Times and Seasons 2008 Mormon of the Year: Mitt Romney

January 7, 2009 | 62 comments
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Mitt Romney
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After careful consideration, the staff of Times and Seasons has selected Mitt Romney as Mormon of the Year, our annual designation of the Mormon who had the greatest impact or influence on Mormons and Mormonism in 2008.

During 2008 Romney concluded the most credible presidential campaign of any Mormon to date and dominated the U.S. national news early in the year like no single Mormon has in recent memory. He garnered a great deal of both praise and criticism, gaining him significant endorsements as well as important detractors. Remarkably, his supporters included many Evangelical Christians, which helped break down the unfortunate views of some Evangelicals toward Mormons. Also on the international scene, numerous press articles mentioned Romney’s membership in the Mormon Church, thus contributing to the image of the Church abroad.

Romney was not merely a very visible Mormon, however; his Mormonism was a major influence on the course of his campaign, in both positive and negative ways. Many called for Romney to distance himself from his religion, as JFK had done many years earlier. Instead, Romney responded by articulating the values he shares with many other Americans, which his faith supports, and by articulating the importance of all faiths in the life of the nation. Romney’s public image was inextricably tied to his Mormon beliefs, and this faith, which drove a myriad of storylines, appeared to contribute to the unease with him as a candidate, helping to derail his presidential hopes.

Times and Seasons has covered Mitt Romney before. You can see a list of posts that mention Romney here. However, given Romney’s continuing political participation and assumed aspirations, this recognition should not be seen as an endorsement of his political positions or aspirations.

The Mormon of the Year designation is a recognition of the effect that the person or group of persons recognized has had during the past year. It is not a prize or award, so nothing of value is being given to anyone as a result of this designation, and it is not necessarily meant to honor the person or persons recognized, so no effort will be made to contact or notify Romney.

We were very pleased by the interest in selecting the Mormon of the Year. The Times and Seasons readers nominated 21 possibilities in addition to the original 5 in the post. We learned a lot from those nominations, especially the range of our readers’ beliefs and feelings. We even learned about some Mormons who have done significant things and really deserve to be on a list of possible Mormons of the Year.

The LDS Church’s First Presidency (including the Prophet) and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles were excluded from nominations because their overwhelming influence would mean their selection every year. In many ways each of them, and especially the Prophet, are always the Mormon of the Year.

We also appreciate those who dropped by and participated in our online vote, which taught us a lot about the passion that many people have for their friends and those that they admire. Nearly 5,000 people voted in our poll, often coming from outside the bloggernacle, from fan sites associated with some of those nominated. We hope that those who dropped by enjoyed Times and Seasons and will drop by again.

Please plan on participating in next year’s Mormon of the Year nominations and designation. I’m sure that many of the nominees will show up in next year’s process, and those of us who were unfamiliar with some of the nominees can use that time to become more familiar with them. Certainly we will re-nominate some of them next year, if others do not. And, many of the fan favorites will get more attention in the coming year, since without a major election in the U.S., politicians aren’t as likely to be nominated.

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62 Responses to Times and Seasons 2008 Mormon of the Year: Mitt Romney

  1. Marc Bohn on January 7, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    It’s on the sidebar, but I figured the new Salt Lake Trib article was worth a comment too.

  2. mpb on January 7, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    As always with the Trib, best to avoid the comments section…

    Nice job, T&S.

  3. Margaret Young on January 7, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    I think all of the choices would have been good. I should point out one error, however. Your nomination blog states that Darius and I released our film last year. We did give one copy of the DVD and special features to a friend (the great great grandson of Jane James), but we have not yet officially released. We are headed towards duplication now and will make 1000 copies as a preliminary release, hopefully by the end of January. Then we will be looking for the best path to distribution we can find. So we’ll be a 2009 release.

  4. Ben H on January 7, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    Glad to hear you are making progress, Margaret, and now I feel better about having somehow missed seeing it. Thanks for the correction/update and good luck with the distribution!

  5. Kent Larsen on January 7, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    AH, thanks Margaret. I think that makes you and Darius eligible for next year!!

  6. Dead Seriously on January 7, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    I don’t dispute the choice, but some information on how the final decision was made would be interesting. For example, who were the final three choices? Since Mitt was so clearly NOT the favorite in the voting, what subjective weights did the editors here consider?

  7. Kent Larsen on January 7, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    DS, I’m not sure that we are disposed to answer that question. We did make a more or less conscious decision not to list the other choices, and I worry that listing the “subjective weights” we considered would simply lead to people trying to “second guess” the choice, or to pressure on individual bloggers here to talk about who favored which nominee and what internal political dynamic may or may not have been behind the decision.

    I think it would take what has been a relatively fun and enlightening exercise and either make it out to be more important than we want it to be, or more of a chore than it should be.

    I expect I’m overstating the interest in your case, but we also have a lot of people (nearly 5,000 voted in the online poll!) who had strong feelings on who should be selected.

  8. Ben H on January 8, 2009 at 12:21 am

    DS, I’ll just say for now that there was a pretty interesting discussion, with a range of views, and several other candidates that at least some of us took very seriously. A lot of the main considerations, of course, had come up in the nomination thread. The more serious points made there certainly played a role in our discussions, along with some others. In the end, we settled on Romney as the person who had had the greatest impact, and I think this post makes it pretty clear why we thought he did.

  9. ed42 on January 8, 2009 at 12:57 am

    Yep, I guess he is the “least of these”…

  10. J. Christensen on January 8, 2009 at 1:34 am

    I first heard about “Mormon of the Year” nomination during a business trip to Utah. I am embarrassed to be called one when you run articles like this. Rating people based on their church membership is absolutely inappropriate and unbecoming of anyone in this church. God Speed…

  11. Ray on January 8, 2009 at 2:18 am

    and the merry-go-round keeps circling.

  12. Marc on January 8, 2009 at 2:25 am

    J. Christensen… lighten up. We’re not judging people’s righteousness here. Just recognizing the individual who we thought had the greatest impact on Mormonism within the past year.

  13. Ray on January 8, 2009 at 2:42 am

    Just for the record, #11 was directed at #10.

  14. Lois on January 8, 2009 at 4:31 am

    Wait…I thought TAMN was Mormon of the Year. She’s totally the most popular.

  15. Jeff on January 8, 2009 at 8:49 am

    This is news? what a joke for him. His picture right next to a child molester. I bet this makes him really proud to be a mormon. Now you know whay he is not president…..

  16. MS on January 8, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Thanks for running the contest. It was fun. Up until the end there. Then? Not so fun. Next year you may want to skip the whole voting thing as that seemed kind of pointless. Just open up a thread for a few days so people can rant and complain, then post who you think it should be. :-)

  17. rd on January 8, 2009 at 11:19 am

    More fodder for Ms. Fletcher Stack. Her reliance on the “bloggernacle” is maddening, and a little hiarious. Mormon of the Year? No original thought here, I’ll go see what T&S has to say. Next apostle (as if anyone has any idea)? I’ll ask some dude with a website.

    Don’t get me wrong, nothing wrong with this Site or others like it or even Mormon of the Year beauty contests. I’m an avid reader. And this list was all in good fun–part of the journalistic world we live in. But when the SL Tribune goes to a blogger for authoritative commentary on who will be the next to be called forth of God, I find it cringeworthy.

    As for Romney, there’s really no other choice. Too bad Huckabee ruined everything.

  18. rd on January 8, 2009 at 11:22 am

    Ha, just saw Channel 4′s in the mix. Guess I’m clueless. I’ll tip the Times.

  19. Kent Larsen on January 8, 2009 at 11:45 am

    rd (17):

    Let’s see. Mormon of the Year has also been covered in the Deseret News, and on ABC4.com (KUTV).

    So, perhaps Stack’s look at blogs for what the public is interested in and talking about isn’t all that unusual. For the past few years this idea that journalists should pay attention to what is going on in relevant blogs has gained a lot of credence, and many, many journalists are now mining blogs for material.

    And with newspapers failing all over the country, and staff sizes declining as a result, I’m afraid this is likely to continue. Its a lot cheaper and more efficient to pull some information from blogs.

    If you don’t like it, then I suggest you start buying the newspaper instead of reading the same for free on the Internet. If the newspapers don’t have the revenue, they can’t pay for the journalists to do proper coverage.

    Either that, or you will have to wait for the system to adjust and newspapers to figure out how to get the equivalent revenue from the Internet that they were getting from ink on paper.

  20. Tony on January 8, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Re.: #2- No! the comments are the best part! They always crack me up and this time is no exception!

  21. Adam Greenwood on January 8, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    I first heard about “Mormon of the Year” nomination during a business trip to Utah. I am embarrassed to be called one when you run articles like this.

    No one is calling you Mormon of the Year.

  22. rd on January 8, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    19–All fair points. I only subscribe to the Sunday paper. Only print edition for which I have time.

    I’m part of the problem.

  23. Kent Larsen on January 8, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Tony (20): I suspect he meant the comments on the Trib, not the comments here.

    [Unless I’ve misunderstood and you are saying that you like the Trib comments. I suppose they are entertaining in a way — but mainly if you are laughing AT people instead of with them. :-(

  24. Raymond Takashi Swenson on January 8, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    Of course, Mitt Romney. What other Mormon was named AS a Mormon on the cover of a national periodical? Romney’s church membership was not incidental to his achievements and failures, it was a defining aspect of much of the news media and the statements of his opponents. To the extent people did not know Romney as an individual, they judged him mostly on the basis of his being a Mormon. The national reaction was a real eye-opener, making it clear that the virulent hatred of Mormons comes from both the extreme Left and the extreme Right.

    It is ironic that, as the nation demonstrated that it could largely set aside racial prejudice in the election of its president, a large segment is still proudly proclaiming its religious prejudices. If statements said about Romney and Mormons had been said about Obama and blacks, the speakers would have been banned from polite society. But expressing extreme bias against a minority religion that is more law abiding, hard working and patriotic than average (very much exemplified by Romney and his family) is still considered a personal preference that is beyond criticism.

    And to remind us that this is not just an election-related phenomenon, we learn that Focus on the Family removed from its web site an interview with Glenn Beck because some bigot in another state could not stand knowing that Beck, a Mormon, believes that Christ redeemed his life. Clearly, there are some people who don’t want the facts of Mormon devotion to Christ to become public knowledge.

  25. Kendal Brian Hunter on January 8, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    And President Thomas S. Monson wasn’t chosen?

  26. JIM LEWIS on January 8, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    IT LOOKS LIKE AT THIS TIME THAT MITT ROMNEY
    IS THE REPUBLICANS TOP CHOICE FOR PRESIDENT
    IN 2012 AT THIS TIME.I WOULD LIKE TO SEE MITT
    TEAMED WITH GOVERNOR HUNTSMAN FOR V.P. IN 2012.GOVERNOR HUNTSMAN MAY ALSO MAKE HIS
    OWN RUN FOR THE WHITE HOUSE IN 2012,WHICH
    WOULD GIVE US 2 LDS CANDIDATES.

  27. Raymond Takashi Swenson on January 8, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    Huntsman was cited by a Republican commentator in a recent political perspectives program as a good presidential prospect.

  28. Adam Greenwood on January 8, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    #25 , I quote from the post:

    The LDS Church’s First Presidency (including the Prophet) and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles were excluded from nominations because their overwhelming influence would mean their selection every year. In many ways each of them, and especially the Prophet, are always the Mormon of the Year.

  29. Heidi on January 8, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    I’m just glad Stephanie Nielson’s sister Courtney didn’t win. Her head is big enough. I used to go to her blog for updates on Stephanie (although I always thought it peculiar she found it necessary to draw all the online readers to her blog for updates when she was supposed to be keeping Stephanie’s blog updated) She could have just as easily left updates for Stephanie’s readers on Stephanie’s blog. Using her sisters tragedy as a means to gain popularity is disgusting. Then to continuously make cracks on her blog about being an angel, having a halo, getting her wings, and securing her place in heaven, all because she’s watching her sisters children? Get real. That’s what families do.. help each other in time of need. What they shouldn’t do is brag about it and fish for compliments and praises. I think Courtney using her sisters accident to gain recognition is arrogant and disgraceful and in no way should she have even been eligible for Mormon of the year. Stephanie Nielson had my vote, not her sister.
    And if not her, Go Mitt Romney

  30. Tiffany on January 8, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    Heidi, I don’t think it was very charitable to jump on Courtney, who blogged about the tragedy of her sister. If you knew her personally, saw her personally gaining from the tragedy, perhaps it might be fair to make such a comment. Your comment was unkind and lacked charity. We all deal with grief and tragedy in different ways. Where you see an arrogant woman touting her deeds of helping her sister as angelic, I see a woman humbled by tragedy, sharing with optimism and hope as she faces a challenge of caring for her nieces and nephews. You don’t have to visit Courtney’s blog if you don’t, but please, don’t malign her and be cruel.

  31. Rick on January 8, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    Very good choice. It’s too bad he isn’t president. He would be the best man to fix the economy and get some sense into the budget.

  32. Heidi on January 9, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Tiffany said, “If you knew her personally, saw her personally gaining from the tragedy…”

    I have seen Courtney personally gaining from the tragedy in a big way through the online community of bloggers and not with much humility. Her sister is in a coma and she decides it’s a fine time to come out with a book? Then make comments about what a saint she is for watching her sister’s children? huh? That’s what I’m talking about. You see a woman humbled? Are you kidding me? I don’t think we’re talking about the same person here. I no longer visit her blog. Much less nauseated now as a result. ha! (kidding) Courtney started out seemingly sweet, but I think the attention got to her head and she had no desire to stop it from growing. As a result she began praising herself and fishing for the praises of others. I’m not trying to be cruel, just speaking the truth…. which sets us free. :)

  33. MS on January 9, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Heidi, There is something to be said for humor, sarcasm, and tongue in cheek wit. Those types of things often don’t translate well on blogs. Perhaps after a time you may find that you have lightened up in your outlook on life, that would then be a good time to visit Courtney’s blog again. Personally, I have taken life a little less seriously since visiting. It’s too bad that comments like yours will undo some of the good will that Courtney and NieNie’s sites have generated, especially among non-members. Again it seems we are our own worst enemies.MS

  34. Kent Larsen on January 9, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    Personally, I don’t think it is a very good idea to discuss the issue of Courtney’s motivations and values for what she does. I think Heidi has stated her case about as well as it can be stated. Tiffany has stated a different view. Unless there is some point in this that hasn’t been made, wouldn’t it be better to drop it, knowing the point has been made?

    I don’t know about others, but I get a bit uncomfortable the closer we get to personal attacks, especially those on third parties who are not public figures.

  35. Adam Greenwood on January 9, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Kent Larsen’s right. Let’s drop it.

  36. Heidi on January 9, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Agreed.. consider it dropped.
    .. just to comment to MS.. I enjoy humor and tongue in cheek wit, but I also think there is a time and place for everything. Sometimes sarcasm is used instead of dealing with issues and possibly changing direction and that’s never good.
    I wish the Nielson Family all the best.

  37. Miss Mel on January 9, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Heidi,
    I have to comment even though this was supposed to be dropped, I CAN’T! What do you know about Courtney? Let me give you a little insight…it wasn’t her idea to do her book. It was the editors and board of Segullah. We culled through her blog and chose the posts and edited them. She didn’t. The art editor did the cover. Courtney was humbled and grateful. All proceeds go to pay for her sister’s recovery. Courtney wanted to do Stephanie’s blog instead, but since Nie was in a coma, she couldn’t give us permission to move forward with that book without Stephanie’s permission.
    Boy, Courtney sure sounds arrogant and tooting her own horn, doesn’t she?

  38. Heidi on January 9, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Miss Mel,
    Thank you for the little insight, but why are you making this all about one book when that was a mere mention in my post? That’s not even the point of my post. My focus was more on the angelic (“I’ve secured my place in heaven because I’ve done such a wonderful thing”) proclamations that I’ve seen on her blog during her sisters crisis. As far as the book, it’s more about the very tacky timing on her part, and Segullahs. Not the best time to jump for that opportunity in my opinion.
    My entire point is that if I were in an accident and awoke to find my sister gaining sympathies from blog readers for watching my children and calling herself a saint for doing so, I would find that a little disheartening and self-focused on her part. Fortunately my sister wouldn’t do that, nor would I.

  39. Adam Greenwood on January 9, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    What part of ‘drop it’ don’t yall understand? Kent Larsen made an extremely reasonable request, which y’all promptly ignored. Stop arguing with each other. Stop making excuses for why you’re arguing with each other. Stop saying you’re going to drop it and then continue arguing. Just drop it.

  40. Mark B. on January 9, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    I see an AP, in a story datelined Salt Lake City, has found out about you guys. Here’s the lede:

    The staff of a conservative LDS blog has chosen Mitt Romney as its 2008 Mormon of the Year.

    Hmmm.

  41. Miss Mel on January 9, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    Adam,
    To quote Kent Larson directly,
    “Unless there is some point in this that hasn’t been made,…” I think that I had a unique perspective that others might not know about and a “point” that hadn’t been made. Therefore, I didn’t “drop it.”
    Heidi,
    Segullah was trying to help Stephanie in the only way we knew how…editing, writing, and creating. I’m sorry if you felt that was tacky. Everyone has a right to their opinion.

  42. Heather O. on January 9, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    Thanks, Miss Mel, for pointing out that CJane didn’t come out with her own book–it was done entirely by the staff of Segullah. The idea was even generated at Segullah, not as a request from Courtney. I also am not going to argue with Heidi, as the noted “drop it” has been repeated, but I just wanted to publicly reiterate that in no way has Courtney personally benefitted financially from “Enjoy it!”, as the profits go directly to Stephanie’s recovery and to benefit Stephanie’s family. Also, we “jumped at the opportunity” in our oh so tacky manner because, yeah, we were trying to raise a lot of money in a short amount of time. Comas are expensive.

    Also, just wanted to say that Courtney Kendrick is one of the most genuine people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. And she’s pee your pants funny.

    That is all.

  43. BillM on January 9, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    # 24 “It is ironic that, as the nation demonstrated that it could largely set aside racial prejudice in the election of its president, a large segment is still proudly proclaiming its religious prejudices. If statements said about Romney and Mormons had been said about Obama and blacks, the speakers would have been banned from polite society”

    But there is a very important difference between race and religion, which is that one is born black (or asian or whatever) while one decides to become or stay mormon as Romney did. We really should keep this in mind when comparing both situations. We are simply powerless to change our race but we openly chose which religion to follow as responsible adults (youth aside)

    Also with Romney, while it is true that a segment of society refused to vote for him because of his religious beliefs, it is also true that he lost many due to his changing and ever evolving views on critical issues, like abortion and gay rights. Many others in the GOP simply didn’t know what he’s convictions were, since some seemed to contradict his religious beliefs. He also managed to make enemies of the other candidates after the barrage of negative publicity which he personally funded. Its doubtful that he would’ve ended up with a government role at all had McCain won -or had any other republican won. And in 2012? well there is a lot of mormon fantasy out there.

    For me, its unfortunately that T&S decide to chose such a flawed individual as its ‘Mormon of the year”, there are many other better candidates out there.

  44. Kent Larsen on January 9, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    BillM (43) wrote: “For me, its unfortunately that T&S decide to chose such a flawed individual as its ‘Mormon of the year”, there are many other better candidates out there.”

    Were all the “better candidates” you are speaking of nominated? Nominations closed at midnight on New Years Eve and were open to the public, but I don’t know that we picked up everyone.

    As for Romney being “flawed,” I suspect you may have missed the fact that this recognition is about the person’s impact, NOT whether or not they are a good Mormon, person or even politician. This isn’t an award, honor or an attempt at praise in any way.

    Personally, (I’ve said this repeatedly in comments here and elsewhere) I don’t like Romney’s politics. I agree with a lot of your criticisms of him, and I would not vote for him without some evidence of significant changes, that I don’t expect.

    But that doesn’t change the fact that he had a significant impact, for good or bad, arguably more than anyone else who was nominated.

    And finally, I have to take issue with your comment “there is a very important difference between race and religion” and your implied message that somehow because of this there is no religious prejudice, or that religious prejudice is somehow acceptable.

    Let me take your way of putting it a bit further: there is a very important difference between prejudice against a religion and not thinking a candidate shouldn’t be president because of specific religioius beliefs.

    Prejudice almost always involves condemning an entire group of people without any basis in verifiable fact. I agree that it is worse when, like in the case of race, those that are the target of prejudice can’t do anything about it.

    But even though in the case of religion we can change to another religion, it is still prejudice to condemn a religion because of its beliefs, if those beliefs aren’t shown to be relevant!

    If those who decided not to vote for Romney because he is Mormon had actually started with some Mormon belief and reasoned to the conclusion that because of that Mormon belief Romney wouldn’t make a good president, I would agree that they weren’t prejudiced.

    But, I don’t think that is what happened.

    It sounds like what you are saying is that its OK to think poorly of others, talk badly about them and worse because of their religion, because they can always change their religion.

    Still sounds like prejudice to me.

  45. Bruce in Montana on January 9, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    Is it too late to vote for Merrill Jessop?
    He defends his people and doesn’t flip-flop.

    Do ya suppose that ol’ Mitt has consecrated all his assets beyond what he needs to the bishop’s storehouse?

  46. Heidi on January 9, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    I just wanted to post once more to apologize for my careless words aimed at Courtney. I seriously am not a mean and vindictive person and I feel bad about my earlier comments. It’s not my place to judge another’s actions and motives. (I don’t know why I sometimes think God may need my help in that department) I should have kept my thoughts to myself. I apologize for taking this topic in that direction and I also apologize for those I have offended in the process.

  47. Heidi on January 9, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    make that “to” those I have offended.

  48. It's Not Me on January 10, 2009 at 1:42 am

    “Do ya suppose that ol’ Mitt has consecrated all his assets beyond what he needs to the bishop’s storehouse?”

    Really? Have you? Do you know many people that have?

    Sounds a bit like jealousy.

  49. Miss Mel on January 10, 2009 at 2:16 am

    Heidi,
    It was rather big of you to apologize and to recognize what you did. Apology accepted on behalf of Segullah. I don’t know about Courtney, you trashed her character big time, but knowing her, she’d probably give you a big hug and say “forget it.”
    This is a good lesson. None of us can judge what another is going through. We do not know what we would do in the same situation. We just do the best we can with what we know. I don’t think you are mean and vindictive, I just don’t think you (or anyone, for that matter) know the whole story.
    I hope you will rethink returning to cjanerun.
    Its hard to apologize, its hard to get over negative feelings,
    and for that,
    I nominate Heidi as “Mormon of the Year.”

  50. BillM on January 10, 2009 at 9:39 am

    Kent,

    “But that doesn’t change the fact that he had a significant impact, for good or bad, arguably more than anyone else who was nominated”

    The problem is that the bad impacts & also rubs off on all of us. I mean Harry Reid isn’t a very good politician either but he’d have been a better example of ‘mormon’ than what Romney was with his ever evolving resume; Romney could be accused of lacking basic honesty after all he said: lifelong hunter (wasn’t), seeing his dad march with MLK (didn’t), the illegals cutting his lawns etc & many more; now he’s gone back to the Marriott board where porn is sold in rooms? but he couldn’t be on that board when running for president?. If he is the ‘most significant’ impact, then we will always be known as Rombot like: dishonest and changing our principals for political gain. At least someone like David Archuleta or Marie Osmond gave people more ‘normal’ examples of a ‘mormon’ person. I’d forget about Romney asap and find more positive examples of Mormon folk.

    But more importantly I think you have misunderstood the race part. I also don’t like nor agree with prejudice and agree with you there. The point was that there is a massive difference between religious and racial prejudice. We simply cannot change our race but religion is always something we freely choose to live, and religion is always up for debate, argument or conversions. Race is not, so then criticizing one’s religion just can’t be the same as criticizing someone for their race, nor can racial prejudice be even similar to religious prejudice. Because of that we ought to be more careful when referring to racial prejudice.

    And remember that Mr Romney also said that he wouldn’t have a Muslim american on his cabinet for no other reason than prejudice! Or are we at war with Islam?

    Aside from the above, congratulations for this post, interesting.

  51. Rachel on January 10, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    I just have one question.

    Who are the people who said Romney should distance himself from his faith?

    That whole line is a lie. Yes there were many who said his faith might hurt him but no one who wanted Mitt to win thought that distancing himself from his religion would be a winning strategy.

    As for the whole Courtney/Stephanie thing, I read both blogs and found them thru some story online about a blogger being hurt in a plane crash.

    Once Stephanie is back to blogging, I don’t think I will be reading Courtney’s blog. Her writing isn’t as good as her sister’s. And the attempted humor about eating her son was over the top and fell flat.
    The last straw was her blog header, she has herself as an angel. Ridiculous.
    I hope and pray the her sister can have a good life, what she has gone thru must be horrible.

  52. Jane on January 11, 2009 at 5:21 am

    Heidi and Rachel make valid points about Courtney/cjane. I do not see their comments as attacks–they are stating their viewpoint, a viewpoint that is shared by others. And, I think that it is sad that Heidi has been ganged up on here and basically bullied into an apology.

    Courtney’s recent post about “post-holiday birthdays are just redundant”, in reference to her nephew (whom she is apparently still caring for, even though she previously posted that her house was empty of the children)’s fourth birthday, was disgusting. She did nothing for this little boy’s birthday. She did not bake a cake, make dinner, or buy a gift. There was no tongue-in-cheek about the post–the birthday was bothersome to her and she did not put forth any effort.

    I will also be refraining from Courtney’s blog, and her sparse updates, once Stephanie starts blogging again.

  53. Eduard A. Erdtsieck on January 11, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    CONGRATULATIONS with this years selection, Kent.

    I guess your criteria for Times & Seasons man “or woman” of the Year is POPULARITY. Certainly, Mitt Romney still is the most popular candidate among Mormons and Christians. Except most Christians did not vote for Romney as their presidential candidate, they voted for Mike Huckabee. Romney was unable to defend his own religious beliefs during the ’08 Presidential Debates. Mitt Romney is a prophet in the Pantheon of in the Cathedral of Commerce, but he does not measure up to his father’s commercial achievements. He definitely would be included among my nominees for your panel of Man of the Year, but he does not measure up in religious knowledge to his father George Romney.

    Remember, what you said: “that the Prophet isn’t a good candidate for the Mormon of the Year. Quite to the opposite. My fear is that if the Prophet is a candidate, he will be selected as the Mormon of the Year every year.”

    This is the year of “defending the ideals of the marriage amendment” in California and I look forward to it. Somehow I do not see Mitt Romney, as I see Moroni taking up the banner of liberty. He either is unsure of what Jesus Christ stands for or he is too timid to break ranks with his Republican pals. I think he is too timid to stand for something. Indeed his father, George Romney, stood up and won his struggle against Washington and Wallstreet.

    Remember, Alma in King Noah’s Court or Daniel in Nebuchadnezzar’s Court or even Queen Esther in King Ahasuerus Court. They stood up and successfully defended the adverse decisions by their governments. Who will stand up in our day and time?

    Jesus after completing His meditation with Father in heaven in the Garden of Gethsemane, woke His disciples up and said that His betrayer was on the way. He also said, that tonight ALL MEN shall be offended
    by Me. Peter objected and Jesus said that before the night is over and the cock crowed, Peter would deny Jesus three times. That morning as Peter left the Palace of the Chief Priest of the Herodian Temple, he wept. Jesus had at least 12 Legions of Angels He could have called on, but did not and offended all men.

    I believe President Thomas Monson has at least 1/2 legion of angels he could call on to settle this marriage issue. In his wisdom, he followed Jesus Christ and has refrained from calling on that 1/2 a legion.

    What we need in our time is another Esther or Daniel or Alma. That is idealistically my Man or Woman of the Year. So, do we have any volunteers?

    edu

  54. Kent Larsen on January 11, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    Eduard (53):

    You might want to read the other comments and the post. I think its pretty clear that (1) it is not my selection, but the selection of Times and Seasons collectively (2) We chose based on the person’s impact, NOT popularity (that is why we didn’t choose the winner of the online poll) (3) you pulled out only a portion of what I wrote in the first post about why we excluded the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. The full quote is:

    I am NOT saying that the Prophet is not important, or even that the Prophet isn’t a good candidate for the Mormon of the Year. Quite to the opposite. My fear is that if the Prophet is a candidate, he will be selected as the Mormon of the Year every year.

    We already love and respect the Prophet, so where is the advantage in making such a nomination?

    I hope you can see that I actually suggested that these General Authorities are so likely to be selected Mormon of the Year that nominating them is pointless.

    As for the rest of your comment, I’m afraid you aren’t being clear enough for me to understand what you are saying. The only think that seems clear is that you don’t like Mitt Romney because he doesn’t live up to the standards of the scriptural figures you mention.

    If you read the other comments I’ve made on the Mormon of the Year, you will see that personally, I don’t like Mitt Romney’s politics either. We agree on this.

    But since Mormon of the Year is not a popularity contest, but a selection of who had the most impact, it does make sense to choose Romney. He simply had more impact than others.

    Have I misunderstood what you were trying to say?

  55. Stephen Monteith on January 12, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    I still say that most of Romney’s influence on Mormonism took place in ’07, not in ’08. He dropped out of the race 37 days into ’08, he gave his speech on his faith in November of ’07, and from February on most people stopped paying attention to Romney as McCain sewed up the Republican nomination and all eyes turned to the Democratic contest.

    As for celebrity Mormons such as Archuletta and Heigl, not many people ever knew they were LDS; at least, I didn’t know. Glen Beck, however, has always been a prominent member of the church, and his influence in ’08 was greater than any other Mormon in the news media; not to mention his bestselling book, The Christmas Sweater.

    In my own estimation, Romney was MoY for ’07, and Beck was MoY for ’08.

  56. Eduard A. Erdtsieck on January 13, 2009 at 9:25 am

    Kent, I understand your quote about your statement on “Prophets” and fully agree with it. Please, note that I did not say Mitt Romney was a Prophet in the Church. I was having some fun by calling him a prophet in the Cathedral of Commerce and that he did not measure up to his father George Romney achievements.

    I am not slighting your effort in this Man of the Year project. I think it is great, although we differ in opinions.

    I was very much involved in the interfaith effort of our County. I still keep my eye on it. It is bifurcated between a Christian effort pushed successfully by the Marriage Amendment and the effort to reach those of non-christian religions. It seems some Stakes are moving in one direction and others in the other without central planning or coordination.

    Well, getting to the point, I received an email from a influential official in the Christian push, widely distributed announcing that T&S had selected Mitt Romney as Man of the Year. I think that is great PUBLICITY. Is that not what these Man or Woman of the Year effort are all about?

    I think as Mormons, we lower ourself into accepting the Christian Right ideals of making Religious behavior the issue rather than seeing it as a Political issue. With over 129 working temple around the world, our family ideals are extremely high and we should not put them on the public market. They are personal and private and I frequently talked with those I meet about these ideals personally and privately.

    Let me give you another example. Jesus was asked whether He paid any taxes. He told Peter to fish at a certain place and caught a fish with a coin in its mouth. Jesus asked whose image is on that coin. The answer was “Ceasar’s”, that is, give unto Ceasar that what belongs to him. Peter was told to give it to the tax collector.

    Now, look at our money, it has the ancient Egyptian symbol for God, a pyramid with an “all-seeing eye” and it even says “In God We Trust”. Does that mean, after 2000 years, that God is now in charge of our government?

    When I illustrated my point by citing the examples of Esther, Daniel and Alma, they sought political solutions and not make every one abide by their religious standards. I am hoping that your Man or Woman of the Year project will cause the rise of a similar political effort for our day.

    The JosephSmithPapers project which the Church announced last month and will last for a decade or more, means that Joseph Smith’s name will not disappear, but will increase the Lord’s influence over the world. It’s God’s will.

    edu

  57. Jen on January 13, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    This whole poll was just silly. It seems that it was thrown together without much forethought and the guidlines for the decision making weren’t really clearcut.

    Mitt Romney was hardly influential for your mormon faith. I would have voted for him if he would have been running against Obama. But not for anything that he had said or done or believes. I would have voted for Mickey Mouse had he run against Obama. Get my drift….

    The only thing I remember from watching Romney was that he tried to distance his political stance from his religion so as not to step on anyone’s toes, which disgusted me. At least Huckabee was willing to fully claim his faith in all areas of his life, including politics.

    So, if you were truly looking for an “influential” Mormon your choice clearly should have been Courtney Kendrick. I am a “non-mormon” and they have influenced me more for your faith than anyone else on your list. I didn’t even know who half of them were, so, so much for influence. And most of the celebrity and politician nominees whom I recognized, I didn’t even KNOW they were mormon. Again, so much for influence! You questioned Courtney/Stephenie’s influence on the world, yet didn’t apply the same criteria to your other nominees. Why? You asked someone in the comments over on the poll if they could produce actual numbers that would/could prove their influence. I’m wondering if you had any numbers on Romney or any of the other nominees that you considered?

    Next year maybe you’ll reconsider your method and/or motive here, because I think it just confused a few thousand people and left us scratching our heads……

  58. jeans on January 14, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Did you notice the religion blog for the Boston Globe picked up your story & called you (correctly) “one of the major Mormon blogs”

    http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles_of_faith/2009/01/romney_wins_mor.html

    Sorry if this is repeating info or is old news.

  59. Kent Larsen on January 14, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Thanks for mentioning this. I hadn’t seen it.

  60. Eduard A. Erdtsieck on January 14, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Jen, #57, I believe your opinion on polls is to the point, but think about it.

    Polls are snapshots-in-time of ideas or concepts, very much as a photograph is an image of a moment of flesh and blood. The moment it has been taken it is a reflection of a moment in the real world, now passed. It is fleeting, but nevertheless had been there. Very much like a computer and its monitor and the Internet, a valuable tool for mental and verbal expression and interpretation.

    As your posting suggests its construct may or may not reflect a true condition in real world, but it is fun and useful. I think Kent did a good job, though we differ in our interpretation. I believe it will become more useful in the future of Mormondom. It is a tool for the Mormon “multitude” to make known, in an aggregate, generic form, what concerns them.

    There are fewer ways to influence the decisions, that are made for us by our Elected Representatives. The Lobbyist destroyed that. In terms of communications it is probably just above total ignorance.

    Consider this, with all the deceit on Wallstreet and in Washington DC, do you think that the Obama-elect
    Adminstration with all their campaign promises to be different, will actually be different? No. Their power is the secrecy and subterfuge leading up to hypocrisy. It was no different when Christ walked on earth 2000 years ago.

    It was so among the Nephites in the Book of Mormon. They called it the Order of Nehor and it destroyed the law of Mosiah before the visit of Jesus Christ
    .
    edu

  61. sherri on January 15, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    I’m late to the party, but re: Lois #14 about TAMN…HAHAHA! Seriously, so true. As she would say, “Mitt 2010!”

  62. C. Christensen on January 20, 2009 at 11:40 am

    I vote for Robert Kirby as Mormon of the Year. He is by far, the most intelligent and open minded Mormon that I have the pleasure of knowing.