Right before I tapped the record button on my computer, my Oscar-winning interviewee said something that made me both nervous and excited: “I am going to be honest with you here.” She told me whatever my questions were, she would be as open as she could about them. I told her that’s exactly what I wanted and launched into my questions before anyone had time for second thoughts.
A few weeks before this moment, our team at LDS Living had received an email in our editor’s inbox informing us that the woman who voiced Dolores Madrigal in the Disney animated film Encanto is a Latter-day Saint. The news sounded almost too good to be true: Encanto is a major Disney movie that won an Academy Award, and Adassa has what one news outlet called “the most memorable voice” in the movie’s No.1 Billboard song, “We Don’t Talk about Bruno.”
What was this woman’s story, and why, months after the movie’s release, did no one seem to know that she was a member of the Church? I eagerly set up a time to interview Adassa to find out. As I prepared, I found many articles discussing her role in Encanto, but I couldn’t find much information about her personal life. So as I waited for her to pick up the phone the day of our interview, I wasn’t sure what I would find on the other end of the line. Was Adassa proud of her faith? Would she be comfortable talking about it?
As it turns out, this phone call was a big deal for Adassa as well. Multiple times she told me this was her “coming out” interview as a Latter-day Saint—a part of herself she was ready to proudly share with the media for the first time. Adassa has been through a beautiful spiritual transformation in her life, and I am honored she allowed me the opportunity to share it with you (“An Encanto Miracle”).
But Adassa doesn’t stand alone in her vulnerability. All of the Latter-day Saints featured in this magazine have opened their hearts to share one of the most personal aspects of their lives—their ever-evolving faith. Author Taylor Ricks shares with us some of her most fragile moments of feeling unseen by others and how it was God’s grace that helped her use those experiences to write her first book (“A Multitude of Heroes”). Curator Kenneth Hartvigsen lets us inside his heart and shares how a work of art inspires him in the moments when it feels like the blessing is never going to come (“Anticipation at the Pool”).
Why are these people so willing to share? Of course, only they could answer that question. But it seems to me that they do it for you, for me, and for our entire faith community—they open up because all of this matters very much to them, and they hope to inspire us in our own fragile moments when our faith needs strengthening. I believe our combined vulnerability has the power to lead us all to a deeper, more genuine faith in Jesus Christ, a faith that will lead us to become more in this life than we ever could on our own.
LDS Living associate editor