BRIGHAM CITY -- A steady rain and 25 to 30 mph wind gusts did not keep construction crews from placing a 12-foot-tall golden Angel Moroni on the east spire of the Brigham City Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Nor did it keep thousands of people from being there Tuesday to witness the event.
Ron Frandsen, president of the Box Elder Stake, said the church was "absolutely determined" to place the angel Tuesday afternoon in spite of the weather.
It started drizzling just after 10 a.m. and soon settled into a steady downpour. The skies cleared right at noon, when the Angel Moroni was scheduled for placement. But even though the rain stopped, Frandsen said wind the gusts delayed the placement for nearly two hours.
Construction crews were lifted to the top of the spire several times to check wind speeds. At 1:40 p.m., they blew the air horn to announce the winds were calm, and the crowds cheered.
"It was heartwarming to hear that big cheer go up," Frandsen said. "It was really amazing to us."
The angel placed on the Brigham City Temple was sculpted by Karl Quilter, who has sculpted many of the angels for the LDS Church. Quilter shared many of the details about the process of creating Moroni at a June 26 fireside in the Brigham City Tabernacle.
Quilter said he started out with a drawing and added his knowledge of anatomy and proportions. He made a profile out of plywood, then covered it in urethane foam until it looked like a "giant blob."
While this material is soft like Styrofoam, it was solid as a brick, allowing him to crawl all over the form, Quilter said. With a serrated knife, he carefully began to cut away what he did not want.
Later, he added clay to bring the form to life.
"I tweaked him and gave him a kneecap; I put in an elbow here and there," Quilter said. "As we did this, I tried to get this man who was a prophet of God, who fought the Lamanites and withstood a pretty good lot of them -- he was the sole survivor."
Quilter said he loves the little details, right down to the veins on the legs.
The angels are now made of fiberglass, which is much stronger than steel for its weight. Quilter said the angel on the Salt Lake City Temple weighs 4,000 pounds, while the angel on the Brigham City Temple is a mere 267 pounds. Both are 12 feet tall.
Quilter said the fiberglass is gilded in gold leaf -- the equivalent of a 50-cent piece of gold, hammered and rolled into a sheet about the thickness of 1/100th of a human hair that would cover 1 acre of ground.
The Angel Moroni stands on an 18-inch ball, with his toes curled around the curve of the sphere. He is fitted with a lightning rod that is made to fit into the spire like a key.
"And the Angel Moroni is ready to serve," Quilter said.
Frandsen said the angel was placed with little fanfare because the planners wanted it to be a "non-event."
However, knowing that this was a part of the temple's construction that would generate a lot of interest, they announced the date and time in advance, so people could plan to attend.
Frandsen said he believes more than 5,000 people came to witness the angel's placement.
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