Latest from Mormon Land: Barbie’s ‘wingman’ grew up LDS

Also: You can buy a piece of Mormon history for $1M; LDS author Pat Holland, wife of apostle Jeffrey Holland, dies; and the church sues over its plan for a temple in Wyoming.

(Warner Bros. Pictures via AP) Ryan Gosling, left, and Margot Robbie in a scene from "Barbie." Gosling grew up in the Latter-day Saint faith in Canada.

The Mormon Land newsletter is The Salt Lake Tribune’s weekly highlight reel of developments in and about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Support us on Patreon and get the full newsletter, exclusive access to Tribune subscriber-only religion content and podcast transcripts.

Ryan Gosling’s LDS upbringing

“La La Land” star Ryan Gosling is out with another hit movie, and an entertainment website is letting fans in on his religious roots.

Co-starring as Ken in the newly released “Barbie” blockbuster, the 42-year-old Gosling has said he was reared by fervent Latter-day Saint parents in Canada.

“My mother admits it: She says, you were raised by a religious zealot,” Gosling stated in a 2007 interview with The Guardian (a quote repeated last week by the FandomWire entertainment site). “She’s different now, but at the time, it was a part of everything — what they ate, how they thought.”

His parents divorced, and young Ryan’s then-budding acting career helped sustain his mom.

(Dale Robinette/Lionsgate via AP)This image released by Lionsgate shows Ryan Gosling, right, and Emma Stone in a scene from "La La Land." Gosling grew up in the Latter-day Saint faith.

The FandomWire article quotes a 2002 Village Voice story in which Gosling classified himself as “religious but nondenominational.”

“My parents were more Mormon than I was, but it did help me understand,” the two-time Oscar nominee told The Voice. “I see how happy it makes my mother and sister, and I think it’s beautiful. Maybe I’m too selfish, or I’m jealous of their humility — that somebody can say, ‘Yeah, it doesn’t make sense, but I’m going to believe it anyway.’”

The latest ‘Mormon Land’ podcast: Meeting Eli McCann

(Courtesy) Salt Lake Tribune guest columnist Eli McCann.

You might know Eli McCann as a Salt Lake Tribune guest columnist. But there’s a lot you probably don’t know. He is an attorney who discusses religious freedom cases while teaching at the University of Utah’s law school. He’s an LGBTQ advocate and a board member of Equality Utah. He served a two-year mission in Ukraine and became a vocal supporter of helping that country after Russia’s invasion. And while he no longer is a practicing Latter-day Saint, he still writes with great affection about his boyhood faith. Meet Eli in this week’s podcast.

‘It is true,’ Book of Mormon witness affirms

(Rick Bowmer | AP) A letter from a Book of Mormon witness is up for sale on eBay.

You can own a rare piece of Mormon history for a mere $1 million.

An 1877 letter from John Whitmer — one of the eight witnesses to the Book of Mormon, in which he affirms his belief in the faith’s signature scripture — is up for sale on eBay.

“It is true. … I have never denied my testimony as to the Book of Mormon under any circumstances whatsoever,” Whitmer writes in the missive from Far West, Mo., to Elder J.R. Lambert. “My desire is that you may be satisfied concerning that testimony and be the means of doing good in the spread of the gospel as is recorded in the Book of Mormon.”

From The Tribune

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Patricia T. Holland greets a young girl at a devotional held in Hong Kong, May 2011. Holland died Thursday, July 20, 2023.

Pat Holland, author, faith leader and wife of Latter-day Saint apostle Jeffrey Holland, dies at age 81. Her funeral is Friday.

• The church appears determined to build a single-story, 10,000-square-foot temple in Cody, Wyo., complete with a steeple that rises 101 feet high. It’s suing to get its plan approved.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) This artist's rendering shows the temple that's planned for Cody, Wyo.

• In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, the most famous Latter-day Saint politician, urges fellow Republicans not to nominate Donald Trump for president and outlines a way he says will keep that from happening. The key: campaign cash.

• A senior missionary from Utah is killed in a head-on collision in a South Pacific nation, becoming the fifth full-time Latter-day missionary known to have died this year.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Marina Carver of Riverton died Saturday, July 22, 2023, due to injuries from a car accident while serving as a missionary in Vanuatu.

• In a guest column, Latter-day Saint scholar Matthew Bowman notes that in academia, as in life, meritocracy is largely a myth.

Utahns celebrate the July 24 arrival 176 years ago in the Salt Lake Valley of pioneer-prophet Brigham Young and a company of trail-tired Latter-day Saints. Apostle D. Todd Christofferson — joined by his wife, Kathy — was the grand marshal of Monday’s Days of ‘47 Parade in downtown Salt Lake City.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Latter-day Saint apostle D. Todd Christofferson rides as grand marshal in Utah’s 2023 Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 24 (Pioneer Day in Utah). Christofferson was joined by his wife, Kathy.