Tuesday, August 11, 2009

New Improved Version 2.0 Moroni Statue Installed Atop The Oquirrh Mountain LDS Temple In Utah; Nearly 590,000 Show Up For Two-Month Open House

Now that the public open house for the Oquirrh Mountain Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is over, it's time for some last minute housekeeping before the formal dedication which will take place during nine different sessions to be held between August 21-23, 2009. And part of that housekeeping included the installation of the new, improved Version 2.0 Moroni statue atop the facility. Media stories from the Deseret News and KSL Channel 5.

Version 2.0 won't necessarily be more lightning-resistant, but it's an improvement over the older statue, which took a lightning strike back on June 13th and was irrevocably stained. But the statues, which always show Moroni facing towards the east in the expected direction of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, aren't merely symbolic. The Church itself says that they are installed specifically to attract lightning in the case of a strike and protect the temple from burning down.

KSL news video embedded below:

Video Courtesy of KSL.com

After the June 13th incident, initial thoughts were to send workers up to inspect the statue's damage and see how much cleaning and repair might be needed. However, after considering the difficulty and cost of doing that 180-plus feet off the ground, as well as the uncertain extent of the damage, Church leaders opted to replace the statue. A company called 3D Art Inc. manufactures the statues for the LDS Church and oversaw Tuesday's three-hour replacement effort.

Contrary to rumors that the statue damage was the result of an nonfunctioning or inappropriate grounding system, the lightning rod was able to channel the brunt of the strike and ground it without incident inside the temple. An absent or ineffective grounding system would result in damage to the temple's electrical system and components and be a safety threat to those inside. But workers did install an additional cable extending from the trumpet bell to counter any future arcing. It was excessive arcing which discolored the statue.

The LDS Church reports that during the two-month open house for the Oquirrh Mountain Temple from June 1st though August 1st, nearly 590,000 visitors toured the facility, some more than once. During the last week alone, 100,000 visitors showed up. Some 800 volunteers were needed each day at the temple grounds. Many labored inside the temple, sharing with visitors their testimonies of eternal families and the blessings of the restored gospel. Others worked outside the temple, passing out cookies in the hospitality tent or slapping on sunblock while fulfilling parking duty assignments. Not all volunteers were active LDS; some were Jack Mormons, and a few were actually non-members. All were helpful and their services appreciated.

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