In some great news out of Italy, the Rome Italy Temple has finally been topped with a statue of the angel Moroni. On Saturday, March 25, a small group of local Latter-day Saints and other leaders gathered at the temple site to witness the statue be hoisted atop the modernist building.
Area Seventy Alessandro Dini Ciacci stated, “Today we witness the tangible progress being made on the construction of the Rome Temple…. We rejoice in this great milestone, conscious that as the workers will do their best to complete the construction as fast as possible, we will need to work alongside them to complete our spiritual preparation so that when the temple is dedicated we will be ready to participate in the sacred ordinances which will be performed there.”
The placement of a Moroni statue is a symbolic move toward completion of any temple, but it is particularly important for the Rome Italy Temple, which has been formally under construction since October 2010, significantly longer than the approximately three-year turnaround time to build most LDS temples. The project has been met with “contractor difficulties” and much fasting and prayer by Church members.
Despite the significance of Moroni assuming his position atop the temple, Church leaders have still not announced an open house or dedication date. With most of 2017 already filled up by four scheduled temple dedications, it seems unlikely that the Rome temple will be dedicated before 2018, but that is completely speculative.
A sculpture of the angel Moroni was first used in its current form to top the Salt Lake Temple. (The original Nauvoo Temple had an angel in the form of a weathervane, but it was not specifically identified as Moroni.) Since then, most Mormon Temples have been capped with a Moroni statue, some upon construction and others after the fact. Only 10 temples do not have a Moroni: St. George Utah, Logan Utah, Manti Utah, Laie Hawaii, Cardston Alberta, Mesa Arizona, Hamilton New Zealand, Oakland California, Paris France, and Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo. Paris and Kinshasa are the first temples in decades not to include a statue of the Book of Mormon figure in their design.