I did not plan this in this way, but perhaps this is an entirely appropriate subject for a MLK Day post.
Tell me if the following conversation sounds familiar in any way:
Gentile: Hey, I just read that X [insert celebrity name here] grew up Mormon/is Mormon, isn’t that crazy?
Peter Priesthood: Uh….yeah….I heard about that too. But (s)he isn’t practicing anymore, neverwenttochurchmuchanyway, isprobablyexcommunicated, andwedon’treally think ofhim/herasMormon.
[Ed. note- the lack of spacing above is intentional and should evoke images of a spewing forth of words]
I myself have done this more times than I care to count, and I have heard it from others at least as many times. And reflecting on it now, I am a little ashamed of how my un-Christlike, “natural man” attitude is manifest in this kind of quick dismissal of one who ought to be my brother/sister.
Now read here.
Why are we as a people so quick to cut ties with anyone (and particularly famous people) who does not appear to be following the commandments anymore? I think there is some element of not wanting to tarnish our own image as fine, upstanding, and approximately perfect people. There is also a boundary maintenance function to these commandments (and the WoW is particularly useful in that regard). But why can’t we own our black sheep?
While Ms. Heigl does not keep the WoW, and probably violates a number of other commandments as well, she seems to have a strong grasp of the power of prayer and some notion of the eternity of the family unit. I have no information on whether anyone in the rest of her family remains active in the Church or not, but that seems beside the point. What she has retained, in spite of what has been lost or discarded, seems commendable, and we should treat her tenuous relationship with Mormonism at least as kindly as we would treat that inactive family in our ward who we are working to reactivate.