Too much time and attention has been spent discussing the negatives of Mormons. With the way some people talk, even among those who consider themselves believers, the LDS Church has serious trouble keeping members active. Statistics are interpreted to imply that an unsustainable number of young adults are dropping out or going inactive. Despite the admitted higher than hoped for numbers who leave, the remaining are actually above average for religious participation. There has also been steady growth, with some returning later in life. The bad news is not all bad.
In the spirit of the more positive side of Mormonism, here are some members who have awesome achievements and testimonies. They are an inspiration for those struggling or asking if there are still any good members to have as role models. A very long list could be possible, but a sample is sufficient. These are members who have expressed faith in the Gospel while pursuing what they love, with noteworthy results. The future is brighter than the pessimists assume.
Jenn Blosil has not made it big yet, but as the last Mormon on “American Idol” she is on her way. Her personality and musical style is quirky and uneven. Yet, there is something about her that cannot be ignored. To put it simply, she stands out from others. Her testimony of the gospel and love for music are equally strong.
Jenn served a mission to New York like the second person on this list.
Lindsey Stirling proved that dreams can come true no matter the struggles. Rejection of her public musical debut on television was devastating, but she came back stronger. Her big break came after posting a self-made Youtube video that gained thousands of views. A fan base formed within a short time, and eventually she sold best-selling albums. She has often expressed how faith helped her survive tough times.
It seems that Mormons and music go easily together with David Archuleta no exception. He is another who made his public debut on the television stage; with a win on “Star Search” and as an “American Idol” runner-up. He also served an LDS mission to Chile, continuing to sing after returning. Much of his music can be categorized as spiritual pop.
Brandon Sanderson and Brandon Mull are two of the most popular sci-fi and fantasy authors around today. Sanderson teaches writing at BYU and publishes books for a wide range of age groups. Mull’s books are mostly for a younger audience. Neither of them discuss religion much, although Mull is more open about his faith. Both of them are an inspiration for budding Mormon authors and readers.
A shout out to Larry Correia who writes the highly popular “Monster Hunter” series. He sometimes discusses the intersection of Mormonism and genre fiction, clearing up misconceptions.
Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped at age 14 by a religious maniac. she was lucky enough to have been rescued about 9 months later. She served a mission to Paris, married in the Hawaii Temple, and started a family. Instead of letting the experience destroy her, she uses it to bring attention to child abuse and abductions. Her strength and personal faith is an inspiration to those struggling through tragedy.
Studio C is a group of comedians often compared to Saturday Night Live with their sketch format. They started as member’s of BYU’s “Divine Comedy” before picked up by BYUtv to do a series. Recognition expanded on Youtube with a soccer fail routine generating over 35 million views. The average number of views is over 300,000 for the videos. They have been billed as comedy for the whole family.
Jabari Parker is an unlikely person. He is Mormon, black, and a very young NBA draft pick for Milwaukee Bucks. As a professional basketball player he travels all over for the game. One of the constants in his life is faith in the gospel, and he often shares his testimony with members and non-members alike:
As the Milwaukee Bucks’ Forward, Parker travels constantly, and he recently stopped to hold a devotional with LDS youth in Vancouver, Washington.
“We have to acknowledge God, and remember that everyone is a child of God,” he said, according to Lacamas Magazine. “You have to have compassion and be a team player on the court, and recognize that we all make mistakes. We’re not perfect, so don’t judge.”
During the 90-minute session, Parker told the audience the way he maintains his faith while playing in the NBA: “These choices were made a long time ago, choices not to drink and to obey the law of chastity,” he told the youth during a Q&A.
These are only a few famous examples of awesome Mormons who are all over the world. Faith is very personal, but many unsung youth are growing up strong in the gospel. We should be aware of the problems and shortcomings, but not without acknowledging the great potential.