Nominate the 2014 Mormon of the Year

It is time, once again, to select the Mormon of the Year!

2014 marks our seventh year of designating the Mormon who made the most significant impact during the past 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
2013: Darius Gray

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 ensure 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 20112014.

Here are my own nominations:

  • Kate Kelly — The founder of the Ordain Women group, Kelly was excommunicated in June, attracting international attention to Ordain Women’s efforts.
  • Authors of the LDS Topics Essays — The anonymous authors of these significant essays gained significant notoriety this year as the recent essay on Joseph Smith’s Polygamy was the subject of an article in the New York Times and spread around the world.
  • Mia Love — A Haitian convert to Mormonism, Love gained notoriety in the U.S. when she became the first black female Republican elected to the U.S. Congress.
  • Brandon Flowers — No Mormon has had more international visibility for many years and this is very much ongoing in 2014 as he performed in numerous countries. Millions of his fans know he is Mormon. I’m Brandon Flowers and I’m a Mormon has been viewed more than a million times.

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.

111 comments for “Nominate the 2014 Mormon of the Year

  1. I nominate Kate Kelly. Love her or hate her, she certainly brought a lot of attention to the Church.

  2. John Dehlin and Denver Snuffer – both of whom are coaxing people out of correlated Mormonism, but on opposite ends of the spectrum.

  3. I hereby nominate Denver Snuffer and Cliven Bundy.

    I heartily second Kate Kelly.

    I half-heartedly, but genuinely second Mia Love and the anonymous essay authors.

    I don’t think Brandon Flowers is significant…

  4. No, it’s this part: “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.” I think you mean 2014, right? Or am I misreading the sentence?

  5. Neylan McBaine
    Terryl Givens and Fiona Givens
    Daniel C. Peterson

    Are we allowed to nominate T&S permas? Both Adam Miller and Craig Harline have been in the news this year for their books.

  6. Mr. Chairman, I rise to a parliamentary inquiry.

    Once a candidate has been nominated ten times, can we at that point consider a nomination to have been made?

  7. I agree that Kelly probably had the greatest impact this year.

    Runnells has had a non-trivial impact on the church, but his letter was in 2013 and he did not get nearly the publicity that Kelly did. The Givenses, Miller, and McBaine – as well as Waterman and Snuffer, and many others – have also been in the spotlight in 2014, but not nearly to the extent that Kelly has been.

    As a change of speed, I think NBA rookie Jabari Parker might actually be the most widely-known Mormon who has just come to the attention of the general public this year (about 700,000 google hits as compared to Kelly’s 375,000). It is early yet, but he is the presumptive Rookie of the Year winner, and he has the potential to fill the role of Mormon sports celeb that Steve Young did in the ’90s. He was even quoted by President Monson in the April 2014 General Conference! He would be my nomination.

    I also second Lindsey Stirling. She is a legitimate pop sensation and an RM to boot!

  8. Jeremy Guthrie of the Kansas City Royals started game 7 of the world series. I believe he is LDS. Not much of an impact really, but if you wanted to expand the field beyond Kate Kelly and the other alsorans he is available.

  9. Also second the Givenses and Daniel C. Peterson. I think Kate is probably off-limits as excommunication is an official thing, no matter how you perceive yourself.

  10. “•Nominees must be Mormon somehow — nominees must have been baptized and must claim to be Mormon.”

    This doesn’t say anything about ex-communication. If Kate Kelly still considers herself a Mormon, then how does she not qualify?

  11. Most of the nominees here are only known in the U.S. But we are a worldwide church. So, in terms of international significance, I second two nominees:
    – Brandon Flowers is having an enormous impact as a Mormon in nearly every country. Search his name + “Mormon” in any language (in advanced Google search) and for each language one gets dozens if not hundreds of results in newspapers, magazines, and fan clubs. He is known by hundreds of millions as a Mormon.
    – Within the church, The “Authors of the LDS Topics Essays” deserve to be seconded because their work can reach members everywhere who are in need of doctrinal and historical clarifications .

  12. Dan Reynolds and the guys from Imagine Dragons. They were awarded a Grammy for best rock performance this year.

  13. I’ll second the nomination of Kate Kelly and also nominate John Dehlin of

  14. Margaret Young Blair, BYU professor, historian, and author with Darius Gray. I nominate her for her efforts in developing the movie, “The Heart of Africa”. She has made a major impact on Church and Black relations over the years, to the point of the Church releasing a statement this year regarding blacks and the priesthood, renouncing the curse and other folk lore.

    Gerald Smith

  15. Brandon Flowers didn’t do anything publicly in 2014 except the annual Christmas song. The Killers’ Battle Born tour wrapped up in the fall of 2013. The related appearance with Richard Dawkins was in 2012, and the I’m a Mormon spot was in 2011. If you want to recognize him for attention over several years, then wait until 2015 when he puts out his next solo album.

    That said, 2014 may still be the year that gives him the most recognition 40 years down the road. “Joel the Lump of Coal” is the sort of song that could have a life past the Killers.

  16. I don’t know if he’d make Mormon of the Year – but certainly a notable event when Jabari Parker joined the NBA.

  17. That’s odd – for some reason it looked like there were no comments until I had entered a comment. So now I can see Jabari already was nominated. Sorry for the redundancy.

  18. Darn you John Mansfield (#38). I had just gotten that “Joel the Lump of Coal” song out of my head.

    I second (third, forth, whatever) Jabari. The kid is good. I watched him play last week against LeBron (they guarded each other the fourth quarter). Jabari more than held his own despite it being only his 15th-some odd professional game. He’s also a great person.

  19. I also like that idea of a group nomination for LDS musicians, due to all the bands who are included. It’s gotta mean something.

  20. Just a random thought – and not saying this has to happen this year – but maybe it would be cool to have a similar and separate nomination/decision process for the most unusual Mormon of the year – it could be called “Most Peculiar Person of X (year).”

    Was just seeing that Jeremy Grimshaw’s book about LaMonte Young made a list of “best gifts for stoners” and it occurs to me that Mormons sometimes get involved in interesting and unusual and influential projects and it could be cool to see a list of people involved in these kinds of activities, even if they aren’t as hugely well-known.

  21. Just one more thought in regards to the idea of a “Most Peculiar Person” process – if it were an idea people liked. I think it should steer clear of anything involving politics/scorn and should instead focus on a person who is behind some kind of development that involves an unusual (but positive) application of the spirit or the intellect – perhaps something in music, arts, science, tech. It could be a very broad umbrella of possibilities. But not be allowed to devolve into picking someone people like to kick around just because they are weirdly horrible or easy to dislike.

    That’s my brainstorm for the day. Now I have to go look up L’Wren Scott. I’m curious.

  22. John, I had forgotten about her story! Thank you for thinking of that and providing the link.

  23. The Piano Guys should also be included with the popular Mormon musicians. I was driving down an interstate in Connecticut last week and saw on a billboard that they were coming to town. They’re not radio artists like Neon Trees or Imagine Dragons, but like Lindsey Sterling, their Youtube fame is more than just an intramural Mormon thing.

  24. Not sure if Darrien Hunt himself was Mormon, but I know his mother is. Nominating him regardless.

    And seconding the nomination for Kate Kelly.

  25. I know it has already been seconded, but Jabari Parker in my view has had a more positive impact for the Mormon church than anyone else, especially on a worldwide basis. I would also second the Piano Guys and Lindsey Stirling if they haven’t been seconded already. All the LDS musicians would get my nomination.

  26. Last year, I argued that it was premature to give the designation to Kate Kelly, so I think it would constitute bad faith to argue against her this year on grounds of her excommunication. But taking the long view, I think (or at least hope) that Neylan McBaine’s book will have greater influence. So I would suggest a joint designation of those two. (In a similar vein, my retrospective list cited both Barbara Smith and Sonia Johnson for 1977. See

  27. I second #34’s nomination of – “The Authors of the LDS Topics Essays.” It is very timely that those essays are being written to clarify many topics and to dispell a lot of myth and legend. God bless tham all – and the powers that be who supervise it.

  28. Brad (#54), “Nominees must have been living at some point during the year.”

    Either you missed the qualifications or you need to brush up on your reading skills?? [GRIN]

  29. FYI for the people saying the anonymous essay authors affect members everywhere.. the essays are only in english, and i dont believe they are on the international church sites. so, that limits their impact, imo.

  30. Curtis (#63), the Givens are the Leonardo DiCaprio and Glen Close of the “Mormon of the Year.” Always nominated; never win.

  31. Maybe Mitchell and Jessen could get a lifetime achievement award, since they made $81 million teaching the CIA how to torture and supervising its work.

  32. Kate Kelly by a huge margin in terms of what the history books will say 25 years from now. And for all the people questioning whether she qualifies due to her excommunication, that’s absurd.
    If she self-identifies as Mormon, she is Mormon even now, despite her unchosen, imposed membership
    status. I mean, even ascriptural interpretation of The Church of Christ includes non-baptized individuals (presuming that they will accept baptism [or rebaptism] at some point). Right? So official on-record status isn’t the only metric worth looking at. Plus social scientists tend to use the term “Mormon” broadly enough to include all of the offshoots of Joseph Smith’s religious organization. And terms like “LDS” help make the distinction more granular.

    I would agree they many of the other people mentioned are also worth nominating. They just shouldn’t get the designation.

  33. I nominate Blair Treu, Jeff Roberts and Devin Shelley for successfully producing, distributing and promoting Meet the Mormons. It is now ranked #30 on the list of top 100 documentaries of all time and is still climbing. (If only one name can be submitted then that person should be Jeff Roberts.)

  34. Bruce Jessen and Jay Bybee have certainly had an impact on the waning days of 2014 with the release of the Senate’s torture report, but I expect Kate Kelly to be recognized this year.

  35. Really — Kate Kelly, an obscure apostate non-member, who blackmailed the Living Prophet to adopt the philosophies of women, mingled with scripture? She, like all apostates, will fade into obscurity, and will be forgotten, while the Church moves forward.

  36. It is impossible for us to evaluate Kate Kelly’s impact on our church. We won’t know for years whether she will be a footnote or a chapter.

  37. I like the idea of a group nomination for LDS musicians, and second adding Alex Boye to the list. Any performance of the song makes me cringe, but his version of “Let It Go” from this spring has almost 57,000,000 views on YouTube, and of course he’s one of the faces of the “I’m a Mormon” campaign.

    I’ll also second adding the Piano Guys; they’re up front about their Utah roots, and it’s all scrubbed-clean, family-appropriate performance, and they went on a European tour this year. (That last bit was for Wilfried. : )

  38. Not sure why this has taken so long, I thought someone else would have done this already……*****ahem****

    For being the best source of Mormon news and entertainment, I respectfully nominate Geoff Openshaw and Al Doan, hosts of the single best.podcast.ever. This Week in Mormons.

  39. OK, I’ll second sister missionaries. We’ll really be seeing the impact of this change a generation down the road, but in the meantime I get all misty seeing those gals out in force where only a few of us were in my time.

  40. I can’t believe nominating musicians or athletes has any credibility. They’re just doing what they do, regardless of religion. Give it to Kate Kelly. She did more for mormonism this year than anyone else, even if the church didn’t like it.

  41. I disagree about the musicians, M.U. Are you familiar with the mainstream music industry? Most of the popular alternatives for teens and preteens? Justin Bieber and his ilk? It would be fairly simple to make a case that the work of the musicians named here is very much informed by their religious values and culture.

    (Someone else will have to make the case for nominating athletes.)

  42. MU, as evidenced from other comments, some people can’t believe nominating Kate Kelly has any credibility.

    These are just nominations, not votes or debates.

  43. I second or third or whatever Neylan McBaine.Her book will have a lot more impact on women’s issues in the church than Kate Kelly. I would also like to nominate Isabelle Collin Dufresne, better known as Ultra Violet, who died earlier this year. She lived a most interesting life

  44. I definately support the nomination of Kate Kelly. Someone above posted a link for L’Wren Scott and I wish I knew more about her. She had a very interesting live.

  45. I third Isabelle Dufresne. However, I think 19 year-old sister missionaries will have a far greater impact long-term, and internationally, on the Church than any of the individuals named, certainly much more than Kate Kelly who at year’s end is well on the way to footnote status. These tens of thousands of female RMs are the ones who will shift the position of women in the Church. Although their influence will be cumulative and build over time, I think this first cohort are worth honoring, both because they are the first, and because they generated quite a bit of public notice, which is one of the other criteria.

  46. From a purely numbers* standpoint (Reach/Frequency, in a given universe)

    Kate Kelly (bloggernacle DMA: 90.2% / 8.9; global DMA: 0.0001% / 0.000001)

    Noelle Pikus-Pace (bloggernacle DMA: 62.5% / 1.4; global DMA: 84.3% / 0.000001)

    Brandon Flowers (bloggernacle DMA: 67.2% / 1.7; global DMA: 73.7% / 1.8)

    *All based on the infallible Nielsen 2013 data of course

  47. I have to second Riley’s analysis (comment 99). While Kate Kelly may have caused the biggest kerfuffle in the bloggernacle this year (and people here seem to be crawling all over each other to nominate her), to the rest of the non-Mormon world (and even to most Mormons) she’s a tiny speck on a blip on an outlier of a data point. Don’t believe me? This Sunday, ask a few random (non-blogger) ward members if they know who Kate Kelly is. Dollars to donuts they’ll think you’re talking about the new sister who just moved into the ward.

    YouTube might not be the best measuring stick to use for this prize, but it offers an interesting perspective. A search for videos of Kate Kelly will yield a page of videos that have been viewed a total of thousands (yes, thousands!) of times. Meanwhile the Piano Guys, Kelly Sterling, Brandon Flowers/Killers, and the Neon Trees, have *each* been viewed millions upon millions of times, some of them tens of millions of times.

    Likewise, Nielsen ratings aren’t definitive, but they can certainly be informative. Jabari Parker and Jeremy Guthrie were each seen repeatedly by millions of TV viewers this year. (If the BYU quarterback Taysom Hill didn’t get injured, he might have been in the running too — the ESPN commentators couldn’t stop talking about him before his leg got trashed.)

    For more perspective, while the NY Times seems to have a thing about contrary Mormons, the rest of the country doesn’t seem to have a thing for the NY Times. The total online readership is around 1.1 million, with about half that as paying subscribers. So how many people do you think read those articles on Kate Kelly? Again, at best it’s in the thousands, not millions. An interesting perspective on how big of a deal she was this year.

    Past winners of Mormon of the Year have been household names, with the exception of Darius Gray, whose work had an actual impact on the church. I think this year’s pick will be difficult because once again there doesn’t seem to be an obvious nominee who captured the attention of the wider non-Mormon populace and also gained some sort of overwhelming prominence. Kate Kelly is certainly not that person (outside of this bubble-naccle anyway). Based on sheer numbers and the broad audience they reach, it’s kind of hard to discount Kelly Sterling and the Piano Guys this year.

  48. What ya’ll are missing in this discussion is the part about who is doing the nominating. For the argument that athletes or performers should win because they have more fans or youtube views, is assuming the whole world knows about TimesandSeasons and it’s Mormon of the Year contest.
    They don’t know and even if they did, they wouldn’t vote. We, the actual readership, are the only ones who count.
    Kate Kelley should win because by far, more has been written on this site and other Mormon blog sites about her and her impact this year than any athlete who scored a goal, or made a basket or whatever they do to earn millions of dollars.
    She influenced our thoughts and attitudes in ways that were unimaginable last year.
    On the idea that her influence won’t matter in the years to come, so what? We are only considering THIS year, not 50 years from now. I don’t know of more than a handful of people who get quoted regularly after they have died and even then, the quote is most likely distorted from it’s original meaning.
    Whether you like her or not, Kate Kelly is hands down the winner this year.

  49. I don’t think anyone missed anything. If the criteria were to designate the person who had the most significant impact in the bloggernacle, then hands down Kate Kelly would win. But there is life outside this bubble.

    The significant changes to missionary ages, missionary councils, ward councils, general conference prayers, etc. were for the most part being discussed and implemented before Kate Kelly started her publicity stunts (and that’s what they were, by definition). She just happened to catch the wave and ride its momentum, but the wave had already gathered its energy miles offshore before it started to break where the rest of us could see it.

    Did she have a significant impact? On herself and this bubble-nacle most certainly. Outside of that? It’s not nearly as clear. She didn’t seem to have had much to do with the recent changes or even the conversations. That sounds to me to be misplaced attribution. Not sure who deserves it but Kate Kelly seems to be the beneficiary of good timing if people think she was the catalyst.

  50. Livinginzion,
    So perhaps now is the time for two different T&S “…of the Year” awards: “2014 Mormon of the Year for Mormonism” and “2014 Mormon of the Year (for the small sample that is the T&S readership)”.

    I agree so you must be right.

  51. I would also think T&S leadership might be leery of voting for Kate, in spite of their clear and liberal set of qualifications that make the position not necessarily one of exclusive positivity. I empathize with Kate and her feelings. I suppose I have learned from her experience that I need to be careful of training my children to be proud of being a rebel, it might have unfortunate consequences down the road.

  52. After watching the Angels video, I heartily sustain a collective nomination for youtube musicians!

  53. I second Jeremy Guthrie. At least in Kansas City, he had a far greater impact than Kate Kelley. The only impact she had was to drive away an investigator. Jeremy Guthrie had multiple national news articles about him and he is far more likeable than Kate Kelley.

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