News Story

Australian Couple Lend Their Talents to Beautify Temples

Gold Coast couple, Mike and Debbie Wilkin, are artisans. Between them, they have skills—originally learnt in England, where they were both born—such as paper hanging, painting, special faux finishing, and gilding.

Debbie and Mike Wilkin.© 2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

This experience helps them as they add gold leaf to statues that sit atop temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints across Australia and the South Pacific.

Many temples have a statue of the ancient American prophet, Moroni, placed on their roofs, referencing the angel spoken of by John in the New Testament’s book of Revelation.

The couple’s first job was to restore and add gold leaf to the statue of Moroni on the roof of the Brisbane Australia Temple. They have now worked on five more Moroni statues, plus contributed to the various interior work done inside temples, including in Fiji, Tahiti and Perth.

The Moroni statue is commonplace for Latter-day Saints, but for those not of the faith, it can be intriguing. Read more about the history of temple building, and, in particular, the angel Moroni statue, here.

When Debbie and Mike work in or around a temple, the one thing they always do is start the day with a prayer.

“We ask that we can get everything done…that we can do it to the best of our abilities, and that we won’t miss anything,” Mike says.

Wilkins with statue
Wilkins with statue
Debbie and Mike Wilkin.© 2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

“Just because it’s the Lord’s House it doesn’t mean it will all go as planned. There is always an unknown factor somewhere that we couldn’t have been prepared for, but it always works out and sometimes what we think could be a hold up, ends up [being] a blessing in disguise.”

Debbie recounts an experience when the couple were working on the Brisbane Australia Temple. A material needed for their work was not available so they needed to source another product that was similar to the desired material.

“I eventually found the nearest product to the original and set about doing some samples to get familiar with the new products. After several attempts, my original tried and tested method for these new products was not working. To get the same clean precise result as I had in the past, [it] was now going to take double the time to do a different way—time we did not have.”

She continued: “After prayers and fasting, we were delayed in our start date and took the opportunity to see if we could find another solution. We went back to the place we had bought the products from, and during the conversation, Mike was prompted on a method that we knew we could do but I had never used this way before. It turned out that not only was this method better than the old way, but took half the time to do.”

Mike and Debbie feel they are blessed in their important work. They have experienced miracles as they have travelled and worked in different countries.

For Mike, his and Debbie’s work is more than an expression of their art, it is also grounded in their faith in God and in His Son, Jesus Christ.

“My testimony is that Jesus Christ has overcome death for all mankind, and His gospel is restored through Joseph Smith the Prophet,” Mike said. “The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and we are guided today by living prophets, seers and revelators.”

Debbie feels similarly. “I know Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father know me personally. I have felt of their immense compassion and love. I can testify of the power of prayer, fasting and tithing.”

Continuing, she says, “I know the temple and eternal families are real. I know it is possible to receive personal revelation. I know specific answers can come through the scriptures.”

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