Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Switching angels - from Nephi to Moroni

During the summer school break - November to January - members of the church flock to Liahona to visit the temple. Entire wards, and even stakes, bring their families from all over Tonga and stay in Patron Housing which is right across from the temple. They stay an entire month, or longer, attending the temple as often as possible.

Often groups of primary children will visit the temple grounds, brought by their parents and primary leaders, to enjoy the spirit that can be felt at this sacred place, and to learn more about the temple. The temple president and matron, or other members of the temple presidency, will spend time with the children telling them stories of the temple, and answering questions.

Sister 'Uasila'a, the temple matron, told a story during a stake conference, of an experience she had on such an occasion. Members from the island group of Vava'u were in Liahona attending the temple. Parents had brought their young children to the temple grounds, and they had visited with Pres. and Sister 'Uasila'a. While walking the grounds, Sister 'Uasila'a watched as a father leaned down so he was on the same level as his child. He pointed towards the top of the temple and said, "You see that statue up there? All the temples in the world have that statue on top of them. It is the angel Nephi. When you come to the temple you can always see the angel Nephi on top of the temple."

After the chuckling died down, Sister 'Uasila'a gave some very good advise. "If you think that the angel on top of the temple is Nephi, then you need to come to the temple more often."

But maybe the Tonga Nuku'alofa temple DID have the wrong angel on top? It wasn't too many months after this experience that a huge crate arrived to the temple grounds.
Pres. and Sister. 'Uasila'a

Pres. Taufa - counselor in temple presidency

Huge cranes converged on the temple.

And the angel on top of the temple was removed, and replaced with another. Garth, always the comedian, approached Sister 'Uasila'a and said, "It looks like we're finally getting it right. They're finally going to take down Nephi and put up Moroni."

Spectators gathered beneath any available shade to watch.

Of course, it was ALWAYS Moroni on top of the temple. The old Moroni was just....well....old, and getting worn out, and needed to be replaced.

Since the new Moroni was erected, almost every time Garth sees Sister 'Uasila'a he has to ask if she's SURE that it's really Moroni on top. "Now it looks more like Gabriel to me," he will say.

We have never lived so near a temple - it is literally just across the street from where we live and where we work in the Mission Office. We try to attend the English session every Thursday evening, and have missed very few weeks. We feel privileged to be so close to the temple, and LOVE that we get to see the angel Moroni every day.

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