Ziff at ZD has an interesting discussion going about those picky little bits of doctrine that we somehow thought were absolutely central to Mormonism when we were children. Not surprisingly, perhaps, a lot of the suggestions have to do with Christmas, and especially our insistence that “angels don’t have wings, goldurnit!”

This is too long for a comment at ZD so I’m posting it here: Alvin R. Dyer’s 1968 personal notes and abhorence toward the merest suggestion of angels with wings [shudder] in a Mormon building [conniption fit]:

(Glass Doors for Entrance of Anteroom)

Later, John Wallace came over to discuss the physical characteristics of hanging the glass doors which he desired to make a gift to the Church in the entrance to the anteroom of the council room of the First Presidency. It was determined that some of the marble framework and lintel would need to be sawed away in order to get them in, but that this would not be serious.

I looked at the photograph or the cut supposedly representing the characters on the glass door and it appeared to me that it was distinctly Catholic and that the background of the two figures who were assumedly angels who held one hand in an upward fashion and the other clutched to a bell and that the background of the figures was completely of feathers indicating the winged status of an angel or the symbolism of wings for an angel. This bothered me to some extent and I pulled President Tanner aside and mentioned this fact to him. He said openly to brother Wallace that inasmuch as I had raised some question about it that the matter had better be settled before Brother Wallace went ahead and purchased these in order to make the gift to the Church. I suggested to Eldon that he might ask some of the brethren about it so that there wouldn’t be any criticism to him and to the Church for having hung them even though he had told me he had discussed the matter with President McKay and President McKay had approved the receiving of the gift.

Later President Tanner called me and stated that he had talked to Brother Harold B. Lee, Marion G. Romney and Mark E. Petersen, Joseph Fielding Smith and one other, (I don’t just remember who the other one was) but that each of them said that they saw no offense in the feature structure of the design in the glass and that it was not offensive to them. He said that Brother Lee had suggested that inasmuch as I had raised an objection, that he should probably take it back to the First Presidency and get final approval before they went ahead.

President Tanner said that he had gone back to President McKay. He did not invite me. I don’t know whether any of the other members of the First Presidency went, but I did not go. He said that President McKay stated again that it would be all right to place these glass doors in the place that has been mentioned. I told President Tanner that since this was apparently the wish of President McKay and Brother Lee and others had felt that it was all right, that I would withdraw my objection.


The withdrawing of my objection, of course, means that I will not cause any disturbance with regard to the placing of the glass doors there but, personally and inwardly, I still feel that it is an offensive thing to place such things as this that are so distinctly Catholic, symbolizing the wings on an angel in a Latter-day Saint structure, but I am obedient to the will of the majority and especially to the apparent wish of President McKay to have them placed there in accordance with the statements of President Tanner.

I don’t want to poach — if comments are relevant to Ziff’s thread, please post there. If comments would be a threadjack there, please post here.

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