accommodations to current temple activities).

Here is the original Moroni weather-vane of the Nauvoo temple. Critics contend that the new temple features a modern Moroni statue because the old version is too "masonic." Whilst this berobed Moroni could indeed raise some tricky questions, conspiracy theorists would need to explain why the Church included other symbolism on the new temple that is equally as "controversial," the inverted 5-point star for example. So why the change?

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Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 13, 2005 5:06 PM) 

To answer my own question, don't you think the old Moroni is a tad weedy? 

Posted by Ronan


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 13, 2005 6:12 PM) 

Weedy, as in weak and scrawny? It's not the greatest work of art.

I once read a comment by a church leader who seemed to characterize it as a branding issue. It's consistent with the upright Moroni on 100+ temples. The upright Moroni is the hallmark of the modern church.
An architect who worked on the temple said that President Hinckley chose the upright Moroni to symbolize the forward-looking nature of the church and temple. Much of the Nauvoo temple pays tribute to the past. 

Posted by Justin


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 13, 2005 6:44 PM) 

I suspect he meant weedy as in the horn looks like a hash pipe.

Personally I think they used the new Moroni just because that's an identifiable icon for Mormon temples. Nothing wrong with that, even though I'd have preferred the older one. Same as there being no Masonic stuff inside the Nauvoo temple even though undoubtedly the original did - as did early Utah temples. But it's a functioning temple. It's not an attempt to make a historic recreation like some historic sites are. 

Posted by clark


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 13, 2005 6:50 PM) 

Sorry, I must be careful with my English. Yes, "weedy" =

Clark, what INSIDE the Nauvoo temple was "masonic"?

Not all temples, even modern ones, have a Moroni. London, for example. 

Posted by Ronan


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 13, 2005 7:59 PM) 

That's true. But the church has added some Moroni statues in recent years to temples previously lacking them, such as the Provo, Ogden, Freiburg, and Sao Paulo temples. I've read that building codes, cultural reasons, or the temple's architectural design are reasons why some of the temples lack a statue.

I hadn't thought of the hash pipe angle. I suppose it could also be seen as a beer bong. 

Posted by Justin


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 13, 2005 8:04 PM) 

Here's a piece of Mormon urban lore (or is it?): the London temple once had a gold-leaf spire but it had to be stripped-off because the metal was interfering with aircraft communication (London Gatwick is down the road).

Another one: shortly after the London Temple dedication in 1958(?), the Queen turned up and demanded to be let in. A visiting Apostle told her she was welcome to enter, but that the temple would have to be torn down afterwards. 

Posted by Ronan


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 13, 2005 10:32 PM) 

I think it fair to assume that like the SLC Temple the Nauvoo temple would have had considerable Masonric symbolism in it. However no one knows what that symbolism was, since we only have exterior shots. So reconstruction would have been difficult.

As for "weedy"... Sheepish grin. Well, I sometimes think it looks like a bong...

Obviously I'm not up on my London jargon. 

Posted by clark


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 14, 2005 12:21 AM) 

Am I confusing this with another temple? I thought this angel was drawn and planned for, but they ended out just putting a weather vein up instead? 

Posted by J. Stapley


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 14, 2005 9:01 AM) 

The drawing is from the Nauvvo temple plans. Whether the statue was made, I don't know. You may be right, J. 

Posted by Ronan


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 14, 2005 12:37 PM) 

No one has mentioned the biggest problem with this statue: it looks like Moroni has been impaled on a pike. Maybe they should save this statue for the Transylvania Temple (opening 2106). 

Posted by NFlanders


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 14, 2005 12:48 PM) 

Ned, you're a funny, funny bloke. 

Posted by Ronan


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 14, 2005 12:49 PM) 

Ned, you're a funny, funny bloke. 

Posted by Ronan


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 14, 2005 3:18 PM) 

So who was the artist, Napoleon Dynamite?

"I spent like an hour shading Moroni's right cheek" 

Posted by Geoff J


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 14, 2005 3:30 PM) 

Am I confusing this with another temple? I thought this angel was drawn and planned for, but they ended out just putting a weather vein up instead? 

Glen Leonard's history of Nauvoo, Nauvoo: A Place of Peace, a People of Promise, states the following:

"Rising above the temple to a height of 165 feet above ground was an octagonal wooden tower that added a finishing visual touch to the building. It also afforded visitors who climbed the stairway to the top a commanding view of the city. The architectural design called for a bell in the tower and four clocks. Wilford Woodruff raised money in England for the bell and one of the timepieces. Topping the dome was a prone-angel weathervane. The Nauvoo Tinners' Association invested twenty-four man days making the vane and another nine days on the balls and ornament for the spire. The angel was set in place on the morning of January 30, 1846. Perrigrine Sessions described the wind vane as 'an angel in his priestly robes with a Book of Mormon in one hand and a trumpet in the other which is over laid with gold leaf.'" 

Posted by Justin


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 14, 2005 3:36 PM) 

Justin: thou art the man.

Geoff: very funny. You'll be apologising to William Meeks in the afterlife though. 

Posted by Ronan


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 14, 2005 4:01 PM) 

I was very disappointed when I found out the rebuilt Nauvoo temple would not have its original horizontal angel.

J., the angel was a weather vane, and it was definitely up there. Here , here, and here are some views.

Of course, if you're really nostalgic, you can purchase a flying angel tie tack or charm 

Posted by Bill


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 14, 2005 10:19 PM) 

Nice finds, Bill. You should join the Mormon Wasp or something. 

Posted by Ronan


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 15, 2005 5:54 AM) 

Back to the Masonic thing... Who's to say that instead of Masonic imagery being adopted by the temple builders, that it wasn't the other way 'round? Why can't it be that the Masons adopted temple imagery. They themselves claim their organization dates back to the workers on Solomon's Temple... looks to me like there is some truth to that. 

Posted by rob


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 15, 2005 10:01 AM) 

Alas, Rob, not even Masons believe there is a solid (if any) historical connection between Masonry and Solomon's Temple. You'll have to wait for Dan Brown's new book for that.

Incidentally, Mormon Stories has a podcast  with a Mormon Mason about said connections. United Brethren does not necessarily endorse his conclusions but it is interesting to hear the perspective of someone who is a "Brother" in more ways than one. 

Posted by Ronan


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