Famous Latter-day Saints

Katherine Heigl, Ryan Gosling + What 7 Other Famous People Have Said About Their Mormon Upbringing


While many famous actors or performers who were raised Mormon no longer belong to the faith, some have been very vocal about their religious upbringing and how it has shaped them. And those celebrities who still belong to the LDS faith are adamant that their beliefs have improved their lives, making them who they are today.

Here are just a few quotes from celebrities who have openly talked about their LDS upbringing:

Katherine Heigl

Image from The New York Times

Katherine Heigl has not been shy about her LDS upbringing, telling Good Housekeeping, "That structure and discipline was really good for me."

The values instilled in Heigl during her childhood impacted her future decisions, including how she dated her future husband. "[I] didn't want to live together before we were married. I still have enough Mormon in me—not a lot, but enough—that I wanted to keep that a little bit sacred," Heigl told Vanity Fairin 2008. In addition, Heigl credits the Mormon values she learned when young to her ability to focus on family and build a balanced life, despite the fame.

Heigl also told Vanity Fair how her faith helped her family after her brother died in a car accident when she was just 7 years old.

“A couple of Mormon families were a great comfort," she says. "Both my parents felt a great desire for answers, and they found an answer in the Mormon church—or answers they could live with, anyway, because there really are none. I didn’t really understand death, so it was very confusing for me. The worst part was watching the devastation of my family. They weren’t the same people anymore. Everything was kind of a mess for a while. . . . But I give my parents unbelievable credit for pulling it together, and I give the Mormon church a lot of credit for helping them to do that.”

Donny Osmond

Image from The Guardian

It's no secret that the Osmonds are Mormon. From sharing hisfaith on Oprah to answering questions about the LDS Church for his fans, Donny has shared time and time again how his Mormon childhood has made him the man he is today. "I would never do anything that would compromise my membership or standing in the church," Osmond told the Deseret News. "Because it's more than just a religion to me. It's my way of life. In my opinion, it's what's been able to keep my family stable in this crazy business called show business."

In addition to keeping his family close, Donny told the Huffington Post his faith kept him grounded throughout a childhood and lifetime filled with fame and success: "It’s kept me grounded in life. As long as you have a belief in a higher power, in God, and you recognize that, it keeps you humble."

Aaron Eckhart

Image from The Guardian

A BYU graduate, Aaron Eckhart no longer identifies as a Mormon, but he told The Telegraph that his faith still influences him: "I can’t really say I’m a practicing Mormon now, but there are influences. You have it in your blood and bones. To me spirituality transcends any sort of organization, but I believe there is a right and wrong and a higher power."

Jon Heder

Image from The New York Times

Though he is no stranger to Hollywood, Jon Heder isn't afraid to share his LDS beliefs and how they impact his career. The Mormon values Heder learned while young help determine decisions he makes today—including acting decisions.

When asked whether he keeps his LDS faith in mind when he picks different roles, Heder told whosay.com, "I do, yeah. It’s not even really keeping it in mind, it’s just a part of who I am. I don’t really forget, it’s just been kind of automatic. When I read something, judgment takes place. Part of who I am is my standards and my beliefs, and that makes its way into all my decision-making."

Despite the limitations that can sometimes come from striving to stick to his standards in an industry that is growing more raunchy, Heder told LDS Living in an exclusive interview that his faith also brings blessings.

"I definitely try to direct my career down a path that won’t conflict with my values, and it can be very hard sometimes, especially when it limits your options and field of comfort, but the values and standards that I try to live by have been a part of my life since I was born, and I believe I will always receive blessings as long as I stick to my guns," he says.

Ryan Gosling

Image from The New York Times

While rare footage of a young Ryan Gosling at a ward talent show went viral years ago, tipping off most of his fans that the star grew up Mormon, Gosling hasn't been as vocal about his childhood as some celebrities. However, he did tell The Guardian in 2007 about his Mormon upbringing, "We were brought up pretty religious . . . My mother admits it: She says, you were raised by a religious zealot. She's different now, but at the time, it was a part of everything—what they ate, how they thought."

Paul Walker

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Image from People

With family who still belong to the LDS Church, the late Paul Walker told USA Todayin 2005 that he no longer followed the faith, "But I still hold myself accountable," he says. "I'm not the kind of guy who's taking advantage of my position."

According to his IMDb bio, Walker always professed a belief in God: "I go surfing and snowboarding, and I'm always around nature. I look at everything and think, 'Who couldn't believe there's a God? Is all this a mistake?' It just blows me away.”

David Archuleta

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Image from davidarchuleta.com

American Idol runner-up and musician David Archuleta has always used his fame as a way to share his beliefs. While it is hard to narrow down his quotes about family, faith, and childhood,recently on Facebook, he gave this charge to his fans:

"I want you to know that whoever you are, you have purpose, and you belong in this life. You are here to fulfill more than meets the eye. You are here to experience joy, to keep trying, to experience the pain and the heartache, to be a friend, to be grateful, and to search for truth and light. Each of us STILL plays a piece in this symphony of life and it's glorious. We all need a little help from our friends. We each need to feel loved and respected for what's within our heart and character. We all have equally been given this life because each of us has a loving Father in Heaven who gave us this chance. This life is about getting back up and giving it another shot. It's time to give the support you need to become all you are destined to be."

Julianne Hough

Image from US Magazine

About arriving in Hollywood as an 18-year-old, Hough recalls, “People were really curious about why I didn’t drink,” she said, according to LA Times. “They were always asking if I was sober. I was like, ‘No, I’m just Mormon.’ It was kind of a shock for them.”

While Hough no longer practices the religion of her childhood, she told the NY Times, "I’m not practicing, but I’m so glad I was raised Mormon.”

Chelsie Hightower

Image from Deseret News

In a 2016 interview with the Deseret News, Dancing with the Stars pro Chelsea Hightower said, "I was the most determined child to go out to L.A. . . .  and prove to myself and to other members of the church that it was possible to stand strong in a world that was so dark, in a world that stood for everything but what you stood for."

Hightower insists that she has felt God's hand guiding her throughout her life. "I felt like . . . the Lord was opening doors for me and guiding my path, and I’ve felt like dance was a part of that path since I was 9 years old. . . . I remember thinking, ‘OK, if I continually put the Lord first, and if I continually focus on growing myself and my spirituality, the right opportunities will fall into place, and the wrong ones will fall out of my life."

Lead images from Wikimedia and claimsjournal.com


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