We Mormons are obsessed with our weak celebrity connections. There is always some rumor circulating at scripture study on Sunday nights about a Hollywood star seen talking to the missionaries, records of a baptism or whispers of a rock star's commitment to the Word of Wisdom. Not surprisingly, most of these rumors prove false. I remember hearing all kinds of gossip growing up. Big names like Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks and Steve Martin being secret members. My little heart clung to them. Anything to get us over the "Osmond" phenomena and rocket us to gritty stardom.
And why not the Mormons? We are the fourth largest religion in the United States just behind the Catholics, Methodists and the Baptists. Although Mormons outnumber the Jewish population of America almost two to one, your average Joe could easily name 30 famous Jews and probably not a single one of us. It takes a Mark Hacking to get us any media attention at all. So we cling to our laughable tales of Alice Cooper's father maybe being a Mormon and an alleged sighting of Steve Martin wearing the tell-tale CTR ring ("No," Steve finally had to clarify to the enamored masses, "I am not a Mormon.") Where do we come up with this stuff and more importantly, why?
I'll tell you why. As much as we are trying to ignore it, we can't get over the creepy feeling that there are non-Mormons in our lives. Many of them. In fact, most Mormons (unless you live in Utah, Idaho or Arizona) are isolated in their schools and communities. We look around everyday and see society chugging along in a totally different direction than us and can't help feeling abandoned. We need validation that the social sacrifices we've are not totally nuts and a legitimate way to show this is to have our beliefs parroted in the media, Hollywood and the White House. Accept us for pete's sake! We're spending our nights locked away crocheting afghans, making pinewood derby cars and playing Trivial Pursuit. What a waste of a fine Mormon, don't you agree?
Orrin Hatch had his chance at being the LDS poster boy for the new millennium but blew it when he revealed his inevitable Mormon musical side. I was just as disappointed as everyone else when he went all J-Lo on us and tried to become a multi-industry diva. It works if you're a sexy Latina bombshell, but not so much for geriatric senators trying to capture the Presidency. Sorry Orrin, this isn't baseball. One strike and you're out.
But now we have our darling Mitt Romney, our second chance. He's the biggest celebrity to hit the Mormons since the Angel Moroni. To be fair, we've had our Jon Heders, Gladys Knights and Donny Osmonds - but Mitt is different. Give us the White House and give us our dignity. It's about time this nation had a President who didn't smoke pot in his youth. With any luck it might actually help with the whole running a country thing and then who's the media going to love? That's right. Those quaint old Mormons.
Whether or not Mitt gets the job done, rest assured that Mormons will have their day. When the fashions inevitably shift and it becomes hip to wear white denim jeans, sweater vests and teddy bear earrings they'll come pounding on our doors. And how will we receive them? Will we laugh in their faces like the jilted lover or accept their humble apologies with open arms? Our day is coming. What will you do?
For a fun site listing many the "famous" Mormons in the media and many more near-misses click here