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|By Aaron Johnston||July 13, 2007|
Our main man Mitt Romney has been all over the news lately. You know, he's the guy running for president who also happens to be a--gasp!--Mormon.
Between you and me, I'm rather tired of everyone making a big hoot 'n nanny about the guy being LDS. I mean, from the way the media keeps carrying on abut the "Mormon factor," you would think they thought Mormons were a wild pack of crazy people.
Oh wait, they do.
Interviewer: Governor Romney, thanks for being on the show.
Mitt: (all smiles) Great to be here, Joan.
Interviewer: Governor, a lot of Americans are asking themselves, Can a Mormon be president? How do your respond to that?
Mitt: (all smiles) Well, Joan, one of the great things about this country is that we enjoy the freedom to worship as we see fit, to raise our children in a belief system that will give them the moral upbringing they need to be good citizens who contribute to the betterment of society. But my hope is that people won't vote for me, or refuse to vote for me, because of my faith. I would hope that people would look at my record as a public official. For example, when I balanced the budget in the state of Massachu--
Interviewer: Yes yes, but isn't it true that the Mormons have embraced some rather, shall we say, unorthodox beliefs? Take polygamy. When most Americans think of Mormons, they think of polygamy.
Mitt: (chuckling) Mormons don't practice polygamy, Joan. The church banned the practice over a hundred years ago. Mormons are just like any other Christian faith. We love our children, we--
Interviewer: Yes yes, but as a Mormon, are you telling me that you'll never take another wife? I mean, we Americans can only take one First Lady. What would we call the other wives? Second Lady? Third Lady? I mean, who would choose the drapes?
Mitt: No no, Joan. It's just me and Ann. In fact, one of my goals as president is to strengthen the American family and--
Interviewer: Not even one more wife?
Mitt: Uh, no, Joan. Not even one.
Interviewer: Not even one teeny tiny wife?
Mitt: I don't follow you.
Interviewer: Moving on. What about horns?
Interviewer: Is it true that Mormons have horns? Is that why you have such coifed hair, to hide the horns?
Mitt: You're asking me if I have horns?
Interviewer: You're evading the question, Governor. I won't call that an admission, but the question obviously makes you uncomfortable. I say the American people have a right to know, but your secrets are your secrets, I suppose. Final question. Is it true you duct taped the family dog to the grill of your station wagon as you were driving through a snowstorm? And why do Mormons do this?
Poor Mitt. The guy can't get a break.
What I love most about Mitt, though, is the credibility he's giving the Church. He's smart. He's faithful to his wife. He's strong in his beliefs. And, most importantly, he's handsome. That's what we Mormons need: a Brad Pitt, someone with dimpled-chin good looks.
Don't get me wrong. I don't have my eye on Mitt. And he's certainly no Brad Pitt. But he's no Quasimodo either. The man looks presidential.
I say, "You go Mitt. RE-PRE-SENT!"
And speaking of handsome people, I've recently discovered a wonderful little website that is guaranteed to put the rah-rah-sis-kum-bah back in your Mormon pride. It's famousmormons.net, a collection of all the celebrities and great people in history who are/were members of the Church.
Mitt is there, of course. As is Senator Harry Reid as well as--here's a shocker--a lot of senators and congressmen from Utah. Senators from Utah are Mormons? How did this happen?!
But fear not. The site isn't only about politicians. In fact, the segment on famous Mormon politicians was the last to catch my attention and the least interesting of the bunch.
The other groupings are far more fascinating. Like movie stars, professional athletes, musicians, big-shot business executives. It's neat to see them all put together, as if their all members of the same team, which, I suppose, they are.
The big question of course is: Is the site accurate? Or is this more of the silly rumors? I can't say for sure. But, accurate or not, it's a fun list to peruse.
Some of my faves:
Rick Schroder - The actor best known for his performances as a child on the TV show Silver Spoons and then later in life as a cop on NYPD Blue. Personally, my favorite Rick Schroder performance is his turn as Newt in Larry McMurty's Lonesome Dove, the best miniseries ever produced (Let the arguing begin). Schroder was in my stake when we lived in Los Angeles, and he sat in front of me one night during a stake priesthood meeting, so we're practically best friends.
Aaron Eckhart - You know. THAT guy. The guy from the movie The Core, and no, you can't have those two hours of your life back. Actually, I think he's a fine actor. Loved him in Erin Brockovich and Thank You For Smoking (both edited for my chaste little eyes, thank you very much).
Ryan Gosling - Yep, the guy from--grab a tissue--The Notebook. He was also nominated for an Academy Award last year, and has been getting some decent gigs ever since.
Jon Heder - Napoleon Dynamite. Well duh. He's the best thing we got going right now. Shine on, Jon. Shine on.
Katherine Heigl - The blonde girl from Grey's Anatomy, the show I watched for five minutes until I realized it was actually General Hospital. Could this show be any more about sex? I don't see how. Anywho, Katherine is kicking up a storm of praise for her recent performance in Knocked Up. And no, I haven't seen it.
Paul Walker - The guy from The Fast and the Furious, my favorite movie in the whole wide world! I love me some muscle cars and bad acting. Oh, and Paul was also in Timeline (wince), Fast and the Furious 2 (wince), and several other made-for-teenagers movies that feature a lot of carousing, profanity, and sexuality (wince wince wince wince). His film Running Scared had such a gratuitously explicit scene that critics say it should have earned an NC-17 rating. Oh, and did I mention it features the F-bomb 328 times?
But I shouldn't be so hard on the guy. I'm told he was actually good in the Disney film Eight Below, and I didn't mind him Flags of Our Fathers. I mean, cut the guy some slack, Aaron. Sheesh!
Brandon Flowers, lead singer of The Killers - I don't buy a lot of music, just an iTunes song every now and then, so I don't have many songs by The Killers. But the songs I do have, I love. Fantastic. Rock on, Brother Flowers. I hope you're in your ward choir.
Gladys Knight - A beautiful woman, both inside and out. She's done a lot for the Church since her baptism ten years ago. Bless her.
James Valentine, lead guitarist for Maroon 5 - Jason's sister was one of my dearest friends in college, so, again, he and I are practically brothers. I look forward to the day when I actually meet him.
Warren Zevon - This one had me head scratching. Warren Zevon? He was Mormon? This can't be right.
Dale Murphy - Atlanta Braves baseball star. He went on to become a mission president, so I guess he paid his tithing and what not.
Roy Castleton - The first Mormon to play professional baseball. He threw a perfect game in the Pacific Coast League in the early 1900's. Cool, eh?
Jim Gott - He pitched for several Major League teams. He was also a pitching coach for Dennis Quaid when Quaid was filming The Rookie. So he and Dennis Quaid are like best friends. It's only a matter of time before Dennis Quaid and me are best friends too.
Danny Ainge - One of those super athletes who played both professional baseball AND professional basketball. I could probably beat him at air hockey, though. I play a mean game of air hockey.
Merlin Olsen - Defensive tackle for the St. Louis Rams many moons ago. Also a member of the Football Hall of Fame and the cast of Little House on the Prairie. Now he does flower commercials.
Steve Young - He was a quarterback or something.
Jack Dempsey - This one floored me. Jack Dempsey? The heavyweight champion of the world? The Manassa Mauler? He was LDS? Wow. How cool is that?
Tiger Woods - Just kidding. Just seeing if you're still paying attention.
Stephen Kirlew - The 2006 World Arm Wrestling Champion. He's English. He doesn't compete on Sundays. And his favorite movie has got to be Sylvester Stallone's Over The Top. Yo Adrian!
Larry Scott - The worlds first Mister Olympia, crowned in 1965. You should see pictures of this guy. I mean, his abs are almost as good as mine. Oh, and he appeared in the movie Muscle Beach Party, which is a shame, I think. If you build a body like that and you're going to be in a movie, you should at least get to shoot a few aliens.
Alex, I'll take Miscellaneous for a thousand please.
Ron Dittemore - He's the director of the Space Shuttle Program. And he's a high councilor in his stake. Badda bing!
Richard Seafross - He commanded a seven-person crew aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia. Say it with me: MOR-MONS IN SPAAAAACE!!!!!!
Orson Scott Card - He'll be annoyed that I mention him here on a website that he operates, but I can't avoid it. He's LDS. And he's writes novels like nobody's business. If you haven't read any, shame shame shame. I can recommend about 40.
Stephenie Meyer - Also an author. A very talented author. Her next book doesn't come out for another month, and it's already a bestseller at amazon. My wife and I are big fans. Yeah, we pre-order.
Henry Eyring - He pioneered the application of quantum mechanics to chemistry. He also was awarded the National medal of Science for devolving the Absolute Rate Theory of chemical reactions, which is probably important.
Ray Combs - Survey says . . . Ding! He was host of The Family Feud.
Ken Jennings - Mr. Jeopardy. He won over (cue the Doctor Evil accent) one millllllion dollars.
Two American Idol contestants - Jon Peter Lewis (season 3) and Carmen Rasmussen (season 2).
Benji Schwimmer - The man with the double-jointed pelvis. He won last year's reality show So You Think You Can Dance. Benji apparently thought he could, and he was right.
Julie Stoffer - She was on The Real World, New Orleans. Remember her? She was the blonde whose father came and got her from the set and who was kicked out of BYU because of her involvement with the show. You see, she shared a room with a guy, and that's a big no-no at BYU, even if you're not living at BYU.
When I was doing improv in LA, Julie came to one of the shows and laughed at everything. Even the very unfunny parts. Bless your heart, Julie.
Famous business execs of past and present:
Nolan Archibald, CEO Black and Decker. Power drills and tiny vacuum cleaners.
Gary Baughman, CEO Fisher-Price. The job we all dreamed of having as kids: owning a toy company!!
A. Blaine Bowman, CEO of Dionex. You know, they make . . .um . . . dionex and stuff.
Stephen Covey, Chairman, Franklin Covey. The company that makes all those planners that people buy and never use.
Gary Crittenden, CEO American Express. Never leave home with it. And of course by "it" he means "your scriptures."
Jon Huntsman, CEO of Huntsman Chemical. This is the guy who loaned President Hinckley an airplane for his travels. His tithing alone could finance the Church in Europe, South America, and Asia combined.
Jim Jannard, CEO of Oakley. The future's so bright I gotta wear $400 shades.
J.W. Marriot, Founder of Marriot Hotels. Another fat tithing envelope. And no, you can't use points to pay tithing.
David Neeleman, CEO JetBlue. The company's been taking a beating lately. Keep your chin up, Davey boy.
George Romney, Former Chairman of American Motors. His son is running for President. He's the one with horns.
But the best section on the website is the group entitled Celebrities Rumored to be Mormon.
Jewel, the singer, was born to Mormon parents? Really?
Christina Aguilera, the girl who likes to pose for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine without any clothes on? She could be Mormon too? Apparently so. According to the website her parents met at BYU and married in the DC temple.
Steve Martin. He's not LDS. We all know this. But how the rumor possibly got started is on the website, and I must include it here because it's so monstrously, inexcusably dunderheaded. The author writes:
"I had been a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for a few years when a member of the Choir told us one Sunday morning that his son had baptized Steve Martin back in Hilton Head, South Carolina. I'm sure that many Choir members did what I did. I told everyone I met about it.
"But the following Sunday when I asked that Choir member for more info about it, he said, 'Oh, I misunderstood my son. He said he baptized a man named Steve Martin, but it wasn't the famous one.'"
Now, let this be a lesson to us all. (1) Never believe any members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and (2) Don't gossip.
My first question would have been, "Why in the world was Steve Martin in Hilton Head, South Carolina?"
And then, after learning that the man had "misunderstood" his son, I would have asked. "My dear sweet brother, did you not think to ask your son, 'You mean the real Steve Martin?' This would have been so easy a question to pose. Natural even. And your dear sweet son, who despises you for giving him some of your genes, would have said, "No, Father. Not the real Steve Martin."
And that would have been the end of it. Steve would have been spared the rumor mill.
But NOOOOOO. This guy had to go and one-up the other fathers with missionary sons with, "Oh yeah, well my son baptized Steve Martin."
Who knew it could be so easy? Had I known that people would be so gullible, I would have told the world after my mission that I had baptized Howie Mandel. Or Barbara Walters. Or The Incredible Hulk.
"You mean Lou Ferrigno?" they would have asked. "The guy who played The Hulk on the popular TV show?"
And I would have said, "No. The real Incredible Hulk. You know, big green guy. Always rips his pants."
"Wow. How did you do that?"
"It wasn't easy," I would have said. "He was so big it took three baptismal fonts to dunk him."
And then I would have been the most popular guy in the choir.
Oh well. I'll train my sons to do that.
My apologies to you, Mr. Steve Martin. Forgive us. We meant you no harm. As a show of our regret and as a gesture of good will, we're mailing you a bumper sticker to apply to one of your many Lamborghinis. It reads: Vote Mitt.
Copyright © 2007 by Aaron Johnston
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