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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended January 26, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 22Jan01

By Kent Larsen

Angel Moroni Installed in Museum, Instead of Atop Boston Temple

ARLINGTON, MASSACHUSSETS -- The LDS Church hasn't yet been able to put a statue of the Angel Moroni sculpted by artist Cyrus E. Dallin on top of the Boston Temple, but it has been able to put a 29-inch replica in a local museum. After some controversy, the Cyrus E. Dallin Art Museum in Arlington, Massachussets has accepted the smaller replica as a permanent part of its exhibits.

Dallin sculpted the original 12 1/2-foot statue that now stands on top of the Salt Lake Temple in 1892. Dallin, who was born in a Mormon family but never joined the LDS Church, spent 44 years of his life in Arlington, where he composed many of his best-known works of art.

The Church had planned to put a cast, 9-foot, 9-inch replica on top of the Boston Temple, but a lawsuit by neighbors of the building prevented the Church from putting the statue in place. Instead, the Church offered the statue temporarily to the town of Arlington for display at the Art Museum, for display awaiting the outcome of the lawsuit, in its neighboring Robbins Memorial Garden, adjacent to the Town Hall.

But residents of Arlington protested that display also, saying that the exhibit would violated the US Constitution's First Amendment, which provides for the separation of church and state. The Church then withdrew its offer and instead offered a 29-inch gilted bronze replica of a plaster model Dallin made in preparation for the Salt Lake Temple's statue. Museum officials reacted very positively to the gift, "We are very excited about this gift because it replicates one of Dallin's most important works," said Museum spokeswoman Linda Olsen. "It is significant because if you compare it to the allegory that tops the Arlington Town Hall flagpole, you can see the evolution of Dallin's work in the folds the angel's skirt, for instance."

Meanwhile, the Arlington Board of Selectmen, the town's governing body, has cleared the way for a temporary display of the statue cast for the Boston Temple. The LDS Church's Elias Kurban told the board that the statue could be diplayed there for six weeks, beginning in May, depending on the outcome of the neighbor's lawsuit over the steeple.


Arlington presented copy of Dallin work
Boston Globe pg7 21Jan01 A2
By Caroline Louise Cole: Globe Correspondent


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