Elder D. Todd Christofferson Visits Mormon Battalion Monument in Los Angeles

Contributed By Marilyn Mills, Area Church History Adviser, North America West Area

  • 26 October 2015

Elder D. Todd Christofferson stands at the Mormon Battalion Memorial with Los Angeles County Arts Council Director of Civic Art Margaret Bruning and manager Clare Haggerty.  Photo by Marilyn Mills.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

In the heart of Los Angeles, at 430 North Hill Street, sits the largest military monument in the country honoring U.S. soldiers and pioneers—including the Mormon Battalion, who built Fort Moore atop the spot and there raised the first American flag in Los Angeles on the 4th of July 1847.

During a recent visit to the city on October 16, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles took a side trip to the monument to see the 45-foot-tall and over 400-foot-wide memorial.

“It’s impressive,” he remarked. “I had no idea this was even here.”

The Fort Moore Pioneer Memorial, dedicated in 1958, has been slated for restoration, including the 45-foot-tall waterfall that has been turned off since 1977. Elder Christofferson met with Los Angeles County Arts Council Director of Civic Art Margaret Bruning and manager Clare Haggerty to discuss the details of the $4 million project. They informed Elder Christofferson that the monument will also be part of a larger plan after its restoration to encourage visitors to see the local historical spots by way of paseos or walks connecting the sites.

From left, Greg Christofferson, brother of Elder D. Todd Christofferson; Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve; Margaret Bruning, director of Civic Art for the Los Angeles County Arts Commission; Clare Haggarty, Los Angeles civic art collections manager; and Tom Christofferson, brother of Elder D. Todd Christofferson. Photo by Marilyn Mills.

Also present was Matt Ball, director of public affairs for the North America West Area, who has represented the Church in previous planning meetings with the city and county of Los Angeles.

Elder Christofferson is the third General Authority to visit the historical site in recent history. President Gordon B. Hinckley and President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles made trips to inspect the site, part of which was funded by the Church and donated to the county.

While many members of the Church in the Los Angeles area may be unaware of the Fort Moore Pioneer Memorial today, it was through a special “Stake Presidents’ Fort Moore Memorial Fund” that numerous members contributed to the original construction of the monument. Prominent Los Angeles city and county civic leaders were present at the 1958 dedication, at which President Hugh B. Brown of the First Presidency gave the dedicatory prayer and the Mormon Choir of Southern California sang “Come, Come, Ye Saints” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

“I am pleased at the county’s willingness to restore this impressive site,” Elder Christofferson said. “This is an important history for Los Angeles and Church members to pass on to future generations.”

After visiting the monument, Elder Christofferson spoke at the annual dinner of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society’s Los Angeles Chapter held at the California Club in Los Angeles. He received the chapter’s Distinguished Service Award.

Also honored that evening were Joseph I. Bentley as 2015 Outstanding Lawyer and Heather Takahashi as 2015 Outstanding Young Lawyer. Brother Bentley currently serves as president of the Newport Beach Temple with his wife, Sister Marilyn Bentley, as temple matron.

On October 17–18, Elder Christofferson presided at the Huntington Beach California North Stake conference.