The 12 Most Famous Mormons in the World
Mormon and famous aren’t two words you usually associate together. The Mormon religion is quite conservative and the exact opposite of the Hollywood lifestyle. Despite the strict rules and innocent nature of the religion, there are many famous Mormons in the entertainment and sports world who worshiped at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. While many were brought up in the church and no longer follow the teachings, there are some who still believe and follow the faith.
The organization was formed on April 30, 1830, by one Joesph Smith. Based on the teachings of the Bible, there are also other texts created to outline the way to live as a Mormon. The religion went to the next level when Brigham Young took over as leader in 1847. He moved the church west from Nauvoo, Illinois to Salt Lake Valley, Utah. Here the Mormon religion flourished and its headquarters still remain today. He also built the Brigham Young University where attending students must follow the teachings of Mormonism.
To help you discover more about those who grew up in the LDS church, here is a list of the 12 most famous Mormons who have made it big.
1. Aaron Eckhart
Not only was Aaron Eckhart raised as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but he also undertook mission work for the church. While there aren’t many details about what he did, it is believed that Eckhart served a two-year mission in France and Switzerland helping spread the word of the Mormon faith. While he no longer follows the religion, he explained in an interview with Men’s Health how his time in the church shaped his life.
“Any religion or philosophy–whatever your core values are when you’re growing up, it’s impossible to divorce yourself from them,” he said. “I have good tools, a good foundation. I’m not so good about going to church every week. Plus, I’m probably not the poster child for Mormonism. But it’s still in me, definitely. What I’m talking about is being a good person, living by a certain code.”
2. Eliza Dushku
Best known for her roles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and action blockbuster True Lies, Eliza Dushku is another celebrity who was raised as a Mormon. Her mother was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, so she and her three brothers were also raised as Mormons. While she attended Mormon church as a youngster, she, like many other followers of the faith, has distanced herself from LDS living. Although she is no longer part of the Mormon church, she still looks back fondly on her time with the religion and is grateful for the impact it had on her formative years. She also has a Mormon-themed tattoo she got when she was younger.
3. Roseanne Bar
The comedian, actor, and talk show host dabbled with Mormonism as a youth. Although she was born into a Jewish family in Salt Lake City, Utah, she was also part of the Latter Day Saints between the ages of six to 16. Her parents kept their Jewish faith hidden from the neighbors in fear of persecution. She was never baptized though, due to her Grandmother being angry that she was not following the Jewish faith. In her book, Roseanne: My Life as a Woman, she wrote; “Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning I was a Jew; Sunday afternoon, Tuesday afternoon, and Wednesday afternoon we were Mormons.” In her later years, Rosanne ditched Mormonism and become a follower of Judaism, no doubt pleasing her Grandmother.
4. Paul Walker
The late, great Paul Walker was raised in a Mormon family as a child. Along with his four younger siblings: Aimee, Ashlie, Caleb, and Cody, they were all subjected to the Mormon faith. By the time he reached adulthood, Walker had rejected the teachings of the Latter-Day Saints. Despite no longer practicing as a Mormon, he found solace as a non-denominational Christian.
“The people I don’t understand are atheists,” Walker said, according to his IMDB bio. “I go surfing and snowboarding, and I’m always around nature. I look at everything and think, ‘Who couldn’t believe there’s a God? Is all this a mistake?’ It just blows me away.”
5. Chelsea Handler
Comedian Chelsea Handler was raised by a strict Mormon mother and a Jewish father. Although she never followed the religion, there is no doubt her mum tried to get her to follow the faith while she was growing up. Despite this Mormon influence as a youngster, Handler followed her father’s faith. She was raised as a Reform Jew and even went as far as to have a Bat Mitzvah. It is obvious she has no time for Mormonism today, as she has heavily criticized the religion several times in interviews.
During the 2020 Makers Conference in Los Angeles, Handler spoke with Jewish author Judy Blume. On the subject of her dalliance with Mormonism, she said, “I grew up as a Jew and Mormon… so we had to choose and I chose Jewish, obviously, because Mormonism is so ridiculous.”
6. Bryce Harper
Baseball star Bryce Harper is one of the few on this list who is still a practicing Mormon. The right fielder for the Philadelphia Phillies is a card-carrying member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. While he doesn’t openly advocate his beliefs, he has discussed them several times during his career. He has spoken about abstaining from alcohol and has admitted to occasionally drinking coffee, something banned by the religion. Men are also encouraged to serve a mission, with Harper claiming he believed his mission is on the diamond. He elaborated further in a piece featured in The Washington Post in 2016 where he talked about choosing baseball over serving a mission.
“Coming up to the draft and trying to make that decision, I always thought that my Heavenly Father upstairs always just wanted me to be a walking Book of Mormon, you could say,” […] “I knew that I could touch a lot of people’s lives playing and trying to be the best Mormon that I can be on and off the field.” Considering he signed a 13-year contract for $330 million during the 2018–19 offseason, it is easy to see why he choose baseball as his mission.
7. Katherine Heigl
The star of Grey’s Anatomy, 27 Dresses, and Knocked Up was part of the LDS church during her youth. But this only came about when she turned eight. Before that, her mother was a Lutheran, and her father a Catholic. When Heigl’s oldest brother was killed during a car accent in 1986, her parents decided to convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Heigl was then brought up in a Mormon household along with her two remaining brothers.
Similar to Eliza Dushku, Heigl still has some ties to her past as a Mormon. In an interview with Vanity Fair, she revealed that she and her now-husband, musician Josh Kelley, didn’t live together before marriage. “I also didn’t want to live together before we were married. I still have enough Mormon in me–not a lot, but enough–that I wanted to keep that a little bit sacred.”
8. Donny Osmond
It seems if you were born in Utah, there is a fair chance you are brought up as a Mormon. Case in point Donny Osmand. He and his seven siblings were part of a Mormon household as youngsters. Along with his brothers Alan, Jay, Merrill, and Wayne, the fivesome hit the big time as The Osmond Brothers. Donny then broke out as a teen solo star in the 70s before fading away and coming back in the 80s as an adult contemporary singer. He found further success with his sister and continues to release music today. He also never lost his Mormon faith, regularly sharing his beliefs on his website and offering advice through scripture.
9. Amy Adams
Hollywood superstar Amy Adams was raised as a Mormon until her parents divorced in 1985. Once the split happened, Adams no longer followed the religion as she didn’t have a strong enough belief. But she does believe it instilled good values in her that she still follows today. “I grew up as a Mormon and that had more of an impact on my values than my beliefs,” she told British tabloid The Sun, according to Independent Woman. While the life doesn’t appeal to her, she isn’t against religion. “It provides a support system if you embrace it, despite all the controlling and guilting aspects of religion that I grew to resent,” Adams said. This is quite the positive outlook from Adams.
10. Ryan Gosling
From Disney cutey to Hollywood heartthrob, it’s been a whirlwind time in the spotlight for Ryan Gosling. During his time off-camera, he has managed to lead a rather controversy-free life when compared to some of his other childhood star brethren. This could be due to his upbringing in a Morman family. Both his parents are Mormons and while Gosling said he never identified with Mormonism, he did take away some things from the religion that have stayed with him. “[Being Mormon] socialized me at a young age,” he said. “You have to pray in public, shake a lot of hands, talk in public, sing in church, stuff like that.”
11. Christina Aguilera
Another entertainer who was part of the Mickey Mouse Club with Ryan Gosling, singer Christina Aguilera was born into a Mormon family. In fact, her parents, musician Shelly Loraine Kearns and USA soldier Fausto Xavier Aguilera, met at Brigham Young University. While she was certainly raised in a Mormon household, Aguilera has never come out as being of Mormon faith. Her parents divorced when she was just six years old and she moved in with her grandmother, so any chance of her learning more about Mormon history or faith was quickly snuffed out.
12. David Archuleta
You are probably aware David Archuleta is of the Mormon faith. The singer won the second season of Star Search and came seventh on American Idol. He has released seven albums and starred in numerous films since then. He is also one of the few on this list who is still a practicing Mormon. As a member of the LSD church, he even went on a two-year mission at the tender age of 21. Along with being a Mormon, Archuleta also identifies as homosexual. This is quite controversial for someone who is religious. As you can imagine, he finds it hard to reconcile the two, as evident in a recent Instagram post.
“I’ve tried for almost 20 years to try and change myself until I realized God made me how I am for a purpose,” he explained. “And instead of hating what I have considered wrong I need to see why God loved me for who I am.” If there is anything you can take from this, it’s to just be yourself, no matter what others think.