Nominate the 2013 Mormon of the Year

Since Time named  its Person of the Year this past week, and named a religious figure at that, it must be time to select the Mormon of the Year.

For those who don’t remember, T&S selected the following as Mormons of the Year in the past:

2008: Mitt Romney
2009: Harry Reid
2010: Elizabeth Smart
2011: Jimmer Fredette
2012: Mitt Romney

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.


The 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 must 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.


  • Nominations must be seconded!
  • Use your real name, rather than an online nickname or pseudonym. We hope this will make sure that nominations are serious, and not in jest as some have been in the past.
  • Please provide a link to somewhere (such as wikipedia, news stories, etc.) where we can get further information on them and what they did this year). AND, please give us some rationale for why you think this person should be Mormon of the Year.
  • Nominations can be made in the comments to this post until New Year’s Eve.

Please consider submitting a short profile of the person you nominate. I will try to post profiles of the major nominees if I can find the time. But I am not likely to be able to write a profile on everyone, and I could use help. 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, and thus Mormons who have had a great impact or influence on Mormons and Mormonism during 2011.

Here are my own nominations:

  • Jabari Parker — Highly regarded basketball player currently playing for Duke.
  • Yeah Samake — founder of Mali Rising Foundation and a candidate in Mali’s 2013 presidential elections.
  • Orson Scott Card — LDS Author whose award-winning novel Ender’s Game was made into a movie released this year. Card’s views on homosexuality have led to calls for a boycott of the movie.
  • Carlos “Wizard” Martins — Brazilian multi-millionaire who sold his Wizard chain of language schools, confirming his place among the richest people on the planet.

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.

84 comments for “Nominate the 2013 Mormon of the Year

  1. I second the nomination for Yeah Samake. I heard him speak at a fireside and was most impressed. Had he won the election, he might have been able to turn his country around for the better. My heart goes out to those who work hard for freedom for their war-torn countries.

  2. I’ll gladly second Jabari Parker, in the interest of Chicago-based Mormonism (and because, from everything I’ve heard, the kid’s a really good kid).

  3. Asking the question, “ten years from now, what am I most likely to remember about 2013,” here are a few others to consider:

    LDS Feminists – OrdainWomen, Let Women Pray, Wear Pants Day

    LDS Historians – basically, whoever is writing the new topical guide entries for the church

    Hans Mattsson

    Harry Reid

    Warren Jeffs (not sure we’re including all mormons or just LDS)

    And an early 2014 nomination: Teryl Givens. That guy will be releasing enough books next year for each Duggar kid to have their own.

  4. I third Jabari Parker. He was a primary kid when I lived in Chicago, but I knew his family. Really good people. One of my (weak) claims to fame is that the first place Jabari dunked a basketball – the Hyde Park Ward cultural hall – is also the place where I finally gave up trying to.

  5. The Mormon news stories with the greatest impact over the past year clearly revolved around the place of women (Ordain Women), gays and lesbians (the official Mormons and Gays website) and people of African descent (the official rejection of past theories accounting for the priesthood ban) in the church. I don’t know if you could make a case for any particular Mormon person as a newsmaker this year which would outweigh the impact that those movements and changes achieved in the mass media entirely on their own. Harry Reid remains a newsmaker, and Mike Lee got a lot of attention too, and so forth, but really: like Time Magazine choosing “American women” in 1975 or “The Protester” in 2011, T&S should name 2013’s Mormon of the Year “Ordain Women” or “The Genesis Group” or “Affirmation” or something to reflect the immense amount of conversation–exceeding by far anything accomplished by any other single Mormon–which these phenomena generated in church buildings and in the Bloggernacle this year. If you absolutely have to go with a single person, think Darius Gray, Margaret Young, Joanna Brooks, Kate Kelly, or any number of dozens of people who worked behind the scenes to bring these concerns into public forums, and helped them receive mass attention.

  6. Second on Harry Reid, solely because he triggered the nuclear option, which will have repercussions for decades longer than Yeah Samake’s 0.5%, Jabari Parker’s one-and-done season at Duke, or the Ender’s Game movie.

    Other nominations:

    Jodi Arias–like it or not, she dominated the headlines for the first five months of the year like no other Mormon has all year.

    D. Wayne Sermon and Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons–for releasing two top 10 singles (Radioactive and Demons) and winning Favorite Alternative Rock Artist at the American Music Awards.

    The Joseph Smith Papers project team–for publishing the first two volumes of the Documents series, of which J. Stapely says “I think that these along with the journals are going to have the broadest appeal.” Even if you disagree with Stapely, MoY is going to have to squeeze these folks in at some point. If you need a reason not to name Jodi Arias, here’s your alternative.

  7. I’ll second the Genesis Group (and Darius Gray and Margaret Young). I was debating how to do a collective there, but the Genesis Group entirely slipped my mind.

  8. Here is a couple of additional possibilities:

    * Elizabeth Smart — because her book was released this year.
    * Clayton Christensen — named “world’s top management thinker”

  9. I second Roger’s nomination of his brother, Lars Peter Hansen, professor of economics at Chicago and winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in economics for 2013.

  10. I nominate Denver Snuffer as Mormon of the year. His books have been instrumental in bringing many people to know their Savior in the most literal sense. His testimony is believable and powerful.

    His book, The Second Comforter, should be read by everyone. It is a manual on how to come to the actual, literal presence of Christ. I know of many people who have done so because of Denver’s testimony, and I am trying to obtain this blessing for myself. Denver’s words have had a profound influence on my life.

    I’m grateful for Denver’s willingness to tell the truth, even in the face of great opposition. His words have helped me come to an understanding of heaven that I never thought possible.

    He would probably hate it if he received recognition. He is more interested in having people hear the message of Christ. I only post this in hopes that someone will read The Second Comforter and seek (and obtain) the face of Christ for themselves.

  11. I would nominate Denver C Snuffer Jr.

    His book “Passing the Heavenly Gift” brought me back into full activity in the church. He is the best author for our times. When we look back on this moment in history Mormons will agree that his words were prophetic. He hates the praise, so I will praise the Lord! I was blind, and now I see.

    Oh, and, Go Sox!

  12. Sheesh, someone post a link to Times&Seasons from the Denver Snuffer true disciple site, or what? Sock puppets?

  13. The almost 200 women and men of Ordain Women who faithfully waited in line to gain entry into the priesthood session on October 5.

  14. Other possibilities:

    -Claudia Bushman, who has been in the news for her work at Claremont and in _Mormon Women Have Their Say_.
    -Jodi Arias. In the news for all the wrong reasons, but definitely in the news.
    -Maxine Hanks, who made headlines with her rebaptism.
    -Dan C. Peterson, who made headlines for his controversial exit from the Maxwell Institute.

  15. No one has been more influential in setting the agenda for discussion of issues within Mormonism this year than Kate Kelly & Ordain Women (particularly those sisters who stood in line at General Conference).

  16. Where is this Denver Snuffer true disciple site? I don’t know if he can be Mormon of the year since he was excommunicated, but I’ll add to his nomination just the same. Just read his recent post on the Church’s statement on “Race and the Priesthood” (ttp:// and I think it’s evident he understands Mormon doctrine better than most of us.

  17. I second or third Kate Kelly, Ordain Women, the Pants People, and the Prayer People.

    That being the case, can I nominate “Mormon Feminists”? That should cover it.

  18. I also vote for Ordain Women. Questioning and giving our church a chance to live up to its gender equality model of Mother and Father Gods is definitely worth recognition of Mormon of the Year.

  19. I’ll second Kate Kelly. She has been incredibly influential in the discussion of women in the LDS church.

  20. “That guy will be releasing enough books next year for each Duggar kid to have their own.”


  21. I vote for that lady who created “Mormons Against Women Wearing Pants to Church”, “Mormons Against Women Praying in General Conference” and “Mormons Against Mormons With Unrighteous Opinions about Women’s Ordination”. She was AWESOME.

    I also second my own nomination.

  22. I second Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons. His band’s music is on fire right now.

    I also nominate Brandon Sanderson the Science Fiction and Fantasy author. He is more prolific than Tyrel Givens and the Joseph Smith papers editors put together in a year.

  23. Oh puh-leeze, people. Read the rules. Kate Kelly, Ordain Women, and Denver Snuffer have all been nominated and seconded long ago. This isn’t the voting. No one is going to give the selections any more consideration based on the repetition of their names in the nomination process.

  24. I would like to nominate Dr. Richard Hansen of the FARES foundation he has contributed significantly to the rewriting of our understanding of the Maya preclassic with is work at El Mirador but as also contributed significantly to solving the lotter problem in the Peten by educating and hiring and educating the people of Carmelita, El Pete, Guatemala ti be guides and for the site making them participants rather than looters and giving them a sustainable enterprise to support thier community.

  25. 1. Al Fox influential tattooed covert and blog and YouTube personality
    2. Daniel Peterson – Mormon Interpreter rescued apologetics

  26. I second the nomination of Hans Mattsson, the Swede who talked publicly about his faith crisis with the New York Times.

  27. I second Manti Teo. It’s been a while since his fake girlfriend scandal in January, but he was the second-up runner for the Heisman and the fake girlfriend story was huge news early in the year.

  28. Pete Ashdown, the founder and CEO of Utah’s oldest Internet service provider, XMission, who denied the NSA unwarranted access to XMission user data.

    From an article called “Pete Ashdown: ISP owner who stood up to NSA says govt should follow law if it wants to keep secrets”:
    His profile has been on the rise as of late because of his company’s refusal to turn over customer data that is requested by an administrative subpoena instead of a warrant. Ashdown refuses to honor subpoena requests because they prove that the government agency seeking the data did not, or was unable, to provide “probable cause” mandated by the Constitution.

  29. I nominate Brandon Flowers of The Killers. No Mormon has had more international visibility for many years and this is very much ongoing in 2013 as he performed in numerous countries. As I was writing this comment, Brandon is again performing at the Wembley stadion in London in front of 80,000 fans… Millions of his fans know he is Mormon. I’m Brandon Flowers and I’m a Mormon has been viewed close to a million times.

    The lyrics of his songs are subtly replete with gospel-related terms and concepts. His fans sing those texts by heart, like the famous Human in this amazing concert.

    His dauntless answer to atheist Richard Dawkins on Norwegian television has been put online by numerous fans and is still being viewed today.

    Hundreds of (non-Mormon) fan home pages around the world, like this or this or this, tell about Brandon’s Mormonism.

    Since the criterion for MOTY is “solely about the impact the person has had”… Think worldwide, not just USA. Think on impact on non-Mormons, not just ourselves.

  30. I think we have to nominate Judge Clark Waddoups, in light of Friday’s ruling. I don’t know for sure that he’s Mormon, but he graduated from BYU undergrad and the U of U for law school, which suggests that at least there’s a good chance he is.

  31. Apparently many of the commentors above didn’t read the rules. For a nomination to be valid, you must use your real name. “Anonymous” or initials doesn’t cut it.

  32. I’m not sure which handles you are recognizing as within the rules, so I want to make sure that Lars Peter Hansen and Clayton Christensen have legitimate seconds. I also think Clinton Romesha deserves a second.

  33. It’s too bad rule number 2 exists.

    I was going to nominate Elder Cunningham and Elder Price. Surely, no other mormons have been subject to the level of criticism they have.

  34. I fourth or fifth Kate Kelly of Ordain Women. Love it or loathe it, the weight of it is real.

    Al Fox – the “tattooed Mormon”

    Geoff & Al of This Week in Mormons for using their podcast to make difficult issues more palatable for a general audience.

    Joni Hilton – for her disavowed “are you a liberal Mormon” column

  35. It simply has to be Kate Kelly, or, if her sense of modesty prevails, the OW members as a group. The other nominees are Mormons who made a difference in the world. But Kate Kelly & OW are making a difference to Mormonism itself.

  36. I nominate Paul Walker. He demonstrates the best of a successful actor giving back to the world with gentle kindness, non-pretentious work ethic, dedication to charitable causes–all accomplished having navigated the course as a non-practicing Mormon. And, he was just REALLY cool!

  37. Paul Walker – cause he’s dead

    Brandon Flowers – He’s a nice guy

    This Week in Mormons – Geoff & Al because I am one of them, and I’m really good at being mormon

  38. I would like to nominate David White as Mormon of the Year.

    David White served as the president of the Oregon Peace Officers Association during 2012-2013. The Oregon Peace Officers Association is a police organization that provides training to officers all through the State of Oregon. They also have an annual awards banquet that recognizes heroic deeds officers perform each year in the line of duty. During his time as president, David personally contacted the heads of many agencies, built lasting organization ties and contacts, as well as growing the organization to a record number of members.

    On May 22, the Oregon Peace Officers Association wrote a letter to Gov. John Kitzhaber, expressing “extreme displeasure” with the Parole Board’s decision, calling it disheartening news. The letter grew out of a May 17 meeting of the group’s executive board. “Men and women join law enforcement to help others and to literally make the world a better place,” wrote David White, association president. “To release someone from prison early for killing a police officer is a slap in the face of every police officer in Oregon, and we hope you’ll help us in our efforts to have the Oregon State Board of Parole reconsider its poor decision.” Blue Mountain Eagle Newspaper. The decision was eventually overturned and this cop killer is still behind bars today.

    Sure, you could go with the easy choice, pick some celebrity if that makes you feel better. But David is the “fight in the trenches” kind of church member that inspires a community. He has worked close to 2 decades in the Marion County Sheriff’s Office solving cases and fighting crime in our community. He is putting kids through college. He is generous with his time and is always giving with what he has.

  39. I second Geoff & Al of This Week in Mormons because they are good and because I am excellent at complimenting myself.

    Also – Kate Kelly.

  40. I second the nomination for David White as Mormon of the year. He is a great example of not only a great person but of a public servant. Law Enforcement is a tough career but to have to balance life career and home life is a great accomplishment for anyone in this career. David exemplifies this role.

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