The most universal symbol of our temples is the angel Moroni who stands atop the highest spire of most temples. He comes in different forms, sometimes holding scriptures and sometimes blowing his trumpet. But no matter what shape he takes or which temple he adorns, he is a symbol to the saints of steadfastness and immovability.
Recently, there were pictures circulating on the Internet of an angel Moroni that had been hit by lightening atop the Bountiful, Utah Temple. The impact blew a large hole out his back and on the side of his head, and charred the area around the holes. It was quite dramatic. Photos showed him being removed by a crane and a new angel being placed in his stead.
These visuals made an impression on me. The angel on top of the temple is not just a pretty decoration that symbolizes the restoration of the true gospel of Christ, though he is that. The purpose of the statue is multiple. He also acts as a lightening rod to protect the temple and those inside from the ravages of inclement weather. He stands as sentinel to take the impact, and sacrifice himself on our behalf, if necessary. That is just what this particular angel Moroni did.
The Lord’s protections
This image of Moroni being removed from the temple haunted me for a while. Finally, I started to realized that he is just one of the protections the Lord has put in place to safeguard his people.
The purpose of a lightening rod is to focus or funnel the extreme energy of a bolt of lightening and redirect it from the surrounding area into the ground where it can’t hurt anyone. All of our chapels have lightening rods as well. The Lord knows what dangers await us, and he has generously given us a number of lightening rods to protect us.
One such lightening rod are the commandments. The commandments of the Lord not only are the laws of happiness, but they are able to help us find happiness by protecting us from the consequences of sin in our lives. It is sin, the breaking of these laws of happiness that cause us to feel sorrow and remorse, to feel lost and alone, and to wonder why life is so difficult.
Life is difficult all on its own. Breaking the commandments just makes it more so. The commandments keep us safe by taking the fiery darts of the enemy of our souls and quenching them in the living waters of Christ.
When we are tempted, the commandments can stand between us and the consequences of potential evil. If we stay behind the protective curtain of righteous living, much of what afflicts humanity will not be ours to experience.
Another protection comes in the form of living, breathing, power. The Holy Ghost is a man, a member of the Godhead, a God Himself. He has been given to us as a tutor and guide to lead us back to Christ and our Father. His mission is to teach us how to navigate safely through the storms and trials of mortality and land us safely back in the presence of our Heavenly Father.
But like any source of protection, if we ignore it, circumvent it, take it for granted, or dismiss it, we leave ourselves vulnerable to the dangers that safeguard was designed to protect us from facing.
Our Father in Heaven has given us the Holy Ghost to help us learn how to feel the peace only Christ can give to the repentant soul. The Holy Ghost is our revelator, the one who awakens our soul to eternal truth that we couldn’t comprehend without him. He warns us of danger, teaches us how to solve problems, and conveys our testimony to the hearts of those to whom we bear it.
The Lord has wrapped His covenant people in layers of protection. We have the proclamation on the family, which defines for us our God-given roles and genders. In a day and age when even something as sacred as our gender is up for grabs on the common market, it helps to know that before this day arrived the Lord told his servants to write down the proclamation so we would have something to fall back on when people challenged our beliefs.
We have programs for our youth. The Primary organization teaches our children how to stand up and speak in public. They learn basic songs, stories, and doctrines, many of which they carry with them, whether in or out of the church, for the rest of their lives.
The youth have special documents on standards to help them know how to behave appropriately when they start dating and when they encounter situations that will challenge their beliefs, like when they are exposed to pornography or drugs.
Adults have special classes to teach them how to get involved in family history, Temple Preparation, Gospel Principles, and Marriage and Family Relations. With all these options available to us, we can become very familiar with what the Lord would have us do each day to stay safe from the spiritual pitfalls that surround us.
This is a dangerous time to be alive, so the Lord has provided us with many kinds of protection to keep us safe. All we have to do is take advantage of those protections. The commandments protect us by keeping us away from behaviors and attitudes that harm our souls. When someone tempts us to do something we know we shouldn’t, we don’t have to take the hit. All we need to do is stand behind our protective clothing of the commandment that prohibits that behavior, or we can fall back on the words of our living prophet, or quote from the scriptures what we should be doing or what we should be avoiding.
All these things the Lord has given us act just like that statue of Moroni on top of the Bountiful Temple. They protect us from harm if we will let them. We are safe as long as our protections are in place. If they had not put the statue on top of the building, it might have burned to the ground when the lightning struck it. But with the protection in place, it acted as a barrier of protection for those serving the Lord inside the building.
The commandments protect us as long as we live them. The Proclamation on the Family teaches us correct principles so we don’t need to be led astray out of ignorance. The scriptures teach us the mind and the will of the Lord as recorded down through the ages. The Holy Ghost prompts us and guides us and keeps us safe from false doctrine and those who would lead us down forbidden paths.
There is no need for lightning to strike before we realize there are dangers all around us. The Lord is ever mindful of his children and has provided us with many safeguards. All we need to do is use them and be grateful for them.