There's been a lot of talk lately about famous Mormons. Whether they be teeny bopper rock star singers (see This post) or presidential candidates, athletes, talk show hosts, or do-wop era diva's; there are a lot of famous Mormons out there amongst the living non-peculiar world. The thing is, these folks have been there all along, it just so happens most people didn't realize their faith or religious convictions were of the Peculiar variety.
I, for one, actually love that there are celebrities in our midst who are quietly living their lives and not out living them and shouting from the roof tops that they are Mormon. I like that the way they carry themselves, speak, preform service, dress, and act tells the world that there is something different and special about them before it is even mentioned that they might, just MIGHT be Mormon. There are several among the non-peculiar world that are quite peculiar and most might never even know it. One of the most peculiar things about this people is that we, for the most part, tend to live by a peculiar standard all of the time - not just when the timing fits. It's one of the things that makes us stand out from others, and is also one of the things that most other non-peculiar folks tend to admire about the Mormon people.
I also love those who have taken a very public stance on their religion and their career. Governor Mitt Romney, for one, who during the Salt Lake Olympic games gathered the worlds leaders together for a brunch at the SLOC headquarters. The brunch was a widely televised event and news outlets from every single nation were there. There was coffee, tea and champagne being served at said brunch, and the eyes of the world were on Mitt. One news outlet reported, "He never once turned his coffee cup over, it sat on the table upside down untouched the entire meal." And his Champagne flute? "Filled to the brim with orange juice during the obligatory toast." Mr. Romney has never hidden his peculiarity from the world and on this particular occasion, all eyes were all on him to see if he really lived the way he professed to.
I love to see famous Mormons living their peculiar life Loud. And. Proud.
I will never be a person who has to defend my peculiarity on a public or a world stage, nor will I ever be someone that the world is watching to see if I've done anything against the way by which I've decided to live my life. I can't possibly imagine what it would be like to choose to give up my famous rock-star career to serve a mission for two years in a far away land.
I do know I admire those who despite their fame, are still able to remain peculiar and respond without question "I'm a Mormon" when asked. I've heard of peculiar people turning down roles on (or being fired from!) Broadway because the role required of them to pretend to drink or smoke (avoid the appearance of evil...), or singing groups making their entire wardrobe be redesigned so it could fit within the modest guidelines by which they've decided to dress. I've heard of political leaders turning down drinks with higher political officials. And yet, all these famous Peculiar people are still living their faith as if nothing has ever happened.
We are all challenged from time to time. Our peculiarity makes us stand out in a crowd. For famous peculiar people, it makes them stand out that much more. Good for you peculiar politicians, teeny bopper rock stars (heh, and aging teeny bopper rock stars - I'm looking at you, Mr. Osmond...), talk show hosts, athletes and 60's era do-wop singers for showing the world that it's okay to be peculiar. Peculiar is okay. Peculiar is not weird.