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By Jeff Borders
Who are some famous Mormons? Are there any celebrities?
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints work in all sorts of career fields, so it should be no surprise to find some positions of prominence. I’ll attempt to break them down into categories, with a couple in each category for the sake of article length.
Bryce Harper – Current right fielder for the Philadelphia Phillies. Harper was the youngest position player to play in an All-Star Game. He won Rookie of the Year in 2012, and tied the National League for home runs in 2015. He was named as National League Most Valuable Player in 2015, and at the age of 23, because the youngest player in MLB history to win that award.
Steve Young – Former San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Steve Young is also a very recognizable name. He is a 3-time Super Bowl Champion, Super Bowl MVP, 2-time NFL Most Valuable Player, along with many other awards.
Jack Dempsey – Going back several years is Jack Dempsey. Dempsey reigned as heavyweight boxing champion from 1919 to 1926. If you’re a boxing fan, you’ve probably heard the name once or twice.
Other recognizable athletes might include:
Danny Ainge (Former Boston Celtics player and current General Manager), Jabari Parker (Basketball player for the Atlanta Hawks), Torah Bright (Olympic Gold and Silver medalists and 2 times X-Games champion in Snowboarding)
There are many other players that run the gamut of sports, too many to count actually.
Gladys Knight – You can’t talk about music and Latter-day Saints, without mentioning the Empress of Soul, Gladys Knight. Knight is a 7-time Grammy Award winner, she continues to bring her talents to the world.
Dan Reynolds – Another big name in music right now is Imagine Dragons front man, Dan Reynolds. While Reynolds says his relationship with the faith is nuanced, he still calls himself a member. On a side note, this is probably my family’s favorite band. We love their music.
Donny and Marie Osmond – The Osmond family became one of America’s most popular musical families in the 1970s. Whether you know that she’s a little bit county, and he’s a little bit rock and roll, most have heard the Osmond name before.
Other recognizable musicians and entertainers include:
Jon Heder (Lead role in Napoleon Dynamite), Brandon Flowers (Lead singer of The Killers), Elaine Bradley (Drummer for The Neon Trees), Kaskade (2- time America’s Best DJ)
Jon Huntsman Sr. – Jon Huntsman Sr is known for more than just developing the first clamshell container for the McDonald’s Big Mac, he is also known for his generous philanthropy work, donating over $500 million to cancer research and starting the Huntsman Cancer Center at the University of Utah. Huntsman was passionate about cancer research after battling prostate cancer four times, and losing his father and mother to cancer.
Glenn Beck – Media empire mogul Glenn Beck is a convert to the Church, joining later in the life after what he describes as hitting rock bottom and having to start again. Beck founded Mercury Radio Arts, the parent company of The Blaze, as well as publishing company Mercury Inc. Beck is also known for his philanthropy through the Mercury One fund, the Nazarene Fund actively helps promote Operation Underground Railroad to fight sex slavery around the world.
Bill Marriott – You may not know him, but surely you’ve heard of his family name. As the Executive Chairman of Marriott International, Bill Marriott heads one of the world’s largest hotel chains. Marriott hotels are known around the world with over 7000 properties in 131 countries.
Stephanie Meyer – “Twilight” anyone? While many may not instantly recognize Meyer’s name, a lot of people can tell you whether they are Team Edward or Team Jacob. Stephanie’s “Twilight“ series has topped one hundred million in copies sold and sparked a 4-part movie series.
Brandon Sanderson – Fantasy fans will instantly recognize Sanderon’s name as the author of the “Mistborn Trilogy” and the epic fantasy “Stormlight Archives“. Beyond his own writing, Sanderson finished writing The Wheel of Time series for fantasy giant Robert Jordan, after his passing.
Brandon Mull – You may not recognize Brandon Mull’s name, but I bet your kids would. As the author of the best-selling “Fablehaven” series, Mull has brought smiles to millions of kids. In addition to “Fablehaven,” Mull has authored “The Five Kingdoms,” “The Candy Shop War,” “The Beyonders” and the “Dragonwatch” series.
Mitt Romney – Right now, probably one of the most recognizable Latter-day Saint politician is Mitt Romeny, who serves as a senator for the state of Utah, along with Senator Mike Lee (also a member). Romney served as Governor of Massachusetts from 2003-2007 and ran for president in 2012 against incumbent Barack Obama.
Harry Reid – Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, served from 2007-2017. Reid served as a Senator for the state of Nevada from 1987 to 2017, when he retired.
Philo T. Farnsworth – What a great name. While many don’t recognize his name, I bet many use his invention on a daily basis. Farnsworth was the inventor of first video camera and the first all-electronic television system.
Russell M. Nelson – Current President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Russell M. Nelson spent his early years as a world renowned heart surgeon. President Nelson was part of the pioneering team that developed the heart-lung bypass machine. In 1960 he was one of the first to perform surgery for tricuspid valve regurgitation.
I’ve only mentioned a handful of people. There are many Latter-day Saints out there making their mark on the world every day. Some, like those listed above, may garner a little more attention, but most of us are doing our best to make the cities, states and countries that we live in better places.
Jeff Borders was born in Spokane, Washington and has lived there since. He is a self published author, focusing in science fiction and fantasy, but he enjoyes writing in all its forms. By trade he is a Respiratory Therapist, but he is also active in his community as a volunteer firefighter, as well as being active in his church. He holds many additional teaching certifications for his fields of employment and he enjoys educating others.
Jeff married his wife Crystyne in 2003, and together they have four, very fun and energetic children.
His website is www.jeffbordersbooks.com