Mormon of the Year Nomination Update

We opened nominations for Mormon of the Year 2011 on December 9th. To keep everyone up to date, here are the nominations so far. Nominations remain open through December 31st, and a public vote on the candidates will begin January 1st. Feel free to make additional nominations or second any of those that have not yet been seconded, if you think they are worthy.

Nominated and seconded:

  • Stephen B. Allen — managing director of the Church’s missionary department and executive director of the “I’m a Mormon” campaign. I think this campaign has had a bigger impact both in and outside the church than anything else we’ve done in recent history. [2 results on Google News]
  • Joanna Brooks—Brooks gained prominence this year as a religion and political commentator through her widely-read column on Religion Dispatches. For many non-Mormons she has made Mormonism approachable and understandable. [9 results on Google News]
  • Presiding Bishop H. David Burton—”for his articulate and clear support for the immigration reform bill, which demonstrates a balanced and compassionate approach that many thought never could be attained. Not only did it instantly became a model for other states to follow, but it created a 180 degree turn in how many in the church approached immigration, and arguably sealed the defeat of Russel Pearce in Arizona.” [8 results on Google News]
  • Brandon Davies—BYU Basketball player who was dismissed from the team for violating the school’s honor code, leading to a media frenzy over the honor code. Davies apologized to his teammates, accepted his discipline and eventually returned to BYU. [747 results on Google News]
  • Jimmer Fredette — A hugely popular star basketball player at BYU, Jimmer led BYU deep into the NCAA championship during his final season with the team, and then was drafted into the NBA, ending up on the Sacramento Kings. [2,120 results on Google News]
  • Will Hopoate — Despite a promising start to a hugely lucrative professional rugby career in Australia, Hopoate stunned fans down under when he announced he would pass on a contract worth millions and serve an LDS mission during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. The move gave Hopoate notoriety worldwide and among Mormons in the U.S. [85 results on Google News]
  • Jon Huntsman, Jr. — Former Utah Governor and U.S. Ambassador to China, Huntsman formally entered the race for the Republican nomination for President this year, creating, for the first time, a presidential race with two Mormon candidates and significantly increasing the notoriety of what has been called the “Mormon Moment.” [9,450 results on Google News]
  • Jerry Lewis—A political unknown before this year, Lewis defeated Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, in effect mitigating the connection between Arizona’s harsh anti-immigration law and Mormonism.  [68 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 success of the Twilight movies in theaters and news articles frequently mentioning her religion. [2,090 results on Google News]
  • Neon Trees—Provo, Utah-based alternative rock band whose records include at least one platinum single, three singles that have made it into the top 40. The band gained national attention when it opened for The Killers. [84 results on Google News]
  • Michael Otterson—The Director of Public Affairs for the Church, Otterson has been the public face of the Church and has received notice for his columns on the Washington Post’s On Faith blog. [6 results on Google News]
  • Participants in the “I’m a Mormon” campaign—One of the significant elements of this year’s “Mormon Moment,” the “I’m a Mormon” campaign has attempted to show non-Mormons that Church members are just like everyone else.  [15 results on Google News]
  • Mitt Romney—A previous Mormon of the Year (2008), Romney has been the front-runner for the GOP nomination for President of the United States. [26,900 results on Google News]
  • Yeah Samake—Malian LDS Church member and BYU grad who is the leading candidate for President of Mali. Samake has been mayor of the city of Oulessebougou. [2 results on Google News]
  • Rachel Vermillion—The BYU-Idaho student who was refused admittance to the on-campus testing center because she was wearing “skinny jeans” or because she looked “too curvy.”  [1 result on Google News]

Nominated, needs second:

  • Brandon Flowers— [706 results on Google News]
  • Johnny Whitaker— [8 results on Google News]
  • Nate Oman— [no results on Google News]
  • Matt Bowman— [37 results on Google News]
  • Obert Skye (believed to be the pen name of Robert Farrell Smith)— [no results on Google News]
  • Kevin Kloosterman— [no results on Google News]


39 comments for “Mormon of the Year Nomination Update

  1. I’m pretty sure it violates the rules, but can we nominate the guys who produced “The Book of Mormon” broadway hit that got so much attention? Are either of them LDS? I know much of the play isn’t “up to our standards”, but it was wildly popular and at the end left people with a positive view of Mormons.

  2. I’ll second Brandon Flowers–beyond his commercial success, I wholly enjoyed his entry in the “I’m a Mormon” campaign.

  3. Hi Kent. If they mention this contest again in the SL Tribune, don’t go there! It’s populated by readers for whom “Mormon of the Year” might as well be “Neo-Nazi of the Year” or “Child Molester of the Year”.

  4. MC (8), Mormon of the Year is NOT an award, there is no ceremony and nothing to be given out. Unless he is tracking himself on Google or something, Jimmer wouldn’t know if he received the award. We don’t notify those recognized on purpose.

    Ideasnstuff (9), I’m well aware of the Tribune comment minefield. It is indeed unfortunate. I don’t understand the mentality of those who comment there, unless they have been hurt very bad by the way individual Mormons sometimes act. But that is a subject for another day.

  5. Let’s just make an entire new category for Jimmer. It just doesn’t seem fair to include him among the rest. In following years, we could then nominate an honorary Jimmer of the Year.

  6. Kaskade / Ryan Raddon probably deserves a mention, though I don’t think he would reach Mormon of the Year.

  7. Cynthia (16), I’m afraid that the numbers change depending on when you ran the search, and what limitations you used. Clicking on your link, I now get 10 results. And if I set the range to this year I get 22. Go figure.

  8. I would also vote for Joanna Brooks. She has been a consistent non-official public relations source for the media throughout the year. She does it without having any obvious campaign on her own behalf. She is an example for those who say that one person cannot make a difference in relationship to the wheels of the institutional church.

  9. We at the BYU Provo Standards Office are amused by the inclusion of Rachel Vermillion as a nominee for Mormon of the Year. We fondly recall the 1978 case of A. Lavon Bryan which shows there is nothing new under the sun. For your nominating edification we are including her November 14, 1978 Daily Universe letter along with the response of Alan K. Harrison. We at the BYU Provo Standards Office believe that Mormon of the Year ought to be an original, which Rachel clearly is not. Additional research material can be found on page 17 of “Zoobie Or Not Zoobie?” by Robert H. Sloat. Judge for yourselves.

    Today I was subjected to unnecessary embarrassment, and I hope that this letter will hasten a change in a silly double standard that exists here at BYU.
    While waiting in line to take a math test in the notorious testing center, I was informed by an employee that I would not be allowed to take my test. The reason? I was wearing pants made out of denim material! After a futile attempt at reasoning with the employee, I realized that there was no chance at being admitted in my nice denim pants. It was snowing outside, so I really didn’t feel like walking all the way home just to change my pants. So, turning to an expedient alternative, I ran into the nearby library bathroom and removed my pants!
    I then buttoned up my long coat and walked back to the testing center where I was admitted with out question.
    There is something strangely perverse and incongruous about a dress code which demands that a girl dressed in nice denim pants is rejected from a campus facility, while a girl in underpants and an overcoat is acceptable. Is is that vital that we expose the lower half of our legs?

    A. Lavon Bryan

    A. Lavon Bryan’s letter about a double standard which compelled her to remove her pants to be admitted to the testing center reminds me of a similar experience. While waiting in line to see a movie in the Varsity Theatre, I was informed by an employee that I would not be allowed to see the movie. The reason? I had not brought enough money to buy a ticket! After a futile attempt at reasoning with the employee I realized that there was no chance of being admitted without a ticket. It was snowing outside so I did not feel like walking all the way home just to get some money. So, turning to an expedient alternative, I stepped outside, mugged an old lady and stole her purse!
    I then walked back to the Varsity Theatre, where I bought a ticket and was admitted without question.
    There is something strangely perverse and incongruous about a university policy which demands that a fellow without any money is rejected from a campus facility, while a fellow with money stolen from an old lady is accepted. Is it that vital that we mug old ladies?

    Alan K. Harrison

  10. @Kent, fair enough. And anyway, in nominating her, I really just meant to recognize her with a nomination.

  11. I hate to do it, but I am going to nominate David Archuleta. (Had to check the spelling of his name.) For press coverage, he may have most of the rest of the people listed above beat. Yep. “David Archuleta mission” gets 27,800 results, which is more than Romney has listed in the original post. And from a quick look, most or all of the press seems to be positive.

    Anyone want to second the vote?

  12. Brandon Davies? Really? The guy who got his girlfriend pregnant then shipped her off to California to give up their baby for adoption? Without every publicly acknowledging the truth about his situation? Really? Hmm…I think I’ll have to go with Joanna Brookes for this one.

  13. Michael Otterson. Seriously? Did you read his statement about Mormon Women?

    I’m with Joanna Brooks as well. John Dehlin should be up for nomination too.

  14. Anondotcom:

    I can’t vouch for any of the information in your post, but unless a felony was committed, she wasn’t shipped anywhere against her will. Davies’ girlfriend is free to travel to California, Nebraska, Bolivia, or anywhere else she wishes, and I can’t imagine why her location or peregrinations should be of concern or interest to any of us. If she had a baby, she’s welcome to place the child for adoption or not as she chooses, and I can’t imagine why that would be of concern to any of us either, much less what any of this might have to do with Davies’ nomination. I’m not up on what Davies might or might not have publicly acknowledged, but the details of honor code and ecclesiastical proceedings are (and should be) confidential, so I’m just as glad if he didn’t publicly acknowledge personal matters from his private life. We already know plenty more about that than we ought. And since he apparently hasn’t publicly acknowledged “the truth about his situation,” how the hell do you know so much about it?

  15. I’m all for David Archuleta! He’s a great example of the sacrifice and devotion at the heart of what it means to be Mormon.

  16. Jana Reiss and Joanna Brooks have been on the front lines of explaining Mormons and Mormonism to the rest of America. How about a joint award?

  17. I am voting for Joanna Brooks! I love her column. She has done a lot to show that church has all sorts of different kind of members.

  18. Dallon Weekes! Bassist for multi-platinum band, Panic! at the Disco/ returned missionary/husband/father of two.

    Or Neon Trees!

    Hes a great example of accomplishing your dreams while remaining a good example to others!

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