In 1973, Osmondmania was arguably at its peak.
As just one example, over 15,000 fans vying to see the singing group broke through customs and caused enough chaos to shut down London’s Heathrow Airport.
In the midst of their fame, the Osmonds made what some might call an interesting choice: they released an album sharing their beliefs as Latter-day Saints.
The album was called The Plan and explored the eternal nature of God’s plan and the role of Jesus Christ in our lives. That album just celebrated its 50-year anniversary, and on a recent episode of All In, Alan Osmond, the oldest Osmond brother, shared why they were so passionate about sharing the gospel—even with other celebrities and prominent figures.
“We approached everything we did on a spiritual basis,” Alan says. “Before every show, … we had a little word of prayer. And in the prayer, we asked Heavenly Father if someone in the audience might be touched and [see the] reason for [the] hope that was in [us], as Paul talked about in the scriptures. So as we’re performing, that was our whole purpose—not just to get applause and standing ovation.”
Alan goes on to describe that while they were recording music, the group’s focus wasn’t on creating big hit songs for the sake of numbers—they wanted more eyes on them so that they could be more successful in preaching the gospel.
And they certainly did have unique missionary opportunities, such as with the Queen of England.
In 1972, the Osmonds were invited to perform at the Royal Variety Performance and had a chance to shake hands with the Queen herself.
As the singer’s mother, Olive Osmond, approached the Queen, she reached into her purse to get something. Immediately, the security team blew their whistles, jumped in, and shut everything down. Alan remembers what happens next.
“I just wanted to give Her Majesty the most precious gift I have,” Olive explained. She then pulled a Book of Mormon out of her purse, in which she had underlined certain verses, and presented it to the Queen.
“[The Queen] later wrote us a letter and said, ‘I’m going to put that on my mantle,’” Alan says. “And she did—we followed up later.”
Alan also said that the family had been in contact with Elvis Presley multiple times. For example, before a show, the Osmonds received word that Elvis was going to be watching from the light booth. Alan remembers being nervous because the family was wearing jumpsuits made by the same craftsman who made Elvis’ iconic looks.
“We went on stage looking like five Elvis Presleys,” Alan says. After the show, however, Elvis came backstage and told the boys he liked their suits.
On another occasion, Elvis called a stage where the Osmonds were performing and asked to speak to one of them. Alan, being the oldest took the phone call. After a few minutes of conversation, the two musicians began talking about how much they loved their mothers. At Elvis’s request, Alan soon gave the phone over to his mother.
“[She] was just kind and loving,” Alan remembers of their conversation. Elvis also told them that he had watched how the Osmonds’ father made arrangements for as many fans as possible to come around back after the show and get an autograph, even though the singers were busy cleaning things up and getting ready for the next show.
“And [Elvis] said, ‘If I could do it all over again, I would sign, like the Osmonds, every autograph for every fan that wanted it,’’ Alan remembers. “So I think we left our mark [on] a lot of people.”
Alan said that Elvis met with missionaries in both California and Hawaii. He also invited the Osmond family to a private barbeque at his home in California. But tragically, Elvis died a few weeks before the dinner was set to happen.
As Alan looks back over his life, he has no regrets about being so open about his faith.
“Don’t be embarrassed about being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Alan says. “I’m not ashamed of the gospel, and that’s why I just can’t be quiet about it.”
Listen to the rest of the episode in the player below or find All In on all major podcast streaming platforms.
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