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Posted 15 Oct 2001   For week ended October 05, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 07Oct01

By Rosemary Pollock

Steeple Placement Ends Legal Challenges to Boston Temple

BELMONT, MASSACHUSETTS -- With the help of two giant cranes, a construction crew and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, a gilded statue of the angel Moroni is firmly in place 139 feet atop The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint's Boston temple. The 12-foot-tall, 56-foot conical section reached its controversial place in time for the temple's one-year anniversary, effectively ending the legal challenges that have plagued the building since before its construction.

The Boston temple's Moroni is a replica of the original that was created over 100 years ago by Arlington sculptor, Cyrus E. Dallin for the Salt Lake City temple. A smaller version of the statue is on display at the Jefferson Cutter House in Arlington. "Our temple is now more beautiful than ever," said Connie Eddington of Belmont, who was present for the September 21 event.

"In the years to come this temple will be regarded as one of the most significant and beautiful buildings not only in Boston but in Massachusetts," said Bruce Sorensen, Boston temple president. His wife Suzanne, who serves as the temple matron, along with about 50 people were part of the formal ceremony. Belmont's event was one of three Church steeple-related ceremonies on September 21.

Neighbor's close to the temple had filed two separate lawsuits against the Boston Temple. They challenged the right to construct the building, initially alleging that the Massachusetts' Dover Amendment, which the town of Belmont relied on to grant a building permit, was unconstitutional. The second lawsuit claimed that the steeple violated local zoning laws. Because of the second lawsuit, the Boston Temple opened last October without a steeple.

Middlesex Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Fahey ruled last February that the steeple, "is not a necessary element of the Mormon religion." But most recently, Chief Justice Margaret Marshall, along with a unanimous vote of the court, rejected the argument in a 17-page opinion. "It is for judges to determine whether the inclusion of a particular architectural feature is 'necessary' for a particular religion." The opinion also said that there is clear evidence that "the church values an ascendancy of space for the religious ceremonies performed in temples."

While the challenge to the constitutionality of Massachusetts' Dover Amendment continues, further action would occur only if the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. And even if the court does hear the case, it is considered unlikely that any action would affect the temple.


With angel in place, temple has top
Boston Globe Northwest Weekly pg8 30Sep01 N1
By Caroline Louise Cole, Globe Correspondent
Legal challenge delayed placement of church's steeple

Boston Temple Steeple OKed


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