Video: Moroni statue struck by lightning atop Utah LDS Temple.

The harsh windstorm accompanied by thunder and lightning that happened over the weekend in Northern Utah not only toppled trees and knocked over a lot of branches but also caused extensive damages to buildings and vehicles. The Angel Moroni statue situated atop the Bountiful Utah Temple of the Latter-day Saints Church is one structure that was damaged during the wind storm.

The statue was hit by a lightning not once, but twice, causing part of the statue’s head to be blown off. The old lightning myth about lightning never striking at the same place twice has already been dispelled by veteran storm observers and researchers, but for people wondering about how the statue got hit twice, the logical explanation is that the Angel Moroni statue, was equipped with a lightning rod.

The LDS Church started the practice of installing lightning rods inside the Angel Moroni statues a long time ago for the purpose of protecting the people inside the LDS Temple from lightning. Also, without a proper grounding system, a lightning strike could potentially damage the Temple's electrical system and other electrical components.

Aluminum, copper or bronze were used to construct the earlier Moroni statues. Nowadays, the statues are made of fiberglass. Then they are gilded with gold, which is a good conductor of electricity. The copper lightning rod extending out of the top of the statue's head and the gold helps to attract lightning away from the Temple and nearby areas and conduct it safely to the ground via the grounding cable.

In effect, the Angel Moroni statue located atop an LDS Temple is not just a symbolic landmark but also an effective safety measure as well.

In Mormonism, Angel Moroni is the guardian of the golden plates, the source of the Book of Mormon which is a sacred text of the faith. Mormon history has it that Angel Moroni guided Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, to the location of the golden plates. Smith then translated it to the Book of Mormon and returned the plates back to the Angel.

According to the LDS Church, Moroni was a prophet-warrior, who was the last one to write in the golden plates. After he died in a great battle, he became an angel and was tasked with guarding the golden plates. Angel Moroni holds a prominent place in Mormonism. Out of the 150 LDS Temples around the world, 142 has the Angel Moroni statue installed atop.

According to Tyler Wilson, director of special projects at Okland Construction, Angel Moroni statues get hit by lightning all the time. The lightning strike on the Bountiful Utah Temple Angel Moroni statue was captured by Brittany Haslam, a Bountiful resident, on her mobile phone. She was filming the storm, and the lightning strike got caught, accidentally.

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