My daughter recently turned 12, and wanted to participate in baptisms for the dead. She also wanted a temple recommend holder. I stopped by Seagull Book and discovered these temple recommend holders cost between $3-4, which seems ridiculously expensive for a simple piece of plastic. While there, I discovered a Utah Temple Passport for around $6. We’ve had a goal as a family to visit all temples in Utah, and I thought this would be a fun way to keep track of it. On our way to the Salt Lake Temple (her choice for the first temple, and my first time visiting the Baptistry there), she read some interesting facts about each of the temples. The most interesting thing was to learn that a few temples have been struck by lightning! Regarding the St. George Temple, it says,
A year after its dedication, lightning destroyed the temple’s original tower. Interestingly, Brigham Young was never pleased with the tower, calling it “squatty.” The taller, more splendid tower seen today was rebuilt several years later.
When we think of temples and “the Lord’s House”, it seems surprising that God would allow lightning to strike so soon after the dedication!
But that’s not all, according to the passport, the Oquirrh Mountain temple was struck
During the temple open house, on June 13, 2009, lightning struck the Angel Moroni on top of the temple, leaving his face, arm, and and trumpet blackened on the north side.
A friend told me that the Bountiful Temple was struck just a month ago (for the third time!) and did some serious damage. According to this news report, the Angel Moroni serves a functional purpose as a lightning rod. Now Moroni is going to need replacement!
Is God mad at these temples, or is it simply a natural phenomenon? Are you aware of other temples being struck?
“…is it simply a natural phenomenon?” Seriously?
Modern temples were introduced almost a century after Dr. Ben Franklin proved that lightning strikes can be reduced by using a lightning rod or similar grounding device. They are supposed to be houses of learning as well as a house of the Lord.
Of course, all natural disasters cannot be completely eliminated. The temple department tries to upgrade the construction specs to reduce many other problems. They still have power outages, environmental problems, etc.
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. – Matthew 5:45
Yet, we have stories like the unfounded one about a Japanese pilot being unable to bomb the Hawaiian temple during the Pearl Harbor attack. We want them to be protected. But, they are buildings, not fortresses.
I am no expert on architecture but That tall point they tend to have probably has something to do with being struck. God has nothing to do with it. Better design would eliminate the problem.
That tall pointy thing running through the center of the fiberglass is a lightning rod, which is made specifically to attract the lightning so it doesn’t hit anywhere else on the building (fire and electrocution are two big concerns). They’ve designed the angel Moroni to take lightning, just as they put lightning rods in the steeples of meetinghouses. Natural phenomena, and divinely inspired man-made invention to compensate for it.
Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t have steeples because they consider them pagan. I did a quick google search to see if I could find any JW churches struck by lightning, and I didn’t see any on the first page of results. Maybe we should avoid steeples to quit attracting lightning?
BTW, Moroni had his back blown off the Bountiful Temple. Interesting sight!
Come on, everyone knows lighting rods are for natural phenomenon, garmies are for both supernatural and natural phenomenon. If you’re struck by lighting while waring garmies you must have been unworthy!
I agree with Steve. You can’t have it both ways. If God protects the temple from natural disasters (which I have heard many times) then he sends the lightening too. I personally believe that neither of those things are true.
I live in the Denver Temple district. We get a lot of lightning here. The original Angel Moroni was burnt in several places by lightning strikes and was replaced during the 25 year renovation. Now there are lightning rods at regular intervals all around the roof of the temple and one that protrudes from Moroni’s head. Temples built on a hill, as many are, are lightning magnets – one consequence of living in a world governed by natural laws.
Jehovah is associated with lightning if we take account the biblical story of Elijah. Maybe the lightning is a sign of his favor? He’s just reminding us who the real thunder/rain/lightning God is, in case we start leaning towards Baal. 😉
The hole blown through the back of Moroni is awesome. Looks like a cannonball hit it.
I believe the original Nauvoo Temple was struck by lightning, as well as being burned by an arsonist and later struck by a tornado. A triple-whammy!
Like the Provo Tabernacle, the Apia Samoa Temple burned and had to be rebuilt (2003). The cause of the fire is still unknown, which is odd, because it is possible to determine whether fire is caused by electric malfunctions, candles, arson, or lightning. Seriously, someone knows how that Temple spontaneously combusted.
We are seeing more fire and lightning to temples than we have in the past, but we have 10 fold more temples now. We are similarly seeing several mission accidents and deaths each year, which is new, but we have record numbers of missionaries. Is this just a result of growth, or is there something more to it? Are these signs of a loss of consecrated covenants or are they just life? Mmmmm . . . if only we knew an awesome bloggernacle statistician . . . Can someone turn on the bat signal for Zelphehad’s Daughters?
The mission surge is over, and number of missionaries is nolonger as high as it was a few years ago. There is some evidencethat younger missionaries are less responsible for their own physical safety, and getting injured more. But yes, it might be interesting to see what Ziff can dig up.
Great questions, Mortimer. I’d love to try to answer them, but it might be difficult to come by good data on damage to temples and mission accidents. I’ll definitely put your question on my list of fun stuff to look into if I can figure it out, though, because I’d like to know too! 🙂
“Temples built on a hill, as many are, are lightning magnets – one consequence of living in a world governed by natural laws.”
A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid….FROM LIGHTNING!
While I agree with the sentiment, if these really are the “house of God”, and if God is all-powerful, it makes you wonder why God doesn’t better protect His house. Or is He letting his light so shine that it’s literally burning Moroni?
Mission deaths aren’t new (they’ve been happening since the 1800s). I’d expect it’d be hard to find hard numbers. Here’s one statement:
“According to the September 2013 church statement relevant data from the World Health Organization indicate that the annual mortality rate for young people worldwide in the missionary age range is approximately 205 deaths per 100,000 population. For missionaries, the figure is less than one-twentieth of that number.” http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/central/provo/lds-church-funds-used-at-death-or-injury-of-missionaries/article_6f0ab590-ad4e-5f0a-a83a-11498240cfe2.html
If we had data, and it supported a feel good, wonderfully inspirational stories supported by statistics, we’d be all over that … quoting it and publishing it as confirmation God loves mormons.
Since it doesnt, and buildings are being struck randomly according to natural laws, we kinda don’t talk about it. Nothing to see here…move along.
Ziff and Mh,
The bat signal worked! You two are amazing. I don’t know how to find the data needed except crowd source, do a lit review (internet stories), and potentially get info from the temple department and/or missionary department. It’s amazing to know that if we could obtain the data, you would know how to tease out this question. That’s awesome, that’s powerful.