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  • Nathan Augustine

Spires

Updated: Aug 28


Most of the temples are topped by a tower or spire. Some like the Tucson Arizona and Meridian Idaho Temples have domes instead. There is also a small group with neither tower, spire nor dome. This post is about the spires of the temples, and those that don't have one.

Meridian Idaho Temple


Dating back to the beginnings of Christianity many buildings used for the worship of God have a tower or a spire as a symbol of reaching upward to heaven. Following this tradition the first three temples built by the Church, the Kirtland, Nauvoo and St. George temples, each had a tower. The Logan Utah and Manti Utah Temples each have two while the last pioneer temple, the Salt Lake Temple has six. In the nineteen-teens and twenties when the Church started building temples again, they designed the Laie Hawaii, Cardston Alberta and Mesa Arizona Temples without spires or assembly rooms in an effort to make them smaller and less expensive (BYU: "We Shall Have Temples Built”: Joseph F. Smith and a New Era of Temple Building).


Paris France Temple


The Paris France Temple, dedicated in 2017, is the first temple that the Church built without a spire since the 1927 dedication of the Mesa Arizona Temple. There are 90 years and 148 temples in between these two. The Church needed to avoid having the temple visually conflict with the nearby historic palace of Versailles, one of the most culturally important buildings in France (Deseret News: No spire or Moroni statue for Paris temple? No, it's French and it's fine).

The Church has published architectural renderings of the Lima Peru Los Olivos , and Belo Horizonte Brazil temples which are under construction. They show that both temples will not have a spire (Groundbreakings Announced for Two South American Temples).


Hong Kong China Temple


The Church has removed the Hong Kong China Temple’s spire and Angel Moroni Statue as part of its current renovation (Here’s what to expect for the Hong Kong China Temple renovation).


Washington DC Temple


At 288 ft. (including the statue of Moroni) the Washington DC Temple’s tallest spire is the tallest in the church (Blog: History of the Washington DC Temple).

Atlanta Georgia Temple


In another effort to keep costs down the church’s original plans for the Atlanta Georgia Temple and the other small temples designed at the same time (Apia Samoa, Nuku'alofa Tonga, Santiago Chile, Papeete Tahiti and Sydney Australia) did not include a spire or an Angel Moroni statue. An article in the religion section of the Atlanta Constitution newspaper announcing the location of the temple and its design lamented the lack of these items saying “Somehow I’ve always viewed a Mormon temple as a majestic edifice with something on top - pointing toward the sky” and “… it seems that a temple with a steeple would only be fitting for a city the size of Atlanta.” (Atlanta Constitution 5 July 1980 “Mormons Pick Sandy Springs for Temple”). The Church added a spire and Angel Moroni statue to the plans and until recently had made it standard practice (New Temple Designs Combine Beauty, Efficiency).


Boston Massachusetts Temple


The Church fought a court case for the right to include a spire topped by an Angel Moroni statue on the Boston Massachusetts Temple. A lower court judge ruled that the spire was not a "necessary element of the Mormon religion." And therefore the Church dedicated the temple without a spire. However, on appeal the Supreme Court of Massachusetts ruled that "It is not for judges to determine whether the inclusion of a particular architectural feature is 'necessary' for a particular religion." And the church added the planned spire and statue, completing the work about a year after the temple’s dedication. Several other denominations including the Catholic Church and the American Jewish Congress filed briefs supporting the Church's position in the case (Mormons Today Blog: Boston Temple Steeple OKed).


Manhattan New York Temple


The Church added a spire and angel Moroni statue to the Manhattan New York Temple four months after its dedication. These features were not part of the original design because the temple was built within an existing Church-owned building that was not designed as a temple (Church News: World Looks at New York Temple and Church News: Angel Moroni Statue Atop Temple).

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