Saturday, March 26, 2011

Notes to the "New Guy"

Kansas City, Missouri

March 26, 2011

Angel Moroni
LDS Church
7001 Searcy Creek Parkway
Kansas City, MO

Dear Brother Angel Moroni:

This week in 8th grade english class, The Boy has to practice writing a business letter.  It seemed only fitting since you are the "new guy" (as Dave says) in town that I should drop you a note to let you know about the area.  Sort of a "Welcome to Zion" pack.  :)  You know the kind...the one you get with change of address post cards and the 10% discount coupon from the Lowe's home building store.

It was merely a coincidence that I was at the temple shooting some sunset shots the other evening when you got into town. 

I was the only one there when you got to your resting place, so I feel some sort of strange connection to you now.  A responsibility of sorts to make sure you were settled and comfy.  Just so you know, I have experience of helping others to get settled in a new home.  Just this month, for example, we had an African family with us for three, very long, super frustrating weeks.  We were thrilled when they moved out last week and I have to admit, I was just thrilled to see you move out of your coffin-looking box and into your new space as well. 

Although, I am sure was thrilled about each for different reasons.  :) 

Missouri is the home of some crazy weather, just so you know.  The saying is "if you don't like the weather right now, wait five minutes."  I know all places think their weather is annoying, but really, these folks mean it.  Justifiably so.  We live in Tornado Alley, which could not really be comforting for you in your line of work.  Especially because just a few years ago a tornado took out the entire subdivision exactly west of you.  I mean as in the "next-off-ramp-off-the-freeway-over" west of you. I hope you have a sweater packed under those flowing robes of yours. 
I saw that you have a big support/grounding rod.  Also, that grounding copper wire will come in handy, as pointed out by my dying Master Electrician friend, Tom.  He said when he saw you "You know Moroni is gonna get cooked, right?"  I don't want to worry you.  I am sure the buddies who made you did their weathery homework.  Just giving you a heads up that you are well-protected.

You might have noticed there were a lot of folks interested in your first day on the job.  Folks parking all over the grounds.  Folks climbing on the retaining wall to see, folks on the ground wearing Sunday dress, construction workers, and media.  I know that you must have noticed.  More wanted to attend, but there was some talk that it would a traffic nightmare, so many stayed away.  If you figure there are only about 120 of you on temples around the world, so the "setting of Moroni" doesn't happen very often.  I read in the paper there was cheering and joy when you were set.  That surprised me because I was one of those on the retaining wall, and there was no cheering where I was.  People were quiet and no one talked during the placement.  I didn't even notice the traffic on the freeway behind me.  Everyone was lost in their own "Moroni" moment.  I even stood off a little alone so that I could have my own quiet memory.

You are sort of like a rock star in the LDS world, which has always made me smile.  Why? you ask.  Well, the first Angel Moroni was designed and made by a NON-Mormon in Salt Lake City named Cyrus Dallin.  It is ironic to me that if the LDS Church had a iconic symbol if would probably be the statue of you, and it was invented by a non member.  For some strange  reason I love that.  :) 

One more thing about Cyrus Dallin.  Your design is NOT his first piece of statue work here in Kansas City.  He has another...famous to this area.  It is called "The Scout."  Ever seen it? 

Here is what Wikipedia has to say about it:
The Scout was conceived in 1915 by Cyrus E. Dallin (1861-1944) for the Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, where it won a gold medal. On its way back east, the statue was exhibited on a temporary basis in Penn Valley Park. The statue was so well received that $15,000 was raised in nickels and dimes through a campaign called The Kids of Kansas City. The statue was dedicated in 1922 as a permanent memorial to local Indian tribes.

Speaking of Wikipedia, your picture will be going up on the Kansas City Temple Wikipedia page soon.  I was contacted by the guy doing the page and he wants to share you with the world.  I hope you don't mind.  I didn't get you to sign a media release, but since you are a statue, I figure you wouldn't.

Speaking of the internet, we have been plastering your imagine all over it.  My friend and I work on a blog together that she is the master of called The Kansas City Temple Chaser.  I have written about my role with her so you can read that in an earlier blog post, but I shoot most of the photographs for it.  She edited one I sent the other day and it is the new blog header.  I think you will like it.  The last day or two alone there have been almost 1,000 hits on it, so many people have had the chance to see you at work.  It is humbling since I am just a regular old person with a regular old camera, but in 2008 a church leader gave a talk about the value of sharing our faith over the internet with social media.  It is fun to be a part of not only Cheryl's story, but to share your story as well.  Would you like to see how great you look?  She is a great photo editor.

Here is the original...unedited

Moroni, while watching you settle into your new home and seeing the construction of the temple is interesting and exciting for the folks around here, Mr. Fun said it best to me in an email yesterday. "In reality, it is more important that they go when it is open, not when it is under construction."  He is right.  Temples are places where LDS folks can get married for eternity.  Temples are like a sacred, quiet place (no kids allowed...already a win in my worshipping book--no noise) for a person to pray, meditate and ponder.  It is peaceful.  For many, it is like their spiritual home away from home.

Welcome home, Brother Angel Moroni.  We are thrilled to have you and wish you many good years of service to us.  By the way, speaking of "cooked Moroni", I accidently found one.  This is a great link for you to check out more info of your history and why you are on the temple:


Sister Val
ps/  I am keeping the Lowe's discount card.  Figured you won't be needing it.  :)