POCATELLO — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has reached another milestone in the construction of its Pocatello Idaho Temple.

Workers placed the Angel Moroni statue at the top of the building on Wednesday morning — just a few days shy of the two-year anniversary of the temple’s groundbreaking.

“We have been anxiously awaiting the statue being placed on top of the temple because this is another milestone toward the eventual completion of the temple,” said Larry Fisher, director for the Church’s Pocatello Communications.

The statue of the Angel Moroni, which symbolizes the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, occupies a prominent place on many temples throughout the world, according to Church officials, but they say it’s not a design requirement and not all temples have one.

“A temple’s design, both internal and external, is secondary to its primary purpose, which is for people to draw closer to God and His Son, Jesus Christ, by participating in sacred ceremonies that teach of God’s plan and unite families forever,” according to newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org.

The placement of the statue on the Pocatello Idaho Temple on Wednesday was not officially announced, but a large crowd still gathered to witness the event.

A large crane raised the 12-foot statue, composed of a steel frame covered in fiberglass, to the top of the temple at about 11:40 a.m. as hundreds watched from the ground below.

Sherri Matson, assistant director for the Church’s Pocatello Communications, was one of the onlookers.

There was a feeling of excitement in the air, she said. The crane operator honked the horn after the statue had been placed, the workers at the top of the building waived and the crowd cheered. Some Church missionaries also sang during the event.

“To say my heart was ready to burst is an understatement! To me, this brought me so much hope that things are moving forward. That we will be able to return to the temple soon,” Matson posted on her Facebook page. “I am so looking forward to being within those holy walls and feeling the peace and love that comes from inside.”

Many of the Church’s temples have limited their operations amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Matson hopes that will change by the time the Pocatello Idaho Temple is completed.

Scaffolding still encases much of the temple structure, including the top section below the Angel Moroni statue platform, as crews work to complete the exterior.

Church officials have not yet announced a completion date for the temple, but Fisher said construction is moving forward in a timely manner.

“We appreciate the support of the community and the interest and enthusiasm that has been expressed by so many people,” he said.