Lights, camera, faith: The Shawn Stevens story

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  • Shazandra Bakersfield, CA
    June 5, 2012 1:37 p.m.

    An inspiration. Now I'm motivated to complete my research on the many LDS who became born-agains and how the true Jesus and reality pervades our successful lives today!

    God works in many directions and locales. Don't close yourself off to His potential and great reach. He gets all the glory!

  • Wendy B. Gilbert, AZ
    June 2, 2012 7:20 p.m.

    GREAT article!! I remember watching "Our Heavenly Father's Plan" in Seminary and knew that Michael McLean (whose music I enjoy) directed it, but always wondered who the main actor was. It was very refreshing to know that he was not only a convert, but remained faithful to his testimony even during his own trials. Thank you for sharing this...:)

  • southern son SHARPSBURG, MD
    May 30, 2012 8:46 a.m.

    There's a film group forming in Utah to do a realistic and believable version of the Book of Mormon.Maybe this is the reason Stevens feels 'inclined'(inspired?)to move to Utah!(Hope this one is of much, much higher quality than that other fiasco of a few years ago)I wonder if he was at the lecture I gave back in 1979or(80?)to Hollywood and LDS directors/producers,etc.on the lack of realism in many of the LDS productions(compared to Hollywood films)at the time.This was part of the old ALMA(Associated Latter-Day Media Artists).Gordon Jump was the time.After doing films such as "Gettysburg"and the "War that Made America" and one upcoming epic on the battle of Antietam,I made the same decision,to walk away.More and more time away from home and family,and more time spent in the Devil's Den!Not worth it.Now,maybe a good,Oscar quality version of the Book of Mormon!What a missionary tool that could be!Anyway,glad you stuck to the Gospel Shawn!

  • Gramajane OAKLEY, ID
    May 30, 2012 7:42 a.m.

    I not only remember being really pleased with sharing Our Heavenly Fathers Plan with others but I think we still have the video. I am really, REALLY pleased that he bore valiant testimony with his life after filming it and also that his sweetheart has shown how valiant her heart is to endure the testing/trials this life that is like Heavens boarding school challenges us with.
    Yes, their children going forth with good life decisions I'd the blessing n miracle that followed their faith as SHOWN by their choices/works. Blessings on all their heads!! What credits to Jesus Christ and the restoration of His gospel!!!

  • anti-liar Salt Lake City, UT
    May 30, 2012 3:31 a.m.

    Good for Stevens on his courage in sticking with what he knew was right despite the lure of fame and pressure from others. I have even greater respect for him given the realization that, without any doubt, some of the pressure to remain "in the industry" against his better judgment came from within LDS culture, as well as from without (yes, I happen to know, personally, for a fact, having grown up right in the middle of it myself, that the line separating Hollywood culture and LDS Hollywood culture, rife with vanity for the praise of the world as they both were at least at that time, could be very thin on occasion). Props also must go to his good wife. Lesser women -- again both in and out of the Church -- might have said, "I married a known actor; I will not remain married to anyone or anything else." Hearty thanks to this good family for their fine examples. P.S. Good job, Trent Toone.

  • Pragmatic Salt Lake City, UT
    May 29, 2012 11:35 p.m.

    What a great surprise to read about Shawn. Shawn was a good friend back in the early 80's in the Studio City Ward in Los Angeles. In fact he sang at our wedding. He sang "Endless Love". What a great guy! Best to him. Thanks for the reporting.

  • DistantThunder Vincentown, NJ
    May 29, 2012 11:11 p.m.

    What a challenging situation to leave behind a flourishing career and focus on a gospel oriented lifestyle. God bless him. His choices will pay off for generations.

  • Keble Burbank, CA
    May 29, 2012 8:19 p.m.

    It was my pleasure to meet Shawn in 1979 through the Singles Ward in Studio City. I have been a professional actor in Hollywood for over thirty years. I was impressed with his talent and personality. I am still working and have run into him over the years at the studios performing his new job. He is always pleasant and encouraging. I congratulate him on such an inspiring life.

  • grandmagreat Lake Havasu City, AZ
    May 29, 2012 5:32 p.m.

    Such a great review on the life of this young man. I have been a member all of my life, with ancestors that crossed the plains. They might have even known his ancestors. I market these great Videos and Movies in my home based store, and am pleased when a customer asks if I have them in stock. They sell themselves. The Gospel is so great it makes each of us appreciate our "brothers" and "Sisters" that we don't know personally. But they are still our brothers and sisters. May the Lord bless him and his family.

    May 29, 2012 4:43 p.m.

    "Our Heavenly Father's Plan" had less of an impact on me personally, since I was already a returned missionary, married with 3 children by the time it was made. But I still remember it, and how positive it was. Things like that helped us feel less isolated as a minority religion in Texas.

    It seems like Brother Stevens has a lot of the pioneer spirit of his ancestor, Roswell. What an exemplary life of tough decisions Shawn has had! Best wishes to him and his family.

  • Chieftess Ivins, UT
    May 29, 2012 4:15 p.m.

    So that's why he looked so familiar! We used that film in the mission several times a week.
    I am sorry to hear about the hard times he has had, I can relate. It's lonely feeling like it's just me and my testimony against the world, but it passes.
    There are more opportunities for performers with standards now, but more competition, too. Since Shawn already has a well developed resume, I expect we'll be seeing more of him soon. I look forward to it.
    Thank you Bro. Stevens!

  • Runner Chandler, AZ
    May 29, 2012 2:02 p.m.

    While this is a great article about Bro. Stevens it may be well for all those in Utah to not judge those that live outside of "Zion" or even in Hollywood as immoral alcoholics. There is much good beyond the state boundaries....don't worry, venture out every once in a while and appreciate the goodness of others.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    May 29, 2012 2:01 p.m.

    I love these articles. Glad to hear you've lived a good life Shawn!

  • Otis Spurlock Ogden, UT
    May 29, 2012 11:30 a.m.


    "homo sexual changes"? Really? What does that even mean? I think you might want to get out of Idaho once in a while.

  • Kjirstin Youngberg Mapleton, UT
    May 29, 2012 10:46 a.m.

    Somewhere in my archives I have photographs of Shawn when I was the PA at BYU-MPS, and we were filming The Trophy Case. (I'd admit to a teeny crush, but I'd just become engaged to my eternal companion-now married 33 happy years-so let's just say I admired his work.) All these years, I have wondered what became of him, as he seemed to have dropped off the planet. Now I know...

    It was a different world back then. Moral values were not only laughed at, but ridiculed. The casting couch was almost a mandatory part of any role for either sex, and the plagues of AIDS and drug abuse were just beginning to swallow everyone along the path. Shawn did the right thing. I, too, dropped out at what would have been the prime years for my career.

    In 2003, I volunteered for the LDS Film Festival, and branched into ProvoCreative, the Utah Film Commission, Utah Women In Film and others connected via Facebook. Now an old lady, I work! I'm on IMDb! Whodathunkit? I hope Shawn and his family move to Utah. We have a thriving film community, and could use him.

  • JRJ Pocatello, ID
    May 29, 2012 9:26 a.m.

    Thanks for the story. I'm old enough to remember Bro. Steven's in a few of these things. Even though life was tough for awhile, he has sailed through with flying colors. Where the Hollywood group now count their years by how many divorces, homo sexual changes, errant children, booze parties, DUIs, how much money,and other sad and unpleasant things, he has a real future ahead. What a heritage - missionaries and potential grandchildren. Thanks for sharing.

  • JoeCoug OREM, UT
    May 29, 2012 8:01 a.m.

    I really enjoyed this article - thank you! As a convert who joined during my high school years in Los Angeles, I am amazed at the long-term effect my conversion has had on my family. Initially expressing a desire not to hear about the Church, one of my four sisters and my Mother have entered the waters of baptism. My Father and a Brother have also expressed a desire to know more. I'm grateful that Brother Steven's story was shared, and believe that his family, too, will come to seek the gospel as a result of his family's example of faith and service.