As Mitt Romney takes the stage as the Republic nominee for president, there has been increased interest in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), otherwise known as the Mormon Church. Romney has been open about his faith throughout the campaign, shedding new light on Mormon traditions. As a young man, he served as a Mormon missionary in France before returning to the U.S. to pursue a career in business and politics.
The Mormon Church was founded by Joseph Smith in the 1830s and has steadily grown over time. Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, the LDS has over 14 million members worldwide. The church owns and operates the largest genealogical library in the world, which is also located in Salt Lake City.
Romney is among many Mormons who have made their mark on American society. Here are some other famous Mormons that you might recognize:
Donny and Marie Osmond. The Osmond family became one of America’s most popular musical families in the 1970s. Today, many of the Osmonds, including Donny and Marie, continue to appear on TV and in performances worldwide.
Bill Marriott. As the Executive Chairman of Marriott International, Bill Marriott heads one of the world’s largest hotel chains. Marriott’s book The Spirit to Serve, published in 1997, outlines his views about successful business practice.
Stephenie Meyer. As author of the enormously popular Twilight series, Meyer is one of the nation’s most influential young writers. She speaks frequently about the influence of Mormon faith and traditions in her writings.
NFL Football player Steve Young. Young graduated from Brigham Young University and went on to become one of the NFL’s most popular players in the 1990s. As quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, he was named MVP in Superbowl XXIX.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Reid, Democratic senator from Nevada, is an LDS convert. He became part of the church when he was in college. He is the highest serving Mormon in U.S. government history. Other U.S. politicians who are LDS members include Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah and Jon Huntsman, who ran for president in the 2012 Republican primary election.
Ken Jennings. Jennings achieved worldwide fame as a champion on the game show Jeopardy! He attended Brigham Young University and also served as a missionary for the LDS for two years in Madrid, Spain.
Other famous Mormons include: singer Gladys Knight, talk show personality Glenn Beck, and Brandon Flowers—lead singer of the band The Killers. Although they are not practicing today, those raised in the Mormon church include: actress Amy Adams, actor Paul Walker, Major League baseball pitcher Roy Halladay, and actor Aaron Eckhart.
Governor / 1947 -
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney made a run for the Republican nomination in the 2008 presidential election, losing to John McCain. He made another run for the presidency in 2012, but was defeated by President Barack Obama.