"MUCH ADO ABOUT MORMONS," edited by Rick Walton, Covenant Communications, $16.99, 236 pages
What do famous people think about Mormons?
A variety of prominent perspectives are shared in Rick Walton's new book, "Much Ado About Mormons."
Sharon Osbourne, Walter Cronkite, U.S. President John F. Kennedy, Angela Lansbury, Charles Dickens and Mark Twain are among many featured in the book. A 35-minute DVD by the same name features the experiences of 10 people from the mid to late 1800s and early 1900s, including from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Susan B. Anthony and P.T. Barnum.
Some opinions are complimentary, others are simply different.
One example is Sharon Osbourne, a television personality and the wife of rockstar Ozzy Osbourne. She built a hot tub on the top terrace of her home so she could look out across Hollywood's Santa Monica Boulevard and admire the Los Angeles LDS Temple.
"One of the first things I bought for the house was a big old-fashioned telescope, which I kept in the living-room area. And the first thing I did every night when I came home was go to the spyglass and look out across the city on the Mormon temple," she said.
Before President Richard M. Nixon was exposed for dishonesty and removed from office, he was supported in Utah. He admired the Mormon pioneers and church members for their patriotic, American spirit.
"I do not know of any group in America ... who have contributed more to that strong, moral leadership and high moral standards — the spirit that kept America going through bad times as well as good times; no group has done more than those who are members of this church," Nixon said in 1970. "I want to thank you for what you've done for the spirit of America."
The idea for the book came as Walton found many stories and viewpoints on Mormons in his study of history. He imagined others would be interested in reading these accounts.
One lesson Walton discovered in putting the book together is the power of example.
"Although it is fun to hear what others think about us (Mormons), ultimately it has nothing to do with our testimonies," he said. "The views of famous people are no more important than the views of the average person. However, the stories and the thoughts in this book are fun to read and can help us be aware of how our actions and words come across to those not of the Mormon faith."
"Much Ado About Mormons" is available at Deseret Book and Seagull Book.
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