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Students say Utah earthquake that damaged Angel Moroni statue is a sign of the times

The Angel Moroni statue atop the Salt Lake Temple stands without his trumpet.

The Angel Moroni statue atop the Salt Lake Temple stood tall without his trumpet in hand ,after it was dislodged by a severe earthquake on the morning of March 18. The 5.7 magnitude earthquake hit 10 miles west of Salt Lake City in Magna, Utah, according to The New York Times.

Students shared they believed the damage to the statue coincides with living in the last days, while others said this event means everyone should be vigilant and prepared.

According to doctrine from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there will be a Second Coming of Jesus Christ to the earth sometime in the future, and an indication of Christ’s return is great turmoil in the world.

Sam Tobon, a junior from Colombia studying business, said a friend shared with him, “If you look at the statue without the trumpet, it looks like he’s looking at a watch, as if he’s waiting for the Second Coming.”

Jerry Chiang, a sophomore from Taiwan majoring in business management, read a Facebook post about the earthquake from Elder Dale G. Renlund, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles comparing the earthquake retrofitting being done on the Salt Lake City Temple to the need for people to have a strong spiritual base for themselves as well.

According to The Salt Lake Tribune, construction crews are restructuring the foundation of the iconic landmark and installing “a series of base isolators to lessen the effects of seismic shifts.”

Chiang shared his favorite part of Renlund’s comments was when he invited readers to ponder experiences that could “shake your commitment to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.” Elder Renlund said people need to create a base of isolators that can absorb a shake of the spiritual hit.

Chiang mentioned, “It’s a good sign [President Nelson] had the vision of renovating the temple when he did. The Salt Lake Temple is currently in renovation to become better prepared for earthquakes.”

Similar to the prophet’s counsel for the temple, Chiang said, “This is the same way we need to spiritually prepare ourselves for the Second Coming, through scripture reading and whatever it is to strengthen spiritually.

“It’s a really [chaotic] time for everyone around the world, I bet on campus too. It’s good that we have the gospel. I cannot imagine life without the knowledge of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, especially in this crucial time.”

Moving forward

Tobon said he is aware of the coronavirus pandemic and said people have to get moving forward no matter what problems may arise. “You have to be prepared for other things as well. You have to be ready for earthquakes and can’t get stuck on one thing.

“When it talks about the Second Coming [in the scriptures], it’s mostly going to get a lot worse before it gets good. Before the Second Coming actually comes, there’s a lot more that has to happen.”

He said he doesn’t know if this is a sign from Heavenly Father. Instead, he said it could be a “raising-an-eyebrow moment,” where people ask what they are supposed to learn from this experience.

Anne McCarrey, a senior from Laie majoring in cultural anthropology, shared the importance of preparing for the Church’s General Conference on April 4 and 5 during this time of global unrest.

“I feel like we can make [General Conference] even more special. Especially with all this time that we have. We can prepare more and focus on what the [leaders] want us to focus on.”

In President Nelson's Message for 2020 posted on Jan. 1, he ends it by saying, "It is your personal preparation that will help April’s general conference become for you not only memorable but unforgettable. The time to act is now. This is a hinge point in the history of the Church, and your part is vital.

"I testify that Jesus Christ lives. He leads this Church today. God is trusting us, all of us, to play an important role in the Restoration of His gospel," concludes President Nelson.