Nominate the 2010 Mormon of the Year


Its that time of year again. The media are already reviewing the important news stories of the year, Time will soon select its Person of the Year (one Mormon — Glenn Beck — has been nominated this year); so we should get busy selecting the Mormon of the Year.

For those who don’t remember, T&S selected Mitt Romney as the Mormon of the Year for 2008, and Harry Reid for 2009. As in the past, the choice does not mean that the person is a good Mormon or even a good person. This designation is solely about the impact the person has had.

I think the ground rules are basically the same as in the past (suggestions about changes to the rules are welcome – we try to improve the rules each year):

  • Nominees must be Mormon somehow — nominees must have been baptized and claim to be Mormon.
  • Nominees must have been living at some point during the year.
  • The LDS Church First Presidency (including the Prophet) and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are not eligible (because they would win every year, making the selection pointless).
  • Nominees must have had enough of an impact to have made the news during the year.
  • Collective nominees (i.e., all those who did x) are welcome.

Please do not try to  vote YET!! We’re just calling for nominations at this point. Voting will begin January 1st.

When you nominate someone, please provide a link to somewhere (such as wikipedia, news stories, etc.) where we can get further information on them). AND, please give us some rationale for why you think this person should be Mormon of the Year. We will also look at the number of hits on Google News ( that each nominee has.

You can make nominations in the comments to this post until New Year’s Eve. During that time, we will try to post profiles of the major nominees. If you would like to submit your own profile of any nominee not yet profiled, we will consider posting it here. We hope that these profiles will provide additional information on the nominees.

Starting January 1st, visitors to Times & Seasons will be able to indicate their preference in an online poll. However, the final selection of Mormon of the Year will be made by the permanent bloggers here on Times and Seasons. There is no prize or award associated with this selection, nor will we make any formal presentation or even notification to the person or persons selected.

I look forward to seeing the nominees and selection this year. An election year in the U.S. always leads to new faces in the news, Mormons who have had a great impact or influence on Mormons and Mormonism during 2009.

Here are my own nominations:

  • 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). [26,000 results on Google News]
  • Glenn Beck – High-profile TV talk show host on Fox News has been perhaps the most controversial TV personality during the past year. [7,580 results on Google News]
  • 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. [5,050 results on Google News]
  • Elizabeth Smart – In the spotlight again because of the trial of her abductor, Smart showed composure and dignity in the national spotlight. [9,100 results on Google News]
  • Russell Pearce — The Arizona State Senate President-elect made national headlines as the lead sponsor of Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration bill, SB1070. [1,450 results on Google News]

I’m certain that I’ve left out many people who have had a significant impact. That is why we open the nominations to you, our readers. Please help us nominate those who have had a significant impact.

As of January 1st, we have closed nominations and comments to this post. Please see the poll post to vote and make further comments.

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126 comments for “Nominate the 2010 Mormon of the Year

  1. Not as heavy-weight as some of the nominations you suggest but Brady Udall should be in the running.

  2. In this throw-the-bums-out year, I’m really hoping it is not a politician again. While Elizabeth Smart deserves privacy, not publicity, I think your comment that she “showed composure and dignity in the national spotlight” is spot on. More composure and dignity than most politicians are generally able to muster.

  3. My nomination goes to Christian Jacobs.

    He’s the creator of the hit kid’s tv series Yo Gabba Gabba and the lead singer of the Aquabats. I think he should be nominated because of his inspiring story of how Yo Gabba Gabba was created and his powerfully good influence in the media. He’s also the coolest of all those nominated.

  4. I like the nomination of Elizabeth Smart, because while her impact may not be as political or money-oriented as some, she has had an incredible unseen impact in the hearts of victims, LDS or not.

  5. I nominate Mark Zuckerberg, who, if the rumors are to be believed, recently became a Mormon, being baptized, according to sources, by Steve Martin. Even if the rumors aren’t true, I’m sure some Mormon somewhere was proxy baptized for Zuckerberg’s Jewish ancestors. That has to count for something.

  6. Outreach to LGBT community: Marlin Jensen, for his outreach and personal apology to the LGBT community for certain things done re Proposition 8; Michael Otterson for outstanding leadership (including outreach to LGBT community) as Church spokesperson; Dean Criddle, president Oakland stake–LGBT outreach, Cary Jensen, president Rochester stake, same (and stake’s sponsorship of Facing East); Carolyn Pearson, outreach to LGBT community.

    Neylan McBain–founder and editor in chief of the Mormon Women Project and also a producer of several videos

    Group award–to those who originated the idea for, who developed it, who produced it, who contributed to

    Jana Reiss–for her balanced and interesting writing on which is accessible to LDS and nonLDS

    WH Pugmire, one of the few hardcore-punk queer transvestite rebaptized active Mormons, and Lovecraftian.

    Jeff Flake, GOP representative, respected by both sides of the aisle for his principles and unafraid to stand up for the unpopular even in his own party.

  7. I just sent several suggestions, one of which may have been caught in a filter because I used a word trans . . . .ite

  8. Jacob B. (11) LOL. But, to be clear, we need something that says the individual actually claims to be Mormon.

    Guy (7), the rules say that the person must have been baptized and must currently claim to be Mormon. I assume that if Brian David Mitchell was baptized at some point, he has since been excommunicated (but don’t have any evidence at this point). Nor do I know that he still claims to be Mormon (I haven’t followed the case). Perhaps someone else can clarify?

  9. Good list, and I am leaning towards Elizabeth Smart because she’s an example of an ordinary Mormon who didn’t seek out publicity, but who handled it well when it was thrust upon her.

    However, I recommend one exception to your exclusionary policy against apostles: Boyd K. Packer. His October Conference speech generated publicity and controversy far beyond what one would normally expect of a General Authority. Both pro and anti-Packer camps emerged within our ranks, and the speech triggered a renewed outreach towards gays by the LDS Church.

  10. Given that political figures are going to affect the lives of far more Americans than artists, perhaps separate categories are in order for political, scientific, and artistic influential Mormons. In the artistic arena, I second the nomination for Brady Udall.

  11. I also like the idea of some sort of recognition for Elizabeth Smart, and there is no question about the class and dignity with which she conducted herself during the trial. Still…is it really possible to make an argument that she has any kind of influence on any of our lives on an ongoing or forward looking basis? Has she altered or influenced the course of pop culture? Has she influenced public policy in a meaningful way? Has she contributed to science, literature, or any other field?

    Again, I don’t want in anyway to diminish what she’s been through, or the phenomenal way in which she carried herself. I’m just not exactly sure how she has influenced my life in any discernible way.

  12. Sister Smart would be a nice and easy choice. It might also lead to fewer T&S permas having to deny they had anything to do with it…which is always annoying.

    Guy just likes Mormonites with beards.

    Of course, it should be Glenn Beck.

  13. Glenn Beck is an embarrassment to our faith and to our country. I nominate him for Idiot of the Year.

  14. People who call other individuals embarrassments to our faith and country are the ones who should be embarrassed. Cue the dingbat who will say,”Harry Reid is the real embarrassment.”

    Glenn Beck is not all that different than most Mormons I know. I do not agree with him on a single thing. But…say something less stupid about him if you are going to snark against him.

  15. Elizabeth Smart, for her victory in court and her great example of turning her life around after such major challenges.

    second vote for Harry Reid, for barely saving his own political life.

  16. I nominate Brandon Sanderson, (I also nominated him last year, but he wasn’t included in the reader polls).

    Brandon Sanderson, while not as well-known as Stephenie Meyer, has quickly risen to the top of the ranks in fiction writing–particularly in the fantasy genre.

    He was selected to finish one of the most popular fantasy series of our time, The Wheel of Time, when the original author Robert Jordan passed away. Jordan’s wife read Sanderson’s material and picked him as the best man for the job.

    This year, Robert Jordan had two books hit the NY times bestseller list, and fans, Mormon and otherwise, frequently discuss how his faith affects his stories.

  17. As loathe as I am to vote for another politics guy–both because of the “politics” and “guy” part–I can’t see anyone but Glenn Beck taking it. I rarely agree with him–and often become more than frustrated with what he says–but no one can deny his influence. He was the loudest voice in a national narrative that succeeded in influencing a general election and dominating the common interpretation of the current presidential administration.

    However, I *want* to give the ward to Neylan McBain and the others involved with the videos and websites. I am a big fan of the project in demonstrating the heterogeneity within the Church.

    And I deeply sympathize with the vote for Elizabeth Smart, but I have the same reservations that Scott B outlines in #19. She is an amazing individual and representative for the Church, though.

  18. Not being a Beck fan I am sorry to say it, but get real people: anyone who seriously maintains that there is another self-identified Mormon who has had anything even close to as influential an impact on public life as Glenn Beck has had in 2010, The Year the Tea Parties Took Their Revenge, is operating under a delusion even greater than those who argued against giving the Mormon of the Year award to Harry Reid in 2009, The Year Health Care Reform Actually Passed the Senate.

    As much as some may want to use the award to signal virtue and/or approval or some such thing, in the end this is a contest over Mormons who matter to public life, broadly defined. And, given the fact that there really aren’t that many influentially situated Mormons in the world, the result is a pretty small pool. Stephenie Meyer has certainly had a huge impact on popular culture, but her influence has unfortunately coincided with a year in which a Mormon for the first time made a truly credible run for the presidency (2008), a Mormon shepherded a controversial and important act of legislation through a massively dysfunctional institution (2009), and a Mormon became a ringmaster for a huge popular uprising, including hosting an enormous political rally in Washington DC (2010). Maybe, if the Twilight phenomenon continues unabated, she’ll have better luck in 2011.

  19. Elizabeth Smart should take the cake. A girl who went through all of that, then serves a mission, then comes home from her mission to testify against her kidnapper, and goes back to the mission, and then expresses hopes of becoming a prosecutor in the future. That is confronting some major demons. She is an honest to goodness heroine. Elizabeth Smart has a profoundly positive on all people, in spite of their political or religious differences, in the way that she has dealt with her own adversities.

    Also don’t choose Glenn Beck. Yes he has had a profound influence, but for the wrong reasons. It would be almost the equivalent of naming Steve Jones (the 9/11 truther former professor of BYU put on paid leave for his publications) as Mormon of the year. Glenn Beck’s conspiracy theories are dangerous and hyperbolic. Also T&S wouldn’t want to be known for choosing him as Mormon of the year.

  20. Elizabeth Smart. One of the new Mormons in the public eye who actually raises our profile in a positive manner.

  21. I know this is supposed to be a nominations thread and not a stump speech thread, but I can’t help seconding (or 22ing) the nomination of Elizabeth Smart. My admiration for her grows with every press mention. This is a Latter-day Saint in the absolutely best sense of the label, and her influence in the world as a Latter-day Saint will continue to grow as she continues to move beyond her nightmare and takes up her work in the world, whatever that turns out to be. If we could have more Elizabeth Smarts without the horror that helped make her what she is (but only helped make her that, because her character seems naturally courageous and good), the world would be a better place.

  22. #19 Scott B.— I imagine that is because you have not been abused in any way. For those of us who have, it makes a huge difference, restoring faith in a difficult judicial process.

  23. Donnie Osmond said: “What am I, chopped liver?”

    Not to me, Donnie. In fact, in my mind you’ll always be my soldier of love.

  24. I wasn’t alive until 1978 and then in Canada so I missed the whole Osmond Phenomenon but he is still way super cool for appearing in a Weird Al Yankovic video!

  25. I’m actually ashamed that I didn’t notice this one in the list above, but I actually think that Russell Pearce is every bit as viable of a candidate as Glenn Beck. He has been at the epicenter of some of the most emotionally divisive legislation on a hot-button issue in recent memory, and the potential implications of that legislation are enormous, for Mormons and non-Mormons alike.

  26. SilverRain (34),
    I think that your comment has absolutely nothing to do with what I said. Thanks, though, for twisting my words around in such a way as to make me look insensitive to abuse victims.

  27. I don’t think that was SilverRain’s intent, Scott. Whether someone has been abused or not, drawing strength from Elizabeth’s model, or beginning to have faith again in the legal system, is no little thing. In fact, it’s why I think Elizabeth Smart has had a greater impact than someone like Glenn Beck or Russell Pearce. Yes, those two men may be involved in more “important” affairs if someone wants to designate it that way (you didn’t, I don’t mean to put words in your mouth). They get talked about, they have a lot more ink spilled on them, they control and influence lots of money, but really, except for my disgust at the two of them, Beck and Pearce don’t have a crumb of direct impact on me and millions like me. Elizabeth Smart, on the other hand, is someone who gives me hope directly and who therefore has a greater impact.

  28. Well, that makes Smart an aspirational choice. I am cool with that (like T&S cares what I think). In reality, none of these people really have an impact on any of us directly.

  29. 19:

    Again, I don’t want in anyway to diminish what [Elizabeth Smart has] been through, or the phenomenal way in which she carried herself. I’m just not exactly sure how she has influenced my life in any discernible way.


    I imagine that is because you have not been abused in any way.

    Uh… wow. As Ardis suggests, I hope you didn’t mean that the way it sounds, SR, because the way it sounds is repulsive.

  30. Going by Mitchell’s own preferences, as the self-proclaimed end-times Davidic servant that restores the divinely led Kingdom of Israel in preparation for the second coming, he has repeatedly indicated he should be addressed by a “revelatory” name of “Immanuel David Isaiah.” His church (“Church”) is the Church of Jesus Christ of the Sanctified and the Last Day but he was excommunicated in absentia from the mainstream LDS Church in June 2002.

  31. Correction: the “Church of Jesus Christ and the Sanctified and the Last Days” (it had only one other adherent, other than Mitchell, in the person of Ms. Barzee).

  32. Geoff B (47), I assume you are joking. Even if not, I think we will have to have a rule excluding current and former T&S perms.

    Anyway, here is the list of the additional nominations so far:

    • Brady Udall — LDS author of The Lonely Polygamist [7 results on Google News]
    • Steve Evans — Founder of By Common Consent and [3 results on Google News]
    • Brandon Flowers — Lead singer for The Killers [1,400 results on Google News]
    • Christian Jacobs — Lead singer of The Aquabats and creator of the children’s television show Yo Gabba Gabba! [47 results on Google News]
    • Jimmer Fredette — Current star BYU basketball player [876 results on Google News]
    • Elder Marlin Jensen — Elder Jensen promoted a kinder approach to homosexuals and improved the Church’s image in the process. [3 results on Google News]
    • Michael Otterson — The Church’s Public Affairs director, known for his writing in the Washington Post. [25 results on Google News]
    • Dean Criddle — Stake President in San Francisco who promoted a kinder approach to homosexuals. [0 results on Google News]
    • Cary Jensen — Stake President in Rochester, New York who promoted a kinder approach to homosexuals. [0 results on Google News]
    • Carol Lynn Pearson — LDS author of, most recently, Facing East, known in recent years for her efforts on behalf of homosexuals. [3 results on Google News]
    • Neylan McBaine — Creator of the Mormon Women’s Project and promoter of [0 results on Google News]
    • Developers/Producers/Contributors to [11 results on Google News]
    • Jana Riess — Author of books examining the role of religion in modern life. [9 results on Google News]
    • W. H. Pugmire — Author of horror fiction who converted to Mormonism. [0 results on Google News]
    • Jeff Flake — Arizona congressman known for his stand against earmarks. [517 results on Google News]
    • Brandon Sanderson — Fantasy author who took over Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. [80 results on Google News]
    • My Local Bishop
  33. According to the official criteria, Glen Beck, Russell Pearce and Harry Reid might be the obvious options – but I also support Elizabeth Smart and would vote for her due to the fact that the listed criteria don’t say the winner has to have had the largest impact. They simply say the person has to have had a significant enough impact to have been given attention by the media. The title, after all, is NOT “Most Influential Mormon of the Year”; rather, it simply is “Mormon of the Year”.

    Elizabeth Smart fits the criteria perfectly, and I think she’s the best example of them all this year. To me, she is Mormon of the Year – and it’s not really much of a contest.

  34. Is it just me or did Kent’s list leave off Elizabeth Smart; the most talked about person on the whole thread?

  35. Elizabeth Smart is an outstanding example, but I also fail to see how she fits into a discussion about the “impact” they’ve had.

    I vote for whoever is behind the Church’s new websites and the “I’m a Mormon” campaign.

  36. “Impact” is a difficult meter to gauge. My community college students (all non-Mormon)know next to nothing about people like Glenn Beck and Harry Reid. But, they ALL know Elizabeth Smart. They know much more about her than I do.

    ‘Personal impact’ vs. ‘impact-even-though-you-don’t-know-it.’

    #52 Smart was on the original list, hence covered.

  37. Scott B. (and LDG)—Easy, now. It wasn’t at all intended to make you look insensitive, only to point out that she DID make a huge, personal difference to a lot of people. I sincerely hope you have NOT been abused by the legal system or by people.

  38. RAF’s comment notwithstanding (#27), MOTY is neither a popularity contest or pseudo-objective measure of who made the biggest public splash this last year. Positive contributions carry more weight, at least in my mind, than the kind of noisemaking or airtime that some individuals can generate by simply stirring up controversy. A Mormon who went out and blew up a couple of banks would make an impact, but I’d still vote for a Mormon who wrote a good book or two even if they didn’t capture the attention of the mainstream media.

    So just because Glenn Beck has made a lot of noise doesn’t mean he’s a shoo-in for MOTY. If BCC wants to run its own version of MOTY using RAF’s criteria, they are welcome to do so.

  39. Some of you may recall that two years ago (right after the first Mormon of the Year debate), I submitted a series of guest posts speculating on who might have been Mormon of the Year in each year between 1950 and 2007. Elizabeth Smart was my choice for 2003, the year she was rescued.

    What say the T&S permabloggers ratify my choice and retroactively name Elizabeth Smart Mormon of the Year for 2003? Then swallow hard and name Glenn Beck or Russell Pearce for 2010.

  40. My community college students know who Harry Reid is and most of the know Glenn Beck. Only 2 or 3 are LDS. Of course, being my student means that the are taking American Government.

    Most of them also do not know who Kurt Cobain is, so I am not sure if they are a great standard.

    Dave, airing cross blog bitterness was great fun for this observer.

  41. Thanks so much for all the Elizabeth Smart info. I had not heard about any of this. I do remember her rescue because we made a trip to Utah, but I had no idea what became of her, and it is a wonderful story.

  42. I agree with the “I’m a Mormon” campaign. Or Emily Sherinian if we have to have a specific name.

    It made me feel like I am a mainstream Mormon, too!

  43. I nominate the Hough family, with siblings Derek, Julianne, Sharee, Katherine, Marabeth, and parents Bruce Hough and Marriann Nelson. (1130 hits on Google News)

  44. Dave (57), for the record, I really like BCC’s Boggs-Doniphan Award. I wish I had come up with the idea. As far as I know that is the only version of the MOTY that anyone has done (although MOTY is really just a version of the other “person” of the year selections each year — we’re really all derivative of others, aren’t we!)

    But, to be honest, I’m not sure what you see as RAF’s criteria. What he said in (27) sounds fairly close to the view I have (unless I’m misreading things). The problem with saying “positive” contributions carry more weight is that “positive” is a very hard thing to define — not everyone will agree about what is “positive.”

    Last Lemming (58), your series of guest posts were invaluable. I really enjoyed them. However, I disagree about Elizabeth Smart. To me (don’t know about the other permabloggers here on T&S), Smart has more impact now because she is acting by choice, and not as a victim.

  45. I nominate Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay, who had a excellent 2010.

    21 wins (1st in NL)
    2.44 ERA (3rd in NL)
    250 2/3 innings pitched (1st in NL)
    219 strikeouts (2nd in NL)
    30 walks (first pitcher since 1923 to throw 250 or more innings and give up 30 or fewer walks)
    4 shutouts (1st in NL)
    9 complete games (1st in NL)
    Threw a perfect game and a no-hitter (only perfect game pitcher to throw another no-hitter in the same season)
    Unanimous selection as 2010 NL Cy Young Award winner (his 2nd Cy Young Award; 5th pitcher in history to win award in both leagues)

  46. Brian Larsen (54) and Chris H. (59), it would be easier to understand your comments if we knew what city and state your institutions are in. I have a feeling that Brian may be in the Intermountain West, but I could be wrong.

  47. Justin, you neglected to mention that the no-hitter came in the post season, when the quality of hitter is, arguably at least, better.

    Baseball fan as I am, I certainly find your argument appealing. My only doubt is whether Halladay considers himself Mormon any more. Its my understanding that he became somewhat disaffected before he left Toronto.

  48. “Justin, you neglected to mention that the no-hitter came in the post season, when the quality of hitter is, arguably at least, better.”

    Good point. I’ll add that he became the second pitcher ever to throw a no-hitter in the postseason.

    “My only doubt is whether Halladay considers himself Mormon any more. Its my understanding that he became somewhat disaffected before he left Toronto.”

    Don’t know. Nonpracticing is the latest description I’ve seen.

  49. Kent,

    Yes, of course that information (#65) would help. I’m in the Midwest – Iowa. I teach rhetoric and frequently bring up politics. Some students have heard of Glenn Beck, but they only have the vaguest notion of who he is or what he represents. Even less for Harry Reid.

    The other day, I pulled up a random news article to show them how to integrate quotes in their papers and it happened to be on Elizabeth Smart. It was one of the great moments when suddenly I found something they would talk about. They knew the names of her parents, etc.

    While political figures may have a larger impact on my students’ lives (and those of similar demographics) in the ‘invisible hand’ way, I do believe there is something to be said for the figures who ‘visibly’ influence not only a similar demographic to mine, but also other demographics.

  50. Most of them also do not know who Kurt Cobain is, so I am not sure if they are a great standard.

    Sounds like “most” of your students should get an F.

  51. I’m thinking it is probably Elizabeth Smart’s year. I don’t really think Glenn Beck will ever win the MOTY, because this list is just a little to liberal to vote him in…. I also like Jeff Flake.

  52. Rameumpton (70): “I don’t really think Glenn Beck will ever win the MOTY, because this list is just a little to liberal to vote him in”


    First, if by “list” you mean the readers of T&S — you need to remember that the MOTY online poll doesn’t select the MOTY.

    If by “list” you mean the bloggers here at T&S, who do select the MOTY, well, I suppose that some of us are a bit liberal.

    But then again, we did select Mitt Romney in 2008 as MOTY — hardly a liberal move.

  53. Kent (72)

    There’s a big difference between Romney and Beck. I’m not a Beck fan, either, and would have to think twice, or even three times before I chose him. I was just discussing reality.

    Elizabeth Smart or Glenn Beck; cute little puppy or junk yard dog; who would you pick? I know my vote would be for Elizabeth….

    BTW, Kent, after all the times you’ve read the BoM, I’d think you could spell “Rameumptom” correctly by now. ;-)

  54. Ram,

    Two of those pointing to Beck on this thread are socialists (Rusell and me). Of course, when I did so, it was not with bravery. It must be because I am so politically correct.

  55. I nominate Michael Otterson. (Though with Elizabeth Smart or G. Beck on the ballot it’s rather like being up for best picture the same year as Ben-Hur, Titanic, or the 3rd Lord of the Rings film.)

  56. I can’t believe the serious treatment being given here to Elizabeth Smart as a candidate. I also saw yesterday that “the Chilean miners” were listed as runners-up to Mark Zuckerberg as Time Person of the Year, which struck me as similarly crazy.

    Look, I have no doubt that many people recognize Elizabeth Smart’s name. Her tragic kidnapping was a splashy tabloid-y case, all over the cable news. People are also very good at identifying Tiger Woods’ ex, and that “double rainbows” guy from YouTube, and the entire cast of Jersey Shore.

    But that’s not the same as impact. A tiny minority of Elizabeth Smart fans are, I would imagine, people like SilverRain who have personal reasons to consider her an important activist. That’s great, but there’s no comparison between that kind of niche “impact” and something that a really influential newsmaker and public voice (like, unfortunately, Glenn Beck or Russell Pearce) can have on your daily life.

    Elizabeth Smart, looking striking self-controlled and in charge of her life years after surviving a terrible ordeal, can make you feel good for a moment, sure. But influential policymakers can do a little more than that. They can affect how much income tax you’ll be paying in five years, or whether or not you’ll have a job, or health care, or whether your cousin will be home from Iraq or Afghanistan, or whether or not the gay people you know can marry, or whether or not the immigrants you know will be granted citizenship, or . . . It’s a pretty long list.

    Is there a recency effect here? The Mitchell trial lasted only a month, but it did end just before the MotY nominations began. Maybe if we were considering which Mormon had the most impact in November 2010, Elizabeth Smart would have a shot. But over an entire calendar year, she’s not even a footnote. Russell is right: it’s Glenn Beck by a landslide. The guy is a cancer, but there’s no getting away from his impact.

  57. 1. Mormon marriage activists, either pro marriage equality or pro traditional marriage (the list writes itself!)

    2. Mormon immigration reform activists (Sen. Bennett? Mark Shurtleff? non Qo12 GAs that wrote the LDS Church’s letter? I dunno, local opinion columnist Orson Scott Card (who ironically is also involved in the category above)? …

    3. A generalized nomination for LDS Tea Partiers, including of course Beck and Sen.-Elect Lee but also, say, Skousen mentoree/Beck fellow traveller Bill Norton? etc.

  58. Many of the nominators are confusing admiration with impact. If the criteria for Mormon of the Year is which Latter-day Saint made the biggest impact, then it is hard to argue against the award going to Glenn Beck, whether you love him or hate him. And Harry Reid probably comes in a close second. In this year of the Tea Party and the revitalization of the radical right, one cannot underestimate the impact of Brother Beck. As for the Elizabeth Smart nominations, I think we have a “recency effect” going on with these, because the trial has been in the news nationwide and further for the past few weeks. Back up even a few months and I doubt her name would have surfaced among any of the nominators, despite the highly admirable way she has represented herself and Latter-day Saints. And as far as Donny Osmond, I could almost make an admiration case for him because he gave hope to middle-aged and pain-addled people everywhere by winning “Dancing with the Stars” while over the age of 50!

  59. So, serious question, Kent:

    Is this the award for the Mormon who had the broadest impact in our world – or not? Iow, can it be determined largely as a function of Google hits and number of peopel reached – or not?

    That’s not stated clearly in the post, and the answer changes the award significantly.

    If it just is the broadest impact, I will end up voting for Glenn Beck; if it doesn’t have to be the broadest impact, I will vote for Elizabeth Smart.

    Which is it?

  60. ken, how dare you insinuate that I am not in the prime of my youth! Have you seen my billboard as you drive through Vegas? Flawless.

  61. (re #81): Donny, don’t get me wrong: I think am the same age as you (currently 53), and I saw your performances on “Stars” as total vindication that at least someone my age could still hoof it and beat out younger people in a tough test of physicality and grace! Because these days it’s a test for me to go up my stairs without hearing the telltale clicking sound of loose cartiledge in my knees. You rock.

  62. Yes!___ Donny should get one of those lifetime (and his sister) awards. They have been around___FOREVER!

  63. Is Cleon Skousen still eligible? He’s had a big year…

    Ben’s idea in #78 actually has a lot of merit, as I think about it. Being dead, he’s disqualified on the basis of Kent’s criteria laid out in the original post, and of course his influence on public life today is almost entirely through the agency of Glenn Beck. Still, arguably it is his ideas, his interpretations of American history, his vision of the unity of God’s purposes and the United States of America, and his–let us be frank–highly paranoid and conspiratorial view of the world which has done as much as any other mortal source to mold Beck’s overall message, and thus that of the Tea Party. Not that your average Tea Party member is a Skousenite, but still hundreds of thousands of people, both those in the movement and merely sympathetic to it, have read The 5000-Year Leap over the past year, and found its message entirely to their liking. And, unlike the hundreds of thousands (or millions?) that have bought, read, and loved Stephenie Meyer’s books, Skousen’s words are shaping their public actions, whereas if Meyers words have truly shaped the actions of readers, it has mostly done so in, shall we say, private ways. Food for thought, anyway.

  64. Although it isn’t completely clear-cut, I can’t help thinkin’ there’s a big man/woman thing going on here. Men seem to be chest-thumping for political figures, not on the grounds that those figures are themselves anything special but merely because they are Important and Engaged in What Really Matters. The support for more personal kinds of “mattering” comes almost exclusively from women.

  65. By my count, most of the pro-Smart posts above are from men.

    People like political figures are often the high scorers in polls like these not because of chauvinism but because, per their job description, almost every professional action they make can cause fundamental changes to millions of lives.

    Stephenie Meyer is a good example of a Mormon who has made a vast change to our culture and happens to be a woman. (Russell is right that she would have been a shoo-in if not for remarkable, once-in-a-generation-type actions by Harry Reid and Glenn Back in the past two calendar years.) She would be a much better poster girl for the “not all influential people are male politicians!” argument than a (perfectly nice, wonderful, etc.) cultural footnote like Elizabeth Smart, who was on NOBODY’s minds during the first ten months of the year in question.

  66. Is there some criteria that says the winner needed to be influential throughout the entire year? Are Dark Horse candidates permissible? – there on the sidelines the whole time but who then come back in at the end of the year to influence more people in more positives way than someone visible the whole time? is such a thing possible?

  67. “Stephenie Meyer is a good example of a Mormon who has made a vast change to our culture and happens to be a woman.”

    Vast change in our culture? I know that this isn’t StephEnie’s year (maybe last year), and she has sold a whole bunch of books (may the tithing coffers ring!), but a ‘change in our culture.?’ Eh, no.

    She was worth, at most, a year’s escape from the world of getting and spending for many people, but no more—sort of an animate fad.

    No one will even have reason to spell her name correctly in five years.

  68. Ray (80) wrote:

    Is this the award for the Mormon who had the broadest impact in our world – or not? Iow, can it be determined largely as a function of Google hits and number of peopel reached – or not?

    That’s not stated clearly in the post, and the answer changes the award significantly.

    If it just is the broadest impact, I will end up voting for Glenn Beck; if it doesn’t have to be the broadest impact, I will vote for Elizabeth Smart.

    Which is it?

    The Google news hits is something new this year. Like the poll we will host here starting January 1st, its simply a guideline or piece of evidence, something especially useful when we don’t know as much about the nominee. It is NOT meant to be a formal metric.

    But, I don’t think we want to make this selection by some formula Probably the best way to see this is as a judgment made by the T&S bloggers after collecting the comments, poll results and other input that you, our readers, provide.

    I’m not at all sure that I can answer your question about broadest impact or not. Come to think of it, I guess I didn’t put the definition of the Mormon of the Year in the post as I should have. You can find it in the first poll we took asking readers their opinion on who should be Mormon of the Year 3 years ago:

    I wrote then:

    Who, except for the Quorum of the Twelve and First Presidency, has had the most impact on Mormons and Mormonism [this year]?

    As always we here at T&S are happy to hear your thoughts on this definition. But I also realize that it also doesn’t really answer your question completely.

    You know, ambiguity is good sometimes!

  69. I nominate Jennette McCurdy just to be different. After all, Icarly is a huge hit and seen by a very large younger audience and has been for years. She also came out with a country song this year that was a minor hit. Not that I would vote for her, but just because she deserves to be recognized as much as Brandon Flowers. Yes, only 29 Google news hits, but huge fan base.

  70. Ray (80), for what its worth, I’m not even sure that I agree with you that if the criteria is “broadest impact” then the answer is necessarily Glenn Beck. I can see the argument that Stephenie Meyer has a much broader impact, simply because her books have been translated into dozens of languages and read around the world. In most of those places the population is unlikely to have heard of Glenn Beck, to be honest. [I do think that newsjunkies and the more highly educated part of the population MAY have heard of him, especially if they speak English.

    But remember, nearly 50% of Mormons do not speak English. Meyer reaches them, Beck does not.

    I’m NOT saying that I think Meyer is who should be chosen. I don’t know yet and I reserve my opinion until its time for by co-bloggers and I to make the selection. But I do see a valid argument for that view, and its one I will consider when the time comes.

  71. Jettboy (90), FWIW, McCurdy is very big in our house. Fortunately, my seven year old hasn’t yet taken to carrying a rack of ribs around in her purse. [GRIN]

  72. Jettboy –

    dude – it’s “iCarly” – note the lowercase “i.” Very important. Also: Jennette McCurdy is LDS? I had no idea. The first page of Google hits comes with lots of people saying she is, but no actual evidence. Where’s the evidence? (Not being skeptical – just curious).

    iCarly is a very weird show. But entertaining.

  73. I’d like to add my voice to the group nomination of those who created the new site with all of its accompanying promotional materials. Our stake center has piles of the business-card-like handouts and bookmarks. The bishops in the three wards sharing our building all invited members to use these cards as an extremely passive way to share the message of, and the new site allows for members to be more involved. Finally, the chat with a missionary feature on the site has helped lead to the conversion and baptism of new members (including a young single adult woman in my old ward who is now serving in the Relief Society presidency). The revamped site has had a huge impact on both Mormons and Mormonism this year.

  74. I think #88 underestimates Meyer’s impact substantially. Her (not very good, I’ll grant you) books ARE a youth-culture fad at heart, but they’ve had substantial impact on things like fashion, gender issues, romantic/sexual mores, maybe even literacy.

    I think the least you could say is that she’s had as much impact on our culture as a novelist EVER does. I’ll reserve judgment on what we’ll think of her five years from now, but literary history is full of best-selling authors who didn’t become punchlines.

  75. As a football lover, I have to nominate Eagles coach Andy Reid.

    I also think that Elizabeth Smart arguably has affected public policy with her advocacy for such things as a national Amber Alert system.

    It should also not be overlooked that if Elizabeth Smart had not been such a great example of Mormonism, the trial easily could have taken on a look-at-those-crazy-Mormons-who-turn-into-Brian David Mitchell narrative.

  76. Here’s one from Australia. Torah Bright – double world champion snowboarder and Olympic Gold Medallist. Only 39 mentions on Google news, but she had a big impact in raising the profile of the Church in Australia. She lead out our Aussie winter Olympic team as flag-bearer too. It seems that in almost every interview she does she gets to mention her Church membership.

  77. I still vote Glenn Beck, but after seeing David Archuleta with the MoTab this morning… forget Donny. Totally cute and sings like an angel. That should be enough for MOTY. :)

  78. Kent, use Googl’es custom range to get results for the entire year, or, that is, from January 1 to today: (1) Go to Google (I know, duh, lol). (2) Type query into search window (double duh…; anyway, that would be, say, “Brady Udall”…but BE SURE TO INCLUDE typing in the quotation marks, too!) (3) Click |News|. (It’s along the top.)

    –>For Brady, today, December 20, Google lists “9 results”: for (recent) news.

    (4) Click |Custom range…|. (It’s along the left side of the page.) (5) Type in “1/1/2010” and ____[today’s date]____ (such as 12/20/2011) in ‘From’ and ‘To’ bubbles, respectively.
    (6) Hit |Search|.

    –>And, Viola! You get “About 26 results”: for news, from January 1 to December 20, 2010.

  79. “Glenn Beck” produces 2,160 news hits for the year-to-date versus “Julainne Hough,” which nets 567.

  80. Of course, without TYPING IN QUOTATION MARKS, say, “Bill Norton,” in the search window you will get **every hit** involving a “bill” and also a “norton” without these two words necessarily being side-by-side and in their proper order for our purposes.

  81. I’m not a big fan of Glenn Beck, but it should probably be him. Could you imagine if he won it, heard about it, and mentioned Times and Seasons on his show? This blog would get a million hits in one day.

  82. Ooph!!!….. Maybe ppl nominating folks can use the run down I left then. Sorry. (I suppose the slight difference in Google results is due to where one is located then. Right?) By the way, this is a great theme. Thanks for coming up with it. (Or shamelessly copying it from Time magazine, as the case may be. Smiles!)

  83. what RAF said.

    Beck is doubly appropriate because not only did he have a huge year (how many other nominees can credibly claim to have inspired a failed terrorist attack against an obscure progressive non-profit?), but he also drew a ton of media attention to Mormonism in general and to the history of Mormon political radicalism in specific.

    some one famous who just happens to be Mormon (like Roy Halladay) is not a very good nominee because he has no impact on the Mormon tradition from the inside, nor on how Mormons are viewed from the outside.

  84. Reagan Republican (111), Aargh! Now you’ve biased our judges! [GRIN]

    Seriously, I hope we don’t make the choice for self-promotion. That isn’t our intention. This is also part of the reason we do not notify the person selected.

    But, we certainly have enjoyed the attention that has come from the media as a result of this designation.

  85. After watching Harry Reid on the stage this morning with Obama at the signing of DADT’s repeal, the urge hit me to drop by here and once again congratulate the T&S crew for their wise choice of last year’s MOTY and express my confidence that this year’s honoree will be no less deserving. And since I don’t come around much anymore – at least not for the purposes of making a nuisance of myself – I’d like to also mention that I think T&S has been one of the more readable Mormon blogs these past twelve months.

  86. The end of 2010 is really backloading Mormon events. Reid re-elected. The Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City hosts LDS gay activists such as oscar winner and Church member Dustin Lance Black and co-founder WordPerfect of Bruce Bastian among VIP guests at the annual MoTab Christmas show, this year featuring David Archuleta. Also towards the end of this year has been a slew of fires burning down LDS Church houses in far flung locations, including, most recently, the one at the local, 110-year-old Provo, Utah, Tabernacle.

  87. The Dream Act, co-sponsored (originally) by Orrin Hatch and marshalled to a vote by Reid (although Hatch skipped the vote), receives aye votes from Bennett (R – Utah) and also Udall (D – New Mexico), both of whom are LDS, at the same time other politicos who are LDS are in the forefront pushing for “nativism” or “our first securing The Border” (depending on respective polical view).

  88. I second Torah Bright to add her to the list.

    Like Elizabeth Smart, Torah did a lot to show the public that Mormon women aren’t weird but can contribute to society in positive ways -and they dress normally.

    Torah is a role model for many young girls around the world and every interview or news story seems to mention that she’s mormon. Smart is a role model for many victims of crime, many who otherwise would not come forward to report a rape let alone face their attackers in court. Plus many people found out from the Smart trial that Mormon women serve missions and dress normally.

    Both women brought positive publicity to the ‘Mormons’.

  89. We need to get some more Stephenie Meyer action going here. She has probably sold more books than any Mormon in history (Glenn Beck is probably a distant second), as per Kent’s point is certainly the best known living Mormon worldwide, and has had a substantive impact with her novelistic celebration of pre-marital abstinence. I refer everyone to the extensive commentary on her books focusing on how they make abstinence dramatically appealing, with the coverage usually referencing her religion.

  90. The Marines of C Co. 4th LAR, out of Riverton, Utah. This reserve company is most likely the most Mormon heavy company in the entire Marine Corps (close behind is F co. 2/23 out of Salt Lake). Since 2007 they have been deployed 3 times, twice to Iraq, once to Afghanistan, with most going on 2 of the deployments. While this deployment schedule is not out of the ordinary for most Marines, their dedication to service is. Many of the ‘older guys’ (I do mean guys, it is an infantry unit- no ladies) had already served their missions and have the experience of being out of country, many of the younger guys play the balance of timing the mission and deployments so no opportunity is missed. After one deployment, many wanted to serve their missions, but decided to stay with the company to go to Afghanistan and leave afterwards. I can’t think of too many young LDS men who would endure the delay of going on their missions until 22 or 23 years old. Not only do they serve their country, but they serve The Lord as well. I know there are other LDS members serving throughout the Military, but in my experience, these young (and old) men definitely meet the criteria of making an impact.

  91. #122 Cody,

    “been deployed 3 times, twice to Iraq, ”

    Really, you want to honor men who took part in an illegal invasion, the killing of innocent civilians, in a war which was simply based on a lie?

    Let’s hope God forgives them “for they know not what they do” and that God forgives your naivety or maybe outright stupidity in supporting killers of innocent Iraqi civilians.

  92. “Excuse me, what is an “illegal invasion”?”

    Doh!!; one where you aren’t defending yourself but only taking over some Ministry of Oil to control that nations production.

    Or one when you go in alleging Iraqi “Weapons of Mass destruction” when the only WMD were owned and run by the USA and its allies.

    If you weren’t defending your own land or reacting to an attack, like Pearl Habour, or defending against another invader, like Hitler, well then its simply an “illegal invasion”

    I could go on but the issue here is another.

  93. Charlie, whether one agrees with the invasion of Iraq or not, your attitude is very disturbing. You tend to blame the military for the choices their bosses make. Besides, there were some legitimate reasons beyond WMDs (of which some chemical weapons were found) to enter in there. Saddam and his sons slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who opposed them, including using chemical weapons on the Kurds.

    They now have a chance at electing their own officials and some freedom. Whether you agree with the invasion is one thing. Questioning on whether the military has to hope and pray God forgives them is another. It was this same attitude that had Americans spitting on soldiers as they returned from Vietnam.

    I agree that placing LDS soldiers, marines, airmen, and sailors on the list would be a wonderful thing to do (they aren’t all from Utah).

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