Lately I feel like I have read an inordinate number of stories about ‘famous ex-Mormons’. These usually feature the same cast of characters from Julianne Hough to Katherine Hiegel to Amy Adams. I feel like this is always done in an aura of condemnation- ‘Look these beautiful people once believed and now they don’t how can it be true?’.
Rarely is it mentioned in these articles that Hollywood is not exactly a bastion of religiosity in general. I am highly confident that a much longer list of former catholics, muslims and protestants could be collected amongst celebrities. Perhaps these faiths are different because they can be considered active with very minimal observance and attendance but even so I’m confident the list would be just as long and dramatic.
Sometimes I feel these lists of ex-Mormon’s are meant to discredit Mitt Romney’s belief. ‘How can he believe when all these beautiful, accomplished people don’t?’. Couldn’t the same question be asked of all of them? ‘How can they not believe when Mitt Romney and many other distinguished and accomplished people do believe?’.
Religion is an individual choice and the acceptance of the society at large, especially Hollywood, should have no barrings on an individuals faith and acceptance. In fact, how sad would it be if someone believed purely because other smart and attractive people believed? Mormonism is not a trendy lifestyle choice like say yoga or veganism to be lived for show. Maybe you can do that for a short period of time but eventually you have to find out for yourself if it is true, and then live it, if you do.
I give most of these celebrities credit for leaving the church and then leaving it alone. Many actually have very nice things to say about their experience with Mormonism. Most have chosen to leave not out of extreme doctrinal differences but mostly lifestyle choices and political issues. One website says ‘just for fun here are some famous ex-Mormons’. I don’t see what is fun about someone choosing a religion?
There certainly wasn’t this sense of concern, amusement or scandal when President Obama chose to distance himself from his longtime pastor Reverend Wright. This was seen by most as one man’s religious choice without any further speculations except for on the hard right. People change religions all the time, especially in their youth, and in Hollywood where morals are challenged on a daily basis. I just don’t get the fun or appeal of these articles?
And if we are looking at a broader history of Christianity when did defectors prove or disprove the truthfulness of the church itself? The celebrities or rulers during Christs’ days are the very one’s who cried for His crucifixion over the robber Barabas. Comparatively few listened to Jesus’ messages and teachings and yet this does not have any baring on most modern Christians view of its truthfulness. The people who did listen for the most part were simple humble fishermen and common citizens.
In fact, many would say it confirms the truths because they were challenging to live, required real change to accept? Living the gospel of Jesus Christ has never been easy. Why would this not be true in the modern church? The Gospel of Jesus Christ is difficult to live because it has always been so. It requires the whole heart because if we only give half than we only get half our potential.
The bible says “because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” . Clearly, the Lord would rather have us stray than to feign half-hearted fellowship. This is why it is perhaps no shock that most people when confronted with truth must choose one way to follow or another.
It makes me sad when I read about these people because I know what they are missing out on. It truly is like selling your birthright for a mess of pottage. I’m not going to presume to judge these stars and say they picked movie roles over God. I do not know them so that may be far from truth but whatever the choice over truth, it will not matter in the end, what they have chosen. I have eternal covenants with my My Heavenly Father. I know why I am here and that my life matters. That is worth any worldly prize.
Anyway, I just thought I would let you all know that I couldn’t care less if a famous person is or isn’t Mormon. My only care is the same I feel for any person who does not accept what I believe is true. I yearn for all the world to know of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and the Restored Gospel. If someone believes and happens to be famous well good for them. I would not have served a mission if I didn’t want to share my faith with others and earnestly want all men and women to believe it.
I respect all choices and have friends of many faiths. These friends have actually added to my own faith through their testimonies on our shared beliefs and their example of devotion to what they believe. However, their choices, and certainly the choices of some celebrities I don’t know, have no negative impact on my own religious life. So these lists of Ex-Mormons baffle me. Who cares? What are the people who publish them trying to achieve?
I guess as trivia it is harmless but it should have no affect on anyone’s view of the Mormon church or its teachings if some Hollywood starlet does not believe. Millions of hard working men and women around the world have gained a witness of its truthfulness and that means much more to me than the dissenters who try and tear us down. That said, if I was all alone I would still know the Book of Mormon is true and that God has confirmed this to me. No one can take that from me.
There I said it! 🙂 (I repeat my earlier injunction that I will not post any negative comments about my church on this posting or any others, so don’t even bother. If you have something constructive to say about what I have written I’d love to hear it).