Who Should Have Been Mormon of the Year, 1950-1969

January 12, 2009 | 45 comments
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I received an unexpected and fun email message after we began selecting the 2008 Mormon of the Year from Times and Seasons reader Last Lemming, who had made his own selections for Mormon of the Year for each year since 1950!

In this first of three posts, we will include his suggestions for the years 1950 through 1969. We will follow on Wednesday morning with his picks for 1970 through 1989 and on Friday morning for 1990 through 2007. I suspect as these posts get into more familiar and more recent territory, more of you will have comments and suggestions about who Last Lemming suggested and who should have been suggested instead.

I found the list fascinating, an entertaining look at Mormons in history over nearly 60 years, and really quite an impressive bit of work to pull together so much information. Last Lemming describes his criteria as follows:

I have generally followed a no-General-Authorities rule, except for McConkie (who was not acting in his G.A. capacity) and, arguably, Barbara B. Smith.  Otherwise, I was very flexible.  [Those selected] could be classified into three categories: 1) those influencing Mormon culture, 2) those representing Mormonism to the world, and 3) those influencing the broader culture  in ways not necessarily linked to their Mormonism.  I tried to limit [those selected] to people who were active at the time of their cited accomplishment. (Some, like Frank Moss, I would stand by even if he wasn’t really active because his accomplishment was easy to identify with his Mormonism.)

I have used my 20:30 hindsight when [making selections] (I can’t claim 20:20 hindsight when I can’t even fill all of the years).  I have not attempted to guess who might have won had Times and Seasons been around to conduct a vote.  Also, there are a fair number of people who could have won in any number of years.  I generally picked them in a year in which they had some notable accomplishment and little competition.

I did not pick anybody twice, unless their contributions were in different areas.  Thus, I gave George Romney two mentions (one for his business activities and one for his political activities), but gave Mitt Romney only one (nothing he did at Bain qualifies, and I treat his Olympics adventure as the beginning of his political career, not the end of his business career).  With regards to businessmen, I generally cited them for giving away their money, not for earning it.  Marriott is an exception, but the Books-of-Mormon-in-the-rooms phenomenon makes him different.

By posting this list, it is not my intention (nor that of Last Lemming, according to his email message submitting this information) to actually select anyone for these years. Rather, I’m posting this in part as a way for those of us who know about at least some of this list to remember, and as a way for those who don’t know the list to learn, and, undoubtedly, as something to be discussed.

I welcome your comments and suggested alternatives. On this particular portion, mostly before my time, I have a couple alternatives to suggest. I’ll make my suggestions in the first comment. I’m sure others of you will have many more suggestions.

Like many of you readers, I have mixed feelings about some of the individuals mentioned here. But I can’t deny that all of them had a significant impact, and therefore could have been, at least in retrospect, Mormon of the Year.

1950:    Juanita Brooks – for publishing The Mountain Meadows Massacre.

1951:    Ernest L. Wilkinson – for taking the leadership of BYU, which he would totally reshape over the next 20 years.

1952:    Merlo J. Pusey – for winning the Pulitzer Prize for Biography for Charles Evans Hughes.
Runner-up: Pete Harman – for opening (in Salt Lake) the first Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant.

1953:

1954:    Arthur Watkins – for presiding over the Senate committee that censured Joseph McCarthy.
Runner-up: Douglas Stringfellow – for promoting to national audiences (while serving in Congress) his false claim to have changed the course of World War II, being exposed, and dumped from the Republican ticket.

1955:    Arnold Friberg – for completing his series of paintings illustrating the Book of Mormon.

1956:

1957:    J. Willard Marriott – for opening the first Marriott hotel (actually, a motel and I don’t know whether it had Books of Mormon in the drawers from the start).
Runner-up: Naomi Randall – for writing “I Am a Child of God.”

1958:    Bruce R. McConkie – for publishing Mormon Doctrine.

1959:    Billy Casper and Gene Fullmer – the former for winning the U.S. Open golf tournament; the latter for winning (for the second time) the middleweight boxing championship.
Runner-up: George Romney – for promoting the high-gas-mileage Rambler as part of a “dinosaur-busting” strategy as CEO of American Motors, and even initiating research into electric-powered cars.

1960:    Vernon Law – for winning Major League Baseball’s Cy Young award. (The award was not split between leagues until 1967.)

1961:    Hugh Nibley – for publishing The Myth Makers and beginning the series in the Improvement Era that would become Since Cumorah.  (Another lifetime achievement award that could go to another year.)

1962:    Reed Benson and W. Cleon Skousen – the former for becoming head of the Utah chapter of the John Birch Society; the latter for promoting the paperback copy of his like-minded book, The Naked Communist.

1963:    Vaun Clissold & Wendell Mendenhall – for realizing the visions of Matthew Cowley and David O. McKay for the Polynesian Cultural Center.
Runner-up: Helen Andelin – for publishing Fascinating Womanhood.

1964:

1965:    Henry Eyring – for being elected president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  (Another lifetime achievement award.)

1966:     Eugene England & Wesley Johnson – for founding and serving as the initial editors of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought.

1967:    George Romney – for generating a lot of buzz as a candidate for the Republican nomination for President, and for sabotaging the effort with his brainwashing remark.
Runner-up: David Kennedy for chairing the Presidents Commission on Budgetary Concepts, whose report informally governs the presentation of the federal budget to this day.

1968:

1969:    Jay Seegmiller – for receiving the United States Public Health Distinguished Service Award for his role in discovering the biochemical basis of the Lesch-Nyhan syndrome.

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45 Responses to Who Should Have Been Mormon of the Year, 1950-1969

  1. Kent Larsen on January 11, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    Here are my suggestions for who might have been included instead:
    * Ezra Taft Benson — for his service as Secretary of Agriculture in the Eisenhower Administration from 1953-1961 (as Last Lemming suggests, he is being recognized here not for his Church service but for governmental service).
    * Stewart L. Udall — for his service as United States Secretary of the Interior during the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations from 1961–1969

  2. Researcher on January 12, 2009 at 10:33 am

    Four notes…

    Does including Stewart (not Stuart) Udall as a second string choice mean that there will be none of the mind-numbing discussion on how “Mormon” you have to be to be included on such a list?

    And … eww … I’m sure that we all understand that including something like the John Birch Society does not mean that any of us agree with the politics of such an organization (or endorse it, like it, or even manage to avoid using bad language in reference toward it) in order to agree that someone associated with it might be included on the list.

    When I became involved in the bloggernacle about a year ago, scarcely a discussion (on any topic) could occur without someone (anyone) starting to criticize the book Mormon Doctrine. While I would never use the book myself, that topic was starting to get rather tiresome. Fortunately, it’s seemed to die out.

    Final note: I’ll ditto the selection of Jay Seegmiller. He was great. If you don’t know who he was, here’s an obituary. One of the great Mormon scientists. (And funny and charming, too.)

  3. Kent Larsen on January 12, 2009 at 11:22 am

    Researcher, I’m not quite sure I follow what you are trying to say.

    Yes, I hope that we can avoid the “mind-numbing discussion on how “Mormon” you have to be to be included on such a list.” Stewart Udall (I’m correcting the misspelling in my comment) did acknowledge his Mormonism through much of his life, as I understand it, but was completely inactive.

    I agree that it is, or should be, obvious that the fact that Reed Benson was involved with the John Birch Society doesn’t mean other Mormons share any sympathy with that organization.

    One of the great things about this list is, I think, that it doesn’t have an agenda to show only “positive” examples, or only things that make the Church looks good.

    In any case, its a fascinating list.

  4. CJ Douglass on January 12, 2009 at 11:25 am

    I’m sorry, even if we can find it in ourselves to look back at the John Birch Society without contempt and disgust – I still don’t see how becoming head of such an organization (in Utah of all places) is a great accomplishment.

    Throw a stone at any Utah Mormon congregation in 1962 and you’ll find someone who could fill that spot.

  5. Last Lemming on January 12, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Throw a stone at any Utah Mormon congregation in 1962 and you’ll find someone who could fill that spot.

    That’s kind of the point. That stuff was pervasive in the early sixties. But it did not emerge spontaneously–somebody had to promote it and I felt that the primary promoters deserved mention for their influence on Mormon culture of that period (and beyond). Other than the obvious hot potato whom I have deliberately refrained from naming, Reed Benson and Cleon Skousen were the most prominent promoters and 1962 was a year in which they both had some accomplishment I could attach them to.

  6. Kent Larsen on January 12, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    CJ Douglass @4:

    You do know that Reed Benson is one of Ezra Taft Benson’s sons, right?

    You may be right that JBS membership became common, but as I understand it the JBS was relatively new at that time (in March 1961 they first reached 100,000 members), and was approaching the height of its controversy, due to leader Welch’s claim that Eisenhower was a “dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy” in mid 1961.

    Perhaps that year really belongs to those Mormons who were involved in the John Birch Society at the height of its controversy.

    In any case, I’m not sure who to say should be the Mormon of the Year for 1962. Perhaps Cleon Skousen by himself. But I find Reed Benson starting the Utah chapter a telling point given the conservative nature of many Mormons.

  7. Marc on January 12, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    I echo the sentiments on Udall. In addition to his high-profile post, he facilitated interaction between David O. McKay and Lyndon B. Johnson on a number of occasions.

    This retrospective “Mormon of the Year” is interesting. I’m pretty sure this list would look markedly different had a candidate been chosen each year. Time and perspective has made a lot of these people and their accomplishments more significant.

  8. Matt W. on January 12, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    My wife’s grandfather claims he joined the church in part because of “The Naked Communist” so yeah, I am A-OK with selecting Skousen of MOTY. It seems that ETB could be squeezed into the empty 1963 slot, and it would be a shame to not have David O. McKay on there somewhere, even if it is for “lifetime achievement”.

  9. Kent Larsen on January 12, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    Marc@7 wrote: “I’m pretty sure this list would look markedly different had a candidate been chosen each year. ”

    Yep. I agree 100%.

    But this exercise makes me wonder if there isn’t a value of some kind to a retrospective approach. It could probably be an academic discipline or something. Maybe it should be called “history.” {Grin}

    Seriously, a historical look like this is illuminating.

  10. Mark B. on January 12, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    1952: Colleen Hutchings. Miss America. The mother of Kiki Vanderweghe. (Later, of course. She was “Miss” America!)

    I don’t think Billy Casper was a Mormon in 1959. A quick check of the internet doesn’t answer the question. Maybe someone has a copy of Hartman Rector’s “No More Strangers” and can look it up–I think his story’s in there.

    Wilkinson did become president of BYU in 1951, but that wouldn’t have created much stir then. Maybe give him 1964 when he ran for U.S. Senate, which posed a tough choice for BYU faculty who would have been glad to see him go from BYU but weren’t sure they wanted him representing Utah in the Senate.

  11. queuno on January 12, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    I’ll nominate Harold B. Lee for 1968, for having the temerity to tell the BYU graduates that year that they were expected to leave Utah and move to the mission field to build up the Church.

  12. queuno on January 12, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    I’m sorry, even if we can find it in ourselves to look back at the John Birch Society without contempt and disgust – I still don’t see how becoming head of such an organization (in Utah of all places) is a great accomplishment.

    I believe the entire point of the exercise is lost, if we only nominate Mormons who had a positive impact. Hitler was Time’s Man of the Year once, I believe, and I stopped giving attaching any legitimacy to Time’s MOY when they didn’t go with Osama bin Laden in 2001…

  13. Last Lemming on January 12, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    Good catch on Casper. A slightly less quick internet search turned up Johnny Miller’s book, which places Casper’s conversion in the early 60s. So switch him to a runner-up in 1966, when he also won the U.S. open (coming from way back to tie Arnold Palmer, then win in a playoff).

    As for 1959, it’s up in the air. I’m not sure Fullmer wins on his own. I could upgrade Romney, or put in Ezra Taft Benson, who had perhaps his greatest impact on federal Agriculture policy in that year.

    I’m also considering Benson for 1953, when he first took office. For 1964, Wilkinson and Udall are in the running. (The former would then leave 1951 open). Udall could also be a candidate for 1968. No suggestions yet for 1956. C’mon people, step up here! I’ll post some revisions based on your collective comments tomorrow afternoon.

  14. Mark B. on January 12, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    1956: My dad. The year he joined the BYU Chemistry Department.

  15. Mark B. on January 12, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    CJ Douglass

    Since you weren’t around any Utah congregation in 1962, how do you know how many rocks you’d have to throw to hit a John Bircher? :-)

  16. Left Field on January 12, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    Just throwing out a few possibilities:

    1959: The Tabernacle Choir for their Grammy award

    1964: Stanley McAllister for his role in bringing about the Mormon Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair.

    1968: Belle Spafford, selected as president of the National Council of Women.

  17. Last Lemming on January 12, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    Great suggestions, Left Field.

    For those curious about Stanley McCallister, see this link:
    http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=c0a727cd3f37b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1

    Incidentally, Wikipedia has the Choir winning its Grammy in 1960. Which is correct?

  18. Kate on January 12, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    Two quick comments–
    1963–Helen Andelin–Has anyone actually read Fascinating Womanhood. Yikes!
    1964–My mother in law joined the church because of the New York World’s Fair

  19. Last Lemming on January 12, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    Has anyone actually read Fascinating Womanhood

    I gather that even if you haven’t read it, you are familiar with its contents. That counts too.

    Back in my day, the women I dated knew all about it. (But perhaps that’s just because I tended to date older women). When my wife and I were interviewed by a member of the state presidency before our wedding in 1980, he explicitly recommended that book to us. My wife already had a copy (no, I don’t think she actually read it either–she certainly never followed its counsel), but I thumbed through it and read most of the funny parts.

  20. Ray on January 12, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    “I thumbed through it and read most of the funny parts.”

    LL, so you read most of it?

  21. Left Field on January 12, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    #17: grammy.com gives the year as 1959, as does whatever edition of the Church Almanac I consulted. Could it be that the award was presented in 1960 for music recorded in 1959?

  22. Left Field on January 12, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    For 1956, How about Paula Myers-Pope? Melbourne wasn’t her best Olympics, but perhaps she can give Mark’s Dad a run for his money that year?

    The Church Almanac has her joining the Church between the 1952 and 1956 games.

  23. Kent Larsen on January 13, 2009 at 7:48 am

    Left Field@16:

    Now I’m embarrassed! How could I have left off Stanley McAllister?

    Last Lemming, he is exactly the right person for 1964. I know the most members of the Church today haven’t heard of him, but his impact was huge. In 1964 the Church had about 2 million members. Because McAllister, then the New York Stake President, pestered the brethren into deciding to have a pavillion at the Worlds Fair (which is still THE Worlds Fair for anyone who talks about Worlds Fairs), the Church saw 6 million people visit the Mormon Pavilion. The impact was tremendous. Some branches in the New York Stake tripled in size in a matter of months. The Fair led to the creation of the film “Mans Search for Happiness” and many of the dioramas used in Church visitors centers for the next 30 years. Its effect on both the Church’s approach to missionary work and the way the Church was perceived for the next decade was huge.

    There is no question. Put Stanley McAllister in for 1964.

  24. Last Lemming on January 13, 2009 at 11:01 am

    I agree with Mark B. that putting Wilkinson in the 1951 slot is kind of lame, so I’ve been looking for another spot for him. My suggestion is 1956, when he organized the first student stake at BYU. (An Ensign article claims that he considered that his greatest accomplishment as president of BYU).
    http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=199561cb2b86b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1

    Another possibility for 1956 would be Mary Bee Jensen, for organizing the BYU International Folk Dancers.

    In trying to fill the newly-vacated 1951 slot, I thought I had a winner in Thomas Ferguson for organizing the New World Archeological Foundation, but better sources place that event in 1952. So I think I would move Merlo Pusey to 1951, when his book was actually published and give Ferguson the 1952 slot. Colleen Hutchings would be another runner-up for 1952.

  25. Last Lemming on January 13, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Oh, and my wife says I have grossly overestimated the impact of Fascinating Womanhood, so I am inclined to drop Helen Andelin as a runner-up in 1963.

  26. Paula on January 13, 2009 at 11:52 am

    The old Harmon’s Kentucky Fried in SLC had a life sized statue of Colonel Sanders. When I was little, I thought that the statue was David O. MacKay, so there’s another mormon link for Harmon as mormon of the year.

  27. E on January 13, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Helen Andelin was a Mormon? Nooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. Last Lemming on January 13, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    For your convenience, I am posting the entire list again, including my additions and revisions based on your suggestions.

    1950: Juanita Brooks – for publishing The Mountain Meadows Massacre.

    1951: Merlo J. Pusey – for publishing Charles Evans Hughes, which would win the Pulitzer Prize for Biography the following year.

    1952: Thomas Ferguson — for founding the New World Archeological Foundation, the fountain of most Book-of-Mormon-focused archeological work ever since.
    Runners-up: Pete Harman – for opening (in Salt Lake) the first Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant.
    Colleen Hutchins — for winning the Miss America pageant

    1953: Ezra Taft Benson — for becoming first Mormon to sit on the President’s cabinet (as Secretary of Agriculture).

    1954: Arthur Watkins – for presiding over the Senate committee that censured Joseph McCarthy.
    Runner-up: Douglas Stringfellow – for promoting to national audiences (while serving in Congress) his false claim to have changed the course of World War II, being exposed, and dumped from the Republican ticket.

    1955: Arnold Friberg – for completing his series of paintings illustrating the Book of Mormon.

    1956: Ernest Wilkinson — for establishing the first student stake at BYU (which he considered his greatest accomplishment).

    1957: J. Willard Marriott – for opening the first Marriott hotel (actually, a motel and I don’t know whether it had Books of Mormon in the drawers from the start).
    Runner-up: Naomi Randall – for writing “I Am a Child of God.”

    1958: Bruce R. McConkie – for publishing Mormon Doctrine.

    1959: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir — for recording the Grammy-award winning “Battle Hymn of the Republic”
    Runner-up: George Romney – for promoting the high-gas-mileage Rambler as part of a “dinosaur-busting” strategy as CEO of American Motors, and even initiating research into electric-powered cars.

    1960: Vernon Law and Gene Fullmer – the former for winning Major League Baseball’s Cy Young award, and the latter for being world middleweight boxing champion.

    1961: Hugh Nibley – for publishing The Myth Makers and beginning the series in the Improvement Era that would become Since Cumorah. (A lifetime achievement award that could go to another year.)

    1962: Reed Benson and W. Cleon Skousen – the former for becoming head of the Utah chapter of the John Birch Society; the latter for promoting the paperback copy of his like-minded book, The Naked Communist.

    1963: Vaun Clissold & Wendell Mendenhall – for realizing the visions of Matthew Cowley and David O. McKay for the Polynesian Cultural Center.

    1964: Stanley McAllister — for his role in bringing about the Mormon Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair.
    Runner-up: Stewart Udall — for his role (as Secretary of the Interior) in bringing to fruition the Wilderness Act of 1964 (which, of all the environmental legislation he promoted, has arguably had the most direct impact on Utah and its Mormon population).

    1965: Henry Eyring – for being elected president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. (Another lifetime achievement award.)

    1966: Eugene England & Wesley Johnson – for founding and serving as the initial editors of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought.
    Runner-up: Billy Casper — for winning the U.S. Open golf tournament.

    1967: George Romney – for generating a lot of buzz as a candidate for the Republican nomination for President, and for sabotaging the effort with his brainwashing remark.
    Runner-up: David Kennedy for chairing the Presidents Commission on Budgetary Concepts, whose report informally governs the presentation of the federal budget to this day.

    1968: Belle Spafford — for being selected as president of the National Council of Women.

    1969: Jay Seegmiller – for receiving the United States Public Health Distinguished Service Award for his role in discovering the biochemical basis of the Lesch-Nyhan syndrome.

    Thanks to all for your suggestions. I look forward to the next round tomorrow.

  29. Alison Moore Smith on January 13, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    I’m pretty sure that Ernest Wilkinson was best known for replacing “gluttony” with “walking across the grass” as the #2 deadly sin.

  30. Left Field on January 13, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    I served my mission in NYC fifteen years after the World’s Fair. Pretty much every ward and branch where I served in NY and NJ had members who joined because of the pavilion. Even Gentiles we met tracting sometimes commented favorably about their memories of the Mormon Pavilion.

    We haven’t seen the nominees for the next two decades yet, but I would argue for another exemption to the “no apostles” rule for Spencer W. Kimball in 1978. I don’t think there could be any doubt that recognition of him for that year would be due to the profound impact of the Priesthood Revelation, and not just a recognition of his calling.

  31. Patricia Pender on January 14, 2009 at 10:28 am

    This is a worldwide church, folks, with worldwide contributors. Let’s see some names outside the US.

  32. Kent Larsen on January 14, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Please make some suggestions, Patricia.

    I suppose if we moved back a little farther we could add Helmuth Huebener for 1942. [I suppose he could also be added for 1969, when Günter Grass wrote his treatment of Heubener’s story, Örtlich betäubt (“Local anesthetic”).

    I know of several others in later years, but I can’t come up with any for 1950-1969.

  33. Janet on January 14, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Stewart Udall

    Those who worked for Mr. Udall at the Interior Department would certainly NOT consider him for “Mormon of the Year” for any year.

  34. Kent Larsen on January 14, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    Janet, you don’t have to meet any criteria of being faithful or good to be Mormon of the Year. Its a measure of the person’s impact. This designation is NOT an honor or prize.

  35. Last Lemming on January 14, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    On the 1970-89 thread, Kent suggested Mo Udall for 1976 and I presented arguments against that. His response included the following:

    if Mo is out, then I’d have to say that Stewart Udall is also out because of criteria #1 and possibly #2.

    I grant that I probably stretched the criteria a bit to fit Stewart in, but I ought to explain my reasoning. First of all, failure to meet one or more criteria is not disqualifying–only failure to meet ANY of the criteria is disqualifying. Here’s how I ultimately saw it.

    1. Did he influence Mormon culture? Not in the way any other selection did. But the Wilderness Act in particular has had a major impact on Utah and, indirectly, on Mormon culture. I don’t know of anything Mo did that is comparable.
    2) Did he represent Mormonism to the world? Relying on Marc’s comment (#7), he at least represented it to Lyndon Johnson.
    3) Did he influence the broader culture in ways not necessarily linked to his Mormonism.? I think overall his environmental legacy was broader and more long-lasting than Mo’s.

  36. Pat Day on January 14, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    Charlene Wells. (and her mother for hand sewing the beads on her home made evening gowns) Miss America after the porno debachal with the Vaness Williams. Wells was chosen not just for her talent, poise and beauty, which she had apleanty, but for the assurance that as a Mormon, Miss America would not be further besmurched by sexual misconduct.

    In those days Miss America was a big deal to girls with few American female role models!

    You could put Spencer Kimball in the list for ‘encouraging’ female modesty by removing all the photos homecoming queens, in their strapless prom gowns, from the walls of the Wilkerson Center. Now compliant LDS girls wear gowns with shoulders and at least the tops of their arms covered…. but then maybe not…. the girls were cute and the gowns frothy and pretty!

  37. Last Lemming on January 14, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    I did pick Sharlene Wells for 1985, which you can see on this thread:
    http://timesandseasons.org/index.php/2009/01/who-should-have-been-mormon-of-the-year-1970-1989/

  38. Kent Larsen on January 14, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    Last Lemming@35:

    I guess, in a contest between two people like Stewart and Mo, I always go for the funny guy.

    Its indefensible, I know.

  39. Kent Larsen on January 14, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    Pat Day@36 wrote:
    “You could put Spencer Kimball in the list for ‘encouraging’ female modesty by removing all the photos homecoming queens, in their strapless prom gowns, from the walls of the Wilkerson Center. Now compliant LDS girls wear gowns with shoulders and at least the tops of their arms covered…. but then maybe not…. the girls were cute and the gowns frothy and pretty!”

    Was that the reason? I always thought that it was done because he had a low view of the concept of beauty pageants, not just the modesty. I don’t know what his logic was, but I’ve always wondered how we can support a concept that focuses so much on (and rewards women for) something that you can’t control (beauty) instead of things that you can control.

    But, I must be honest, that is really a subject for another post.

  40. Jan Penny on January 15, 2009 at 1:00 am

    I am not overly familiar with this site, but followed a link here. I was disappointed to see that there were so many negative remarks about the John Birch Society. I have watched a video in which President Ezra Taft Benson spoke very highly of them. I prayed fervently to know where to go to learn the truths necessary to vote wisely. I found President Benson’s books, The National Center for Constitutional Studies and The John Birch Society to be part of the answer to my prayers. I had a very similar experience to when I prayed to know if there was a true church on the earth. I studied a lot and prayed and fasted to get my information. How did you get yours?

  41. Ray on January 15, 2009 at 1:25 am

    I’m going to leave that one alone out of respect for individuality.

  42. P Smith on January 15, 2009 at 1:41 am

    You’ve got to put the Osmonds in there somewhere. A lot of teenage girls learned about the church through them.

  43. Kent Larsen on January 15, 2009 at 1:47 am

    JanPenny@40:

    I suggest that you read the Wikipedia page on the John Birch Society for an overview of the group’s history. Regardless of how you feel about them, the page might give you an idea of why most of America thinks they are on the extreme and not worthy of consideration.

    After all, when a conservative like William F. Buckley thinks they are too far out of the mainstream…

  44. Jan Penny on January 15, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    Well now I know that I don’t need to come back to this site. You are so “intellectual” that you consider Wikipedia a valid source of information? Gee, what do they say about the church? And William Buckley??? You value his opinion over that of a prophet? Wow. Wasting my time here. I’m gone.

  45. Randall Barnes on January 15, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Regarding the endlessly debated question of music versus lyrics (See Capriccio by R. Strauss), Mormons seem to consistently favor the lyricist. But if you are nominating Naomi Randall as a runner-up for 1957, surely you must include Mildred Pettit who composed the simple, moving music for I Am a Child of God. After all the no church leader ever asked that the melody be altered.

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