Who Should Be Mormon of the Year?

Its that time of year. The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is traditionally the media’s time for reflection on the past year — the time when we see story after story on the best or most important stories of the year, or the most important person of the year (as Time magazine just named — no surprise there). I enjoy these looks at the past year, and given how much LDS Church members don’t usually know much about news that involves the Church, it seems to me these lists might be quite useful.

So let me pose the question: “Who should be the Mormon of the Year?”

Now, I do think there are some factors that should be taken into account in trying to make a selection. First, I think the Prophet should be excluded from consideration. I am NOT saying that the Prophet is not important, or even that the Prophet isn’t a good candidate for the Mormon of the Year. Quite to the opposite. My fear is that if the Prophet is a candidate, he will be selected as the Mormon of the Year every year.

We already love and respect the Prophet, so where is the advantage in making such a nomination? Doesn’t predictability turn the nomination into yet another empty and meaningless award? On the same basis I’d probably exclude the Apostles also – I’m afraid the designation would just rotate among them. Much more interesting, at least to me, is who deserves such a recognition without having the admiration that comes with these Church positions.

Another factor that should be considered is whether this recognition is about the person’s positive actions during the year, or whether it is simply about how much the person’s actions made the news. Time recognized Adolf Hitler as its Person of the Year in 1938 because of his impact, despite its negative nature. If the Mormon who makes the largest impact has made a negative impact, should that person be recognized? Or should that be some other designation? Personally, I’m not opposed to noting someone because of their negative impact, but I doubt everyone will agree with me on this.

The person’s membership in the LDS Church might be another factor. Non-LDS Church members, such as members of the FLDS Church and other organizations also consider themselves Mormons, as do many who are disaffected, inactive or excommunicated. Might they be considered also for Mormon of the Year? To those outside of the LDS Church, the difference seems minor, and the situation is perhaps analogous to our claim to be Christian. If we want to be considered Christian because we believe in Christ, despite the attempts of others to define us out of Christianity, shouldn’t we allow others to call themselves Mormon for reasons other than belonging to the LDS Church? Once again, I’m sure others will disagree with me on this.

While I’m interested in reading about your thoughts on these factors, I’m more interested in who might be considered for this recognition. So, I call for nominations. I’ve left out anyone that might run afowl of some of the above factors, but if you agree with me, feel free to suggest others that aren’t as conventional.

To get things started, I have a few names that, off the top of my head and without doing much of a search through the year’s news, might be considered:

  • Mitt Romney – I know its kind of hard to reward a lack of success, but his candidacy in the past year has certainly brought attention to the Church and to Mormonism. And as far as LDS candidates for President go, he may have gone farther toward the Presidency than any other Mormon.
  • Harry Reid – As the Senate Majority Leader, it is kind of hard to ignore Reid, since he is the highest ranking Mormon in government ever. He also provides a nice antidote to the assumption that Mormons must be Republicans (to say nothing of the fact that his politics are probably more in line with the vast majority of Mormons — when you take into account those that do not live in the United States).
  • Stephanie Meyer – Like or hate her books, she is certainly the face of Mormonism among many people around the world, especially this year, with the first Twilight movie in theaters and news articles frequently mentioning her religion.
  • David Neeleman – The JetBlue founder and well-known Mormon has started his fourth airline – this time in Brazil, bringing with it multiple profiles of Neeleman, why he was born in Brazil and how he served his mission there.
  • David Archuleta – The American Idol finalist brought a lot of attention to Mormons during the show’s recent run.

I’m sure there are others who should be considered for this kind of recognition. I look forward to your suggestions, and to the inevitable criticism that this is somehow a waste of time or bad for the Church. I reject such criticisms, because, I might as well confess, my real motivation for this is: I own the domain name mormonoftheyear.com! [GRIN]

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201 comments for “Who Should Be Mormon of the Year?

  1. Your criteria selects only those, who win popularity contests or make the most money. That would not have the criteria Jesus would have selected.

    Mitt Romney and Harry Reid just don’t seem to fit in at all.

    When it comes to expressing his Mormon point of view during the 2008 Primary Debate, Romney lost me. Mike Huckabee was far more effective in representing his Christian beliefs than the former Governor of Massachussett. These two men just don’t know, what makes a Mormon, not only a Christian but also a Latter-day saint. Huckabee was the better Christian of the two, at least in his talks and demeanor.

    My main criteria would have been COURAGE. I nominate Steve Young, especially his wife for daring to express a very unpopular concept, civil rights. She saw through the smoke and mirrors of the Christian outcry in favor of Proposition 8 in California. I certainly would have like to have heard more of this line in the discussion of Prop. 8.

    Joseph Smith, Jr. was the first person to request civil rights for Mormons from President Buchanan. The JosephSmithPapersProject will bear that over the next 10 years. He was told that your cause is just, but I [Buchanan] don’t have the power to grant Mormons the right to worship in the States where they live. So our pioneers came to Utah under Brigham Young.

    The bad news is there are no more wildernesses to start expirementing on new ideas. So we had better learn to live with one another.

    President Johnson, with all his past political baggage, had the courage to do the unthinkable and that is to give the black citizens their civil rights.

    So, I nominate Steve Young’s wife to start this discussion.

    edu erdtsieck.

  2. “Your criteria selects only those, who win popularity contests or make the most money. That would not have the criteria Jesus would have selected.”

    Really? I don’t see how this is true. Could you map out your logic for me?

    As for Romney and Reid not fitting, the criteria are everything. My own view is that this is most about who is in the news, NOT who is popular. Both Romney and Reid were in the news a lot during the year, certainly enough to make them near household names among those who pay attention to politics. And as for “knowing what makes a Mormon,” again, I need details. What did they do or fail to do that shows they didn’t know what makes a Mormon?

    I’m afraid you lost me on Huckabee. How can you defend someone as “Christian” who vilifies and mocks the beliefs of others?

    I get the feeling that your own political views have heavily colored your take on this. I included Romney despite the fact that I was quite disappointed in him. I included Meyer in spite of the fact that I’m not very impressed with her writing. And I included Archuleta despite his youth and inexperience. I’m not retracting those nominations, merely pointing out that in making these nominations, I think we should at least try to recognize other viewpoints and the impact they might have.

    I do think your nomination of Barbara Young is defensible, although it again seems quite influenced by your political views. To me, she doesn’t seem to have has as much impact as others. But we’ll see what others think.

  3. I would probably vote for Mitt, but I’ll throw the name Julianne Hough into the ring. I think she’s been a very positive Mormon role model.

  4. I have four daughters. In our house, it’s a battle between Stephanie Meyer and David Archuletta – probably ending in a tie.

    If the vote is purely on the amount of coverage the Church received as a result of the person’s activities, I don’t see an alternative to Mitt Romney. If, however, it includes consideration of whose activities were the most positive and least negative, I woud agree with Kevin and vote for Julianne Hough. I can’t think of a more strictly positive example with such wide coverage.

  5. I nominate Marlin K. Jensen for:

    Making the Joseph Smith Papers happen and being a great spokesman on the PBS show. (that was this year right?)

  6. Ok, so the PBS thing was last year, but Jensen gets it for the JSP alone plus his consistently being awesomely awesome.

  7. How about Glenn Beck? Hihg-profile move from CNN to Fox News, number one book on NYT list, and, most recently, had an interview thrown off Focus on th Family’s website because of his beliefs.

  8. Elder Marriott, an area seventy who publicly, but politely, distanced himself and his company from support of Prop. 8.

  9. Depending on how the playoffs go, Matt Ryan, the rookie quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons, might be worth considering for Honorable Mention. He’s a lock for Rookie of the Year, and coverage often mentions the Church.

  10. Mark N (17): The question was already asked in the post. Why don’t you try answering the question, if you don’t think there should be one.

    I don’t know about your case, but I suspect that many annoyed with this kind of thing question whether or not we should pay attention to famous Mormons, Mormon News, Mormon products, etc., because they don’t want to deal with the fact that they find a lot of them annoying.

    While I also find many of these things annoying, I think they are a part (probably a necessary part) of a culture.

  11. “Personally, I’m not opposed to noting someone because of their negative impact, but I doubt everyone will agree with me on this.” Oh, come on! We’re Mormons! Do you really think we’re going to accentuate someone with negative impact? =)

  12. No, Tatiana, I don’t. But I’m not sure that is wise. Too often we hide from the negative instead of trying to learn from it and learn how to avoid it. And then there is that whole Yin/Yang or “Opposition in All things” concept. Doesn’t exactly imply we should ignore the negative, does it?

  13. Is it bad that I really don’t feel wholeheartedly enthusiastic of any Mormon at all in public life? My vote for Mormon of the year this year is that we wait and vote for someone on a year when there’s someone we really want to vote for. I liked Mitt (except for his politics) until he gave his speech about religion. I loved his off-the-record remarks about his religion in the studio caught on you-tube. They were so honest and good. Had that been the tone of his official speech about religion, I would have liked him. Had he given the sort of speech about religion that Obama gave about race, I would have loved him and been proud of him and chosen him for Mormon of the year, though still not for President.

    So, like the Nobel committee, I think we should have nobody as our pick for MotY on years in which there’s nobody we want.

  14. Kent, I understand what you’re saying, and I don’t believe in hiding from the negative. Particularly if the purpose is a positive one, to understand what happened and learn from our mistakes. The idea just struck me as funny. I guess my attempt at a joke didn’t come off very well.

  15. Tatiana (22): Well put. We’ll enter a nomination for nobody.

    Come to think of it, there is also the option of choosing a class of persons, or “YOU” like Time did a couple of years ago.

    Anyone think we should nominate The Bloggernacle (perhaps that is too self serving?)

    Perhaps the Church’s Internet team for their advances and improvements?

  16. ed42 (26):

    I agree. So who does that mean, in your opinion?

    The idea of “least among you” might mean a lot of different things. I’m sure many Church members could make the argument that Pres. Monson is “least among us” in some sense.

    Recognizing someone’s impact doesn’t necessarily mean that we are recognizing someone who is NOT “least among you,” although I do admit that recognizing someone makes it harder to remain “least among you.”

    Perhaps the problem and advantages or disadvantages of recognizing the good works of others would be a post here on T&S, if it hasn’t happened already.

  17. re: 15, where’d you read/hear Matt Ryan is a member? My 16 yr old son idolizes the very impressive Mr. Ryan, but I have never heard he’s a member. If he is, then I wholeheartedly second the nomination. We live two towns over from Exton, his hometown, and I have never heard him or his family mentioned at church.

  18. I’ve got to go with Mitt Romney. He brought the church into the limelight nearly all year and was the most visible and talked Mormon of 2008.

  19. I nominate Marjorie Christoffersen, the part owner of the El Coyote Cafe in Los Angeles.

    Right or wrong, her support of prop 8, her experience with the most hateful of its opponents (*), and her inner turmoil and dissonance about the whole issue represents the quasi-trap Mormons in California faced this year. Perhaps by extension, her experience is a harbinger of any future time LDS beliefs no longer sufficiently align with the zeitgeist, what we might choose to do during the fallout, and what we might experience as a consequence.

    Thus, the Mormon of the Year is one of the “least among us”, making the news for expressing her faith at a level one ten-thousandth of that of, say, Bruce Bastian, to name someone high profile from the other side.

    (*) Whatever else, we can still be glad that the extent of the backlash is basically a boycott and an angry word or two.

  20. Julianne Hough as Mormon of the Year? Are you kidding me? Besides the fact that I don’t think Julianne considers her religion very important anymore, she is every thing a Mormon is NOT. She said in a magazine article that she was a virgin and would remain that way until marriage and then retracted that comment when she started seeing a tour mate who was 10 years older and also was involved with another woman for 4 years. This man made all kinds of lewd induendos about the nature of their relationship while Julianne just giggled and didn’t do anything to stop it. Now she is supposedly living with him in Nashville and sharing hotel suites with him in Vegas. At the same time she has been taking pot shots at her ex fiance who is a good Mormon guy who has decided not to say anything about the way she has been treating him in the press. Hey — how about him for Mormon of the Year? He is at least worthy of it.

  21. Elder L. Whitney Clayton Of the Seventy

    Interesting that people nominated LDS who are opposed to Prop 8 as Mormon of the Year.
    I think that the opposite should be true – we should respect those who had to step forward with this hugely successful undertaking under such very short notice.

    Also for consideration –
    Maurine Proctor – publisher of Meridian Magazine. She has done a fine job of embracing 21st century media to get out the word on the LDS story.

  22. California Roland (33):

    Regardless of what you think of Maurine or Meridian (I don’t know Maurine, but I don’t care for Meridian), I can’t help but observe that Meridian hasn’t made a significant change to its interface in years, and has yet to use any Web 2.0 or social network tools. So i can’t agree with your statement that Meridian represents “a fine job of embracing 21st century media to get out the word on the LDS story.” If you are serious about nominating Maurine, I suggest you give us some logic as to why she deserves it this year as opposed to last year.

    FWIW, here is the wikipedia article for L. Whitney Clayton. I assume from your other comments that Elder Clayton was involved in the Proposition 8 promotion?

  23. I disagree with Tatiana, to the extent that I’m proud of all of Kent’s nominees. I vote David Archuleta (for some reason), though I like the Marlin K. Jensen and Margie Christoffersen picks as well.

    Before Prop 8 it would have been silly to vote for anyone except Romney. Successful Mormon and presidential candidate with a serious shot, endorsed by the National Review, no less, who is well-known by Americans as a Mormon and both liked and disliked very much because of that fact. Not even close.

  24. RE 33 and 34:

    I must concur that Meridian is hardly in the 21st century in terms of technology. Their interface is still quite 90s-era in design and its production values are quite low in terms of journalistic and editorial quality, visual design, etc. (especially compared to the Church’s own web presence). To say nothing of their extreme right-wing-echo-chamber content and depressingly cheezy advertisements for Mormon kitsch. And they’re not doing so well, either; they’ve just put out a plea for donations.

    I think the Mormons with the most lasting impact will be those that stretched beyond the Utah-centric, Americo-centric, hyper-Cleaver white bread stereotype. So no, in my book, to Mitt. Harry Reid, perhaps. Steve Young and family, more likely. But my candidates would be two rather atypical Mormons, both of them atypical in drastically different ways:

    Brandon Flowers, the church-going, eyeliner-wearing lead singer of The Killers.


    Dieter F. Uchtdorf, the newest 2nd Counselor in the First Presidency.

  25. #17: Mark N — this is the second time in a week or so when I read an LDS blog post, knew what I was going to write in the comments, and found you had already said it. We need to meet sometime. :-)

    As the post and all the comments above demonstrate, it pretty much boils down to what criteria you use both for exclusion and for selection. I suspect the real “Mormon of the Year” is likely someone none of us knows or has heard about. As is often the case, I’m reminded of a passage from The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis (I’ve abridged it quite a bit here), which describes a procession on the outskirts of Heaven honoring a woman who is arriving:

    ‘It is? . . . is it?’ I whispered to my guide.

    ‘Not at all,’ said he. ‘It’s someone ye’ll never have heard of. Her name on Earth was Sarah Smith and she lived at Golders Green.’

    ‘She seems to be . . . well, a person of particular importance?’

    ‘Aye. She is one of the great ones. Ye have heard that fame in this country and fame on Earth are two quite different things.’ . . .

    ‘And who are all these young men and women on each side?’

    ‘They are her sons and daughters.’

    ‘She must have had a very large family, Sir.’

    ‘Every young man or boy that met her became her son — even if it was only the boy that brought the meat to her back door. Every girl that met her was her daughter.’

    ‘Isn’t that a bit hard on their own parents?’

    ‘No. There are those that steal other people’s children. But her motherhood was of a different kind. Those on whom it fell went back to their nature parents loving them more. Few men looked on her without becoming, in a certain fashion, her lovers. But it was the kind of love that made them not less true, but truer, to their own wives.’

    ‘And how . . . but hullo! What are all these animals? A cat — two cats — dozens of cats. And all these dogs . . . why, I can’t count them. And the birds. And the horses.’

    ‘They are her beasts.’

    ‘Did she keep a sort of zoon? I mean, this is a bit too much.’

    ‘Every beast and bird that came near her had its place in her love. In her they became themselves. And now the abundance of life she has in Christ from the Father flows over into them.’

    I looked at my Teacher in amazement.

    ‘Yes,’ he said. ‘It is like when you throw a stone into a pool, and the concentric waves spread out further and further. Who knows where it will end? Redeemed humanity is still young, it has hardly come to its full strength. But already there is joy enough in the little finger of a great saint such as yonder lady to waken all the dead things of the universe into life.’

    I suspect there are some Sarah Smiths in the Church; they would be the best candidates for “Mormon of the Year”, IMHO. But by their very nature, we are unlikely to know of them or fully appreciate their scope of influence. ..bruce..

  26. re: 8

    Yes, Margie!!!
    Pete and I know her. In fact, we were thrilled to see her back at El Coyote last week and pulled her into our booth for a long chat, with many hugs and a few tears involved. It was just wonderful. She’s back in town and doing great.

    We really really really need to have an L.A.-area bloggersnacker at El Coyote. That would be the coolest thing ever.

  27. I just found and re-read the original article I saw about Matt Ryan a couple of months ago, and it appears that the writer was comparing him to John Beck (BYU grad and Miami Dolphins QB) and misapplied Beck’s religion to Ryan. I can’t find anything else that mentions Ryan’s religion, so I guess he isn’t Mormon.

    Sorry, Kent. How about Steve Martin?

  28. “I think the Mormons with the most lasting impact will be those that stretched beyond the Utah-centric, Americo-centric, hyper-Cleaver white bread stereotype.”

    I agree with Jeremy’s criteria, and I would nominate Darius Gray and Margaret Blair Young, co-directors of the trail-blazing and provocative documentary film, “Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons.” The exciting collaboration of Gray, who was called as a counselor in the original presidency of the Genesis Group, which helped lay the foundation for thie 1978 extension of the priesthood to black males, and Young, a professor of English at Brigham Young University, has produced a work of art that will have impact, inside and outside the LDS Church for years to come. Their film is remarkable follow-up to their earlier trilogy of novels about black Mormon pioneers.

  29. I would nominate the collabrative group that gave us the Joseph Smith papers volumn one and will also bring us the rest.

  30. I also vote Margie Christofferson. She is one of “the least of these” who has had to suffer for her beliefs and seems to encapsulate the entire issue of Mormon faith during interesting times.

  31. Why not the wonderful Mormon lawyers who provided the legal underpinning for torture, or the two marvelous Mormon psychologists who came up with a crackerjack method of interrogation that horrified the FBI? How about a round of applause for these guys?

  32. I honestly think Stephenie Meyer is the MORMON OF THE YEAR !!!! Stephenie has touched alot of people out of the religion dramatically !!!

  33. You spelt Stephenie Meyer’s name wrong. It’s not “Stephanie;” there’s no “a” in her name. It’s “Stephenie;” note that there’s an “e” after the “h,” not an “a.”

  34. The fact that TSM was named Person of the Year by a gay SLC magazine — for his perceived role in firing up the troops in support of gay marriage — as well as the whole Prop 8 issue, seems like enough evidence to reconsider TSM as Mormon of the Year, without having to rest on his laurels as simply being the president of the Church.

    If the Mormon of the Year is that certain vampire author, maybe I don’t want to be Mormon…

  35. I could support Margaret Young. Maybe Lance Wickman, for his being the non-apostle most closely linked to any policy clarifications or statements?

  36. Kent:

    you may own the domain mormonoftheyear.com, but it appears that you have not made much use of it lately. I see your 2001 nominees though, and I am impressed that Gray and Romney are still in contention.

  37. #1, you say Barbara Young exemplified “courage” by publicly stating an unpopular position. Let me see if I’m clear on your reasoning …. The First Presidency sends a letter to the California congregations to be read in church regarding the Prop 8 issue. In the letter they encourage members of the church to do all they can to support the proposition. Barbara turns around and publicly announces her opposition to the proposition. And you describe her actions as courageous? Perhaps her actions would be noble if one believes the First Presidency is a confused and unenlightened lot of buffoons. But if one views them as inspired leaders of God, it seems more appropriate to brand Barbara’s actions as well-intentioned but misguided, at best, or disloyal, at worst. Frankly, I’m not sure how her nomination is even “defensible,” as Kent put it, unless I’m completely missing something.

    I’m happy with the success of Glenn Beck, Stephanie Meyers et al. (even Brandon Flowers, for some strange reason, though I don’t listen to his song “Mr. Brightside” because the message is not, ummm, uplifting), but my vote is for Mitt Romney. Politics aside, his candidacy brought far more exposure (not all good, of course) to the Church (which obviously is my biggest criteria). Any other year, this discussion might be more interesting, as Romney’s run was a pretty rare event (though word has it that Jon Huntsman’s name is becoming more well known in national GOP circles).

  38. The women at FMH are going to burn me over this, but would anyone care about Barbara Young’s opinion if she had married an accountant?

  39. Stephenie Meyer and yes it’s with an E ! This universe Stephenie has created is an obession for so many people and it’s done so much for others out of the religion.

  40. Hello Stephanie Meyer should be Mormon of the year she has brought many people into this religion and if she isn’t chosen she could take as many or more people out of it!

  41. I think its rather obvious who should win- Stephenie Meyer

    she’s an amazing influence on every one of her fans (which, lets face it, is millions and millions of people) and she just plain deserves it. she has done soooo many things this year-
    -The Host, her new bestseller came out.
    -she went on tour for The Host and gave speeches, thousands of signetures, and hundreds of pictures
    -She edited and worked hard for her last book in the Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn, to come out
    -She worked hard with Summit Entertainment on her Twilight turning into a $213,048,358+ movie that EVERYONE has been talking about
    -She had Breaking Dawn, and you guessed it-another bestseller come out in August
    -She went on tour again this year, doing everything she did in her past tours-maybe even double
    -She was at the Twilight movie premire-and gave autographs and had her picture taken numerous times
    -and now she is working close with Summit Enteratinment AGAIN for her 2nd book in the Twilight Saga, New Moon, to become a movie…which should begin filming in March
    she did all of those things while having three little boys, and never loosing her faith and keeping strong with her religion.
    if Stephenie Meyer doesn’t get Mormon of the Year, then i don’t know who deserves it more than her

  42. I am nominating anyone and everyone who voted in support for Prop 8. It’s not easy to stand up for something that is “unpopular”. Way to go all those that stood your ground in California. If we don’t stand up for what it right, than who will?

    My second vote is for Stephenie Meyer. She gets mentioned as a Mormon in every interview with her or the actors more than anyone in the media. She has giving more positive exposure for the church than anyone. She doesn’t have a political agenda, she is what she is and she is a great role model for young girls. She is the kindof Mormon that makes the rest of us look good. She is a great example.

    My next vote would be Brandon Flowers, the lead singer of the Killers. Some friends of mine worked w/ him recently and said that he is a great guy with very strong convictions. He is just cool.

  43. Mitt Romney or Stephenie Meyer for Mormon of the Year? Shows you what kind of a year it’s been.

  44. Stephenie Meyer. She is in the face of fame and fortune, and she hasn’t done anything “wrong” yet. She’s still humble and modest about this whole Twilight ordeal. Her books are appropriate for anyone to read, (aside from being the greatest series to hit this earth since C.S. Lewis wrote Narnia) and she is just such a sweet, honest, down to earth person. Not that she needs any MORE recognition, (I wouldn’t want it, personally!) but I think she deserves it the most from your list. She has given this earth something beautiful, original and full of hope with fundamental truths we need to bring America back to. (True love, chastity, friendship, the greater good, sacrifice, selflessness… need I continue listing?)

    My vote, as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is for Stephenie.

  45. 1. Stephenie Meyer, Twilight is a Phenominon. The books are uber popular. The movie was B rate and still was one of the most anticipated and highly grossing films of 2008, even though it’s only been out for a month, and she is a wonderful example.
    2. Secondly, Mitt Romney. And not because his campaign was so great, but because he was. His concession speach to McCain brought tears to my eyes.
    3. David Archuleta was good (and adorable) and he’s a strong third in my book, but I think mostly only mormons knew he was one.
    4. the jet blue guy, the fact that I don’t remember his name from reading this article should explain why.
    5. Hary Reid, Listing him as MOTY in my eyes is like Time Magazine listing Vladimir Putin as 2007 person of the year, it’s not a good thing and everyone should feel a little dirty afterwards. Is that a political bias, probably, but his “SanFrancisco values” and friends (Pelosi) are not the kind of publicity the mormon church should be showcasing.

  46. How sad that we rate the quality of our writers or performers by their dollar return within popular and commercial culture. I don’t think that’s what President Kimball had in mind when he articulated his vision for the arts in Mormondom.

    Heather, I find your dismissal of Reid offensive. I’m proud to be a co-congregant with him. It would be a sad day for the church indeed if we claimed a diverse, global scope and were only represented in the political sphere by right-wingers. We’re a stronger church because of the diversity of political opinion that upstanding members can espouse while partaking of the sacrament together.

  47. 5. Hary Reid, Listing him as MOTY in my eyes is like Time Magazine listing Vladimir Putin as 2007 person of the year, it’s not a good thing and everyone should feel a little dirty afterwards. Is that a political bias, probably, but his “SanFrancisco values” and friends (Pelosi) are not the kind of publicity the mormon church should be showcasing.

    See, I think that Mormondom should take a long shower to get rid of Mitt Romney…

  48. Methinks a call to arms has been circulated among tweeny Twilight fans who must be taking this T&S poll as an election. Now I begin to see how the editors at Time feel when certain Mormon constituencies decide to bomb them with votes for some Mormon as Man of the Year.

    I predict a serious decline in spelling and punctuation and a sharp uptick in caps and exclamation points, a la the Twilight thread on Mormon Mommy Wars. As in:

    TWILIGHT IS TEH GRATEST!!!!! I luv Staphney Mayors ALMOST as much as Edward!!!! VOTE FOR STEHPNEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  49. Paul Swenson (41):

    I agree with your sentiment about Darius Gray and Margaret Blair Young, BUT, I don’t see what the 2008 connection would be. I could support their nomination for 2005 Mormon of the Year or perhaps for earlier, when their books came out.

    I think we need to keep in mind that this is a 2008 award.

  50. BronwynJT (47):

    Thanks for the nomination. For those who don’t know, here is the wikipedia page for Katherine Heigl. FWIW, she is at least inactive at the moment, although has indicated an interest in returning to activity according to wikipedia.

  51. Sophtine (62):

    I’m afraid that the spelling difference between Stephanie and Stephenie is so slight that it has to be pointed out to you to notice it. (As I understand it, most people read mostly by the shape of words, and not as much by spelling details — so Stephanie and Stephenie look the same when you read normally.

    At least that’s my excuse for the error. I hope Stephenie will forgive me.

  52. Kabes (68) wrote “She’s still humble and modest about this whole Twilight ordeal.”

    Ordeal? Really? I think most of us wouldn’t mind that “ordeal.”

    But, of course, that doesn’t take anything away from Stephenie.

  53. Heather (69) wrote that Harry Reid’s ” ‘SanFrancisco values’ and friends (Pelosi) are not the kind of publicity the mormon church should be showcasing.”

    Did you borrow that line from Rush Limbaugh or from Sean Hannity?

    If you paint Democrats with that broad a brush, perhaps you won’t mind if Mormons are painted with “polygamous” values in the media?


  54. Jeremy (70) wrote: “How sad that we rate the quality of our writers or performers by their dollar return within popular and commercial culture.”

    I’m not sure why you think that’s what is going on here.

    I don’t know about everyone here, but my own take is that the Mormon of the Year simply recognizes the current and potential future impact the person has had on others, NOT necessary the quality of their work.

    Perhaps that is just me, but it seems very rational to me.

  55. Never mind Harry Reid’s values, how about the fact that he made the dumbest statement by any politician all year when he proclaimed the Iraq war was LOST right before the extremely successful troop surge where the military all but wrapped up a victory! How embarrassing.

  56. Kent — I wasn’t talking about the premise of your post, just the general adulation for Meyer (as a writer) in some of the comments.

    Trenden — your assessment of the troop surge within the overall war is a point that could be argued at length in another forum, but your calling Reid’s statement about the surge the “dumbest statement by any politician all year” makes me wonder if you read fewer newspapers than the governor of Alaska…

  57. Kent,
    Actually I’m an admitted news junkie so you’re off at bit. And yes, politicians say dumb things every day but Reid’s comment was just so timely (in a bad way) about such a big thing (a major war) and he was so completely wrong that it’s got to be near the top. We’re talking about the Senate Majority Leader declaring a war lost… while our troops are engaged in the battle… right before they turn it around! Historic. I don’t know if it will cost him reelection but it should.

  58. #68:

    “Her books are appropriate for anyone to read”

    They are not appropriate for young readers who aspire to become writers. Meyer and her EDITOR should be ashamed of themselves. Meyer is a terrible writer who got lucky. Granted there is a lot to be said for that, and other terrible writers have have gotten lucky before her, so she doesn’t really deserve to be singled out for criticism unless she is singled out for undeserved praise. MotY Give me a break!

    The real question that the MotY idea raises is why some Mormons are so eager to jump on every pop-culture-kitsch-low-brow-dumbed-down-me-too-white-bread-and-milk-toast-band wagon there is?

    Notice the question wasn’t who should be nominated for the hypothetical Mormon version of the MacArthur grants. Probably because as a group we have yet to produce many (if any) worthy of such a nod.

  59. Uh, Stephenie who? I know that those vampire novels were written by an LDS woman, but I don’t think many outside the church know she is LDS. One thing I didn’t know was that so many squealing teens read this blog. hehe I guess this Stephenie person is “teh awsum” but she didn’t have as much play in the media as Mitt Romney nor did she have people talking about the church and its teachings like he did.

  60. Kent Larsen (76)

    Darius Gray’s and Margaret Blair Young’s film, “Nobody Knows,” premiered this year, 2008.
    Have you seen it?

  61. Trenden: This is really becoming a threadjack, but still you’re stating as fact very debatable points about the war. And by your criteria, I think “The fundamentals of the economy are strong” would blow Reid’s largely overlooked comment out of the water.

    RE Stephenie Meyer: I don’t think she’ll have a “lasting impact” as a Mormon. Yes, she’s popular; yes, she’s Mormon. And I will admit I was pleased to see one reviewer of her first book specifically recognize “the erotics of restraint” in her work. But until someone can show me reduced teen pregnancy rates among her readers, I’ll remain skeptical about her “impact.”

    I’ll stand by my nomination of Pres. Uchtdorf, for the change it represents to the global church and the distinction it further fosters between the Church and Utah culture. (The clincher for me was when, from the pulpit, told guys in Utah County to stop buying ridiculous monster trucks.)

  62. Re: #1 “Joseph Smith, Jr. was the first person to request civil rights for Mormons from President Buchanan. The JosephSmithPapersProject will bear that over the next 10 years. He was told that your cause is just, but I [Buchanan] don’t have the power to grant Mormons the right to worship in the States where they live. So our pioneers came to Utah under Brigham Young.”

    Let’s see: James Buchanan was US President from 1857 to 1861. Joseph Smith, Jr. died in 1844. Hmmm…does not compute. However, Martin Van Buren was US President from 1837 to 1841, met with Joseph Smith, and told the Prophet the above quote. Let’s get our sources right.

  63. I think some of you are taking this way too seriously. Top ten lists and favorite lists are a popular end of year item for our culture. They are for fun, and not a nomination of some end all be all position. So in the spirit of fun as a church member, I vote for Stephenie Meyer. Unlike what some suppose, she is known as a mormon to most of her fans. In fact, this poll is linked to several of her fan sites. Anyway, I say,
    “Judge not , less ye be judged.” Stop being so hard on everyone, and maybe look inward as to what you should do different this next year.

  64. OK, so by my count, here is where we stand as far as nominations go. I’ve tried to explain, as best as I can, the rationale for their nomination (rationale in their favor only. I haven’t included all the debate above):

    [Listed alphabetically by last name]
    * Danny Ainge – As an executive with the Boston Celtics, helped the team reach the NBA championship for the first time in 20 years.
    * David Archuleta – The American Idol finalist brought a lot of attention to Mormons during the show’s recent run.
    * Glenn Beck – High-profile TV talk show host moved from CNN to Fox News this year
    * Margie Christoffersen – Part owner of El Coyote Cafe was a target for her support of Proposition 8. Her inner turmoil and dissonance about the whole issue represents the quasi-trap Mormons in California faced this year.
    * L. Whitney Clayton – (nominee didn’t give reasoning)
    * Editors of the Joseph Smith Papers project – for producing 1st volume of the project.
    * Brandon Flowers – the church-going, eyeliner-wearing lead singer of The Killers.
    * Darius Gray and Margaret Blair Young – For their documentary film, “Nobody Knows,” which was released earlier this year.
    * Katherine Heigl – Actress from Gey’s Anatomy and 27 Dresses
    * Julianne Hough – Two-time winner on “Dancing with the Stars,” Hough was eliminated from the program this season in 4th place.
    * Marlin K. Jensen – For his role in the Joseph Smith Papers project and for his influence in the Immigrantion issue in Utah.
    * Bill Marriott – Head of the Marriott Corporation politely disavowed support of Proposition 8 following its passage in California.
    * Stephenie Meyer – Like or hate her books, she is certainly the face of Mormonism among many people around the world, especially this year, with the first Twilight movie in theaters and news articles frequently mentioning her religion.
    * David Neeleman – The JetBlue founder and well-known Mormon has started his fourth airline – this time in Brazil, bringing with it multiple profiles of Neeleman, why he was born in Brazil and how he served his mission there.
    * Maurine Proctor – For her work with Meridian Magazine.
    * Harry Reid – As the Senate Majority Leader, it is kind of hard to ignore Reid, since he is the highest ranking Mormon in government ever. He also provides a nice antidote to the assumption that Mormons must be Republicans (to say nothing of the fact that his politics are probably more in line with the vast majority of Mormons — when you take into account those that do not live in the United States).
    * Mitt Romney – His candidacy in the past year has certainly brought attention to the Church and to Mormonism. And as far as LDS candidates for President go, he may have gone farther toward the Presidency than any other Mormon.
    * Dieter F. Uchtdorf – for the change [he] represents to the global church and the distinction it further fosters between the Church and Utah culture.
    * Lance Wickman – For policy statements such as those clarifying difference between Church and FLDS.
    * Barbara Young (wife of
    Steve Young) – Courageously went against the Mormon grain in opposing Proposition 8
    * None of the above — for those unhappy with all the above choices.

    Just to be clear, this thread isn’t about voting. Its about nominating.

    I’ll announce a voting mechanism on Wednesday.

  65. Sam (100), I agree with you.

    In defense of Meyer, I’ve posted before about why we need “Bad Literature.” I’ve never read Meyer’s work (and, to be honest, based on reviews, I’m not likely to – its not my kind of book), so I have to go on what I’ve read about her writing. But that doesn’t change its role and its importance.

    Remember, what we are considering here is NOT what we think of her writing, but her impact on the world. It is possible for poorly written books to have a tremendous impact (I’m NOT saying that Meyer’s work is poorly written — that is a judgement to be made by those who have read the books).

    I do think that Mormonism should seek for the highest and the best in literature and in other pursuits. BUT, that doesn’t mean that popular literature should be maligned.

    And I’ll bet many an English professor will, when you push them, admit to reading a not-so-well-written genre novel or two during summer vacation just to get away from having to always think about what they are reading.

    Let’s allow our culture to have some popular literature also.

  66. Kent: there is well-written popular literature too. Calling a particular pop fiction writer a bad writer is not the same as calling all pop fiction bad. I’m not trying to “disallow” our culture to have popular literature.

  67. Most definetly Stephenie Meyer!!!!She has worked so hard this year (2 books, 1 major movie, 1 music video, AND she’s a mom) and touched the lives of millions. She lets her Mormonism shine through in her books and that means the legions of twilight fans that follow her follow most of the mormon messages she has her characters learn in the (twilight) books . She continues to set a good example for women around the world.

  68. I think it is a tie between Mitt Romney, who certainly put Mormonism on the map; and the many ordinary Mormons in California who succeeded with Prop 8, which also has been a huge issue.

    So, it becomes an issue of whether we want to have a group of people nominated as “Person” of the Year. Time Magazine has done it a few times (Soldiers, for instance).

  69. Re: # 69, and all who commented :

    After reading some of the comments regarding my previous post and researching more thouroughly Harry Reids stance on issues I wish to revise my post:

    3. Hary Reid, While I don’t agree with alot of his politics I do believe he is a good candidate for MOTY, as politically he stands with the majority of America, he is the highest ranking mormon in government while not allowing his religion to intermingle whith legislation and he is a patriot for serving his country in elected office.

    I also whish to apologize to anyone I offended as I come to realize my own narrowmindedness, Reids views on key social issues aren’t that far from my own. (Though for the record, I don’t actually like Hannity or Rush… I much prefer Denis Prager and Miller)


  70. Stephenie Meyer. My vote goes to her. As much as you hate the books it’s kind of impossible to hate her.

  71. I’ll announce a voting mechanism on Wednesday.

    Unless you have figured out how to impose a minimum age on participants, actually voting on these nominees seems pointless.

    Maybe you could create two categories:

    1. Stephenie Meyer
    2. everybody else

    That way, everybody could vote for their favorite and we might be able to discern some meaningful results.

  72. Mormon of the year should be a group of Mormons. All those who opposed Prop 8 and were willing to speak out against it, on the web, at church, and in public. They had guts, they were not subject to group think, they did a lot of spiritual work, and they revealed the true diversity that actually defines the church; despite the fact that some believe ideological / political rigidity is an essential part of the church. Those anti prop 8 Mormons showed what a misguided idea that is.

  73. Compared to Christopher Paolini, Stephenie Meyer’s writing is gorgeous and perfect. The number of times I winced at the contents of Brisingr and Eldest are too numerous to count.

  74. If you haven’t read Twilight (and the other books) by S Meyers, read them. Then you’ll know the impact she has on people, both adults and young adults alike, outside of the Church.

    IMHO, she’s the perfect candidate for MotY.

    Also, on the members who were anti-Prop8 and spoke up… Kudos!!!

  75. I wish we could nominate Prop 8 as a Mormon (thing) of the Year. Since it has to at least be a group, I’d nominate California voters. I think the Mormons who voted either for or against it personify what is compelling and relevant about Mormonism.

  76. I nominate Stephenie Meyer. And before I am categorized and dismissed as incapable of submitting a well thought out vote, let me say that I am 32 years old, a mother and an avid reader who enjoyed her books. I did NOT read them because I like to jump on bandwagons. As a matter of fact, I pride myself on being a nonconformist, so I avoided the books until this year. After reading them, I learned more about the author and watched interviews and was impressed with how she carried herself. I would be miffed if time after time journalists kept bringing up my religion as if we should all be shocked that a Mormon has created something of value that many people find satisfying. But she always remains calm. I am impressed that she denied an invitation the present at the MTV music awards because they were being held on a Sunday. Regardless of what we think about her writing, or others’ political persuasions, or a star’s ability to dress modestly, I think this blog nomination is more about who you like and why. Not who has the best morals. Most of the people listed here aren’t going to change the world, baptize the most people, etc. But considering all the negative media we get and mostly about stuff we didn’t even do, I like to think that if any of these people normalize who we are, then that is good. If someone out there clinging to stereotypes sees one of these aforementioned people and says, “huh, lookie there, I guess they don’t wear bonnetts anymore” (truly, this happened to me once), then I’m happy.

  77. #114 – Well said. Her writing aside, Meyer has brought a lot of exposure to and mention of the Church, and almost none of it has been negative.

  78. Kudos for people in the Church who opposed Prop 8? Whose full consequence, taking into account all the clear statements from the Church about it, might be a crusty sidelong glance from a Boomer-aged uncle who can’t understand?

    Kudos for people in the Church who take the stance supported by every single major California media outlet, both news and entertainment, who upon putative shunning by the Church, had only half the full California population to fall back on, including and especially the well-heeled and powerful?

    Kudos? For people who stand to lose absolutely nothing for taking a stand against Prop 8? Whose businesses and jobs are not in jeopardy, whether due to a boycott or anything else?

    I wouldn’t mind a nomination entry for “Mormon California grassroots activists” or some such, but I just don’t see the courage or temerity behind opposing Prop 8 and happening to be Mormon. No more “kudos” are more due one side or the other, for all the people who argued with sincerity and reason for their sides. In hindsight it was clearly not a material risk to oppose Prop 8.

  79. #116 (Rob) … Amen brother.

    #110 (Anon), I wonder sometimes if our glorification of all things “diverse” causes us at times to miss the mark. The belief that we are taught true principles and expected to govern ourselves accordingly is, of course, deeply embedded in our theology. And there is little doubt that in many situations we are left with significant discretion. But there are certain moments when our leaders call upon us specifically to do certain things, and when they do, I have trouble seeing how we can dispute their requests in good faith. LDS history is chalk full of situations when leaders asked members to do extraordinarily difficult and uncomfortable things. Some obeyed, and others cracked under the pressure. There may very well be situations in the present and future when the same is expected, and Prop 8 could simply have been one iteration; again, some obeyed and some cracked. Defying the leadership and exalting the diversity of it all, especially when, as Rob pointed out, nothing was to be lost in doing so, strikes me not as courageous, but as cowardice.

  80. Ha! An all-American list of nominees for Mormon of the Year, with D.U. as the token Gerry.

    Over here, we all know that Frank of Paisley is Mormon of the Year . . . every year.

  81. #119 (Ray), agreed, and my apologies for the distraction.

    To get back to the point, while I already cast a vote for Romney, it occurred to me that another factor in his favor might be the international attention his candidacy brought to the church. U.S. presidential elections are followed (in varying degrees) by countries the world over, and it seems plausible that his religious affiliation was also commonly noted in international reporting. I know Stephenie Meyer was massively popular in the U.S., but how far has this popularity spread internationally (genuine question, I don’t know). And even if her books are popular in other countries, is her religion as common a topic as it would have been re Romney?

  82. #118 (William James) I agree. Shouldn’t “Mormon of the Year” truly reflect what it means to be a Latter-day Saint? Admittance into the great and spacious building doesn’t meet the standard.
    Which of these individuals or groups would you most likely hold up as an example of what it really means to be a Latter-day Saint in your Sunday School class if President Monson was attending?

  83. Two thoughts:

    1. I love that Harry Reid and Mitt Romney are both members of the church. If it were in my power, every ten years I’d do what the bishops (legendarily) did at the time Utah entered the Union: Divide each ward down the middle, half to each party. No announcing in advance. It would improve both parties immeasurably.

    2. I think that Stephenie Meyers is roughly the literary equivalent of the Osmonds. It makes missionary work among my nonmember friends significantly more difficult. I’m convinced that the Osmonds repelled as many from the church as they attracted, not that they have any obligation to do anything other than be themselves. Same with good sister Stephenie. Did I get all those e’s in there?

    That’s my thought quota for the day.

  84. Why is Brandon Flowers (lead singer of The Killers) not on the list?
    I would vote for him hands down.
    But Stephenie Meyer gets my vote anyways…

  85. Doesn’t the first presidency encourage us all to be member missionaries for those who haven’t heard the gospel. Stephenie Meyer has my vote. What better way to spread the word of our church that to write a book that had grossed many millions of dollars and reaches so many young people today. Follow that up with a movie that has no sex, bad words or violence. She for sure has my vote.

  86. For better or for worse, MITT ROMNEY wins this contest.

    Hands down.

    (No, I did not vote for him in the presidential election.)

  87. I love Sister Meyer but I’m going to have to vote for Brother Flowers. That man knows how to keep it cool.

  88. I was going to ask who posted the link on DiddlyWackMacTeenFiction.com. But Banned Commenter beat me to it. I don’t begrudge Stepheni Meyer’s fame and fortune but, even not having read the books, if they “changed your life” I’m seriously wondering what your life was like before. ???

    I can’t think of a more strictly positive example with such wide coverage [as Julianne Hough].

    Sorry, Kevin and Ray, but I’m with Betty on this. Strictly positive? Maybe, unless you’re trying to encourage that antiquated modesty thing from FTSOY your kids.

  89. Here is a reply and reasoning to my nomination to everyone (on this website and many others across the web) who insist on creating a stereotype and label for anyone who decides to support the talented Stephenie Meyer.

    No, we are not all tween girls who spell horribly wrong. Sorry, mister. I believe I know how to spell and get my words out as an adult with the correct spelling. It gets QUITE annoying when you are grouped with 13 year old girls who scream at any mention of Twilight. Granted, I am still TECHNICALLY a teen – being 19 – but I am an adult and I THINK like an adult. Not all of us who think that Stephenie deserves many things are just saying it because it has to do with Twilight and the Fandom (including the movie and it’s cast). Myself, my 22-year-old sister AND my 47-year-old MOTHER all agree that Mrs.Meyer has been a WONDERFUL role model for many people (Mormon and NonMormon alike) through her interviews AND her books.

    If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read the books. Not because they’re ‘Ooo Twilight!’ But because they convey a great message to impressionable minds of all ages. The characters set standards, morals and portray how important humanity is in all that we do throughout our lives. Us fans of the book want people to know that our compassion is not always for the statuesque Edward or the Fun-Loving Jacob, but it is for the message in these books that jumps off the page and invites all who read it to have compassion and morals and to be a better person.

    So what if her writing style doesn’t live up to the greatest authors. Is it really about the writing abilities? No. It is all about the message you convey to the reader in the story. You can’t deny that. In addition to these messages she has given through her writing, she also shows in her own life how important her morals and standards are. Through all the fame and hateful bashing that has gone on, she has stayed firm in her faith and strong in her convictions and never once forgotten about her family and faith.

    So my nomination most DEFINITELY goes to Stephenie Meyer for how well she has portrayed (in the books and her personal life) the importance of compassion with morality, standards and having a strong foundation with every possibilities you can dream of.

  90. William James (#118),

    I know it’s a threadjack, but reading this comment reminded me that Utah was the state that cast the deciding vote to end Prohibition, even though Heber J. Grant vigorously fought against that vote. I’m not sure that Prohibition was a good thing, but there is a certain irony to Utah’s being the final vote to end it.

    To address the rest of this thread, I haven’t read any of Stephenie Meyer’s books, and don’t really feel like my life is any poorer for it.

  91. Jeremy (103):

    I grant that there is well-written popular literature. I’m not calling all pop fiction bad. Instead I’m trying to point out that Stephenie Meyer has met a certain level of quality — a level high enough to get Little, Brown to publish it (FWIW, among the largest publishers you can get many who pay much less attention to quality than Little, Brown).

    I understand that many people don’t care for her writing. But let’s be honest here, its not as bad as much of the LDS-market specific stuff, if nothing else because the editors at Little, Brown were able to work on it.

    A lot of this argument about the quality of her work comes down to how high your standards are. IMO, if she is meeting Little, Brown’s standards, then discussions over quality are simply going to degenerate into fruitless disputes between literary readers and genre fans.

    Its like having an argument between Danielle Steele fans and fans of Thomas Pynchon. Its pointless. Pynchon is likely to win any literary competition with Steele, but Steele will win any popularity contest.

    We’re looking at impact here, and without a literary heavyweight in the mix, why would we dispute that Meyer’s popularity has a significant impact?

  92. Last Lemming (109):

    I think you are assuming a lot about what this voting mechanism will be. It could be that the vote will be among T&S bloggers or invited bloggers and news professionals, who will be restricted to those nominated here.

    I don’t know yet how it will work.

  93. Ned (120):

    Excuse my ignorance, but who is “Frank of Paisley”?

    You are certainly correct that this list is very American-centric. BUT, I’ve not found any candidates from overseas yet!! That’s one reason for this nominating thread — to come up with possible nominees. I’d love to have more non-Americans!

    Who should be added?

    I can certainly see someone we haven’t mentioned getting a lot of attention overseas and not much here, and therefore deserving to be MotY.

  94. William James (121):

    Twilight’s success outside the US has also been impressive. According to a Nov 27th Reuters article, Twilight has been translated into a total of 37 languages, including Vietnamese, Chinese, Croatian and Latvian. Worldwide sales top 25 million copies. While the US does account for 20 million of the sales, the most recent volume, “Breaking Dawn,” debuted at the top of best seller lists in France, Italy, Ireland, Spain and Britain, according to the article.

    So, I suspect the international impact of Meyer is significant.

  95. Jeremy (132):


    This post is only for nominations. Saying that you are voting for a particular person here DOES NOT register a vote.

    I’ll announce the voting mechanism tomorrow.

  96. Nadine Hansen, who set up Mormonsfor8.com.

    Without her, the press and the gay-rights lobby wouldn’t have had an easy way to quantify Mormon involvement in Proposition 8.

  97. Kent (135): The fact that someone gets a contract with a major publisher does not eliminate my right or obligation as a reader to calls ’em as I sees ’em. Lots of proud publishing houses have published lots and lots of not-so-good books. That’s why people go to the bother of reviewing them.

    Kent (137): “I’ve not found any candidates from overseas yet!!” I nominated Elder Uchtdorf. Twice. I daresay his impact on the global church will be much broader and deeper than many of the nominees here. And if the saints in Utah County heed his call to stop buying gigantic pickups, it will go down in our history like Lorenzo Snow’s sermon to the St. George saints on tithing.

    Kent (141): Geez, I was kidding in 132.

  98. When you consider the impact and exposure of the church as a result of their actions I think only two nominations should be in the running:

    1. Mitt Romney
    2. Californian Mormons that supported Proposition 8

    Some feedback on the other nominations:

    Harry Reid – Does anyone, other than Mormon Democrats, really know that he’s a Mormon? He’s a powerful man, but he’s not really doing anything for Mormonism one way or another. If there had been a major push to remove him as Senate Majority Leader after Proposition 8 due to the fact that he is a Mormon then I could see the logic of this nomination, but it didn’t happen. His Mormonism isn’t a front-page story.

    Mormons that opposed Proposition 8 – Let’s just focus on the impact and ignore positive/negative judgments. First, they lost. Second, if they had won then there would have been nowhere near as much impact as what has happened in the aftermath of Proposition 8’s success. The Mormons that supported Proposition 8 win when it comes to impact.

    Mormons (in general) that supported Proposition 8 – Why does it matter if we supported Proposition 8 if we’re states away? We’re not the ones donating money and time and dealing with the consequences. The Californian Mormons are the ones that should get the credit, they’re the ones that did the work.

    The Twilight author and other celebrities – Famous and successful people, but they can’t touch the impact of a Mormon Presidential candidate or the Californians that gave of their time and money to pass Proposition 8 which resulted in protests and boycotts against the church (and the restoration of traditional marriage law in California).

  99. #144 gets it right. I read three of the Stephenie Meyer books and actually enjoyed them and I don’t think she’s a bad writer, but seriously… to compare celebrities with the impact of Mitt Romney and Proposition 8 supporters seems strange to me.

    Sadly, if it’s put to a vote then I’m sure Stephenie Meyer will win. I don’t get the obsession people have with celebrities.

  100. You can think of Stephenie as a celebrity, but don’t forget that even though she has reached worldwide fame, she is just your average run of the mill Mormon mother – she just happens to be one of the most popular authors of the 21st century. She has all the standards of any other Mormon, but she is putting them to good use by writing her standards and morals into a romance saga – reaching millions around the world…

    SHOWING people that it’s okay to have standards and morals.

    Ugh, yeah, I’d say that shaping the young minds across the globe with certain standards and morals discussed in just about every LDS class/seminary is a pretty LARGE impact.

  101. I have stated already that I would vote for Romney, but a vote for Meyer is not as far-fetched as it seems – and it is a bit elitist to eliminate automatically the voices of literally millions of teenage girls simply because they are teenage girls. The original wording didn’t say the person only could be influential politically – or with intellectuals – or for explicitly religious reasons.

    After thinking about this more (too much, I’m sure), I would narrow it to Romney and Meyer. I would include Meyer for two reasons:

    1) She currently has (and has had for some time) 4 of the top 5 books on the US fiction best-selling list – and her newest book (that is NOT part of the Twilight series) is focused on adults and sits right now at #22. (I was curious, so I checked.) It is arguable that she has reached more people outside the US than Romney ever did.

    2) Almost every interview and article about her mentions her religion – and that the chastity within her books is a direct reflection of her own personal morals. I even have read discussions among non-Mormons about the role of eternal love – how the heroine chooses her fate in the end in order to be with her husband forever, not just until death do them part. That’s not a trivial impact, particularly since it generally is discussed in terms of Meyer’s Mormonism.

    Iow, if the subjective bias is removed from the fact that she is a “teenage romance author”, the woman has had an amazing year – and the news coverage has repeatedly mentioned her religion in a positive way. Objectively, she simply has to be a serious contender, imo.

  102. Blogoasdgoijsdevich has just tried to appoint a Senator. Senator Reid has announced that the Senate will refuse to seat the appointee. Senator Reid is making a strong late-showing for Mormon of the Year.

  103. Hannah (133), you had to know the rest of us were culling through your comments very carefully for any hint of a typo. Well played.

  104. Trendon (#145),

    Stephenie Meyers would win because romance and popularity are apparently “in” with the LDS community. Ahhh, the high standards we have!

    Ray (#147),

    You read the books and were able to wade through all of the adolescent panting? I guess it is now a part of Mormon “culture” to lust and not act on it, eh?

  105. There are a lot of people who have very nasty opinions and are very cruel in the way they express them, especially when it comes to criticizing Romney and Meyers. I don’t think I’ll read this again. Go Meridian Magazine!

  106. I doubt that comment 153 was meant to be funny about the “nasty” comments, but it’s been good for a few minutes’ worth of giggles. Thanks for the laugh! In fact, the whole Twilight angle to this discussion gives the thread a surreal tinge. I would suspect that a number of comments were influenced heavily by post-Christmas chocolate and sugar overdoses if I hadn’t been following the Twilight thread on Mormon Mommy Wars. Some of these people take their vampires very seriously!

  107. JimD (142):

    I’ll add Nadine Hansen to the list of nominees, but I don’t have a link to a page that explains who she is! Can you provide some help along these lines?

  108. Jeremy (143):
    * I won’t argue with you about publishers printing some garbage. I’m just trying to say that there is a minimum level of quality from them, one that generally makes those books acceptable among those with the lowest common denominator of taste. But lets drop this — I don’t see much benefit in arguing it. I think both of our positions are pretty clear.

    * Elder Uchtdorf is indeed already on the list (see #101). I was referring to Ned’s call for others beyond him.

    * re: 132, sorry, I must have missed the smilie. BUT, I must admit that the comment in 141 is mostly for everyone else — those that seem to continually post their support for those already nominated. No need to say that you support someone who is already nominated — the nomination has already happened!

  109. Hannah (146):

    While I do think Meyer has had the impact to justify a MotY nomination, I can’t agree that trumpeting her morals is necessarily the reason.

    I think we should remember that the morals here are complex, as morals often are. Many of the negative comments I’ve read about her books object NOT to the fact that her characters remain chaste, but to the concentration on lust and the subservient nature of Bella’s relationship.

    While I respect Meyer’s popularity and success, I suspect I would be troubled about the way that morals are portrayed in her books, just as I am about a lot of the morals I see in popular Mormon culture, where virginity is emphasized over building strong relationships, where obeying the word of wisdom is used as a reason to isolate and ignore those who do not, and where whether or not a work of art contains profanity, vulgarity, sex or doctrinal errors, regardless of how they are portrayed, is more important than the basic morality of the work.

    There is more to morality than simply keeping your characters from having sex, saying curse words or stating doctrines incorrectly.

  110. Kent,

    RE 156, bullet 1: fair enough. You’re probably right.

    And thank you for comment #157. Your last two paragraphs put it perfectly. My wife has been really saddened, when she goes to book club, by the number of adult women who have said they now primarily read adolescent fiction “because it keeps my standards.” Absence of evil does not constitute virtue. Absence of evil is morally neutral.

    Shannon in #153:

    Romney, Meyers, AND Meridian? Are you TRYING to push every one of my snark buttons?
    And aside from my criticisms of Meyer’s writing style, I do worry about simplistic approaches to morality. For example, in Twilight the teen girl and her vampire hottie don’t have sex, but he sneaks into her room and they spend the night together. If a book my teenager is reading is not burdened with the agenda of promoting Mormon values, my kid will clearly know the points of disagreement with what he reads and what he’s been taught about morality, avoiding temptation, etc. But if a Mormon author who, wether she likes it or not, has been burdened with representing Mormon morality in her fiction, has a character sneak into his girlfriends bedroom, that’s all the ecclesiastical endorsement some hormonal 17 year olds are going to need…

  111. My comment got garbled somehow. Everything starting with “And aside from my criticisms” was part of the response to Kent, not to Shannon. I shouldn’t be allowed to use a computer after 1am…

  112. I am not a Mormon but I have to tell you that I think David Archuleta is by far the best candidate for this title. He has opened millions of eyes to this faith and he is only 18 years old. He is not only an amazingly talented and glorious singer but I have never met a more respectful, humble, caring, sweet,
    inspirational young man. You should all be very proud. I will pray that my son grows up to be as incredible a teenager as this amazing young man.

  113. David Archuleta all the way!! He has best represented his religion! He has done so much good for the church. People have joined the church because of him and his good example. He is the only one with out a questionable past. Romney = legalized gay marriage!

  114. #163… Please. Romney fought gay marriage by every legal means, and then upheld the law when he lost. Say what you will about the insane politics he practiced running for President, but I don’t think on that score that he deserves to be impugned.

  115. “those that seem to continually post their support for those already nominated. No need to say that you support someone who is already nominated — the nomination has already happened!”

    Sorry, Kent.

  116. David Archuleta would get my vote, his has inspired many through his example of how he stands up for what he believes and is one of the nicest people I have ever met in my life.

  117. I would vote for David Archuleta. I never even know what the Mormon religion was before David introduced it to me.

  118. If anyone in the mormon church has watched David Archuleta over the last several months on international television, they would have seen the fantastic personality of a young mormon showing the world how his faith and beliefs have carved out a fantastic individual. It is felt by many people that David has a purpose to his being in the spotlight and that is to show and remind the world how wonderful and caring an individual can be. David unlike most young people in this decade, thinks about others first. The mormon community must be ever so proud of David and how he portrays a young man of mormon faith. David has saved the self destruction of many people and has given hope to others lost in their sorrows. The world is in a terrible situation and he has given one bright hope for the possibility of a better tomorrow. David is recognized and admired not just as a singer but as a wonderful individual by people from around the world. David has been on a mission for a very long time and is doing a wonderful job.

  119. David Archuleta gets my nomintion. This amazing young man has proven to millions of people in the last year that greatness comes from respectfulness of oneself, of others, family, religion, morals, work ethics, ethnic cultures, charity, and the list goes on. David does not preach the Mormon religion, he sets the example of one. David IS on his mission.

  120. i vote for David Archuleta and here is why…
    A lot of people only think that mormons no who he is but that is far from true, I am a true fan of David so of course i visit some webistes such as davidarchuletafanblast and archuletafans and i cant even begin to explain the impact he has had on peoples lives. Everyone who has met him says he has such a light around him and feel something around him that they have never felt before. That feeling is the spirit. He has stayed true to his religion throughout everything he has gone through and when asked what he brought from home when he went on tour he replied “my scriptures”. He is so humble and you should hear the way people at these sites talk about him. He is the light to there day. I have a very good friend of mine who actually almost took her life, but his music changed her life and gave her something to look forward to. This brought tears to my eyes, and we talked for hours about it. And as for me i will NEVER be able to explain to anyone in the world how much David has changed my life and what he has done for me. He has the voice of an angel and he has truelly been given that gift to better peoples lifes. I say that as a witness. Go David!!!

  121. David Archuleta… he has the principles, humility and courage at his young age to face down the press and stand by his religion and his beliefs… “What do you do before you go to bed at night?” answer, “Brush my teeth and say a prayer”. “What do you do before you go on stage?” answer, “Say a little prayer.” He promotes family and modesty as well as respect for everyone. CTR DAVID!!!!!!.

  122. David Archuleta embodies the Christian spirit. He is a great role model for young adults. By choosing him you will send a positive message to all young people!

  123. I vote David Archuleta!!!! He is a fine example of a humbleservant using the gifts he has to gorify the Lord Jesus Christ! Young and old look to him as a fine example of what our youth should be doing with there lives. His purity stance is like no other his age in the Hollywood world. He has be able to get his head about him during a crazy year of publicity and never hesitate to speak on not rushing into a relationship with a girl until you are ready not just because she is hot. He tells people when interviewed that you need to have self respect and when he is ready to find a girl he will look for that quality and standard.

    He has brought so many people back to music both young and old and male and female because his voice brings joy to your soul! I am not a mormon but I would imagine that he brings people to the church because the examlpe that he sets. He is the real deal!
    Check out a few songs that would feed your soul- To Be With you and You Can are just a start!

  124. I vote for David Archuleta and here is why…
    many people say that only mormons no who he is but that is far from the truth. I am proud to say i am one of the many fans that visit sites such as davidarchuletafanblast and archuletafans. To hear what people have to say about David, jsut warms my heart. they give him so much praise and say that when they meet him there is just something that shines about him and they get a very relaxed feeling. I believe that this is the spirit. I have a very close friend who told me she almost took her life, because she was having a very hard time, but then she heard David sing and it changed her perspective on everything. That was just when she heard his voice! And while touring, he told everyone that the one item he brought from home were his scriptures. After all this he still says he wants to go on a mission, and leave everything behind, but has also said that he feels that he has sort of been on a mission sharing the spirit through his music. I would also like to say how much he has changed and improved my life. I could never express to anyone in this world how much David means to me and how grateful and thankful i am that he came at the time he did. I am thankful for his gift and the joy it has been able to bring to others. He is the kind of person that when you are around him you just feel confident. He doesnt judge, and sticks to his standards. I dont think there is anyone more deserving than him. He mite not win this, but in my heart he will always be number one, and i will, and many other will stick with him no matter were he goes in life!

  125. David Archuleta. For sticking to his morals, values, standards, etc. as he rises in the music industry.

  126. sorry i posted twice i didnt think it worked the first time haha and one more question
    Stephenie Meyer is mormon? wow

  127. David Archuleta has my vote. He is the best role model out of the bunch and is true and genuine. He stands up for what he believes in and doesn’t let anyone or anything persuade him to do otherwise. He is kind, considerate, and represents everything that Latter-day Saints are about. He should be a shoe in!

  128. Kent… You need to hurry up and get your voting mechanism going.
    Otherwise you’ll have the whole world voting right here! ;-)

  129. I only have a question regarding the vote for Stephanie Miller: how does her being a world famous author affect the Mormon world? Do her books (which I have not yet read) mention the Church? Or in her interviews does she frequently talk about her Mormon heritage/roots?

    If not, then how exactly does this become a Mormon of the Year vote, when few people realize she is Mormon? Is she a Mormon author who wrote some great books, or is she an author of great books who just also happens to be Mormon? The distinction needs to be made, IMNSHO, because it is a Mormon issue only if the issue moves Mormonism in some way, don’t you think?

  130. David Archuleta, hands down. No one outside the Mormon Church really understands the tenants of Mormonism, or cares for that matter. Some even view it as a cult religion. David Archuleta puts a face on religion for the younger generation to which they can relate through his music. He has never done anything that can be construed as controversial and indeed is motivated by his pure love of music. That, in itself, presents a wholesome and untainted perspective of what a healthy grounded upbringing can do. The future belongs to the youth of this country. Give them an example and role model that is worthy of emulation.
    Harry Reid?? Seriously…?

  131. Rameumpton (183):

    The fact that she is Mormon has been prominently mentioned in many news articles about her books and about the film — mostly because writing books about vampires seems incongruous with the perception of Mormonism.

    And I read at least one prominent review on a widely-read blog that claimed that the Twilight series is an elaborate ploy to teach Mormonism. I didn’t buy it myself (I think the author of the blog review doesn’t understand Mormonism at all), but apparently some of those suspicious of Mormonism have been alerted.

    I don’t think we can claim that everyone who reads her books knows she is Mormon, or even that the majority do so. But enough have had that fact in their grasp that I have to say she has had a wide impact.

    Is it a larger impact than anyone else, I’m not sure yet.

  132. I vote for David Archuleta!

    I’m not Mormon. I hope my vote counts. David has been an inspiration to me and to thousands of people. David is an amazingly talented young man but most important, he is a beautiful human being. I’m 42 years old and I have never been so inspired by anybody like I’ve been by David. I have learned so much from him. He is such a great role model for teenagers and adults too. David inspires love, peace, joy. Also, thanks to David, I have learned more about Mormons and Mormonism even though he doesn’t preach his religion; just his beautiful essence, his values, his priorities made me learned more about Mormonism. I think David started his mission some time ago and he is doing such an amazing job. He has helped so many to become better people (myself included); he has make us understand and believe that everything has positive outcomes, even during bad times. He defines the meaning of “Goodness” to the maximum.

  133. I think David Archuleta has been an amazing courier for the Mormon Church. Many people really knew nothing about the Latter Day Saints, and because of the impression David made upon them, and the way he lives his life, they have learned much about the Mormons. He exudes such a joy for life, such respect for his church, its laws and elders, people just naturally wanted to know more about this religion. He has touched the life of so many, and the message has spread so far, I think David Archuleta is definitely the most important Mormon of the Year.

    DAVID ARCHULETA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  135. Kent, if this were an actual vote, how many would DA get for #189? Just curious.

    Aren’t fan clubs wonderful things?

  136. I think it’s about time for T&S to allow enhanced emoticons and animated GIFs in comments. Then it will get RILLY awesome around here.

  137. I’m not Mormon. I don’t practice any religion. But I can’t imagine a better role model no matter what faith or race than David Archuleta. He exemplifies what we should all strive to be – honest, caring, giving, selfless, humble, loving. He has inspired more people, improved the lives of more people, helped more people than all the others you mention combined. He makes us all want to be better people, regardless of our religion. Forget Mormon of the year, he should be person of the year. You should feel priveleged that he is a member of your community.

  138. Ray (190):

    In my view, ZERO, for annoying people for trying to vote when this isn’t a vote. OR, ZERO for trying to vote multiple times.

    Please. Let’s give the fan battle a rest.

  139. David Archuleta… INSPITE of him being a Mormon… I only hope he will have the fortitude to investigate and then choose for HIMSELF…but he SHOULD win for now :)

  140. OK, Here is the vote plan:

    1. At midnight tonight US Eastern Time (or when I get to it shortly thereafter), comments on this post will be closed, and only those nominated at that point will be included.

    2. Soon afterwards, I will add a post here to Times and Seasons where you can vote (or that will link to the page where you can vote). Votes will be taken until midnight Eastern Time on Monday, January 5th, at which time the voting will close.

    The voting mechanism will attempt to restrict votes to one per person.


    The results of the vote will be considered by the bloggers and editors here at Times & Seasons (and anyone we invite to participate) as part of the process of choosing a Mormon of the Year. I imagine that the results will likely be the deciding factor in anything close to a tie, for example, as well as in any number of possible scenarios.

    BECAUSE OF THIS, PLEASE VOTE! We will announce, in any case, the results of the online vote, as well as any indication we have that voting was stacked, fraudulent or otherwise problematic. So please, vote only once.

    Feel free to annouce the vote where ever you wish. Since many have asked, non-Mormons are free to vote (I can’t see how we could prevent non-Mormons if we wished to anyway).

    But above all, please use judgement. Remember this is NOT about popularity. It IS about judging the impact that these nominees had on the world and on Mormonism.

  141. Cathy (195),

    You clearly don’t understand the nature of this recognition. If you want Archuleta in spite of him being Mormon, then you don’t understand that this is ABOUT the nominee being Mormon!!

    I suggest you find another venue to express your feelings about him.

  142. I’d nominate The Professional and Faithful Historian, exemplified by the authors of MMM, the first volume of the JS Papers and Nobody Knows. 2008 will go down as a watershed year for Mormon history, largely due to the work of these talented and courageous men and women.

  143. I’d nominate David Archuleta for Mormon of the Year.
    Truthfully, I never knew much about the Mormon religion before I saw David perform, which made me want to know more about him. He is such a great person and a role model for people all over the world. He introduced me to the Mormon religion and many others, So I truly believe he’s been on a mission for a long time, because he’s introduced so many people to the religion.
    David was my first impression of a Mormon, and it was a very good one. :)

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