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Brigham City • Samantha Lange didn't wear her rain boots on purpose. The occasion was too special for that.
Instead, the Bountiful 4-year-old told her mom that her "sparkly shoes" were better suited, even on a rainy day, to see the statue of the Angel Moroni placed atop the Brigham City LDS Temple.
After a nearly two-hour delay Tuesday from wind and rain, builders hoisted the gold-leafed LDS icon on the temple spire. As the statue descended, the Mormon hymn "High on the Mountain Top" rose from the nearby Box Elder Tabernacle.
Cheers and sunshine greeted Moroni's mounting.
"This is an amazing experience," said Samantha's mother, Katie Lange. "You don't get to see this every day, even in Utah."
The Brigham City Temple, being erected across the street from the historic tabernacle, will be the 14th Mormon temple in Utah (a 15th is planned in Payson). Completion is expected in 2012.
Tuesday's angel raising led Natalie Pierce, of Garland, to tote her four boys through the rain to the temple grounds. They huddled beneath an umbrella waiting for the statue to be put in place.
"I wanted them to feel the spirit of the temple," she said, "so they would know it's important. I want temples to be a great thing in their eyes, something they look forward to."
Like Pierce, thousands of onlookers crowded the temple grounds, creating a bright-colored collage of umbrellas in front of the tabernacle. Children kicked soccer balls, tossed footballs and splashed in a water-swollen ditch alongside Brigham City's Main Street.
In the background, LDS hymns such as "Israel, Israel, God Is Calling," "The Spirit of God" and "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" played over loudspeakers.
Temple worship represents the highest form of religious expression for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In the sacred edifices, faithful members receive the crowning sacraments of their religion, including eternal marriage.
Janet Lowe lives a block away from the Brigham City Temple. She considers herself agnostic, but still stood on her front lawn Tuesday to see the golden statue go up. She, for one, doesn't mind sharing her neighborhood with a Mormon temple.
"Temple properties are always beautiful," Lowe said. "We were looking at having low-income housing and apartments. We were turning into a tiny little inner city. I would much rather see a temple."
Many LDS temples boast statues of the Angel Moroni. Mormons believe Moroni was the last contributor to the church's signature scripture, The Book of Mormon, and later appeared to church founder Joseph Smith.
The Brigham City Temple remains largely a shell with a brilliant white exterior. Metal supports and even a ladder are visible through ornate windows still missing their glass.
Tracking the building's construction is Ron Johnson, who has taken more than 2,000 photographs of the temple since work began last summer. He has posted about 300 of those pictures online at brighamcitytemple.info.
On Tuesday, he awaited the arrival of the Angel Moroni with two cameras slung about his neck. He considers a temple in his community a tremendous addition.
"It is something that almost everyone thought would never happen," Johnson said. "It was totally unexpected."
Now, instead of traveling to Ogden to attend the temple, Valene Nielson has one in the community she has called home for 57 years.
"Not everybody gets to have a temple in their hometown," she said. "What a privilege to have this, and to be here today to see the Angel Moroni placed on top. It is a humbling experience."
About the temple
Location • 250 S. Main St., Brigham City
Announced • Oct. 3, 2009
Groundbreaking • July 31, 2010
Completion • Estimated in 2012
Features • Warm white, covered with precast concrete limestone. The two-spired edifice points east toward the neighboring tabernacle. Grounds are to include a water feature and fruit trees.