JE - Why is moroni on the temple and not Jesus Christ?
JOEL - The angel Moroni represents the angel mentioned in the Book of Revelation scripture:
"And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." (Rev. 14: 6-7)
and in Mathew:
"And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (Matt 24: 31)
The Nauvoo Temple was the first to have a horizontal angel attached to the lightning rod in the form of a weather vane. The angel held a book with one hand while pressing a horn to its lips with the other. This angel was probably meant to be a representation of the angel mentioned in the above scriptures but was not identified as Moroni at the time.
The original idea to use a Moroni statue as we see on today's temples came from sculptor Cyrus Dallin. LDS Church President Wilford Woodruff had asked Dallin to create something for the central spire of the Salt Lake Temple, so Dallin searched through LDS scripture for inspiration and decided to sculpt Moroni because he believed Moroni was a good representation of the restoration of the gospel.
From then on it was simply a matter of tradition and respect for Moroni that a representation of him be placed on latter-day temples. It was not as if church leaders made a choice between Jesus and Moroni; it simply seemed an appropriate reminder for all members of the fulfillment of prophecy.
While a statue of Jesus may not be shown on the outside of our temples, the spirit of Jesus resides inside every one of them, and in the hearts of those attending, which I would think is more important than having a statue of Him on the outside.
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