Vote for Mormon of the Year

January 1, 2009 | 183 comments
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This post opens the voting for Mormon of the Year. Votes will be taken until midnight Eastern Time on Monday, January 5th, at which time the voting will close.

The voting mechanism will attempt to restrict votes to one per person.

THE WINNER OF THE ONLINE VOTE IS NOT NECESSARILY THE MORMON OF THE YEAR!!!

The results of the vote will be considered by the bloggers and editors here at Times & Seasons (and anyone we invite to participate) as part of the process of choosing a Mormon of the Year. I imagine that the results will likely be the deciding factor in anything close to a tie, for example, as well as in any number of possible scenarios.

BECAUSE OF THIS, PLEASE VOTE! We will announce, in any case, the results of the online vote, as well as any indication we have that voting was stacked, fraudulent or otherwise problematic. So please, vote only once.

Feel free to annouce the vote where ever you wish. Since many have asked, non-Mormons are free to vote (I can’t see how we could prevent non-Mormons if we wished to anyway).

But above all, please use judgement. Remember this is NOT about popularity. It IS about judging the impact that these nominees had on the world and on Mormonism.

If you need further information about any of the nominees, please take a look at the post in which the nominations were discussed.

[FWIW, this is also the first time we have used the software below for a poll. Please let us know of any problems you encounter.]


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183 Responses to Vote for Mormon of the Year

  1. Kent Larsen on January 1, 2009 at 2:43 am

    Just so that it is clear, let me state that anything written in the comments here does NOT get included in the votes!

  2. Timj on January 1, 2009 at 8:08 am

    Last time I checked, President Uchtdorf was a member of the First Presidency, and therefore not eligible for the vote.
    Right?
    Or is his presence on the list an exception?

  3. Kent Larsen on January 1, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    You are right.

    I let it slide in the nominations and in this vote because I believe the nomination came in spite of this, and because Elder Uchtdorf represents the non-North American General Authorities.

    I suspect that the judges will consider the ineligibility heavily in who they select for MotY.

  4. Sue on January 1, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    You realize this poll is going to be spammed by the Twilight teens, don’t you? They LOVE voting.

  5. Russell Arben Fox on January 1, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    I personally was not much impressed by Mitt Romney–as a Mormon or as a candidate–but it is undeniable that more news coverage, more analysis, more thought, and more criticism, both by Mormons and about Mormons, was driven by him than by any other single individual. If “Proposition 8″ itself was on the ballot, it should win, because Mitt’s impact on Mormonism, while extremely broad, was not deep: he did not particularly run as a “Mormon candidate,” and in fact often ran from that label. His huge influence on the news was basically nominal: he was the first, he was the ground-breaker, he was the occasion for, rather than the mover of, all the commentary and argument–both internal and external–which followed in his wake. Whereas Proposition 8 has social, political, institutional and cultural consequences for Mormon reality and Mormon self-perception from the highest to the lowest levels, and its impact will be long-lasting. However, I just don’t feel right about identifying any one person, or any one group of people, as a synecdoche for the whole phenomenon. So Romney it is.

  6. MS on January 1, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    I just wanted to shed a little more light on Stephanie Nielson and her sister Courtney. Because of the accident many people around the world have been drawn to their blogs. Blogs which portray a lot of what is best and most positive about Mormons: family, love, sacrifice, and service. I was actually drawn to their writings by several other blogs written by non-Mormons who have never met them but were inspired to live a better life because of them.
    For example: http://suburbanturmoil.blogspot.com/2008/10/perfect-post-awards.html
    Guess I should have written all this with my nomination, sorry!

  7. Rob Perkins on January 1, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    On a technical note… is there any way to make the polling list wider than one column?

  8. queuno on January 1, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    I went for Wickman.

  9. Rob Perkins on January 1, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    I can’t vote for Romney… I couldn’t before and his influence was in the political arena, which most Americans largely ignore, I think. He also lost, and his immigration stance was completely out of sync with Church teachings, in my opinion.

    After having seconded the nomination of Margie Christoffersen, though, I’m swayed by arguments that Mormons in pop culture had more impact and influence than political newsmakers. If the criteria really is “the impact that these nominees had on the world and on Mormonism”, then I have to go with Stephenie Meyer. From a literary standpoint, her books are pure escapist entertainment, feeding some of the romanticism which I think sickens Western culture somewhat.

    But that romanticism is also so congruent with such a wide popular audience that Hollywood filmmakers were actually able to make a movie that was arguably better than any of her books, except, perhaps, The Host, which I think is a fascinating bit of science fiction worthy of inclusion in women’s studies curricula. All kinds of people have returned to that movie repeatedly. It’s actually a fascinating and ironic reversal on the Star Wars phenomenon, in that there are men who can’t get why all these girls are so interested in Meyer’s fantasy. I could probably go on for 3000 words about that alone, but not here!

  10. Kent Larsen on January 1, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    Rob (7):

    Not as far as I can tell – at least not without creating your own layout (I’m not willing to invest the time at this point).

  11. Kent Larsen on January 1, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    Sue (4):

    It hasn’t been so far. And I believe PollDaddy will prevent all except for the most technically adept or fanatically motivated from voting multiple times.

    But anyone inclined to “spam” the results should remember that the vote alone will not determine the Mormon of the Year. Spamming or multiple votes will likely be obvious and not that influential on the judges.

  12. Tatiana on January 1, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    So we should only vote once? I thought like many online polls it would accept multiple votes or daily votes as evidence that we care more.

  13. Hunter on January 1, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    I voted for Romney and now I hate myself. Especially since Romney tried so hard (rightfully) to distance himself from being known as just “the Mormon candidate.” He wasn’t no stinking Mormon of the Year. Ugh.

    If had do-overs, I would vote for Darius Gray and Margaret Young.

  14. Kent Larsen on January 1, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Tatiana (12):

    Sorry. One vote only. You can, of course, try to indicate in these comments your feelings. At least some of the judges are reading these.

  15. Dead Seriously on January 1, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    @ 5.

    “Prop 8″ or “Mormons who supported Prop 8″ are, after you shave off all the periphery, the same thing. Look at it this way: if Mormons hadn’t supported Prop 8, the Church wouldn’t be all over the news and forever linked with it. If Mormons hadn’t supported it in such broad fashion, those members of the Church who actively opposed it would not have been interesting to the media or to the world of Mormonism. In other words, “Prop 8″ would not have been a world-altering experience for Mormonism but for those who supported the ballot measure in the first place. FWIW.

  16. che on January 1, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    Regardless of your political or religious views, Romney’s candidacy was easily the most significant Mormon achievement this year.

  17. Chris Buttars on January 2, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    I vote for Chris Buttars because I hate gays and black babies.

  18. D. Fletcher on January 2, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    Hmm. Yuck.

  19. Dropping By on January 2, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    Despite his many faults, or at least the faults of his candidacy, Mitt Romney is not stupid. Short of apocalyptic troubles plaguing the U.S., he will never be president of the United States, something that was casually obvious to many of us. If we knew it, he knew it, too. Which means he spent nearly $40 million of his own money to help bring the Church out of obscurity in 2007-08. He deserves “Mormon of the Year.” And I hope he wins it this year, because he’d be a great apostle to fill in the vacancy in the Twelve — meaning he might not be eligible in the future for this small nod and (God willing) we’re all spared going through his candidacy again in 2012.

  20. S Fleming on January 2, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    Voted for Brandon Flowers and David Archuleta – the fresh, new, creative and exciting faces of Mormonism. Romney represented all that is wrong with the Republican party, and his failed bid for the Presidency perpetuated lingering stereotypes of the Mormonism as being intolerant, narrow minded, racist, non-inclusive. And like the Republican party, this image must change. Not many on this list that make me especially pleased or proud to cast a vote. Flowers and Archuleta represent a changing face, and until they show otherwise, they make better representatives and deserve recognition more than 99% of the folks on this poll.

  21. James Hayter on January 3, 2009 at 12:58 am

    I came over here fully intending to vote for David Archuleta because I feel he is a good role model of what a Mormon should be. He is more than a pretty face and voice, he is an even more amazing person, who holds his standards high despite being surrounded by the very worldly music business. That being said, I did not vote for him. I instead voted for Stephanie Nielsen and Courtney. They are amazing women who are just ordinary moms who do extraordinary things and they were doing it before the public was watching or knew who they were. They have inspired many women and are blessing many lives by their wonderful examples.

    Check out their blogs:
    http://nieniedialogues.blogspot.com/
    http://blog.cjanerun.com/

  22. Timer on January 3, 2009 at 1:26 am

    I nominate Kent Larsen. For having the audacity to declare a Mormon of the Year. And the magnanimity to let us at least advise him before he decides. Thanks Kent. :)

    Second choice is Mitt Romney. Of course, none of us agrees with all of his politics, but he was obviously the most talented guy in the race, and it’s easy to forget how extremely close he came to beating McCain in the primary — and in retrospect it’s easy to imagine (given his economic credentials) his having carried the vote in November. True, his rightward shifts on some issues were awkard — pleasing nobody, it seemed — but he confronted endless “Are Mormons normal enough to be president?” media coverage with remarkable poise and grace. Millions went from viewing Mormons as “kooky perverted cultists” to seeing us as “intelligent white Republicans with somewhat overly conservative social views.” If you don’t recognize this as real progress, you have no idea how we are viewed in most of the country — or the world.

    And when you consider Romney’s brilliance, his history of achievement (running the olympics, establishing the nation’s first near-universal health coverage in Massachusetts, making hundreds of millions in business, etc.) and the remarkably public nature of his Mormon faith (far fewer people even know that Reid, Meyer, Archuleta, etc. are Mormons) it seems almost silly to consider anyone else on the list.

    My dead last choice is anything to do with Prop. 8. How depressing it would be to let this ugly California squabble (which most of us our so eager to forget…) come to define our religion.

  23. Kent Larsen on January 3, 2009 at 2:10 am

    Timer (22):

    If nominated, I will not run, if selected, I will not serve… {GRIN]

  24. California Roland on January 3, 2009 at 2:29 am

    Is it too late to nominate the LDS members of Affirmation (LDS Gay Rights) group? They certainly played a huge role in the opposition to Prop 8 this year in California.

  25. RW on January 3, 2009 at 3:50 am

    I voted for Stephanie Nielsen and Courtney because their posts inspired me to learn more about the Mormon faith and also to attend services.

  26. Untypically Jia on January 3, 2009 at 4:56 am

    I voted for Stephanie Neilson. Because of what happened to her and because of her sister’s dedication they have shown the love that bloggers have all over the world. We’re not just casual observers. We can take actions and can move to take care of one another in times of need.

  27. BillM on January 3, 2009 at 7:27 am

    #19, 22
    “Mitt Romney………..because he’d be a great apostle to fill in the vacancy in the Twelve”

    May God help u!. We will have a apostle who “saw his father march with Martin Luther King” when he actually didn’t. Who was a life long hunter…when he actually wasn’t. Who was recently pro-choice and pro-gays but he actually wasn’t or ‘changed his mind very conveniently late in life’. Who had a thing about illegal latinos but could make them work on his mansion. Who doesn’t have a single grey hair….ooops he actually does have those but covers them at the hairdressers. Enough said!

  28. Shirley Rousseau on January 3, 2009 at 8:32 am

    I am a non-Mormon who has been reading Courtney and Stephanie’s blogs since late August. They get my vote by virtue of the way they live their lives. They have inspired people around the world to be nicer, be kind…and love. They are not ‘preachy’ and yet their lives just ooze selflessness, service, love, humor and strength. They make me wish I had been born into a Mormon family. I love all the family I have ‘met’ online. Their siblings are awesome, too! Need I mention that I believe their parents did an outstanding job teaching not just the doctrine of Mormonism but the Spirit, as well.

    Thanks for listening.

  29. Sue on January 3, 2009 at 9:25 am

    There was a time that my choice would have been Marie Osmond, but not now. I hate Hypercrites. And I hate a church that is Hypercritical. Marie has been divorced twice and she certainly does not live by the Mormon Church’s rules. But Marie shovels heavy money into the Mormon church (A Cult). However, Stephanie Meyer is a good Mormon, but just because she wrote books on Vampires and won’t give 20% of her hard-earned money to the LDS Lunitics, all those crazy Mormons excommunicated her, Now, Stephanie is my choice as “Mormon of the Year”.

  30. Jessi on January 3, 2009 at 9:28 am

    Aside from having people cast votes, what makes a person “Mormon of the year”?

  31. M on January 3, 2009 at 9:48 am

    I don’t believe Katherine Heigl considers herself LDS anymore. The way she talks about it in interviews, she was LDS growing up. She smokes and drinks now, so I don’t really consider her to be a face for the church.

    I voted for Stephanie and Courtney. Not only do their blogs talk about their faith and provide links to church websites, they appear to be truly living the gospel and provide a great example for those around them. I am a lifelong member and have really been impressed by them. Their blogs make me strive to be a better member, wife, mother, and neighbor.

  32. ivona kuzmanic on January 3, 2009 at 9:54 am

    I am not a Mormon (I am Catholic) but I think she is really nice person and her love for your church and her family is great inspiration for every person

  33. Kent Larsen on January 3, 2009 at 9:54 am

    Jessi (30):

    If you read the post and the previous nominating post, you see that Mormon of the Year is NOT decided by the vote at all. It is decided by the editors and bloggers of this blog. The vote is mainly entertainment, although I will admit that it might sway my own decision a little in the right circumstances.

    The point of the award is to recognize the Mormon who has had the most influence or impact, positive or negative, on the world during the past year. How righteous the person is or how faithful they are to the teachings of the LDS Church isn’t the point.

    I must admit that I can’t see how the current leaders in this online poll, Stephanie and Courtney, could possibly have enough influence to be Mormon of the Year. They obviously have a base of very loyal fans, but most of the world has never heard of them, while they have heard of people like Mitt Romney and Stephenie Meyer.

  34. Grace on January 3, 2009 at 10:14 am

    As a cancer survivor, I believe in the power of prayer and the miracle of keeping hope alive. It’s been a blessing to see the power of this hope through prayer continue through Stephanie and her beautiful family. Where there is faith, there is hope and where there is hope miracles occur.

  35. SJC on January 3, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Stephanie and Courtney have changed my life. I knew nothing about LDS before them, and now I have faces and names and morals and reasoning behind the Church…stories about their upbringing and their community, their traditions…I used to think being Mormon meant a whole host of things, not all of them pleasant. Now, I am very embarrassed to admit that fact here! Not only that, but they have given me a new purpose. I know now that it is important for me to become a mother, that it is an enormous part of why I am on this earth, and being a mother who is good, and kind, and creative, and joyful and attentive is far more important than the tiny frustrations in life and the pitfalls of selfishness.
    I had to throw my (long) 2 cents in for the first and only blogs I’ve ever read, Stephanie and Courtney’s, because if you think they haven’t had a profound influence on the world, you’d be surprised!

  36. Dee on January 3, 2009 at 10:21 am

    go steph

  37. Baura Kale on January 3, 2009 at 11:16 am

    I looked over the list and didn’t notice Warren Jeffs or his Texas followers. I can’t help but think that “Mormon of the Year” should be replaced with “Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints of the Year.” Or was it intended to include the other “Mormons” out there?

  38. mormon for life on January 3, 2009 at 11:25 am

    I am LDS and very active. I understand the concept of this vote, but in all due respect. This is like saying if you are not famous, you are not a good member. So simply put, this vote is pretty stupid and whoever put this little vote together obviously didn’t get the okay from the Church because I really doubt they’d hold a popularity contest.

  39. Gina on January 3, 2009 at 11:26 am

    I have heard several of the names on the list, especially the ones who have gotten media attention. Not one of them inspired me to leads anything about the Mormon church. Until I started reading Stephanie and Courney’s blog. What amazing examples of faith, love, family and values.

  40. Jen M on January 3, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Kent,
    You state you can’t understand how the current leasders, Stephanie and Courtney, could have enough influence to be Mormon of the Year. You are wrong. I am a nonLDS and have been reexamining my faith because of these women. You can label me as one of their many followers, but I may one day be a fellow member of your church due to their influence. They openly share the lives that they live based on their faith. It is unfair for you to assume that people would choose to follow a specific faith or find their path to God becasue a public figure announced it is their faith. Show me evidence they are living their faith, not just using it as a stump. I am sorry that you are going to make a decision when you have not been blessed to know who these truly wonderful women are. I feel their influence is farther reaching than you could ever imagine.

  41. m2 on January 3, 2009 at 11:46 am

    This should not even be a poll. It’s grossly inappropriate and demeaning to what our chuch stands for – equality. The Mormon of the Year is known as The First Presidency because their lives are dedicated to making ours better. No one here stands to judge any one else, no matter what the reasoning. Let the missionaries do their work.

  42. alanna on January 3, 2009 at 11:48 am

    Some of these famous Mormons have done things on an amazing scale, but Stephanie and Courtney continue to bless my life, daily, as they share their faithfulness through family trials. I voted for them because they have had the greatest impact on me personally. I may not ever be an American Idol contestant, famous author, or presidential nominee, but every day I am a mother, wife, and daughter of God trying to serve and grow. It’s nice to have role models in that arena. Traditionally they don’t get much press.

  43. Sarah on January 3, 2009 at 11:49 am

    My vote, hands down: Stephanie and Courtney. The world would be a much better place if everyone would wake up in the morning and read their blog. It’s a strong statement, but they have changed my life for the good.

  44. Ray on January 3, 2009 at 11:52 am

    This is such an interesting sociological experiment. Poll notwithstanding, I’m enjoying the comments for that reason.

  45. Brandy on January 3, 2009 at 11:52 am

    Stephanie and Courtney have a huge influence over women all over the blogging world. Stephanie’s story has been published all over the world. It has been in newspapers in England and around the nation. If you have not had the opportunity to get to know Courtney and Stephanie, you should go and check them out. They truly are inspiring because of the way they live their lives. They are not looking for glory or fame, they just live their lives the way they know is right and they leave us awed!

  46. Amanda on January 3, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    I am just a girl from Ohio. Last year, I would have had to google what LDS even meant. I can tell you from the above names, I recognized only 2 as being Mormon. Mitt Romney and Stephanie.

    While I know this contest is for nothing, don’t take lightly the contributions her blog has made. I can honestly say that I may have been prejudiced in my ignorance of what being Mormon was. Not only have I learned, because of her I want to learn more. I’ve been able to contradict others in discussions and help with their ignorance- all because of her blog. I’m grateful to have learned.

    Say what you want about the big names who are portrayed in the media, they are more famous. But for a grassroots movement, Steph has done more than you can realize.

  47. Neil on January 3, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Mormon of the Year? Obviously, Benjamin Franklin, hands down the greatest Founding Father of the United States of America and convert to the LDS Church. Ben Franklin, coming up on his 303rd birthday in 2009, has been a member of the LDS Church since 1877 when he and the other Founding Fathers (and other great and noble men of history) personally appeared in the St. George Temple and were baptized vicariously by Elder Wilford Woodruff:

    In 1877, shortly after the dedication of the St. George Temple, the first temple in Utah, the Founding Fathers appeared to Elder Wilford Woodruff, one of the twelve apostles, who was president of the temple. This is his testimony:

    “Before I left St. George, the spirits of the [Founding Fathers] gathered around me, wanting to know why we did not redeem them. Said they, ‘You have had the use of the Endowment House for a number of years, and yet nothing has ever been done for us. We laid the foundation of the government you now enjoy, and we never apostatized from it, but we remained true to it and were faithful to God.’ These were the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and they waited on me for two days and two nights. . . . I straightway went into the baptismal font and called upon Brother McCallister to baptize me for the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and fifty other eminent men, making one hundred in all, including John Wesley, Columbus, and others.” (Journal of Discourses 19:229.)

    Ben Franklin’s accomplishments:

    SCIENCE – Noted 18th Century Scientist

    INVENTOR – Stove, lightning rod, bifocals and many others…

    MEDICINE – Founded 1st U.S. Hospital

    BANKING – Well known for maxims on thrift

    AGRICULTURE – Introduced several crops to U.S.

    PRINTING – Noted Colonial printer – “Patron Saint of Printing”

    ELECTRICAL – Experiments and theories – Kite & Key

    INSURANCE – Started 1st insurance company

    HEATING – Franklin stove

    COOLING – Had three methods of cooling

    EDUCATOR – Involved in founding two colleges

    OPTOMETRIC – Bifocal glasses

    POSTAL – First postmaster

    LIBRARIES – Started 1st circulating library

    JOURNALISM – Wrote for several early newspapers

    PUBLIC SAFETY – Started 1st police department

    PUBLIC SAFETY II – Started 1st fire department

    RELIGION – Introduced idea of prayer in Congress

    MUSIC – Invented musical instrument – glass armonica

    GOVERNMENT – Held numerous positions:

    * Clerk
    * Postmaster
    * J.P.
    * Alderman
    * Governor
    * Ambassador

    MILITARY – Colonel in Militia

    MASONIC – Grand Master of Pennsylvania

    DIPLOMAT – Ambassador to England & Minister to France

    COMMUNITY SERVICE – Street lighting, paving and cleaning

    UNIONS – Started Leather Apron Club

    BUSINESSMAN – Owned and operated several businesses

    PHILOSOPHER – Started American Philosophical Society

    ABOLITIONIST – Started Society to Abolish Slavery

    SALESMAN – Expert at marketing and sales

    MERCHANT – Operated store as part of printshop

    HUMORIST – Considered America’s 1st writer of humor

    TRAVELER – Traveled extensively throughout U.S.

    FORECASTER – Published Poor Richards “Almanack”

    FUND RAISER – Originated matching contributions idea

    SAILING – Designed “sea anchors”

    CARTOONIST – Drew 1st cartoon in an American newspaper

    LINGUIST – Studied several languages and designed a phonetic alphabet

    CARTOGRAPHER – Mapped the Gulf Stream and Routes for the post office

    PHILANTHROPIST – Organized fund raising and contributed to many worthwhile causes

    MENTOR – Acted as a counselor and guide to many of his contemporaries

  48. BKW on January 3, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Honestly I can not believe you are all polling for the best mormon. Winning a poll does not make you a good mormon. Being a good mormon is not about getting recognition from complete strangers. Being a good mormon goes without notice. It is the people who are truly Christlike in every way and do it because that is what they believe not for approval or thanks. There is no “Mormon of the year” in my opinion. We believe in family, unity and everyone from the prophet to the nursery leader having equal importance. Although some of the nominees have wonderful stories of strength and christlike love none of them is more mormon than any of the other members of our church. Being in the spotlight is not what matters. The wonderful temple workers, missionaries, moms and dads, bishops, and everyone else who is just trying to live a good life and return to our heavenly father, that is what matters and that is what we should all focus on.

  49. Saved in Zion on January 3, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    We feel that Barbara Young saved all of us who protested against Prop 8 from church discipline because we could not be targeted without including her. Apparently, she is safe and so are we.

  50. Hunter on January 3, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    BKW, No. 48: Yawwwwwwwn.

  51. Liberty on January 3, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Kent Larsen,

    My comments largely reinforces BKW’s views. I’ve got an issue with “Mormon of the Year.”

    While this started out as a “fun” discussion, it has turned into chaotic nonsense. It’s analogous to “Christian of the Year.” What Christian had the greatest impact in 2008? Now if we started that discussion, most of us would have certain expectations about what a “Christian” was. There would be theological expectations. And most people would believe that some standard of goodness or righteousness about the selection would have to be met. Morally “neutral” uses of the term “Christian” (especially when voted upon by a board of “editors and bloggers,” YOU decide who gets the title) is not possible. Should the term be applied to someone who is not an adherent to the teachings of Christ?

    But this is not the case with “Mormon of the Year.” Apparently many, if not most, of the nominations were based on artistic or political considerations. There is a gross lack of consideration for moral actions or beliefs. What makes a Mormon? Is it a neutral term? Is there a standard that must be maintained? This discussion and silly polling has made the descriptive “Mormon” meaningless. Is it really “Mormon” to engage in activities that are influential, regardless of the spiritual and moral effects? I feel bad for having participated in this earlier.

  52. BKW on January 3, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Hunter,

    That is fine if that is what you think of my comment. I am not looking for approval from anyone especially you. I stated my opinion. This poll is sad and everyone who voted should re-evaluate. There are so many other more important things to talk about.

  53. Kent Larsen on January 3, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Baura Kale (37): “I looked over the list and didn’t notice Warren Jeffs or his Texas followers.”

    I think you might have missed our nomination discussion at Who Should Be Mormon of the Year?

    I tend to agree that FLDS Church members have as much a right as anyone to be called “Mormon” — a term that should probably be defined to include anyone from any of the Churches that sprang out of the restoration movement started by Joseph Smith.

    But, on a practical level, most of our audience at Times and Seasons will assume Mormon refers just to members of the LDS Church (with some accomodation for those who are former members or inactive or not following Church teachings). We’re getting enough flack about things on this that having to explain ad-infinitum a broader definition of Mormonism isn’t high on my list.

    AND, I do have to add, that no one nominated Jeffs on the nominating post comments (which closed New Years Eve at midnight).

  54. Emily on January 3, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    This is interesting.

    My thoughts: Romney’s influence, although wildly extensive, was predominately felt in 2007. It seems like the talk surrounding his Mormonism sort of culminated in his Religion Speech, which I believe was given in December 07.

    Living in Utah, I am unable to ascertain how significantly Uchtdorf ‘s being in the First Presidency has impacted the international church, although, admittedly, the potential for influence is huge.

    Stephanie Nielson’s accident, and her and her sister’s blogs, may very well have made the greatest sum-total impact in a positive direction — as hard as that is to believe because the coverage is not as pervasive as for some of the more well-known nominees. However, their blog readership, which supposedly hovers in the 40,000 per day range, is story after story of “my life has been changed for the better”, “I never prayed before but now I do”,” “I’ve decided to look into the Mormon church because of your example”, “I’m more committed to my husband and more patient with my children”. Thousands of stories like that. Stephanie’s and Courtney’s impact goes deep with those whom it reaches and really ought not be overlooked.

    Prop 8 itself and the LDS involvement were certainly impactful, though divisive in their impact. This is probably the Story of the Year for the LDS Church, in spite of — and because of — the complexities involved.

    The only other legitimate candidate for consideration, in my opinion, is Stephenie Meyer. She was everywhere. But, while it was consistently noted that she is a BYU grad and active Mormon, I would say that the church and church members were not directly impacted by her books, movie and fame. Even the extent to which she promotes abstinence and reflects church values is murky, and, might I add, not the intention of her books.

  55. Kent Larsen on January 3, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    mormon for life (38) wrote: “This is like saying if you are not famous, you are not a good member.”

    Um, when exactly did we say that being famous was a requirement, or that the designation Mormon of the Year means that you are a good member?

    Neither of these are true. Being named Mormon of the Year simply means that you had a lot of impact, for good or ill, on the world as a Mormon. Nothing more.

    To be honest, I don’t like many of the reasons that those on the list had an impact. I don’t like Romney’s politics (post Massachusetts Governor, at least), nor do I think much of Stephenie Meyer’s work. Don’t even get me started on Glenn Beck. Those are my personal opinions, nothing more. BUT, I can’t deny that these people have had an impact, and I want to recognize that impact.

  56. Kent Larsen on January 3, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Jen M. (40): “You state you can’t understand how the current leasders, Stephanie and Courtney, could have enough influence to be Mormon of the Year. You are wrong.”

    I’ve been wrong about a lot of things in my life, but I don’t think you can be wrong for simply not understanding.

    What I hope to get from expressing my surprise about them is simply for people like you to try and explain what their impact has been and how widespread it has been.

    I’m getting a lot of explanations of how wonderfull their impact has been on those who have read their blogs. I’m NOT getting an idea of how widespread that impact has been.

    For example, I don’t yet know what the page rank of their blogs are, how often their names have been mentioned on the Internet or in the Media in comparison to others on the list, and what proportion of the population of the US and of Mormons know anything about them at all.

    I don’t doubt that many, many people have gained a lot from their blogs. Now tell me how many, and how that group is more than the others on the list, who also have their supporters.

  57. Kent Larsen on January 3, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    m2 (41) wrote: “This should not even be a poll. It’s grossly inappropriate and demeaning to what our chuch stands for – equality.”

    OK, I’ll take the bait. While I do agree that equality is an important value that Mormons believe it, could you please show me statements from the Scriptures or General Conference addresses that say equality is what the Church stands for?

    If you ask me, equality is just one of many values that the Church “stands for.”

    But this poll doesn’t disrespect the value of equality. NO ONE IS SAYING THAT THE MORMON OF THE YEAR IS BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE!!! We ARE saying that the Mormon of the Year has had more IMPACT than anyone else. That doesn’t make them better.

    “The Mormon of the Year is known as The First Presidency”

    Yep. That’s why we excluded the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve from consideration. They would be selected every year, and the whole exercise would be pointless. Think of this as the Mormon of the Year who is not in the First Presidency or Quorum of the Twelve.

    “No one here stands to judge any one else, no matter what the reasoning.”

    No one who is actually selecting the Mormon of the Year is judging anyone’s worthiness or value as a person. We are ONLY looking at the impact that the person had.

  58. Josi on January 3, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Sheesh–people sure like to whine, don’t they? I think the poll is fun and I wish you luck–I think it’s exciting to see Mormons making an impact on the world we live in. Certainly we all have our own measure of greatness, but those in the spotlight that give a positive reflection on our religion have a big responsibility and recognizing their integrity is a good thing. Your nominations reminded me of several people I wouldn’t have thought of before. For the record, I don’t believe Stephanie Meyers has been excommunicated so I’m assuming she’s still giving her 10% like the rest of us.

  59. Sarah on January 3, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    In terms of my daily life, excluding the comments I read on LDS blogs, I’d go in this order:

    Mormons who supported Prop 8
    Mitt Romney
    The guy on American Idol
    The vampire book lady
    Glenn Beck

    If you go by effects on Mormonism (including impact on normal Mormon stuff like Sunday services,) it’d be:
    Mormons who supported Prop 8
    The fundamentalist types

    I mean, in thirty years, which stuff will be associated with 2008 in particular? Which will be the stuff you’ll have stories to tell your descendants? What stuff will be on the “this day in history” features on websites?

    I have to exclude a lot of the things on the list, because they’re going to have more impact in the future than they did in 2008 – the Joseph Smith papers aren’t even done yet. And I don’t have any personal knowledge about the accident blog’s impact – Romney and the Idol guy and Beck and the vampire book and Prop 8 took over my Facebook feed like nothing since Zombies vs. Pirates.

  60. Kent Larsen on January 3, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Neil (47):

    I appreciate your enthusiasm for Bro. Franklin. And, I think you have found a hole in how we expressed our qualifications for Mormon of the Year.

    BUT, I think Bro. Franklin is unlikely to get serious consideration for a couple of reasons:

    1. The poll is about the impact the person has had, based on their actions in 2008. Franklin’s actions in 2008 are, if nothing else, invisible to most of us.

    2. If I had thought about it, I specifically would have excluded those who were not mortal during the year.

    Our good friend, Robert Kirby, agreed with your thinking, however. He nominated Caligula!

  61. Sarah on January 3, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Oh, and I’m pretty sure I kind of know how to spell the names of the people who I described by means of listing their “achievements” – I just didn’t want to spend time hunting their names down. The judges may want to consider my total lack of interest in these people when determining how much weight to give their impact in the final tally.

  62. Liberty on January 3, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Kent Larsen wrote: “…I can’t deny that these people have had an impact, and I want to recognize that impact.”
    ——————————
    Kent,

    But should this impact be described as “Mormon of the Year?” By your loose, “neutral” criteria, you would name Hitler the “Catholic of the 20th Century.”

    Are you willing to take responsibility for the effect this silliness has on the public’s perception of the LDS Church? Remember that if you are an endowed LDS, you have made a covenant to build up the Church. That is hardly neutral.

    Best of luck in sorting out this disaster.

  63. Kent Larsen on January 3, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    BKW (48) wrote: “Winning a poll does not make you a good mormon.”

    WHY ARE YOU MAKING THIS ASSUMPTION!! The poll IS NOT ABOUT WHO IS A GOOD MORMON!!!

    It is about impact. Who had the most impact, good or bad. When the judges look at things on Tuesday, that is the basis we will use for making our decision (the vote doesn’t choose who will be Mormon of the Year). We don’t know these people personally, so we really have no way of judging how good they are as Mormons. Nor, as others have observed, should we be judging people that way.

  64. RF Engineer on January 3, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    How about Robert Kirby at the Tribune? His satirical comments tend to offend the “too serious” but form and informal bridge of understanding between the members and the gentiles.

  65. Kent Larsen on January 3, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    Liberty (51): I respect your well-stated and well-thought-out opinion. I do think you have a point, if you believe that “Mormon” is simply a description of a person’s moral code. If that were the case, then we would be saying that someone is a “good” Mormon or a “bad” Mormon and that would be the only way the term “Mormon” would have meaning.

    I don’t look at it that way. In my view, “Mormon” is also used to refer to our community, both the good and the bad, the disaffected and the distant. In this sense, “Mormon” means an affiliation or having been born in the community.

    Was Mahonri Young, sculptor of the “This is the Place” monument, Mormon? He was a grandson of Brigham Young, was born in the Church, and was often selected by the First Presidency to create artistic works. BUT, as I understand it, he didn’t go to Church for most of the last 30 or so years of his life and he married outside of the Church.

    By your definition, I think you have to say that he was NOT Mormon.

    But I would argue that he clearly was. He said he was. He just didn’t go to Church.

    Mormon of the Year is about this latter kind of Mormon — those who have an affiliation, regardless of whether they are a “good” Mormon or a “bad” Mormon.

    Let’s stay away from trying to make the “good” Mormon/”bad” Mormon kind of judgment. Its not necessary nor is it helpful.

  66. Kent Larsen on January 3, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Liberty (62) wrote:

    Ah, so I’m irresponsible now, eh? [GRIN]

    I’ve observed before that Hitler WAS chosen “Man of the Year” by Time Magazine back in the late 1930s.

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with recognizing someone’s impact, for good or bad. We learn from the bad as well as the good (some would say we learn MORE from the bad — few people are burned twice in the same way).

    I don’t want to focus on the negative (and I don’t think most of the nominees are necessarily negative examples, although that probably depends on your point of view). But I do think that not recognizing the negative is, well, irresponsible.

  67. kj on January 3, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    How could someone be nominated who chose NOT to “stand with the First Presidency of the church” on the issue of protecting the definition of marriage? (and somone who openly went AGAINST the leadership of the church to oppose it?)

  68. Clair on January 3, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    “Harry Reid — As the Senate Majority Leader, it is kind of hard to ignore Reid, since he is the highest ranking Mormon in government ever.”

    Highest-ranking, yes, and yet it seems so easy to use the words “Harry Reid” and “ignore” in the same sentence.

  69. Rachael on January 3, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    stephanie and courtney should win it, for sure. and right now, it looks like they are. go girls, and get better steph!

    ps i realize this isn’t christian or Christlike or what have you, but whatever, it needs to be said. kent larsen – you are obnoxious.

  70. DeAnn on January 3, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    You guys actually think that a writer of escapist fiction or a victim of a plane accident should be Mormon of the Year.

    What the heck does Mormon of the Year mean?

    You are exposing your fuzzy thinking here. Maybe you also believe there are three degrees of glory and a planet called Kolob.

  71. k on January 3, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    just so you know Katherine Heigl is not an active member of the church and has not been for some time, read her interviews, in her own words, she doesn’t concider herself a mormon. Also… How does acting out inappropriate sex scenes on screen make you a mormon of the year?

  72. Emily on January 3, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    go NIE!!!!!!!

  73. disgusted on January 3, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    is this for real? i mean, most of these people are “good mormons” or whatever, but are we really voting on the best mormon? isn’t there something severely wrong with this sort of thinking? one more reason that being a mormon can be highly embarrasing. are we voting on “best dressed mormon” and “most likely to succeed mormon” too?

  74. D Vernon on January 3, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    Harry Reed is the most powerful Mormon in politics.

  75. Ray on January 3, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    30 comments later, and all I can do it repeat what I said in #44:

    This is fascinating.

    One suggestion people, not that those who haven’t followed it will do so when they pop in to vent:

    Read the actual post and the comments before recording your assumptions. It might change your comments.

  76. Kent Larsen on January 3, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Rachael (69) wrote: “ps i realize this isn’t christian or Christlike or what have you, but whatever, it needs to be said. kent larsen – you are obnoxious.”

    Needs to be said, huh?

    I’m not quite sure why. Is it the “you are obnoxiouis because I don’t like what you said and I don’t know how to respond?” Or is it something else?

    I’m simply trying to explain how all this Mormon of the Year stuff works and what the reasons behind it are. I’m sorry if in the process I’ve been “obnoxious” — whatever you mean by that.

  77. Liberty on January 3, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Kent,

    You are worried about people being judgmental and then taking a poll on “Mormon of the Year?” And I’m sure you folks will set aside all judgement when you make a final decision. Funny man!

    Words that describe holders of specific belief systems (Mormon, Buddhist, Catholic, Baptist, Agnostic, etc.) have real descriptive meaning. I am the descendant of Presbyterians. But to name me as the “Presbyterian of the Year” would be ridiculous in the extreme. There is a vast difference from naming Hitler “man of the year” (in the 1930′s) and “Catholic of the Year.” He was named “man of the year” when Nazi Germany was viewed in a POSITIVE light. Boy, would that change! Hitler was born into a Catholic family, but came to exemplify something that was anything but Catholic. He came to be something that was against his Christian heritage (even evil) and to call him Catholic at this point in time is to ignore that fact.

    Who is Mormon? What is a Mormon? You obviously believe that the word “Mormon” is so flexible you even apply it to those who would deny the label. You can’t deny it, at least one (Heigl) is on your list. Does the word “Mormon” mean anything to you? DeAnn (#70) even sees your problem. Why can’t you?

    Sorry Kent and the illustrious bloggers at Times and Seasons, we have all engaged in silliness. Supposedly intelligent, educated Mormons have no idea what a Mormon is. But whatever a Mormon is, he/she better not hold to specific beliefs and standards and try to be a good one. It may upset the polling at Times and Seasons.

  78. Kent Larsen on January 3, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    DeAnn (70):

    Please read my comments above. I have explained what Mormon of the Year is. It is NOT about who is the best Mormon, but about who had the biggest impact, positive or negative.

  79. Kent Larsen on January 3, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    disgusted (73):

    I think you have misunderstood. This isn’t about who is a “good” Mormon, whatever that might mean.

  80. Kent Larsen on January 3, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Liberty (77):

    All of these religious terms can have both cultural as well as religious meanings. What’s wrong with using either of them?

    I don’t see a problem. I don’t think I have used “Mormon” in a way that is too flexible. And, FWIW, those that I nominated all accept the label. Others have, mistaken or not, nominated those who might reject the label of Mormon.

    But labels aren’t only what we accept ourselves. They are also what others apply to us — which often leads to some conflict.

    While you and I might prefer that everything were clean and neat, and everyone accepted every label applied to them, and the public’s idea of who they are was exactly what the subject wanted it to be, the world is not so simple.

    For whatever reason, the people on the list are considered Mormon, at least as far as the person that nominated them is concerned. When we go through the process of actually naming a Mormon of the Year, I know I will try to make sure that whoever that is actually is Mormon. BUT, I sincerely doubt that everyone will consider the person a “good” Mormon, because I don’t think that even Mormons agree on what that term means.

    I suspect that this doesn’t really address what your concerns are, but if it doesn’t, then I really don’t get what the problem is.

  81. Stephen Monteith on January 3, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    I strongly considered voting for Mitt Romney. As has been pointed out, his candidacy for the presidency has turned the eyes of the world once more to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and what we all believe. As he and Senator Harry Reid are political opposites, they demonstrate that not all Mormons think or act the same way, and that we’re all free to live and practice our religion however we choose.

    However, most of Romney’s campaigning took place in 2007, and much of the focus on his Mormonism had faded by the time the voting started. Instead, I voted for Glen Beck. Politically, he has influenced many around the country for years, and this election year has been a perfect example. Some say that the winner should influence people’s views of Mormonism around the world and not just in the United States, but since the church was founded here, any influence begins with the influence exerted here.

    Furthermore, his novel, The Christmas Sweater, is practically a phenomenon. It’s comparable to the Christmas novels of Richard Paul Evans, another Mormon. Beck conducted a fifty-state tour last month to promote the book. I was fortunate to attend a signing event in Virginia, along with hundreds of others. He bore his testimony to us on the need to be strong and prepared in these troubled times, and he touched us all with his spirit. If, at every event, the people felt even a fraction of what we felt, then I believe we will all strive to be a little more prepared for the future.

    All politics aside, I believe Glen Beck is a force for good in this world, and that he deserves to be “Mormon of the Year”.

  82. Tolford Young on January 3, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    I don’t see Robert Kirby’s name in the list of candidates.
    He would get my vote as Mormon of the Year any year.
    He holds ourselves up to the mirror of life, that we may see who we really are, be we members of the Church or not.

  83. Timer on January 3, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    How about giving the award to the Romney-Reid pair? Wasn’t it fun to watch two political giants — both Mormons — bashing each other on the national stage?

    The lead story at http://nieniedialogues.blogspot.com/ is “Vote for Stephanie as Mormon of the Year”. Kent, it seems a Mormon blogger more popular than you are (no offense) is directing voters to swamp your poll. :) By the way, the NYT reports that nieniedialogues hits went from 1,000/day to 20,000/day after the accident.

    By the way, Time Magazine’s process may be deliberately opaque, but that’s not really the way blog media works. Blogs are about openness, immediacy, transparency. So, Kent, could you let us know (once you figure it out yourself — I understand that you’re sort of making up rules as you go along)

    1. Which (if any) T&S permabloggers are actually on board with the idea of having MOTY?
    2. Who exactly (by name) will participate in choosing the MOTY? How many people will be involved?
    3. Will the individual votes of those making the final decision be made public?
    4. Will this be an “official” T&S award (and if so what entity declares it to be such)?
    5. Why are no T&S permabloggers participating in this discussion?
    6. Will the permabloggers who supported the runner ups write dissenting opinions?

    Of course, there is nothing wrong with answering, “Settle down — this is just a Kent Larsen award invented to fill a couple of posts and I’m obviously winging it.” But if the support for the award as a T&S institution is somehow broader than that, I’d like to hear about it.

  84. Cherie on January 3, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    My vote is for Stephanie Nielson and/or Courtney.
    GO girls!!!

  85. Kaimi on January 3, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    I can’t believe Kent is running a contest to see who the most righteous Mormon celebrity is. How dare you have a contest for best Mormon! How presumptuous are you people, anyway?!? Don’t you know, Jesus is a better Mormon than any of you. But I don’t see Him on your so-called “list.” I’ll bet you don’t even like Him.

    And don’t give me all your Johnny-come-lately “explanations.” If this was about that, then you should have said that up front, so people didn’t think that this was about this.

    The noive of you people.

  86. Emily on January 3, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    I assume Kaimi (#85) is oozing with sarcasm, but either way, she wins for best comment. (Can we have a contest for Best Comment on Mormon of the Year Thread?)

  87. Kim from Ohio on January 3, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Stephanie (and Christian) Nielson and Courtney Jane Kendrick have my vote…hands down. Their entire family lives a truly honest life. They have redirected my life onto the path I was raised to live; Be loving, be honest, be faithful and, most importantly, be me. Thanks to Courtney and Stephanie, I have ventured back to where my heart belongs. I owe them my life and I have never met either of them. They are my inspiration and they are the reason that I have changed my life. Thanks Stephanie and Courtney from the bottom of my heart. We could all benefit from the lessons they live in their everyday life. xoxo

  88. courtney on January 3, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    What has Stephanie actually done except write a self-serving blog and survived a plane crash? Vote for someone who has really served the people! Also the family is asking for votes on their blog…come-on.

  89. Barbara on January 3, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    I grew up Catholic, lapsed from the church many years ago. Now, after reading Courtney’s blog since late August, I think she should be your Mormon of the year, as she clearly and thoughtfully examines the true meaning of faith, hope and charity in a world much too indifferent too often. I have gone to many of her links to LDS sites, and have a much deeper view and understanding of your church than I would have had without her. Go Courtney, and thank you.

  90. free at last on January 3, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    My vote: Richard Dutcher:“The Father of Mormon Cinema” who produced LDS based films such as God’s Army, Brigham City and States of Grace. Mr Dutcher left the LDS Church in 2007, provoking strong criticism from the Mormon elite. Although his leaving the LDS Church in 2007 is not congruent with 2008 he certainly should be recognized as a man of courage

  91. Ray on January 3, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    Just for the record, to correct something that has been stated in at least two comments here, Katherine Heigl self-identifies as Mormon – even though she openly admits she is not living the standards of the Church. The following is from her Wikipedia entry:

    “Although she is no longer a practicing Mormon, she remains positive on several aspects of the religion, and has expressed interest in returning to her faith.”
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katherine_Heigl#Early_life) — footnoted to a Washington Post article (from which I have excerpted, but not linked in order to avoid moderation):

    “What appeals to me is that love goes on and continues. It doesn’t mean that after death it’s the end of this person you loved and cherish. Because then you’re living in a world of what the hell is the point? . . . I’ve always thought that there is a beautiful balance within the Mormon religion, where they believe in some very solid answers, but there is also a lot left unknown. There aren’t answers in this lifetime.”

    Does she still go to church? “I haven’t gone in really long time,” Heigl says, but notes that “we still pray over our meals. I still say a prayer every night before I go to bed. I talk to God all the time. He doesn’t really talk back all that much. But every once in a while I get an inkling of something. Atheists or agnostics can tell me I’m crazy and it’s just my safety blanket and need to believe. I’m okay with that. I am. Why not? Why should I live my life afraid and alone if I found something that comforts me?”

    Not that it makes any difference in the poll, but I don’t like to see people mis-characterized.

  92. Kim Wayman on January 3, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    I think Stephanie is a wonderful mother, sister, daughter and friend. She has been through so much.

  93. Jeremy on January 3, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    Who ARE all these people? And why is Kaimi wearing a dress?!

  94. Christen on January 3, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    Why isn’t Robert Kirby on the list? He’s got my vote!

  95. Janie Young on January 3, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    It may have required more bravery to be a mormon ‘against’ prop 8, than for it; but bravery alone doesn’t make you ‘mormon of the year.’ I don’t think that opposing the mainstream mormon values makes anyone a hero. My son tied his tooth to a heavy boot and yanked it out himself by throwing the boot over a high rail (AFTER we told him it wasn’t ready to come out yet), so he could get a dollar from the tooth fairy. Brave? I guess. Heroic? Admirable? Definitely not. He could have followed the boot over the edge. He did get his tooth out, though. And he got his dollar. (The tooth fairy is no respecter of persons.)

  96. Jeannie Greenwald on January 3, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    Count me in for Stephanie and Courtney too. I didn’t know Courtney was ‘up’ but when I saw them listed on the “ballot” I thought it was right. These two young women have shot to prominence in the blogging community because of Stephanie and Christian Nielson’s tragic plane crash. Stephanie and Courtney each had had long running blogs with faithful readership but since the crash and the influx of support and concern from the blogging community, interest in them has exploded. Courtney continued to write with humor and wisdom and poignance about how the experience was touching them all. All throughout each of their blogs, they each proudly claimed their Mormon faith and wore it every day. Before AND after the accident. You see, they simply lived their lives while publicly talking about spiritual matters in a way that just drew you in…they would talk about various aspects of their religion and how they integrated it into their lives. Casually and honestly, readers would find themselves learning about their faith. It was all just so honest and real. It was and is WHO they really ARE. And then the tragedy struck, and the readership swelled and from watching this woman (courtney) and their families (clarks and nielsons) live their faith in the face of an uncertain future…well, I really have to believe that they have inadvertantly done more to teach about the Morman faith than any of your other choices. They are just two women with everything to look forward to, and now life has turned sharply for one of them and it will affect them all. But through it all, and through the connections of the internet, what they stand for is made present for thousands of people, most especially wives and mothers, who, accordingly, will pass this on to their own families. Honestly, this IS the real deal. They aren’t well known like a David Archuleta or a Mitt Romney; they are just two sisters with a gift for gab and writing and God has used their talent to show Himself in the world as being real and providing!

  97. Heather on January 4, 2009 at 12:32 am

    Nie Nie should be Morman of the year. I am not a Morman, but Stephanie and Courtney’s faith inspire me to be a better Christian, wife and mother. I take my first statement back. Not Morman of the year, but Person of the Year!

  98. MS on January 4, 2009 at 12:33 am

    Kent,
    Here are a few links to new articles about Stephanie and her family.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/07/fashion/07burn.html
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26620845/
    http://www.groundreport.com/Media_and_Tech/Stephanie-Nielson-Blog-Offers-Support-After-Plane-
    http://www.wowowow.com/post/stephanie-nielson-mom-blog-nieniedialogues-plane-crash-mourn-100086
    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1020840/the_nie_nie_dialogues_how_stephanie.html?cat=7

    I guess I like the thought that the Mormon of the Year will be someone who has had not just an impact, but a positive impact (I realize this is your contest though) on Mormonism. I think the true impact of Stephanie and Courtney is not measureable or quantifiable but will be long lasting. Much longer than, “What was the name of that guy who ran for President back in the day?”

    The fact that their story has been shared more blog to blog rather than through traditional media outlets says to me the impact is much larger than you are estimating or considering.

  99. Damien on January 4, 2009 at 12:47 am

    This list is dumb… except for Nie Nie (Stephanie), Christian and C Jane… oh and that Glenn Beck guy. But to give credit to David Archuleta for spreading the cause, but only mentioning the fact that Glenn Beck moved from one network to another… DUMB DUMB DUMB DUMB DUMB. I watched American Idol and I do not remember David doing anything close to what Beck does… come on blog writer… Glenn Beck beat out Stephen King for the number one bestselling fiction novel… and all he does is talk about being Mormon… and he is normal and not some flavor of the week that almost won American Idol.

    I am happy to see that so many people know about the tragedy that struck Nie Nie, but this list is down-right stupid… I mean Heigl and Hough are not influential… they are entertainers… that’s all.

    Anyways, all the best to Nie Nie and her family… we are all praying for you and wish you well.

  100. jen clowdus on January 4, 2009 at 12:51 am

    Stephanie Nielson- for showing the world the king of person that the LDS faith births.

  101. tam on January 4, 2009 at 1:42 am

    Stephanie Nielson-because this is just for fun and to recognize an amazing human being that touches the lives of people she has never met and probably never will, and because I am like many others striving to be better because of her example.

  102. Holly on January 4, 2009 at 1:54 am

    Stephanie and Courtney inspire me and their influence is felt worldwide.

  103. Kent Larsen on January 4, 2009 at 1:56 am

    Damien (98): FWIW, we put EVERYONE nominated in a comment to the nominating post on the list of who you could vote for. So, yes, some of those entries don’t seem very smart.

    BUT, to be honest, if I hadn’t included those that I assumed were “dumb” (as you put it), I would not have included Stephanie and Courtney, because I had never heard anything about them before this poll.

    SO, be thankful for those “dumb” entries on the list. It gave the the chance to express your opinion. For me, it gave me the chance to learn about Stephanie and Courtney and how beloved they are.

    Now if I could just get them to mention one of the books I’ve published …

  104. Beth on January 4, 2009 at 4:33 am

    Stephanie Nielson- Because She and her family are just simply amazing people. Yes she deserves Mormon of the Year……So does her whole family! We love you Stephanie!

  105. Brooke on January 4, 2009 at 6:35 am

    Harry Reid, UUUGGGHHH!

  106. N on January 4, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    First of all, Kent, if it weren’t for Stephanie and Courtney’s blogs, many would never have heard of your blog. And perhaps you should take the count of votes here for representation of how widespread their influence is. They are not on tv, but in the blogging community, they are big. So maybe statistically they haven’t made the largest impact, but maybe they have made a more profound impact on showing how we live our lives than the other more widely-known mormons. They inspire others to live better lives whether they are mormon or not. They live so that those who know them will want to know Him. I am LDS, and have been brought to a more hopeful, faithful, joyful existence because of them. Because they dare to rejoice in simply living the gospel, loving their family, and recognizing what truly matters in a world overwhelmingly concerned with so much else.

  107. m2 on January 4, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Kent Larsen (57) – Honestly, thank you for explaining this to me in a more detailed way. I was judging off the bat and some of these people have done a lot to bring attention to the church.

    One quick comment to anyone:
    I know this might set some people off and make some people angry but I mean no harm, I honestly would like the answer to this question.

    As far as Stephanie Nielson for Mormon of the Year, what has she actually done this past year besides survive a plane crash? She has been a great inspiration before and I’m sure will be a wonderful example of endurance through trials, but as far 2008 goes, probably her family and the people who helped her survive should get the credit.

    I think only Courtney should be in the running this year. 2009? We’ll see. But Courtney has done the work this past year and SHE deserves the credit. It shouldn’t be a dual vote. It should be Courtney for bringing the awareness and sustaining the positive attitude for her sister and doing the leg work of putting things together.

    I apologize if I offended anyone, I really do not mean to. I have just thought about this for a while now a feel only Courtney, not Stephanie, deserves the nomination.

    Again, so sorry.

  108. MS on January 4, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    M2 (108) I am the one that originally nominated Stephanie and Courtney. I put an “or” in the comment thinking that they would be separated in the vote, not intending for them to be together. But here we are and they are together which may be for the best.

    I think you are mistaken in assuming that the accident is what is inspiring people. The accident is what brought attention to Stephanie and Courtney. Stephanie’s blog has been reposting past entries from before the accident. Entries that occured in 2008. These entries and Courtney’s current entries are what are inspiring people now. The accident was a catalyst in bringing attention to the lives that they lived before and after the accident.

    Also, I commented on Courtney’s blog to let her know about the nomination. I don’t think it is an accident that the entry asking people to vote ended up on Stephanie’s blog.

    How did people come to be impacted by Mitt Romney? He ran for President. Before he ran for President how much impact did he have? Stephanie was in an accident and now people are paying attention to what she represents and inspiration that she has been providing all along. It kind of goes along the same lines.

  109. Kent Larsen on January 4, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    N (105): “First of all, Kent, if it weren’t for Stephanie and Courtney’s blogs, many would never have heard of your blog.”

    Well, I hope you don’t thing Times and Seasons is “my blog” somehow. I’m just one of a group of (currently) 18 bloggers who run this thing. Mormon of the Year was my idea, but I can’t claim credit for most of the wonderful material here.

    I do recognize that this has brought a lot of attention to Times and Seasons, and you are probably right that most of those who have come here to vote because of the note on Stephanie and Courtney’s blogs probably don’t know much about us or about the rest of the Bloggernacle.

    I most certainly do appreciate (and I believe the rest of the bloggers here also appreciate) the link and the attention. And, as I said above, I’m quite impressed by the number of passionate fans of Stephanie and Courtney that have come to vote and visit. Times and Seasons has a lot to offer, and I hope they see that.

    I have certainly seen that their blogs have a lot to offer also, and that thousands have found that to be true.

  110. Kent Larsen on January 4, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    MS (107) wrote: “How did people come to be impacted by Mitt Romney? He ran for President. Before he ran for President how much impact did he have? Stephanie was in an accident and now people are paying attention to what she represents and inspiration that she has been providing all along. It kind of goes along the same lines.”

    I actually think this is a very good point. Mormon of the Year is about the impact that those nominated have. Many times this kind of thing happens by accident. Serendipity is a very real part of our lives, and about what hits the news.

    [This reminds me a bit of Jerzy Kosinski's book Being There, a funny, satirical novel about how a gardener who only talks about his garden, through the serendipity of the news media in today's society, becomes a famous philosopher.The book was made into the movie Being There starring Peter Sellers.]

    So, while I do agree that what these nominees have done is an important aspect, let’s not shut out serendipity altogether.

  111. Nikki Allen on January 4, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    Stephanie Nielson has been a huge inspiration to me. Her example of a loving wife and mother as demonstrated through her blog has inspired me to try to be a better person. I am not a member of the LDS church – I am a Roman Catholic – however her faith has been so moving for me. It has also led me to learn more about the Mormon faith. She and her family are simply amazing.

  112. Jill on January 4, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Mormon of the year? really? I find this nomination and vote to be a strange idea because there are so many people that live quietly in the day to day, that deserve recognition, but don’t expect anything. But to hold a vote for ONE PERSON to be the Mormon of the year? No thanks.

  113. Lillian on January 4, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Courtney’s response to her sisters tragedy is an inspiration.

  114. A.F. on January 4, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    Stephanie and Courtney have my vote. I love their humble example of how a good LDS member lives their life, and reading their blogs and how others have been inspired by reading them-especially all the non members out there, has been life changing for me. Thank you to the Stephanie and Courtney blog readers for your wonderful comments.

  115. Angie on January 4, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    Steph and Courtney have my vote. They are a wonderful example of how the great goodness in so many Church members has long touched individual lives for good. Sharing their story publicly through the power of the internet has allowed them to have much broader impact, yet they still capture the essence of what it is to live the precepts of our faith in everyday ways.

  116. Sadie Lloyd on January 4, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    I voted for Californians AGAINST Prop. 8… Let people get married to whomever they would like to please and thanks! :)

  117. Timj on January 4, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    I’m hoping the Mormon of the year for 2009 will be Helmuth Huebener.
    Apparently Haley Joel Osment will be playing him in an upcoming movie.
    Huebener was an LDS teenager in Nazi Germany. He rebelled against the Nazis (civil disobedience) and lost his head for his trouble.

  118. Jeremiah J. on January 4, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    Russell: “Mitt’s impact on Mormonism, while extremely broad, was not deep: he did not particularly run as a “Mormon candidate,” and in fact often ran from that label.”

    He ran from the label, but for almost all Mormons he was a thoroughly Mormon candidate. For many non-Mormons he was seen as a Mormon candidate. In both these ways he’s the opposite of Reid and other Mormon politicians. I think Romney’s religion was a small net benefit to him electorally, but his Mormonism mattered big time, politically speaking, and his candidacy brought about the return of Mormon bloc voting for Mormon candidates.

    Still I voted for the Mormon supporters of Prop 8. Protests in which calls to “Ban Mormon Marriage” are taken seriously in the 21st century pretty much take the cake in any year, and even without the post electoral backlash, Mormons punched way above their weight in a really big electoral victory. Those California saints accomplished more than Romney did.

    N (105): “First of all, Kent, if it weren’t for Stephanie and Courtney’s blogs, many would never have heard of your blog.”

    Nice to know that T&S is still significant enough to have its ballot boxes stuffed by fans of the truly bona fide heavy-hitting Mormon blogs. Let’s see Nine Moons attract this sort of invasion!

  119. makakona on January 4, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    so, i’m someone who regularly reads and quasi-comments here (my comments are mostly worthless, though, so take that for what it is!) and i also voted for stephanie and/or courtney. i read stephanie’s blog before the accident and subscribed to courtney’s blog as soon as she started blogging about the accident. the whole story has been riveting and inspirational. to see how they’ve affected others, especially non-members, has been fascinating. courtney has been unashamed of and very open about the role the gospel plays in her and her family’s lives and i think that’s set a lot of minds in motion. and they even made “the today show!” i know votes are being influenced by their blog’s readers, but i think it’s different than the twilight crowd.

  120. uh on January 4, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    My mom is our ward’s organist and has been for about 5 years now. She has never missed a day of church probably since my little sister was born (16 years ago) except for when she had open heart surgery 2 years ago and even then she was back playing the organ 3 months later. I keep seeing the word IMPACT and I just can’t help but think, what would the meeting be like without someone playing the organ? Now that is impact every single Sunday. So all I’m saying is that maybe you should change the name of this vote to “most popular Mormon of 2008.” Then no one would get their feelings hurt.

  121. Jessica on January 4, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    I came here fully intending to vote for Stephanie and Courtney, however after further researching their background and upbringing I can’t say that I see anything particularly stand out in their situation. There are people all over the world facing crisis just as horrible, if not moreso, that don’t have the family support and resources that this family does. I admire their faith and commitment to their faith, but I just can’t say (sorry to all you nienie lovers) that their lives have been any more of an inspiration to me than my fellow sacrament attendee who is battling cancer – simply because they blog about it.

  122. c jane on January 5, 2009 at 1:06 am

    Kent,

    I am Courtney Stephanie Nielson’s sister and fellow blogger. I want you to know that although you didn’t know me before, I have put in my time in the Bloggernaccle. I was an original Segullah-ite who has called Kathy Soper my editor almost since birth. I blogged for Segullah for a couple years on a weekly basis. Some of my blogs were published in Sunstone as part of their Bloggernacle series. I’ve also guest posted on MMW and occasionally write Mormon Lit reviews when asked (Bound on Earth and Road to Heaven being my latest). I had a readership before my sister’s accident,but because of nation wide attention it has grown far past anything I ever imagined.

    I just wanted you to know my creds now that we’ve sent a lot of traffic your way. Stephanie is very beloved (as you can tell) and I am just trying to give her story justice. This vote was too fun to pass up!

    Go Steph!

    -Courtney
    (c jane)

  123. Kent Larsen on January 5, 2009 at 1:54 am

    c jane (122):

    Please accept my apologies for being so out of it as to not connect you and your blog to your comments here and the reviews I’ve seen around. (Are you on the AML list also?). Now that I have made the connection, I will drop by more often and read what you are writing.

    I’m going to keep my mouth shut about the whole decision about who I think the Mormon of the Year is — I don’t think its a good idea to say what I think before the announcement. And, I guess in a way I’m still assessing what I think as this process continues. But I should mention that I’m not the only one involved in the decision, the other bloggers here are also involved, and their feelings could easily outweigh mine one way or another.

    But, saying that, let me admit, if nothing else, that you and the fans who have visited have given me a first-rate education about the Bloggernacle. Perhaps, for all our loud, intellectual debates over how many angels fit on the head of a pin, the blogs we think of as the big blogs in the ‘nacle aren’t really that significant.

    In that sense, you already have a significant recognition — that of your fans and loyal readers.

  124. Victor Simon on January 5, 2009 at 7:05 am

    Shouldn’t this be AMERICAN MORMON OF THE YEAR since nobody seems to be nominated from outside America. Over 50% of the Church is now outside the US, so statistically, over half the nominees should be from other countries. Or do Americans always think they are better than everyone else.

  125. Betty C. Tomlinson on January 5, 2009 at 10:14 am

    I voted for Mitt Romney. He ran for President as an American while all the time living as a good example of being a Mormon. I did not expect him to put himself out there as a Mormon per say. He wanted to serve as the President of the American People. I think we all should remember this in our own careers. We are Mormons by being an example, not because we publish the fact. He was about the only candidate if not the only one that had only one wife. WHAT AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT FAMILIES SHOULD BE!!!

  126. jill on January 5, 2009 at 11:15 am

    I voted for Stephanie and Courtney. Prior to reading their story, the sum of my knowledge about the LDS lifestyle was gained through watching “Big Love”. I knew it wasn’t realistic, but it was all I had to go on.

    Stephanie and Courtney are real people, living a life similar to mine. They are mothers. I can’t identify with Mitt Romney…his lifestyle is so different from mine that, while he is a great man, he doesn’t influence or inspire me in the ways that Stephanie and Courtney do.

  127. Abee on January 5, 2009 at 11:16 am

    There are some there that I feel do not represent the Mormon lifestyle and ethics and faith that we hold dear and although they have brought the LDS people to the forefront in publicity in a negative way. People are shocked when we tell them that Kathryn Heigle and Julianna Hough are LDS because they find it hard to believe that they would lower themselves to such vulgarity. It shows what hipocritical we all are. Mormon of the Year should be someone who lives the Gospel and put’s it into action, such as Stephenie and Courtney Neilson. They deserve the nomination more than anyone on that list other than Pres. Uchtdorf for obvious reasons.

  128. Glen Dutcher on January 5, 2009 at 11:55 am

    I voted for Mormons in California who had the courage to oppose State-sponsored (and Church sponsored) discrimination based on sexual preference. These are some of the same people who questioned why God didn’t change His mind about blacks and the priesthood until 1978.

  129. Melissa on January 5, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    The majority of the people on this list are not even good representatives of the LDS church or even really people. Prop. 8 was a cause, not a person. So regardless of how many hits Stephanie and Courtney have had to their blogs or how many links to them on the internet, they are good representatives of what LDS women should be. Charitable, loving, kind hearted and courageous.

  130. Susan G on January 5, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Congratulations to Times and Seasons for having so many non-member readers. It’s been eye-opening to read their comments. I came to the site intending to vote for Mitt Romney, then thought that Stephanie Meyer probably had a greater effect in 2008. However, if I were to vote for who had the most impact on ME (a Mormon) this year (and every year) it would have to be Scot and Maureen Proctor of Meridian Magazine.com. More than any other source, they bring me news of the world and the Church, stories of people and events, ideas and theology that make me think and that increase my testimony. Their dedication and talent make the Gospel alive for thousands of people around the world. Scot’s fabulous photos and Maurine’s feisty support of righteous causes are only part of what keep me on target spiritually and invested in the good we each can do. I’m surprised more hasn’t been written here about their online magazine (www.meridianmagazine.com) and the wonderful resource it is. They get my vote!

  131. Julie Pond on January 5, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    I just saw this sight… But you should read about this officer. He and his family are LDS and made a huge impact on Indianapolis during the summer of 2008. But with the two articles below they has affected the internet world as well. The famliy is being considered for one of the game show for a fundraiser, watch for that, Dad, (Dennis) isn’t shy about saying we are Mormon, but doesn’t care what other faiths are praying, just so they are praying!

    Enjoy the read.

    https://www.policeone.com/officer-shootings/articles/1727137-An-officer-goes-down-and-the-five-percenter-mind-set-kicks-in/

    http://www.lawofficer.com/news-and-articles/columns/Baker/fishburn_is_all_of_us.html

  132. Jennifer Lynn on January 5, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Wow, I never knew this many people were Mormons. I live in Arizona and every time a I meet a truly nice person, they turn out to be Mormon.

  133. Adam Greenwood on January 5, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    JL,
    Non-mormons can be nice too, though I wouldn’t let my daughter marry one. :)

  134. Stephanie on January 5, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    I am not a Mormon but I have found a great interest in the religion and the history thru the blogs of Stephanie & Courtney. They represent hard working families with great strength and beliefs. Their beliefs and those of their family have shown the strength of the Mormon church and the communities. I have found their links to their faith to support many of my beliefs and strengths. It is an amazing religon in its support of families, communities and the individuals.

  135. Dana on January 5, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    Obviously, more people know who Mitt Romney is than who Stephanie Nielson is, but his candidacy didn’t have the impact for good that Stephanie and Courtney’s lives have had (and continue to have). Mitt’s campaign brought the church into the media, but it was mainly factual analysis or negative attention and rumors. Not very inspiring and quickly forgotten. Stephanie and Courtney are changing lives and strengthening families around the world. Members and non-members. I wouldn’t be surprised if their influence lasts for several generations. They have my vote!

  136. D. Fletcher on January 5, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    So, Dutcher left the Church, eh? Big surprise.

  137. Jane on January 5, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    I voted for Glenn Beck. Stephanie Nielson has a nice blog and I feel for her tragedy in the plane crash, but she has done nothing extraordinary. Her sister, Courtney, attempts to author a blog, but asks for donations after every post–not exactly role-model material there. There is a point where one must put a stop to pandering for donations–they have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and they are starting to look greedy, and as if they want the public to pay the majority (if not all) of their medical bills.

  138. Emie Mullins on January 5, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    My vote is 110% for Stephanie & Courtney Nielson.
    I am an inactive member of the LDS church and haven’t been actively involved in over 10 years.
    Since I luckily stumbled upon Stephanie’s blog & then her sister’s I feel like my faith has been renewed.
    I would have never thought it possible that 2 women I don’t even know personally have given me such a positive attitude and made me want to attend church again.

  139. Kent G. Budge on January 5, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    “I personally was not much impressed by Mitt Romney–as a Mormon or as a candidate–”

    You think you have the right to judge him as a Mormon, do you?

    I have a close friend who was in Romney’s ward when Romney was the bishop. My friend doesn’t agree with all his politics, but he thinks the world of him as a person. I think I’ll go with my friend’s impression rather than a political shill who has never met him, any day.

  140. Glen Dutcher on January 5, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    #136 News flash! Thousands upon thousands are leaving the church, while fewer and fewer are joining. Richard Dutcher is a noteworthy person who woke up one day and came to the realization that he had only one real problem with the church – that it isn’t true. As for Mormon of the Year, throw it to the Profit and say it was divinely-inspired. Oh wait, I think I feel the spirit. I’d better get to the bathroom quickly.

    [AHG, from the Mormon of the Year thread]

  141. Jim on January 5, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    Before prop 8 I would have said Mitt Romney. However, prop 8 has definitely had a bigger impact on Mormonism in the US, whether that’s controversy, conflict, criticism or whatever — it’s impact.

    Mitt Romney had a substantial impact because his candidacy brought the issue of his religion up for some substantive discussion.

    David Archuletta had an impact, but it was primarily limited to his more devoted fans.

    Many of the others had an impact on the US, but aren’t necessarily known as Mormons and, thus, didn’t impact Mormonism much.

    Jim

  142. Polly on January 5, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    I think that the “Mormon of the Year” should have done something beneficial for the religion. There are quite a few names that were hard to choose from. Glenn Beck, Mitt Romney, Brandon Flowers, Katherine Heigl, Julianne Hough, David Archuleta, Stepenie Meyer, Barbara Young…all of these people I feel really helped the church by staying true to themselves. They are in the public eye and they were the best “missionaries” that anyone can be…by just living the truths that they know and being an example of our beliefs. I think this really helps with acceptance and understanding and does wonders for debunking the lies that some people believe about the church.

    To the person who said that Twilight fans would “spam” the vote…give me a break. Obviously they aren’t…1st of all it looks like followers of the Nielson blog are the ones who have directed the most traffic here. 2nd of all, directing traffic here isn’t exactly spamming…although it might not be an accurate representation.

    To those who claim that Romney didn’t do anything…look at the numbers and statistics. There hasn’t been as much support and understanding of the LDS faith in a long time, which I credit to his publicity. It is unfortunately still a very biased world, when evangelicals won’t accept differences in religion.

    (My vote was for Romney)

  143. Polly on January 5, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    (For some reason I didn’t mention Lance Wickman at the beginning of my last comment…he was one who I also felt did a lot for the public understanding of the church.)

  144. Jane on January 5, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    I voted for Stephanie. I read a couple comments that said she is just known in the blogging world and that there are other people that are more well known. I am not a Mormon (catholic) and I didn’t know really know anyone other then Mitt Romney, and I don’t feel he set a good example. Yet you have this family that have been through so much and they show the world that with there faith they are going to get through this never once did they lose faith or blame god, as many of us would in such a situation. To me this shows what good mormons they are. They inspire us to have faith and to help through prayers.

  145. reader on January 5, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Jane(137)- You have obviously not delved very deeply into Stephanie or Courtney’s blogs. And to accuse them of being greedy is just ridiculous. Do you have any idea how much their bills will be? Unfortunately, the hundreds of thousands of dollars raised will probably not even begin to cover it. And much of the mention of donations, auctions, fundraisers has more to do with an enormous amount of people wanting to help and Courtney is giving them a way.

    Sometime people are extraordinary just by being themselves.

  146. Faithful on January 5, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    I have no idea who Stephaie and/or Courtney are.

    I am a huge fan of Glenn Beck and also Mitt Romney. If the Californians who supported Prop 8 weren’t on there then I would have to vote for either Beck or Romney.

    How difficult it must have been, and still is, to be targeted like the supportors of Prop 8 have been. My hats off to those who stood for something in a sea of shifting values. Personally, I do not understand how a member of our faith (LDS) could support the Gay lifestyle. It goes against everything we are taught. Tolerance is one thing but supporting it is another.

    P.S. This is fun!!!!

  147. Robert Kammer on January 5, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    I voted for Harry Reid. His politics are similar to the conservative political parties in Germany, France and most of the world, truly representing the majority of the Church membership, not just those living in the United States of America. Pres. Uchtdorf would have been another vote, it’s nice to have someone in Salt Lake speaking English without an accent. Tchuss

  148. courtney on January 5, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    Courtney (cjane) has totally made this contest unfair by posting a “vote for Steffanie” on the nie-nie blog! How unfair is that?

  149. kits on January 5, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    Glenn Beck~ watch his conversion to the L.D.S. Church story (dvd). Read his book The Christmas Sweater. (#1 N.Y Times Bestseller) Listen to his Radio Show and/or watch his new show on Fox. You are Welcome.

  150. Jane on January 5, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    Reader (#144)–Hey, if you want to argue, I’m game. First, don’t make assumptions about me–you do not know me. You do not know how much I have read. Most of the millions of dollars of medical bills will be written off by the hospital. This pandering has been on-going for the past four months, the interest is waning, and the people who are being squeezed at this point have already given–Courtney is attempting to double-dip. It is obvious that Courtney and others in the family are attempting to reach people who haven’t heard about the accident, for fresh funds–this contest is one way; they also have attempted to make the Nielson’s the #1 story in AZ for 2008 (despite the fact that the Nielsons were not even one of the 10 stories in the running). Yes, it looks greedy.

    The accident is unfortunate, and the Nielsons (and Courtney) should be grateful for the hundreds of thousands of dollars that they have already received in donations. The public is not responsible for financing the result of this accident.

  151. Jiss on January 5, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    I voted for Barbara Young and those Mormons who opposed proposition 8. I think it was courageous how those members took issue with one of their church’s fundamental beliefs – modern revelation from God. I mean, who does the prophet think he is a mouth piece for the Lord? I never did agree with the lyrics “We thank thee o God for a Prophet to guide us in these latter days”. Thanks for inspiring me to be selective on when to follow the Prophet’s counsel.

    That Stacey and Cortney story was cute too.

  152. courtney on January 5, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    Reader #149, I agree!!!

  153. reader on January 5, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    Was it not Stephanie N. husband the pilot of this plane that crashed and killed their friend
    Doug Kinneard?

  154. Diane on January 5, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    #149-Thank you for coming out and saying what MANY of us are thinking. You won’t read comments like this on Cjanes blog, because she carefully screens her comments, but I believe there are many more out there who are tired of the “asking for money” crusade! I also happen to know that the hospital has the capabilities of writing off a good many of those bills, as I have a sister-in-law who used to work at that hospital, most notably in the burn unit!!!

  155. Jiss on January 5, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    #149 – I’m with you. I mean who does Courtney think she is? Taking in Stephanie’s kids and husband and caring for their every need? And did you see that sweet new Ford Taurus she just bought? Probably from all the funds she’s been double dipping into.

    Jane you have totally outed CJane, she is a money grubbing, self centered, ungrateful you know what. It’s time Stephanie and Courtney stop begging for a hand out and get working to support their own medical needs. I do, and although I have never been burned 90% of my body how bad could it be right Jane? I can tell you have read alot on this and thank goodness because I would have given them money too.

  156. Kent Larsen on January 5, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    Victor Simon (124):

    You are absolutely correct. (Although, technically Neeleman is a Brazilian citizen and is setting up his airline in Brazil, so while he was raised in the U.S. and calls the U.S. home, you can call him a Brazilian).

    The best I can offer besides the lame suggestion above is simply that in spite of trying to pay attention to what is going on overseas, I haven’t seen anyone that I would say qualifies as a potential Mormon of the Year. There may be someone, but I haven’t heard about him.

    Of course, the biggest problem along these lines is simply that we don’t hear enough about overseas LDS Church members and their non-Church activities. We don’t have sources of information for this information!

  157. Shirley Rousseau on January 5, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    hmmmm, could we withdraw Courtney and Stephanie’s names? This just doesn’t strike me as the kind of forum that would interest them in the least. Ya’ll are freakin’ nuts.

    I’m just saying.

  158. Kent Larsen on January 5, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Betty Tomlinson (125) and Abee (127):

    Please read the earlier comments (especially my comments) about what this is about. The being an example idea is not correct.

  159. Kent Larsen on January 5, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Shirley Rousseau (156):

    Please don’t blame the forum or the poll. When we get into the multiple thousands of votes like we are now, of course it will mean that some folks come along who are perhaps more blunt about what they think than they should be. We do get some of this, as any large blog does — you can’t filter who comes to visit. But in general I think this is a very thoughtful, and even kind group.

    Now please folks, don’t make a liar out of me!!

  160. h.i. on January 5, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    If Stephanies sister, Page, could afford to buy them a house in Utah, maybe she can pay
    their medical bills. Both Stephanie and Christian have hugh families, they should all pitch
    in. They all seem to be well off with beautiful homes and such. Also, what cjane did by
    taking in stephanie’s children is not extraordinary, any sister who was in that situation would
    have done the same thing. What does the “Mormon of the Year” win anyway? Cash, I hope.

  161. Kent Larsen on January 5, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    h.i. (159):
    There is no award of any kind for “Mormon of the Year.”

  162. M.Farr on January 5, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    Stephanie Nielson’s blog has changed so many people’s lives- including mine. She is such an inspiration to me. Thank you NieNie.

    I have been privileged to meet some of Stephanie’s family since the accident. Some of the comments on here about them make me sick. People have no idea what they are talking about.

    What is so important about a silly title like “Mormon of the Year” that makes it ok to start tearing other people down? Honestly people… that family has had enough. Leave your rude comments to yourself.

  163. courtney on January 5, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    Last time I checked we still had freedom of speech…

  164. Cristy on January 5, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    As a Catholic who has come to respect the LDS faith and principles because of the blogs of both Courtney and Stephanie, I would just like to say that I am sincerely praying for those of you who have posted such mean-spirted and bitter things towards them. I can’t imagine what would lead someone to feel such bitterness towards people living through, and trying to triumph above, tragedy. You must need our prayers as much, if not more, than they do. I pray that you never live to feel the pain that they have, but that you find peace and the goodness of God in your lives.

  165. SLM on January 5, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    Amen, Cristy. I did not vote for Stephanie and Courtney, but I think it is completely terrible that people would use this poll, which is for entertainment purposes only, to undermine the pain and difficulty they are enduring (I cannot begin to fathom Stephanie’s suffering). Yes, lots of people go through similar and worse experiences everyday, but all this poll is measuring is which of those stories/people has had the greatest impact. And since some stories get more attention than others, some stories will have greater impact. This is neither bad nor good, it’s just the reality of living in an enormous and media-saturated world… a reality which some people evidently take offense to.

    Interestingly, I first heard of Stephanie Neilson’s story here on T&S back in August, when Margaret Young mentioned it on a thread. I’ve been following it ever since.

  166. Emie on January 5, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    #161 and #163, I completely agree!
    I have tears in my eyes after reading such negativity!
    If you don’t agree with what Courtney is doing don’t go read her blog and don’t donate money, BUT no need to post negative comments.
    Many of us don’t know them but feel we do by following both Courtney and Stephanie’s blogs for quite some time.
    We give money because we WANT to give money.
    Don’t vote for Stephanie and/or Courtney if you don’t believe in there cause. Everyone obviously has the right to vote for whomever they choose, so why not post positive comments about the person you are voting for instead of negative ones about someone you’re not.
    I, like thousand of people, feel my live has been positively changed by both Courtney and Stephanie.
    Courtney, it saddens me to think of you reading some of these comments, but PLEASE don’t let them effect what it is you do!
    Best wishes to all!

  167. sliceofpie on January 5, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    Prop 8 voters? Really? Isn’t this about the impact that an individual can amke? Not really fair to pit the impact of individuals against the impact of a crowd.

  168. Ryan on January 5, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    I pick Marie Osmond… Add her on the list, and you’ll get a winner!

  169. Emily on January 5, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    stephanie nielson has changed the mother i am, the wife i am, the friend i am. she has inspired me to look at my life as a little piece of heaven every day. not to take my imperfections to seriously and to recognize the amazing talents i do have. i have been amazed at her honesty with herself and her world. she positively changed my life as a mother and a wife. i will be forever grateful for her blog. it really opened my eyes to another way of living. she made me search to strengthen my testimony more and strive to cultivate more love in my life and the lives of those around me. thanks nie. you’ve changed me.

  170. carol on January 5, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    It’s no contest. It has to be Romney. His speech in College Station, Texas was great. When the Lord decides to save our Constitution, it will be Romney and men like him that will be sent.

  171. Jennifer Lynn on January 5, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    I voted for NieNie. Her story hand her family has touched my heart. I love Glen beck, I would have voted for Mitt for Pres, I’m a Lutheran. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Nie and her family are good people, and they have brought many people (me including) to appreciate what God gives you. Here is a Big Kiss From Arizona (West Side!) to Nie and her family…xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

  172. becky on January 5, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    I’ve never commented on any sort of forum like this…but felt compelled. I’ve never even read the comments before – but I was pulled in. As a mormon, I’m ashamed of the few people that would belittle and attack other people over a silly, inconsequential vote. I’ve never been to this site and will never return again. Vile negativity is not christ like. Judging from afar is not christ like. This whole discussion is not christ like. I’m embarrassed I submitted my vote, thinking this was a light-hearted “survey”. I was wrong.

  173. Jennifer Lynn on January 5, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    Katherine Heigl — Actress from Gey’s Anatomy and 27 Dresses…AND “KNOCKED UP” yuck Katie.

  174. Kaimi on January 6, 2009 at 12:04 am

    Courtney, your right of free speech relates to government. (First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech”).

    On a privately owned blog, comments can be limited in whatever way the blog administrators see fit. In the case of Times and Seasons, all comments should follow the Times and Seasons comment policy, which is available at http://timesandseasons.org/misc.php#policies .

    Thanks!

  175. Ray on January 6, 2009 at 12:18 am

    #171 – I just want to echo what Kent has said already:

    Overall, this has been a respectful thread. There have been only few comments that have been over-the-top disrespectful – and some of them have been the ones that condemned the whole concept. This poll has no eternal significance; it really is nothing more than a light-hearted survey – with a chance to explain why someone has had a large impact on the Church and/or world last year.

    It’s sad when people come in swinging, but it’s also sad when others swing back.

  176. courtney on January 6, 2009 at 12:31 am

    Sorry…I still believe I can express my opinion Kaimi, You’re wrong!

  177. Tania on January 6, 2009 at 12:39 am

    Stephanie and Courtney are my choice. I read their blogs everyday. They have both inspired me to be a better person. Although I am not a LDS. I hold alot of faith in my heart. I believe in the power of prayer.
    Since I have been reading their blogs I feel like I have re-discovered my faith and belief in the power of prayer. They have my Vote.

  178. Jane on January 6, 2009 at 1:25 am

    No, those of us who are weary of the pandering from Courtney (you are making a mistake by lumping Christian and Stephanie in with her–she started this and she needs to end it) are not bitter or hateful. We are stating facts. Re-read my comments–I said nothing hateful or disrespectful. I am confronting precisely what is going on with Courtney and her blog.

    It is really too bad that some of you are so romanticized by Stephanie, that you are blinded by what her sister is doing and what is going on.

  179. Kaimi on January 6, 2009 at 1:40 am

    Err, I’m wrong about what, Courtney?

    Wrong that the First Amendment free speech right applies to government action, not private blog comments? You can’t be serious. Please, read the First Amendment. (Here’s a link: http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constitution.billofrights.html ).

    Or check with any of the lawyers here. (Marc, for instance.) Or with any of the law professors. (Me, for instance.) There is simply no law that requires any private blog (including this one) to post your (or any other person’s) comments.

    And, to reiterate, comments that violate T&S’s comment policy may be removed.

  180. courtney on January 6, 2009 at 2:31 am

    Give it a rest kaimi… I said I’m allowed to state my opinions, I could care less if they are printed.

  181. Nichole on January 6, 2009 at 2:56 am

    WOW. I am shocked that so many people are leaving such vile comments. Yes, there is freedom of speech but WOW I am shocked to see something like this on the “mormon of the year” site. What happened to being christ like? It is really sick that people are going off on Stephanie and Christian Neilson. Yes, maybe thier family has asked for money but wouldn’t you do the same? I am sure you would hope your family would too. Don’t tear them down for asking for donations. No one is FORCED to DONATE. That is why it is DONATING. I really have been touched by this tragedy and it has made me remember to be grateful for each moment I have. And, yes it is sad that the pilot died in the crash, horribly sad. But to place blame on Christian Neilson? What good does that do? Really. I didn’t vote but I feel like I just had to comment at how disguisting it is that people comment and scoff at others tragedy. I hope that you can change your heart and put yourself in others shoes. I am not going to comment on this blog again as I am not here to argue but really just try to take it to heart. Less hate in the world, more love/compassion.

  182. S.L.White on January 6, 2009 at 3:51 am

    I missed the chance to vote, I’m kind of glad about that. When I first started reading all the comments, I was cracking up. So entertaining. I especially liked that my brother was called “obnoxious”. Oh, you have no idea! I grew up w/ him…I know practically every obnoxious thing he’s done!!! :) Love you bro!
    As I kept reading, I stopped laughing. Some of the comments were fascinating, others seemed sadly ignorant and then there were the ones that were disappointing. I’m sure some of you would love a do over.
    Living in Mesa,AZ, we are especially aware of the impact that Stephanie and Courtney have had. Our hearts and prayers have gone out to them and their families. I would love to see the far reaching impact their story has had.
    However, a mormon that has had the greatest impact? I would have to say Mitt Romney. Politics aside, everyone that read the news, watched CNN or FOX, whatever – they found out that he was mormon and they learned a little about the church. Especially our emphasis on families. And it was very positive publicity. I don’t believe some of the other nominees that had some negatives regarding the church can come close to Mitt Romney’s influence.
    Bill Marriott is another good choice, although, his impact has been over years. Let’s face it, a BofM in every room of every Marriott hotel in the world! Just think of all the thousands of housekeeping staff that have possibly joined the church! (laughing!)
    Good luck w/ your decision all of you. This has been fun!

  183. Kent Larsen on January 6, 2009 at 6:49 am

    Gee, Steff, thanks … I guess. Love you too. [GRIN]

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