Moroni Faces East

Moroni always Faces East (Except When He Doesn’t)

You ever hear anyone say that the Angel Moroni Statue on temples always faces east? Well, that’s just not quite true. Using photographs to determine where the Moroni faces in relation to the temple, then using satellite photographs to translate that to a direction on a compass, this graphic shows where the Statues face.

While it is true that there are more Statues that face east than any other specific Direction, you can only say that the majority of them face east if “East” is the direction between North East and South East.

An Extra note:

For most of the Angel Moroni Statues, the direction was determined by which direction the chest faces. The exception to this are the statues holding gold plates, where the trumpet was used.

Why not the trumpet for all of them?

for most statues, the trumpet and the head are turned to the Angel Moroni’s right side. If you use the trumpet, almost none of the statues qualify as facing east!

Also, Check out my e-book (free for download or reading online) for more information about the Angel Moroni Statue

2018 Update

58 Replies to “Moroni Faces East”

  1. I love this chart, EXCEPT when you see a number on the chart, the numbers aren’t in numerical order. We can search for text easier than the number icons.

    1. I agree that is difficult, but there was no better way for me to do it and still be able to regularly update the infographic.

      I originally planned to just number all the dots 1-100 (and up,) going left to right, top to bottom. I realized very quickly that should I have to add an angel anywhere on the chart after that, I would have to change the numbers for ALL the dots that followed it. THEN I would have to change all the dots in the list below it, for all the dots that were changed above.

      An update to this chart already takes a couple of days, having to re-number everything each time a statue is added would bump that up to weeks!

  2. Oh, and BTW, in the artists animated 3-D creation of the Meridian Temple prior to construction (http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/meridian/model/ ) the artist assumption or error shows both the statue and the inscription on the entrance side of the building which is to the South. Reality of the physical building is as described above in previous post.

    1. I did see the Moroni Placement, and will be adding it in the next version of the infographic, later this year or next.

      As for the video, I am the animator who created it. I can assure you the placement of the Moroni in the Model was neither mistake or assumption. I was actually working from early plans of the temple. Sometime during the process the decision was made to rotate the Statue, probably for looks as you suggest, but even the Church’s official render shows the Statue facing east, as I have placed it: http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/meridian/gallery/images/meridian-mormon-temple1.jpg

      As for correlation, the phrase I hear bandied about most often in regards to the Statue Placement, is that East is preferred, but the Architect has a say into which direction they feel it will look best. Sometimes the Architect will default to east, regardless of look. This led to a situation with the Spokane Temple, where Moroni had his back to Patrons entering the temple, and President Hinckley made the decision to turn the statue 180 degrees a year or two after the dedication.

      That being said, At Mount Timpanogos Temple (Also Guayaquil Ecuador), the statue faces east, but the entrance faces west, meaning patrons entering the temple see Moroni’s back, rather than front. I would say a good portion of the statues that do not face east are placed to be at a more pleasing angle to the main approach of the temple (rather than the entrance) as there are temples like Dallas, Boise and Chicago whose Main approach is on the opposite side of the temple from the actual temple. So if the statue is not facing east, it is most likely because of where the main entrance is, but it is not a guarantee that the statue still will not face east anyway. (I don’t know if that makes any sense, I have considered doing a chart that compares and contrasts the temple entrance with the statue direction. This would get complicated though, as there are temples with multiple primary entrances, like Taipei and Sapporo Temples.

    2. Yes. We just had this conversation upon leaving the Merdian Temple. Moroni is definitely facing south / southeast (his chest) with horn facing decidedly southwest.

  3. FYI, Meridian, Idaho Temple just installed the Moroni statue July 20, 2016, it faces southward by my estimation with the trumpet toward the front entrance to the structure. As pointed out in other comments though, the Phrase “Holiness to the Lord..” is on the East side of the Temple.

    Question, is there any correlation in general between those temples that have non-East facing statues and those whose front entrance is also not facing East? Seems it would look awkward if the front entrance faced West and the statue faced directly away from the entrance or if the statue needed to be placed non-east in order for patrons entering the temple to not be looking at the statues back. That would be the case for Meridian. If the statue was facing East, patrons would be looking at the back of his right shoulder. This wouldn’t be an issue for a building with the entrance on the North, they would see a front side profile of an East facing statue. So the real issue is for buildings with front entrances to the South or to the West.

  4. Disappointed that the Hartford Temple was not given a direction even though Moroni is on it. I’ll have the check next timeI go by

  5. Matthew 24:27 says, “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” I’m not sure that justifies the belief that when Jesus returns He will come from the east.

    For one thing, how could it be from the east for everyone? Second, the scriptures also say he will come down from the sky in the way he went up, when his apostles watched him depart. That’s from above, not from the east. Third, the words of that verse seem to mean that His return will be visible to all, just like lightning that appears in the east sky and shines all the way to the west horizon. They don’t warrant any conclusions about the physical direction of Christ’s return.

    1. The scripture in Mathew is not the primary source for Christ coming from the east. The primary source is Ezekial’s Vision of a grand temple in Ezekiel 43:1-7:

      “Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east: And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory. And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, even according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city: and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face. And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east. So the spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house. And I heard him speaking unto me out of the house; and the man stood by me.

      And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places.”

      Specifically, he is supposed to move from the east to the west, appearing at the east doors of one of his temples. However, the sun Rises from the east for everyone every day. If Christ were to move from the east to the west, around the globe, he could in fact be considered as coming from the east for everyone.

      This could also be figurative, as movement from East to West is often used in the scriptures symbolically as a movement from what is bad to what is good. Traveling westward (From the east to the west) is often a symbol of return and restoration. Whereas moving to the east from the west often symbolizes the opposite.

      Also, if you decide to take these scriptures and ideas as literal, rather than symbolic, there is no reason he cannot descend from above and move from the east to the west at the same time. (After all, the sun rises in the east for everyone every morning.)

      For other examples of the East being important, I suggest this stack-exchange thread by a non-member. It is very thorough. http://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/448/what-is-the-significance-of-east-in-the-scriptures

      1. Some things to consider:

        Why do our temples have a symbol of the resurrection instead a symbol of the crucifixion like many traditional Christian buildings have?

        The sun rises in the east.
        The morning begins with the rising of the sun.
        Jesus rose from the tomb in the morning of the first day of the week.
        He is the first to rise from the dead.

        In contrast –
        The sun sets in the west.
        The day ends with the setting of the sun.
        Death is the end of mortality.
        The crucifixion was the end of Jesus’ mortality.

        From east to West?
        The resurrection overcomes death.
        The resurrection is a gift to all mankind.
        His return is a symbol of resurrection overcoming death.

        Moroni’s message of the everlasting gospel is preached to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.

        So what really is the meaning and purpose of our temples? To prepare us for death or for the resurrection?

        I believe this is why Moroni faces east.

  6. Should not the “South West by South” direction listed just west of “South West” on the compass above actually read “South West by West”? That would be consistent with the nomenclature of the other similarly placed directions on the compass, and, besides, there is another “South West by South” just south of “South West.”

    1. Indeed it should. I have lost the original and it will take me a while to get around to fixing it, but thanks for the notice!

  7. My own bit of Mormon Mythology suggested that it was the phrase, “Holiness to the LORD,” which always faced East. However, that is improbable, given that the Angel Moroni often faces that direction. This suggests that the words “Holiness to the LORD” would generally face West.

    In Freemasonry, there is the “actual East,” and also the “symbolic East.” No matter the actual orientation of a Lodge, it *symbolically* faces due East – West, and the Master of the Lodge is ALWAYS “in the East.”

    1. An interesting thought. To date, I have only found one temple (Manhattan) that does NOT have the words “The House of the Lord Holiness to the Lord” on it’s East most face. (The order of the 2 phrases changes, and the face may not be true east, maybe north or south east, but still east most.)

      1. In the Manhattan temple, the phrase is located above the inner doors which lead to the temple itself. If the inscription were on the east side, nobody would see it, as the building is located on the west side of the block.

        1. My first visit to Manhattan it surprised me to see the inscription inside. It’s not as surprising if you remember that the temple is a building within the building. So the inscription is still “outside the temple” even though it is inside the shell. Same with the cornerstone, which is inside the lobby near the elevator up to the chapel!

  8. I notice how few temples have Moroni facing North. Masonically, North is the “place of darkness,” while the preferred directions are Northeast (direction of initiation), East, and Southeast (point of greatest light). West is also significant, as the symbolic direction of the Mortal World, and also because “The gospel was first preached in the east, and is spreading to the west” (Wm. Morgan, Illustrations, 1827).

    1. I think Eastward is preferred, but the Moroni is placed in regards to what looks most pleasing to the placement of the temple. No other symbolism is taken into account.

  9. Brian, thanks for the great page you have put together! I really enjoyed reading about this as well as all the comments…

    Preston, I don’t think I will ever look at another sunrise the same again. What a great reminder our Heavenly Father has given us, each day (-:

  10. I love your summary. I remember being told that all temples face east, and then one day being at Oakland and realizing it faces north. I’m glad you could add clarity to a common misconception.

    1. I’m beginning to think my next infographic should be about which way the temple faces instead of Moroni?

  11. The Moroni was added after dedication for the Sydney, Australia Temple due to court challenges by authorities that it would be too distracting for the busy road beside which it sits

    1. Boston had the exact same issue! They put the Moroni up one year later. There are a few temples that were never designed to have a Moroni, and the decision was made to add one after dedication. Those are the ones I highlighted.

  12. Thank you, Brian. This is very nice to know. Many years ago I had a Bishop tell me that all of the Angel Moroni’s all faced Independance, Mo. I have noticed that isn’t quite the case.

    1. That is definitely not the case! Many of the temples east of Independence have the temple and the Moroni facing east, away from Independence. If your Bishop had thought about it, he would have realized that Washington D.C. Temple faces east, as does the Moroni, and Independence is to the west of it!

      As a matter of fact, I am not sure that you could find a single Moroni Statue that does face directly at Independence!

  13. You mention the current Nauvoo temple faces west (as did it’s predecessor), but it’s Moroni statue ALSO faces WEST.

    “Unlike most Latter-day Saint temples, the Nauvoo Illinois Temple and its statue of the angel Moroni face west. The temple points toward the Mississippi River.” ( http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/nauvoo/ )

    We were told by tour guides when we visited that it was Pres. Hinckley who requested that the angels on “Joseph’s temple” and “Brigham’s temple” face each other. Don’t know if that’s true, but the statue does face west. I’ve seen it.

    1. Yes, both Nauvoo Temple and its Moroni face west. My Tour guide told us the same story and then told us that Nauvoo was the only temple with an Angel Moroni that does not face East!

      I think when they are educating the guides, the tell them that President Hinckly said that Brigham and Josephs Angel Moroni’s face each other. While it is possible that President Hinckley made that request, I have also been told it was placed facing west not for that reason but because that is the direction the temple faces, and East would have looked weird.

      Fun Fact. If you go into google earth, and write down the latitude of the North West entryway on the Nauvoo Temple, then come and find that Latitude in the Salt Lake Valley, you find that a straight line out the west doors of the Nauvoo Temple runs about 50 feet to the south of Oquirrh Mountain Temple.

    1. Newport Beach is number 122. you will find it on the shadow line that is near the outer edge, on the dividing line between the 2 segments just above east, on the border of East by North and East North East (See the new reference compass below the graphic)

  14. I had heard that the front door of the temple faces in a specific direction for the second coming so I guess that must be a myth as well?

    1. That is correct. For example, Cardston, Mount Timpanogos, Mesa and Nauvoo All face west, and the only east doors they have are emergency exits or baptistry entrances. Dallas, Provo City Center and Meridian Idaho all have the main entrance on the south, and Bountiful, Dallas and Guatamala City Temples have the main entrance on the north.

      Bountiful Temple has a double set of copper colored doors on the east that are intended to be symbolic of the doors the Lord will appear at when he returns, but the are actually emergency exits.

      Salt Lake and Manti Have East and West Doors, but the actual Patron entrance for both temples has always been an annex on the north sides.

      The New Provo City Center Temple will appear to have entrances on the North, East and South sides, with additional entrances on the North West, North East, South East and South West sides of the 4 towers. However all the entrances will be emergency exits except the South entrance.

      1. Hello Brian,
        The Annex for the Salt Lake Temple is on the North side of the Temple and many years ago, one entered from the North side of the Annex, however, the entrance is now on the East side of the Annex. It has been for a number of years now.

        1. I actually did know that, the point I was making was that on Manti and Salt Lake, the Doors on the East of the Temple proper are not the actual entrance, The entrances being in the annex to the temple’s north.

  15. I love the statue of Maroni. I’m disappointed that our NZ Temple does not have one. Why do some Temples not have one?

    1. In the early days of the church, an Angel Moroni was rare, and uncommon. Of the first 10 temples, only 2 (Salt Lake and Los Angeles,) had Moroni Statues. Of the first 20, only 5 had statues. (Hamilton New Zealand was temple #11.) The 21st Temple, Atlanta, started the practice of putting the statue on most temples. Some of the original temples now have statues. I don’t know if they will ever put one on Hamilton or not. There may be local ordinances that do not allow it. I do not know.

    2. I think it had to do with city government building codes and what they would allow height wise… Kind of silly to me…

      1. It may have done. They also take culture and custom into account when designing a temple. For example, current plans for the Paris temple have no angel Moroni Statue.

  16. What you didn’t know the Santa Monica temple was put on backwards and a non member called and told the church that the angel was put on wrong. This happen in the 1950s when it was dedicated hubby used to work there.

    1. I have heard that story told before, but the actual story is somewhat different.

      The Santa Monica Temple, Known as the Los Angeles California Temple, had it’s angel Moroni turned to face east at the request of David O. McKay, President of the church at the time. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_California_Temple also http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/losangeles/ and additionally https://www.lds.org/new-era/2009/11/looking-up-to-moroni?lang=eng

      In his book More Faith Than Fear: The Los Angeles Stake Story Author Chad M. Orton relates a story of a neighbor of the temple construction that is oft repeated with varied details. According to Orton:

      The story was told of a neighbor who lived east of the temple and who was asked if she had visited the temple grounds. She replied, “No, I’m waiting until the angel turns around and faces me.” She later said, “Imagine my surprise when I woke up one morning and discovered that the angel was looking right down my street.”

      Some versions of the story indicate the neighbor joined the church due to the coincidence, but I have not found any proof to back up that particular claim.

  17. Wouldn’t that depend on your position on earth? It doesn’t seem possible that from every point on the globe it could be from the East.

    1. Eric, I assume you are referring to Christ coming again? That does seem a little confusing, but remember the scriptures in question were written to the Jews in Jerusalem. I assume that him returning from the east refers to his initial re appearance at Jerusalem. (Also, remember the sun rises in the east every morning for everyone!)

    2. It would seem confusing about Christ coming from the East, but do consider how the Lord has always been symbolic. Look at the whole EARTH. Everything about it is symbolic. It’s not ironic that the sun rises in the east….for EVERYONE. Whether he literally comes from the East side of the skies to the Jews really doesn’t matter. What does matter is the symbolism behind the rising of the sun/”son” and the light and glory he will bring to the whole earth giving warmth and life.

      1. Preston, this is a fantastic summary! I love your reasoning. It is important to remember thought that many things in the gospel hove both symbolic and literal meaning. There could be some literal meaning to the east thing.

        However, your comparison of Christ to the sun evokes a very strong image for me, and gives me great joy to think about!

    1. When Christ comes to earth the second time, he will come from the east, we are told in the Bible (Mathew 24:27 being one example.) The Angel Moroni Statue has a trumpet, symbolic of a proclamation of the gospel to all the world (Revelations 14:6) When the Angel Moroni is placed facing east, as in many of the temples, it serves as a kind of double symbolism. The Angel, proclaiming the gospel with the trumpet, but facing east to herald the return of Jesus Christ.

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