Hollywood stars who look like this alleged photo of Joseph Smith

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Joseph Smith lookalikes?

Aside from the debate over whether this newly revealed daguerreotype is really a photograph of church founder Joseph Smith, is there a politician or celebrity – or perhaps a family member or a friend – who looks like the person in this photo?

We asked this question on social media, and here are some names that came up. Click on this alleged image of Smith (we don’t have permission to repost it here) and see if you agree with any of these suggestions.

• Eddie Redmaynethe British actor who won an Oscar for his portrayal of physicist Stephen Hawking in ‘The Theory of Everything’.

• Burt Lancasterthe late screen legend who won an Oscar playing a biblical trickster in ‘Elmer Gantry’.

• Grant Goodevethe eldest son of the late 1970s television series “Eight Is Enough”.

• Gary Collinsthe late actor, daytime talk show host and emcee of the Miss America Pageant.

• Patrick Wilsonthe stage actor who earned Tony nominations for ‘The Full Monty’ and ‘Oklahoma.’

• Matthew McConaugheythe Hollywood star who won an Oscar for his portrayal of an AIDS patient in “Dallas Buyers Club.”

There were a few others too, including actor Ed Harris (with hair, in this case) and Paul Newman (at least for those famous eyes).

Meanwhile, Nathan Mitchell actor portrayed the faith’s first leader in the 2005 church film, “Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration.”

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Nathan Mitchell portrayed the Prophet Joseph Smith in the 2005 Church film, “Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration.”

So it seems that, as with beauty, any resemblance between the newly unveiled photo and a popular personality is in the eye of the beholder.

Any other comparisons come to mind?

The Church in Mexico

(Courtesy | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) The Mexico City Temple in Mexico City in 2015.

Access church statistics web page for Mexico and you will find that the Latin American nation has the second highest number of Latter-day Saints (nearly 1.5 million at the end of 2021) of any country – behind the WE (over 6.7 million) and just ahead Brazil (almost 1.46 million).

But Mexico’s 2020 census — which, unlike the U.S. census, asks about religious affiliation — shows 337,998 self-affiliated Latter-day Saints, reports independent demographer Matt Martinich at ldschurchgrowth.blogspot.com. That’s an increase of 23,066, or a 7.3% increase, from the 314,932 reported in the 2010 census.

During that same period, the church cited a jump of 246,985 members, says Martinich. Thus, the increase in the number of Latter-day Saints reported by the census was only 9.3% of the increase in membership reported by the church during those 10 years.

“The church in Mexico has struggled for decades with low rates of convert retention and member activity,” said the researcher writes. “Probably only 20% of reported church members in Mexico attend church regularly – a percentage that hasn’t appeared to change significantly over the past two decades.”

As a result, Martinich notes, church leaders have reduced dozens of congregations since 2010 by consolidating neighborhoods with few active members.

Mormon History Association names new president

Matthew Bowman is the Howard W. Hunter Professor of Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University. He is the new president of the Mormon History Association.

The Mormon History Association has a new president: Matthew Bowman, who directs Mormon studies at Claremont Graduate University in Southern California.

Bowman is the author of “The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith” and “Christian: the politics of a word in America.”

He recently appeared on “Mormon Land,” addressing the longstanding Latter-day Saint vision of a “divinely inspired” U.S. Constitution.

Bowman “has been attending MHA since 2005, when he presented an article on LDS Bigfoot folklore,” the the association’s website Remarks. “Since this paper was hosted, MHA has been his favorite academic conference.”

And the last will be the first

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Relief Society general president Jean B. Bingham with her husband, Bruce, waves to onlookers in Salt Lake City Saturday, July 23, 2022. The parade of 47 days is an annual event commemorating the arrival of Mormon pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847.

President Jean Bingham marked a first in one of her last acts as the world leader of the Women’s Relief Society:

She would have become the first woman Grand Marshal of the 47 Days Paradethe Great July Procession that celebrates the arrival of Mormon pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley.

After five years of service as head of the women’s organization, Bingham and her counselors, Sharon Eubank and Reyna Aburto, will officially step down in August for a new Relief Society general presidency, with Camille Johnson as president and J. Anette Dennis and Kristin M. Yee as Advisors.

Renlund’s Sermon on the Mound

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Apostle Dale G. Renlund throws the first pitch during The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints family home evening at Oriole Park in Camden Yards in Baltimore on July 25, 2022.

About 40 years ago, Apostle Dale G. Renlund completed his residency at the prestigious Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine en route to becoming a cardiologist.

He returned Monday to Baltimore, where the 69-year-old church leader swapped his stethoscope for a baseball, to throw the ceremonial first pitch at the Orioles-Rays game at Oriole Park in Camden Yards.

The event was part of Latter-day Saints Night, sponsored by the Baltimore Stake, during the major league game.

Renlund couldn’t practice any medicine on the mound, of course, since it’s strictly forbidden to heal a baseball (think spitball).

After completing his duties as a launcher, a Press release notes, Renlund stayed to “enjoy the rest of the game”, one that the hometown crowd certainly enjoyed as the The Orioles outscored Tampa Bay 5-1.

From the Grandstand

• On this week’s Mormon Land, historian Lachlan Mackay, who is also a Community of Christ apostle, discusses the alleged photograph of church founder Joseph Smith.

Listen to the podcast.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Community of Christ Apostle Lachlan Mackay in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, July 27, 2022.

• This Is the Place Heritage Park, honoring the 175-year-old arrival of Mormon settlers in the Salt Lake Valley, now tells a fuller story of their epic journey, with the unveiling of monuments celebrating black pioneers, namely Jane Manning James, Green Flake, Hark Wales and Oscar Smith.

Read the story and view the photos from the ceremony.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Descendants of Mormon pioneers Green Flake, left, Euridell Bankhead, Eldon Udell (hidden), Tamu Smith, Betty Juanita Jackson and Darryl Udell unveil bronze statues of their ancestor and other pioneers black.

• After a two-year pandemic hiatus, Jehovah’s Witnesses in the United States return to in-person proselytizing. Latter-day Saint missionaries have moved away from the “trading,” but have already resumed teaching and ministry in person.

Read the story.

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Jack C. Nugent