Vote for Mormon of the Year

January 1, 2010 | 131 comments
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This post opens the voting for Mormon of the Year. Votes will be taken until midnight Eastern Time on Thursday, January 7th, at which time the voting will close.

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

The order of the choices is set at random, and is different each time the form is presented.

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.

[The vote is being collected by third-party software. Please let us know of any problems you encounter.]

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131 Responses to Vote for Mormon of the Year

  1. KirkC on January 1, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Nice list.

  2. sey on January 1, 2010 at 10:41 am

    You might also note that Laurel Thatcher Ulrich was 2009′s President of the American Historical Association.

  3. queuno on January 1, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Mike Leach is no more a Mormon than Dave Campo is. And Dooce is technically not a Mormon anymore, correct?

  4. Left Field on January 1, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    I can’t speak to Leach’s current status (nor do I really care), but I did see him occasionally at church 7-8 years ago when I lived in Lubbock. He wasn’t in my ward, but we met in the same building.

  5. Kent Larsen on January 1, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    queuno, you didn’t read the nominating thread? Membership in the LDS Church isn’t required.

  6. Chris Henrichsen on January 1, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    I have voted. Where do I get my “I vote today” sticker.

  7. Todd on January 1, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Wow. This was quite a year with very high-profile Mormons. Heath-care reform was probably the single biggest issue facing Americans this year. And we have a soft spoken but powerful Mormon leader on one side of the debate and a very vocal and charismatic news personality on the other.

  8. Clair on January 1, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Let’s eliminate those whose nomination cites no impact on Mormons and Mormonism.

  9. Chris Henrichsen on January 1, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Eliminate? I officially oppose killing any of these people.

  10. Ardis Parshall on January 1, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Hard to understand how “Mormon of the Year” could be other than Mormon, but, well, okay.

    And I want my “I voted” sticker, too. Some Novembers, that’s the only good thing for having bothered to vote.

  11. sane mormon on January 1, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Although exed, I say Chad Hardy, at least until BYU ends the embarrassment to all LDS of insisting he must return to the church to receive his diploma. I can’t believe Monson has allowed this nonsense to go on this long.

  12. Marc Bohn on January 1, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    Ardis and others, I think what Kent is referring to is the discussion in the previous thread that established that candidacy for “Mormon of the Year” did not depend on one’s activity level.

  13. Jiro Numano on January 1, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    I would be pleased if you include Richard Bushman, who is the most respected scholar on Mormonism from inside and out.

  14. Left Field on January 1, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    I think nominations have closed…

    Regarding Harry Reid, doesn’t the President Pro Tempore outrank the majority leader? If so, then the honor of highest ranking Mormon ever should go to William H. King.

  15. Alison Moore Smith on January 2, 2010 at 6:07 am

    Membership in the LDS Church isn’t required.

    Flip, then I should have nominated Obama, Palin, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

  16. Alison Moore Smith on January 2, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Just read that Glenn Beck is #4 on Gallup’s most admired men list. As far as I can tell, he’s the only Mormon on either list.

  17. TheNewJerseynutjob on January 2, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    The Washington Post’s Dana Milbanks rips on Glenn’s current prominence: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/01/AR2010010101371.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

  18. Clark on January 2, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Amy Adams and Katherine Heigl aren’t really Mormon anymore – are they?

  19. Alex T. Valencic on January 2, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    After casting my vote and reviewing the results, it has occurred to me that a great very many of those nominated were done so for accomplishments during the months of September through December. Very few are folks who impacted the news throughout the year.

    I look forward to my T&S I Voted sticker and the final designee!

  20. jjohnsen on January 3, 2010 at 10:35 am

    Am I supposed to be seeing some sort of voting mechanism in this post? Because all I see is the post and the responses.

  21. jjohnsen on January 3, 2010 at 10:37 am

    Weird, after I posted that comment, the poll suddenly appeared.

  22. Marc Bohn on January 3, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Clark – From public comments they’ve made, I think Amy Adams does not consider herself Mormon any longer while Katherine Heigl would probably be more properly characterized as inactive.

  23. Dennis on January 3, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    Hmmm, something tells me there is something fishy behind Reed McCowan’s sudden jump — almost last yesterday and now three times higher than the leader (Harry Reid) yesterday!

  24. TheNewJerseyNutjob on January 4, 2010 at 12:14 am

    Perhaps just regular social networking? The link to T&S’s twitter feed for this blogpost of Kent’s shows a certain amount of excitement about McCowan’s standings in the poll. http://tweetmeme.com/story/401110322/vote-for-mormon-of-the-year-times-seasons

  25. JK on January 4, 2010 at 12:35 am

    Mike Leach and Glenn Beck have more profanity than Websters!

  26. Alison Moore Smith on January 4, 2010 at 12:35 am

    Not fishy at all, Dennis. It’s classic internet-age promotion by people who want to make a statement. Pretty predictable.

    But it lends itself to the idea that maybe the nominees for Mormon of the Year should actually identify themselves as LDS and maybe not be antagonistic to the church. If you’ve got open voting, anything else just lends itself to getting a viral anti-LDS campaign going.

    But, hey, I heard that Rick Warren was chosen as Harvey Milk Gay Rights Activist of the Year. But I’m sure that vote was legit.

  27. Kaimi Wenger on January 4, 2010 at 12:45 am

    I’m pretty sure that the jump in Cowan’s votes comes from some combination of the PostMormon.org link that Chino posted, the Exmormon.org link that Chino posted, the FLAK post that Chino posted, the (three?) links at the Reddit LGBT forum that Chino posted, the (three?) links at the Reddit atheism forum that Chino posted, and . . . um, am I missing any?

    And hey, you bring in hundreds of new clicks to a site that has a readership in the thousands, and voila, we have a result whose legitimacy no one could ever question. I think we can all agree that T&S’s Mormon of the Year ought to be determined primarily by readers of PostMormon, ExMormon, FLAK, and Reddit atheism forums. What could possibly make more sense than that?

    Chino is already laying the groundwork for canned outrage when the final T&S selection doesn’t match the (cough) vox populi. He writes at FLAK:

    Never mind that the small print includes this inanity (in ALLCAPS no less): THE WINNER OF THE ONLINE VOTE IS NOT NECESSARILY THE MORMON OF THE YEAR!!! BECAUSE OF THIS, PLEASE VOTE!

    T&S may have lost me at “this” … but who doesn’t love the smell of theodemocracy in the morning? Or how the bloggernacle too often resembles a cargo cult? I.e., let’s conduct a poll but discard the results, mimicking the cargo culter tendency to confuse necessary and sufficient conditions … all hat and no cattle … or as Eleanor Roosevelt said of Madame Chiang: “She can talk beautifully about democracy. But she does not know how to live democracy.”

    In any case, me and my house will be voting for Reed Cowan and “8: The Mormon Proposition” … and never mind that we’ve not yet even seen Reed’s opus. This is all about preventing the likes of Glenn Beck and Harry Reid walking away with this honor. Not without a fight.

    Go ahead, mock what might look like a lame attempt at mindless quixotic online canvassing for the silliest of causes, but for those disinclined to follow the link and vote for Reed … you’ve now finally been afforded the chance to vote on the Mormons for a change. Did you?

    Or does Harry Reid walk away with this nomination w/o a significant challenge from the other side of the Mormon tracks?

    As far as I can tell, the folks at T&S have committed a critical error by posting results as they come in. At some point before the poll closes, it will become obvious that Reed and 8TMP is the runaway favorite.

    And then, when the title and honor is inevitably denied …

    Chino’s argument appears to be that, if T&S’s own selection differs from the ballot stuffing by atheist and ex-Mo drive-by commenters, this will demonstrate that the blog (and/or the church, or perhaps the membership) are theodemocrats and cargo cultists. The silliness of this logic should be apparent on the face of it.

    (The unfortunate thing is that people will inevitably assume that all of Reed Cowan’s votes came from drive-by voters. This would be an incorrect assumption. Cowan was nominated by a regular T&S reader, and early indications showed that he was indeed receiving a portion of the vote from regular readers.)

    Vote poisoning has a lengthy and generally unsavory history. For instance, Rush Limbaugh’s “Operation Chaos” was a recent high-profile campaign in the past election to encourage Republican voters to register as Democrats and vote for Hillary Clinton to try to prolong the selection of the Democratic nominee.

    Congratulations to Chino for running a viral campaign which was well enough orchestrated to tip the results in a relatively small internet poll. I don’t think he’s shown anything else, though. I can’t say for certain, but it seems likely that the ultimate award will differ from the poll results; and apparently, that will bring on overheated comparisons to cargo cults. I suppose I can live with that. The Airplane Gods told me that it would be okay.

  28. Kent Larsen on January 4, 2010 at 12:46 am

    Remember, everyone, that the Mormon of the Year isn’t chosen by this vote. The Mormon of the Year is chosen by the bloggers here on T&S. This vote will probably have some influence, but we will likely discount obvious attempts to get publicity for someone or to make a statement.

    While I disagree with the idea that the nominees should identify themselves as LDS (Mormon is sufficient, IMO) or that they should not be antagonistic to the LDS Church, I do agree that the votes for McCowan aren’t likely to persuade that he has had the biggest impact on Mormons or Mormonism.

  29. Kent Larsen on January 4, 2010 at 12:53 am

    We should also remember that last year’s results were also subject to a similar viral campaign — for Nienie and for David Archuleta. We saw the results for what they were, and decided otherwise. [Although I was impressed by the fan bases of these camps.]

    Somehow Nienie’s fans haven’t appeared this year (apparently we didn’t convert any of them into T&S readers!), and Archuleta wasn’t as prominent in the news and didn’t get nominated this year. Also, we haven’t gotten attention from the news media this year (at least not yet) — which all adds up to a very different vote.

  30. Matthew Pfingsten on January 4, 2010 at 1:04 am

    I admit that I am not a regular to this site and came here after reading about it on another site (but I have no idea who Chino is).

    I read through ALL of the choices and learned quite a bit about accomplishments that I didn’t know happened this year and about accomplishments I did know about but didn’t know about the parties being Mormon.

    I almost chose the man who swam to where Aung San Suu Kyi is imprisoned. I also almost chose Stephanie Meyer. But I felt that my choice should not be based on book and movie ticket sales; I have to admit I still wish I could have chosen both John Yettaw and Reed Cowan.

    I believe that my vote should be considered legitimate even though I am not a Mormon and not a regular at this site. This is what I think it should boil down to: “anybody who can cast a vote without having made up their mind as to whom to automatically exclude or automatically choose prior to coming to this site and reading the entire list should be able to and be able to have their vote counted.

  31. Matthew Pfingsten on January 4, 2010 at 1:12 am

    I’d like to add that it’s important to reflect on the different things that “Mormon of the Year” can mean:

    Most notoriety?

    Most popular (book sales for example)?

    Does it have to mean “influential” and then in what realm? Business, politics, or some other?

    And if for example you might think it should be Harry Reid: is it merely his position or what you think he has accomplished this year? And if you are a Republican or a disgrunted liberal Democrat would that mean you still should choose him as Mormon of the Year?

    Just think of all the different types of “Man of Year” Time magazine chose and that was before they opened it to people other than men.

  32. Chino Blanco on January 4, 2010 at 1:50 am

    @26: Yes, you missed the link at Main Street Plaza. And, hey now, I only posted once in each of the various Reddit forums I follow.

    @27: McCowan. That’s a keeper.

  33. Chino Blanco on January 4, 2010 at 1:59 am

    Er, make that @28 and @29. Apparently, NJ nutjob’s two links decided to come unstuck from your spam filter while I was typing … btw, great links, but why again with the McCowan?

  34. Chino Blanco on January 4, 2010 at 2:02 am

    That’s it. I give up.

  35. Kaimi Wenger on January 4, 2010 at 2:08 am

    No worries, Chino. I unstuck the NJ comments, then I realized that they said the same thing so I deleted one of them.

  36. Kaimi Wenger on January 4, 2010 at 2:11 am

    p.s. I don’t know why McCowan, either. McKent seems to have bobbled the name, perhaps confusing him with . . . err, a famous McCowan or McGowan of some sort?

  37. planetspinz on January 4, 2010 at 3:24 am

    What does the winner win?
    You left off the really most important people who impacted the coffers of the LDS Church this year — all the homosexuals who tried to have equal marriage rights in Maine and lost, because of the LDS Church interference, and all the homosexuals in Washington, DC who now have equal marriage rights, but their efforts also were a great fundraising opportunity for the LDS – so all the American homosexuals should be on the list of having made the greatest impact on the LDS Church and Mormon leaders who lined their pockets with these antigay rights donations.

  38. Kent Larsen on January 4, 2010 at 5:37 am

    planetspinz:

    The winner wins:

    NOTHING!!!

    We don’t even bother to notify the winner.

    It isn’t a contest, it isn’t about who wins.

    It is about who has had the most influence, the most notoriety during the year.

    Your suggestion of “American homosexuals” might have been a nomination that could have been made when nominations were open (before January 1st). But, even so, I’m not persuaded that you are right.

  39. Kent Larsen on January 4, 2010 at 5:40 am

    @36 et al – Sorry about the McCowan thing. I got thrown off by Dennis (23). Don’t know why he called him “McCowan.”

  40. Chino Blanco on January 4, 2010 at 7:54 am

    By the way, I do appreciate #29′s reminder re last year’s similar viral campaigns for MOTY. One man’s “vote poisoning” is another man’s fun, Mr. Wenger. Considering your obvious familiarity with this year’s top campaign operation, I’m disappointed with your selective quoting. For the benefit of your readers:

    “Here’s why I’m keen to encourage y’all to click through and register your vote for Mormon of the Year …

    If Reed beats out Glenn and Harry in the online poll, but is then passed over by the T&S politburo, that’ll be fodder for plenty of manufactured outrage and unrest (i.e., snarky blog posts).”

    A bit of friendly advice: let go of the anger, don’t bother that I just called you an apparatchik, and start addressing the real threat to the T&S MOTY franchise. Its name is McCampbell.

  41. Dan on January 4, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Reed Cowan? Really? I mean, what’s he famous for? Some film he’s not yet released? How exactly is he then the most influential Mormon of 2009? I mean, com’on, his wikipedia page has merely two sentences on the issue he is supposedly most famous for that would somehow surpass the influence and notoriety of other Mormons this past year. Gimme a break Chino.

  42. Lester Leavitt on January 4, 2010 at 11:12 am

    The above comments were a fun (and predictable) read. Need I remind anybody that the Time Magazine’s Person of the Year is not chosen by popularity? To the T&S True Blue Mormon (TBM) readers I feel obligated to remind them that the idea of a “person of the year” is to measure influence, which may mean that the winner is not a popular Mormon, but rather had an enormous impact. For the MOTY I am confident that the T&S panel will honor this, in spite of how it might get the dander up of the TBM’s who think otherwise. That has never stopped T&S from doing something controversial up to now, has it?

    IMHO, Glenn Beck had little influence on Mormon dialog, in spite of the fact that he is approaching demagogue standing with the religious right. His popularity simply reinforces the decades-old block-voting practices of TBM’s. It doesn’t change anything, and it didn’t add anything new to Mormon discourse.

    On the other hand, Harry Reid, as a democrat, has added an enormous amount of influence to the growing number of moderate Mormons who are beginning to see a different way of viewing the world. This is “change we can believe in,” and behind the Zion Curtain it is long overdue.

    Reed Cowan’s documentary will likely qualify him as MOTY for 2010, but he’s not there yet, and this vote will be announced before Sundance. After that…well…we’ll just have to wait and see how much s–t hits the Mormon fan. Personally, I anticipate an enormous fallout from which the public face of Mormonism will never recover.

    When you add the influence of Harry Reid in 2009 with the Prop 8 Movie next year I anticipate a schism within the Mormon ranks that will mirror the schism in the GOP. The shrill extremist Mormons will alienate the moderate Mormons. The only question is, which side will the “generals” land on? Like the GOP and “purity test,” there will be no middle ground allowed in that battle.

  43. S.P. Bailey on January 4, 2010 at 11:15 am

    I propose a new poll: best atheist/ex-mo/LGBT self-parody of the year!

  44. Kent Larsen on January 4, 2010 at 11:19 am

    A small update: The number of votes recorded has passed 1,000.

  45. Chino Blanco on January 4, 2010 at 11:25 am

    It’s called “the silly season” for a reason, Dan. Every election has one.

    But all silliness aside, considering all the T&S posts re SGA, SSA, SSM, Prop8, SLC ordinances and the like during the past year, let’s not pretend that a Reed Cowan win would somehow be too incongruous for words.

    Certainly, T&S has demonstrated no loss for words re such matters in 2009. But now that year-end and community recognition is in the mix, suddenly, it’s the love that dare not stake its claim.

  46. BHodges on January 4, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Reed Cowan’s film hasn’t even been released but the drive-by voters are making their uninformed and illogical stand, and they have the “right” to do so.

  47. Kelly Petersen on January 4, 2010 at 11:36 am

    I vote for Reed Cowan and for his movie “8: THE MORMON PROPOSITION” Yea Reed!!!

  48. Chino Blanco on January 4, 2010 at 11:41 am

    @43: I’d always wondered what S.P. stood for, thx!

  49. Dan on January 4, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Chino,

    Seeing as I have been keeping up on all the posts on Prop 8 and never yet heard of Reed Cowan until now, I have a hard time believing he is influential. Maybe once his little film is released, but for what he did in 2009? Please. Note Kelly Peterson’s comments. It perfectly encapsulates the silliness of this vote.

  50. Chino Blanco on January 4, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    @49: I agree. Kelly’s comment not only perfectly encapsulates the silliness of this vote, but of voting in general. To quote Sheri L. Dew:

    “But since when has the opinion of the masses been a reliable barometer of what is in humanity’s best interests?”

    http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/57746/Sheri-L-Dew-The-Power-of-Virtue.html

    Pesky voters.

  51. Dennis on January 4, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Kent (39)–Sorry about that. Don’t know what I was thinking.

    Chino–It seems rather melodramatic to anticipate an outrage for T&S not selecting Reed Cowan if he has more votes. The reality is that he had received hardly any votes prior to an influx of voters (who obviously don’t regularly visit the T&S, or they would have already voted) who wanted to make a political statement more than anything. You certainly have the right to do that, but clearly T&S is not going to hold the MOTY captive to whatever fringe group comes along who is able to muster tons of votes. Especially considering that the vote is hardly secure.

    So, all that is being communicated with Reed’s lead is that there is a contingency of people who are very motivated to vote for him (over and over again, no doubt) to make a political statement. This fact hardly means that Reed Cowan deserves the MOTY over someone like Harry Reid, in my opinion.

  52. S.P. Bailey on January 4, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    No. 48: That’s funny, because I have never wondered what “Chino Blanco” stood for.

  53. Chino Blanco on January 4, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    @51: I’ve done nothing more than accept the invitation of the OP:

    “Feel free to announce the vote where ever you wish. Since many have asked, non-Mormons are free to vote.”

    If you’d like to put in a request to change the invitation/rules midstream, pls take that up with the OP.

    Heaven forbid we allow an election to be held captive to whatever fringe group comes along who is able to muster tons of votes. To allow that to happen would be *so* 2008, wouldn’t it?

    As far as I’m concerned, this is all good fun, so let’s not spoil it by casting aspersions on my character or that of other voters, OK?

    I have no clue as to whether or not the voting process is secure. I assume that it is and have no interest in testing that assumption.

    If you’ve got anything more than baseless speculation to back up your suggestion that Reed’s lead is the result of monkey business, pls expand.

  54. Chino Blanco on January 4, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    @52: Yes, it was funny. And if I happened to use the handle C.B. whilst complaining about Cantankerous B*st*rds, that’d be funny, too.

  55. Stephanie on January 4, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    It’s really cool to see this list and to realize how many high profile Mormons there are out there.

  56. RT on January 4, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    It seems to me that there are two types of approaches to an argument: you’re either in it to actually try and persuade the other side, or you’re in it just to have the argument.

    Chino: I’m a middle of the road mormon who is somewhat ambivalent about the church’s stand on gay rights issues. I don’t know if you care or not, but in case you do, you should know that you’re definitely not helping your cause. Instead, you’re actually pushing me to the right a little bit.

    To put it differently: We get your point, now stop hijacking the thread. This is supposed to be a lighthearted look at the world of mormondom for the past year. Your vote is in for Reed Cowan. Thanks.

  57. Chino Blanco on January 4, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    @56: Apparently, there are three types of approaches to an argument. In addition to the two you’ve described, there’s also the one that you’ve actually used here: ordering the other side to shut up.

    By the way, your “we” reminded me of an old favorite:

    One day, the Lone Ranger and Tonto were out on patrol when they came to a mountain pass. As they rode through the pass, the Lone Ranger noticed a large number of Indians looking down at them from the ridge above. He looked to the opposite ridge, and found it similarly populated. Glancing ahead and behind, he discovered the pass completely blocked by more Indians.

    “Well, Tonto, it looks like we’re headed for some trouble,” the Lone Ranger said to his faithful companion.

    “What you mean WE, white man?” came the reply.

  58. RT on January 4, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    So what you’re saying is that your vote is for Reed Cowan. Awesome. Thanks.

  59. Jim Donaldson on January 4, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    CB: I think RT’s point was that you are completely within your rights to use whatever influence you have to win this little battle in the war (to look at it militarily), but in so doing, you damage your chances to win the war. He was advising you to think strategy, not tactics. Good advice, actually.

  60. Ardis Parshall on January 4, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Shades of the Niblets! So, is Chino Blanco another pseudonym for that chick with the spoof blog whose name I can never remember?

  61. RB Scott on January 4, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    He may not win the contest, but Mitt Romney certainly should be on the list of nominees.

  62. Chino Blanco on January 4, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Jim: I’m heartened by your suggestion that I might actually have a shot at winning this battle. Cheers! That said, I think RT actually had two points: firstly, this is all supposed to be lighthearted; secondly, if I don’t watch myself, something I type here could very well wind up halting the advancement of LGBT rights in these United States.

    Which is it? Lighthearted? Or of grave strategic importance?

    Here’s my second vote of the day: Maybe RT needs to follow his own advice and lighten up.

  63. Randy B. on January 4, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    Careful, Ardis. Calling someone a “chick” could get you banned. Just ask DKL.

    (Oh, and Seriously So Blessed rocks.)

  64. Chino Blanco on January 4, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    I thought Ardis was DKL.

  65. Kikki Planet on January 4, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Glenn Beck has done nothing for the image of the Mormon church. In fact, Beck’s dissertation with regard to the “sublminial messages and signs” around New York City, specifically Rockefeller Place, left no doubt that Beck has officially gone WACKO. Beck called Obama a “racist”… are you kidding me? Is this really the image Mormons want to project to the world? If members of the church are willing to have Beck represent them as an ambassador, they better be prepared for the inevitable backlash. And for the record, Beck would never have achieved the fame and notoriety he now enjoys anywhere but in the US. I can tell you that north of the border we expect our “journalists/commentators” to act with a level of respect, dignity and honesty. Beck is lacking in all three.

  66. Kent Larsen on January 4, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    RB Scott (61): FWIW, Romney was selected last year. The only reason he isn’t on the poll this year is that no one nominated him.

    Personally, I didn’t nominate him because I thought he was pretty invisible this year, esp. compared to the 5 that I nominated originally: Reid, Beck, Meyer, Yettaw and Nienie (Stephanie Nielsen).

    Of course, others have nominated a lot of people who have been even more invisible than Romney, including, IMO, Cowan. But that is just my opinion.

  67. Kent Larsen on January 4, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Kikki Planet (65): Just a reminder that this is about “INFLUENCE” and “IMPACT.” it is not choosing an “ambassador” for Mormonism.

    Just like Time magazine put Hitler on its cover as the Man of the Year, we reserve the right to choose someone who’s impact has been large but wholly negative.

    We are NOT choosing an “ambassador.”

  68. Tim on January 4, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    “But since when has the opinion of the masses been a reliable barometer of what is in humanity’s best interests?” THANK YOU!!
    This quote screams Prop 8.No ones civil rights should be up to popular vote! This is The United States,and this country affords everyone to choose a religion if one so chooses, and I support it 100%.And I respect people for believing whatever they choose to believe.But I also feel it is 100% wrong to force ones beliefs on the rest of the people of this free country.Reguardless of the faith.(or not)
    My Marriage does NOT change or affect anybody’s beliefs.Its my American right! (Still married in Ca. by the way) and the sky has not fallen.
    Same sex marriage ONLY effects the two consenting adults that are involved.It does not change the beliefs of, or hurt any one.
    God is not going to punish any one for having compassion for another human being.There is nothing to be afraid of.
    As for this vote? It does not effect anyone either.Lets all just get along and love and respect one another.For God’s sake! P.S sorry to get so far off the subject, I just really wish the best for all! Good luck with your vote!

  69. Ardis Parshall on January 4, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    If I were DKL I might have something potent to say about the freakishness of Chino and his chums appearing here to dump and run. But since I’m not DKL, I’ll just roll my eyes and leave this thread until the neighborhood improves.

  70. Crick on January 4, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    Its hard for me to not see how either Meyer, Reid or Beck is the winner. Romney made sense for 08, but this one is not so obvious. But if it ends up being someone other than those three I will be scratching my head.

  71. Thomas E Crutchfield II on January 4, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    the truth will set you free……

  72. Raymond Takashi Swenson on January 4, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    While Senator Reid is certainly having a large impact on Americans, I don’t see him having a specific impact on Mormons. Even his opponents do not identify him as LDS. On the other hand, Beck’s activities cite Cleon Skousen and other Mormon connections, and his public comments regularly invoke religious belief and his own conversion (which with a minimum of research is known to be to the LDS Church). Beck clearly identifies himself more with Mormonism (even if he doesn’t mention the word) and its particular views about the divinely inspired origins of the US Constitution and the special place of America in God’s plan for mankind, in his public personum. Reid can give a moving talk about his own odyssey into the LDS Church and how he relates it to his political views (which he did at BYU a couple of years ago), but he is only giving that talk to other Mormons.

    In some ways, Beck is the opposite of Mitt Romney. Romney could not shake his identification as primarily the Mormon candidate, even though he avoided talking about Mormonism as much as possible. Beck expresses a group of political views that has strong connections with the views of politically conservative Mormons (like my son-in-law), yet he is also finding resonance among Evangelicals, who were as a group suspicious of Romney’s bona fides as a social conservative. Personally, my guess is that if Romney and Beck were to have an extended conversation, there would be many points of agreement, precisely because of their shared LDS heritage and a free-enterprise orientation. Yet their public persona are widely separated in the minds of many Christian conservatives.

    If Mr. Cowan aspires to be the Michael Moore of Mormonism, my guess is that he will have the same influence on most Mormons as the graffiti on temple grounds by the Prop 8 opponents who felt it necessary to throw a tantrum over losing an election despite the news media, politicians and celebrities supporting them. The voters just don’t know what’s in their best interests! So no, I am not impressed by the same crowd trying to be the standard bearers of majority (or plurality) rule in this little blog site survey.

  73. Kent Larsen on January 4, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    I might point out that, excluding Mr. Cowan, the vote is currently in favor not of Reid, Beck or Meyer, but Huntsman.

    At least Huntsman, unlike Cowan, actually did something this past year.

  74. RT on January 4, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    Well, that’s not completely right–Cowan apparently made the film during the past year. He just hasn’t released it yet. Call me crazy, but at least for me, that does seem to narrow the scope of his influence.

  75. Jim Donaldson on January 4, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Chino, you and your buddies may win the popular vote, like Al Gore, but i’m not sure you will win the election. We are funny like that. A vote win might be amusing, if pointless—all the while costing you only a few friends in the enemy’s camp along the way, I’d guess. Maybe a fair trade. Up to you, I suppose.

    I think RT’s point was this started out to be a lighthearted kind of thing, until somebody (not us) actually thought it might have some sort of meaning and tried to manipulate the results, not to discount fun as a motivator. That made it a strategic decision that I admit had little impact other than alienating ambivalent folks like RT and leaving some friendly folk (like me) rolling my eyes and marveling a little less at how a few Mormons with bucks could outmaneuver a whole slew of gays who are somewhere between 3 and 10 percent of the population (depending on whose unreliable figures you believe), plus their friends, compared with the Mormons, who on our best day, are well under 2 percent of the population, even in California. Curious, isn’t it? I’d sure go make a movie about it.

  76. Tim on January 4, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    (And not the Tim of #68)
    Governor Huntsman is my hero (seriously, a political moderate environmentalist Mormon progressive rock fan–very cool), yet I’m a bit confused as to how his numbers got so high on this poll. Don’t get me wrong–I think he belongs in the top 5–but I’m not sure how he beat out both Beck and Reid. Personally, I’m a bit suspicious about those numbers.

  77. Left Field on January 4, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Apparently, this Cowan guy has been called as the newest ex/disaffected Mormon general authority

    (“All those in favor, please manifest; those opposed by the same sign. Thank you. It appears the voting has been unanimous. ExBrother Cowan, you may now take your seat on the stand with Thomas Murphy, Grant Palmer, Simon Southerton, Steve Benson, Tal Bachman, that Calendar Guy [what was his name?], and the rest of the general authorities.”)

    Unlike LDS GAs, these general authorities don’t get postage-stamp sized headshots in a centerfold, but they do get lionized, revered, and bestowed with de facto infallibility, just like their LDS counterparts. And just like the LDS general authorities, they’re sustained by folks who sometimes go a little bonkers in promoting the importance of their general authority rockstars.

    As I recall, there was an online poll some years ago for the Time Person of the Century or somesuch. Suddenly, Mormons were all atwitter with email forwards.

    (“Ooh, won’t it be cool if Gordon B. Hinckley could win.” “Look, he just needs 12,000 votes to pass Mother Theresa, and 5,000 after that to pass Gandhi. Tell everyone in your ward to vote!”)

    Geez, President Hinckley is great and all, but he’s not even the most influential *Mormon* of the century. He’s not even the most influential LDS President of the century. We were just making fools of ourselves by voting for him because he’s our guy. Go, Team!

    It’s all the same jingoistic idiocy.

    Let’s all vote for our general authority so everyone will know how really important he is!

  78. Dennis on January 4, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Is it possible that Huntsman’s numbers were also inflated by those who came from the go-vote-for-Cowan links? (maybe related to his support of civil unions, combined with his having more of a realistic chance of being selected). The only reason I’m suspicious of this is because his increase in the poll coincided with Cowan’s.

  79. MM on January 4, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Remember there is a world of difference between a movie and a documentary. 8:The Mormon Proposition is not a movie made on a set, with a script, and actors. It is the real people, the real politicians, with real facts, and what verifiably happened within the LDS church to promote Prop 8 to the state of California. All I’m saying is that it’s not a “movie” with a “message.” It’s history.

  80. jjohnsen on January 4, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    I voted for Huntsman, he kicks butt. He’s not as noisy as Beck or Reid, but much more interesting to me politically.

  81. jjohnsen on January 4, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    I’m trying to figure out how Cowan even got a nomination? Has anyone seen his film yet? It’s like nominating Beck when he was nothing more than a morning dj on local radio.

    Let’s at least wait to see if there is any impact at all from the movie, then maybe give him some votes for MOTY 2010.

  82. Timer on January 5, 2010 at 12:05 am

    As a journalist, Cowan deserves credit for breaking the “Mormons support Prop. 8, angering many” story with a 2010 film. That’s only two years after the events themselves. Amazing. I just watched the trailer and it appears that Cowan was also able to document (on film) the presence of emotionally charged rhetoric: apparently some Mormons saw gays as a threat, and some gays felt hated. If you think that there was no emotionally charged rhetoric in the Prop. 8 debate, then this film is really going to make you rethink your assumptions.

    I just read an online interview between Chino and Cowan, and while I can see why posters consider them less charming than the close friends of last year’s vote swamper, it does appears from the photo that Cowan has great hair.

    And as for all this “most significant legislation of the decade” nonsense — have you _seen_ the photos of that guy? Take a look before you decide.

  83. Reed Cowan on January 5, 2010 at 1:18 am

    Lets all just get along. That’s the greatest accomplishment.

  84. Jeremiah Hansen on January 5, 2010 at 2:18 am

    I agree that its a tad premature to nominate Reed Cowan, but is there any doubt that Mormon involvement in the Yes on 8 campaign had a huge impact on the public’s perception of the church? Maybe I’m projecting, because on a personal level it was extremely divisive for my family. It will be interesting to see if Cowan’s documentary breaks into the mainstream or is relegated to Logo, television’s gay ghetto.

  85. Goose on January 5, 2010 at 3:18 am

    Reed Cowan? You kidding me?

    Obviously the gay lobby is in here voting for their man!

    Not many active mormon would have thought of him as Mormon of the Year

  86. Joe Anonymous on January 5, 2010 at 10:21 am

    #62, Chino is funny.

    First, I guess I’m one of those fly-by-night visitors. You hard-hearted commenters who think newbies are poisoning the vote should realize I’d never heard of this site until someone sent me a link to the vote, and I’ve been back three times since, not just to monitor the vote, but to read other articles.

    They may be new to the site, and certainly some will never be back, but some of us might be genuinely interested in the blog.

    Second, this vote is so stupid. Why have a vote that has little or no influence on the final decision, except to maybe break or a tie, or something like that?

    Personally, I voted for Cowan 1, because I anxiously await his film, but 2, because among the other people on the list, he’s about the only one who deals with Mormonism precisely. Did I miss something? Did Huntsman bear a famous, persuasive testimony that everybody was talking about, or is he merely famous?

    I totally agree with the person who said maybe 2010, not 2009, will be Cowan’s year. But looking at the competition in 2009, I’d say he should be a serious contender for both.

    And to all you who say “the movie hasn’t even come out yet.” I think you are less aware than some the political impact Cowan has had just in compiling the film footage. Ever heard of “Pig Sex”?

  87. Joe Anonymous on January 5, 2010 at 10:37 am

    EDIT:

    Oh, well, of course Otterson deals precisely with Mormonism, but like any PR person, he’s just a voicebox. That other “popular” Mormon blogger in the plane crash I’ve never heard of.

    Dooce is only out to get free washers and dryers, not anything to do with her faith.

    I guess I’m left underwhelmed by the number of Mormons who are famous, at least in part, for being MORMON! Huntsman is not at all famous because he’s Mormon, he’s famous because he’s a popular governor, who only happens to be Mormon, same for Reid, except he’s not popular! Ha.

    Really, I think the church needs more superstars, not Hollywood actors that drink and smoke and have almost nothing to do with the faith anymore (Heigl).

    About the only person who should beat Cowan is Mitt Romney, who deals precisely with his faith by having to defend it in the media, and you don’t even have him on the list.

    I’m glad this is only for fun, because I repeat, this is a stupid vote.

  88. RT on January 5, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Joe/Chino et al:

    If regular T&S readers (who, by definition, are people who spend a lot of time reading about Mormonism) have to be told about “the political impact Cowan has had” . . . then perhaps he hasn’t had that much of a political impact yet.

    You guys are clearly not taking your own arguments seriously. So why should we?

  89. Joe Anonymous on January 5, 2010 at 10:50 am

    That’s fine, RT, I respect your opinion. I’m just saying that a person’s actions are like a pebble in the pond. You all may be very aware of the ripples without having any idea which pebble caused them.

  90. RT on January 5, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Joe:

    Right, but if the question is who made the biggest wave during the past year, then the pebble loses.

  91. Jettboy on January 5, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    It is funny that supporters of Reed Cowan, who I would never in a million years vote for or even have as part of the list, prove this voting thing is a farce. I think T&S should do a nomination blog and then pick out of those names. They should forget the whole voting thing altogether. I don’t understand why they even have the vote? Its all a sham anyway.

    If I was a “big blog” that wanted to be the anti-T&S, I would have my own “Mormon of the Year.” It would have different rules and may or may not have votes to decide. By the way Harry Reid was the choice from the beginning for this blog. Whoever didn’t see that (or still doesn’t) is easily fooled.

  92. CB on January 5, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    His impact and position in hs new roll is the gateway to a new land and culture is huge.

  93. Chino Blanco on January 5, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    RT: Quoting Wikipedia … On February 20, 2009, Chris Buttars was removed as chairman and member of the Utah State Senate Judicial Standing Committee because of remarks made to Reed Cowan in a recorded interview, prompting the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to issue a statement urging “civil and respectful dialogue.” It said, “From the outset, the Church’s position has always been to engage in civil and respectful dialogue on this issue. Senator Buttars does not speak for the church.”

  94. Kikki Planet on January 5, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Reed Cowan’s film, once it is debuted at Sundance, will have an effect on the church, the church’s involvement in politics and the church’s image that Mormonism’s faithful are ill prepared for. I have no doubt that by this time next year opinions of Reed Cowan and his “little film” will have changed drastically. Those lucky enough to have viewed the film in private, advance screenings are already commentating on the power of this film. Futher, the mere fact that the church, it’s members and businesses held by it’s members are now threatening to boycott Sundance because of the film speaks volumes with regard to the effectiveness of the film. While the church stated it’s members had the right to vote as their consciences dictated during the Prop 8 debacle, the church now seems to believe that Cowan does not have the same right to follow his conscience in the making of this brutally honest and explosive film. The church’s threats to boycott Sundance is proof that Cowan has had far more influence on the image of the LDS church than any member, GA or the LDS church as an entity are willing to admit. Reed Cowan is set to change the entire image of the LDS church, and the result will not be pretty. Cowan is the most worthy person on the voting list, regardless of whether or not his winning number of votes will be “accepted”.

  95. Rory on January 5, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    #95 Kikki Planet

    How about we dial back the rhetoric just a bit?

    I’m willing to give Cowen’s film a fair watch, but even Michael Moore’s films don’t reach the level of spectacular influence you seem to be touting for this one, and his potential audience is vastly larger than Mormons and those directly affected by proposition 8.

  96. Kaimi Wenger on January 5, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    Kikki Planet writes:

    “I have no doubt that by this time next year opinions of Reed Cowan and his “little film” will have changed drastically.”

    Quite possibly so, in which case he’d be a perfectly appropriate candidate for MOTY 2010.

    “Futher, the mere fact that the church, it’s members and businesses held by it’s members are now threatening to boycott Sundance because of the film speaks volumes with regard to the effectiveness of the film.”

    That’s an odd statement. I’ve heard no statement about a church boycott of Sundance, either official or unofficial, and I know multiple members who are planning on attending.

    Boycotting Sundance would be an odd gesture anyway. Sundance is not a big Wal-Mart box catering to large numbers of locals for its revenue. Sundance tickets are hard to get and in demand, and a major portion of attendees aren’t locals anyway.

  97. Kent Larsen on January 5, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Kikki Planet, I agree with Rory. You seem to be basing your claim that Cowan’s work is important on the future, instead of on the past year. We’re choosing the “Mormon of the Year” for 2009, not 2010. Once all the things you predict (or a significant portion of them) come to pass, I may well agree with you. I have my doubts about whether they will happen or not, but I don’t think I am any better at predicting the future than you are.

    Ask me next year whether I think Cowan’s influence merits recognition.

    But as far as “Mormon of the Year” for 2009, I don’t see that his influence has been significant.

  98. Left Field on January 5, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    It does seem likely that the influence of this documentary (like for example, _An Inconvenient Truth_ or _Expelled_) will be limited mostly to those who already subscribe to its premise.

  99. Dennis on January 5, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    Can anyone offer anything authoritative on a Church boycott of Sundance? I’ve searched online for this… and nothing.

  100. Kikki Planet on January 5, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    Although I may agree with Kent and Rory with regard to Cowan’s eligibility this year, I would argue with Left Field’s (what an appropo handle) that interest in the film “will be limited mostly to those who already subscribe to its premise”. As the film includes Buttars stating that homosexuals are the “greatest threat” to the United States along with on camera by many LDS members spewing hatred towards homosexuals, the film cannot be written off as “theory” or a “premise”. Futher, the church refused to refute anything in the film when given the chance to do so on camera. Refused to state their position when given the chance to do so on camera. I would be interested in knowing what “premise” Left Field would suggest the film is based upon. Finally, I am a Canadian. I live in Canada. Prop 8 had nothing to do with me personally, no effect on gay marriage in my country or the rights of homosexuals in the “true north, strong and free”, and yet I and a great number of my friends are not only excited about the movie, we are overjoyed to hear it will debut at Sundance. If your “simple” neighbors to the north are already well acquainted with Cowan’s film, do not doubt the influence it will have in your own country.

  101. Kikki Planet on January 5, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    Dennis, here is the link, as per your request:

    http://www.gaynewswatch.com/Page.cfm?PageID=3&SID=7345

  102. Left Field on January 5, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    Goodness, Kikki, I didn’t think I’d said anything quite that provocative.

    Unlike you, I haven’t seen the film, so I’m just assuming based on what everyone (including you) has said, that the film will be critical of the LDS Church’s participation in Proposition 8. Am I wrong about that?

    Am I coming too far out of left field to suggest that the viewers of the film are likely to include disproportionate numbers of those who are already critical of church participation in Proposition 8, and that those viewers are perhaps just a bit more likely to come away from the film still critical of the church, than are the viewers who were indifferent or favorable to the church?

  103. Lupita on January 6, 2010 at 12:30 am

    Thanks for including Elizabeth Smart. I am amazed at her courage and resilience and desire to serve a mission. She makes some of these other nominees look like punks.

  104. Alex T. Valencic on January 6, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Kikki, the link you provided is merely a rumour of rumours of possible protests. Do you have anything substantial to back up your claim that “the church, it’s members and businesses held by it’s members are now threatening to boycott Sundance because of the film”?

    Based on the effect that other “hard-hitting, scorching” documentaries have on the general populace, I am fairly confident that Cowan’s film will only have an effect on the people who already agree with him. Much like Michael Moore, Al Gore, and Ben Stein, Reed Cowan is going to join the ranks of film documentary creators who think they are presenting shocking new information by cutting and pasting interviews and misrepresenting both the opposition and the support, all the while doing nothing for their cause.

  105. Frank McIntyre on January 6, 2010 at 9:20 am

    “Thanks for including Elizabeth Smart… She makes some of these other nominees look like punks.”

    too true. unfortunately you can be a punk and still be influential. We probably need a category for non-punk MOTY.

  106. Chino Blanco on January 6, 2010 at 10:18 am

    I’m also skeptical when it comes to this suggestion that “8: The Mormon Proposition” will be greeted by protests. I don’t know the provenance of that rumor, but it doesn’t jibe with my own experience of Utah.

    Whenever we visit the state, the itinerary is inevitably a few nice days spent catching up with our extended Mormon family in SLC, followed by the four of us excusing ourselves to enjoy some private family R&R in Park City. To date, our extended family has always declined our invitation to join us at our retreat, and we appreciate that courtesy. That Park City is not their preferred scene doesn’t make them rubes, and that it happens to be a place we enjoy doesn’t make us reprobates.

    In other words, unless Gayle Ruzicka or America Forever or some other fringe element has suddenly taken an interest in Sundance, it would strike me as out of character for Utahns to bother the Park City crowd.

    Which is why it also seems out of character to find commenters here bringing such a dismissive attitude to documentary filmmaking. Those of us who attend festivals are well aware that we’re unrepresentative of the “general populace” … as far as the general population is concerned, so are my Mormon relations … but since when did being unrepresentative become a reasonable basis for the kind of scorn on display in this thread?

  107. RT on January 6, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Being “unrepresentative” is not a reason for scorn in the general context.

    But in the specific context of a poll about about popular influence, the “unrepresentative” group here demanded that we pretend that their candidate was actually the MOST representative.

    As one of the earlier commentors aptly analogized, it would be as if a group of organized Mormons hijacked a threat for Time’s person of the year. That sort of objectively false silliness is socially obnoxious, regardless of who it comes from.

  108. Chino Blanco on January 6, 2010 at 10:52 am

    RT: Not only are you unaware of the fallout from Chris Buttars’ remarks to Reed Cowan as reported by the Utah press last year, you’re apparently oblivious to the irony of your whining about socially obnoxious behavior. I’m sure you’re familiar with the anti-colonial mantra: “We’re here because you were there.”

    Not only are we here, we’re here and glad to operate under your rules.

    Deal.

  109. Rory on January 6, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Chino Blanco:

    I’m not sure if you are directing anything at me specifically, but my response was not to scorn the film or be dismissive of it, simply to point out that Kikki Planet’s claims are hyperbolic and premature. I’d like to see the film first.

    I will acknowledge that I did not make the connection that it was Reed Cowan’s interview with Chris Buttars that caused the brouhaha last year. Knowing that now, I must thank Mr. Cowan for his service in that instance. :)

  110. Chino Blanco on January 6, 2010 at 11:42 am

    No, Rory, actually that was mostly intended for Alex T. Valencic.

    I actually agree with you about dialing back the rhetoric just a bit.

    I think my own over-the-top rhetoric got properly skewered by Kaimi early on in this thread. Unfortunately, it’s been nothing but disappointment in the wake of that bit of fun. My sense is that “dump and run” kinda set the tone and then it was all downhill from there.

    No nuance allowed when the talk is all enemies and tactics and here I am chuckling all the while because I’ve only got one vote just like everybody else and there’s Ardis and RT sniggering because they know they can get away with schoolyard antics and accuse me of “cutting the cheese” and stinking up the place and still look forward to next month joining a backchannel conversation discussing why retention of driveby readers happens to be so low in these parts. Rock on.

  111. RT on January 6, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Actually, Chino, I’m well aware of the Buttars interview. Just seemed to me that the important thing there were the answers, not the questions.

    So If you had nominated Chris Buttars, that would have made more sense. While a lot of us were embarrassed by him and what he said, but there’s no getting around the impact his statements had.

  112. Chino Blanco on January 6, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Well, it’s all good, RT. Next time I’ll know to make sure I’m involved in the nomination process rather than simply looking at the list on offer and naively proceeding to campaign for my preferred candidate.

    Thing is, speaking of answers, it wasn’t only Buttars’ that made the news. Plenty of leading Utah institutions answered as well. For example, in the opinion of Mormon-owned Utah-based TV station KSL:

    “The brouhaha over recent intemperate remarks by Senator Chris Buttars is more than a distraction, as some of his colleagues contend. It is nothing less than an embarrassment for the man, the institution he represents and the state where he lives.”

    Somebody asked the questions that led to the answers that generated the brouhaha that set the stage for Buttarspalooza and so much else that followed. Lo and behold, that somebody made it onto your MOTY list with no input from my side.

    My vote is for Reed Cowan. Awesome. Thanks.

  113. manaen on January 6, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    OK, I’ll do it — supposing the 1st-Presidency/Q12 exclusion does not apply — I propose the Godhead: Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.

  114. Blaine on January 6, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Too many to vote for because anyone who wins will also have more votes going away to someone else. To have any impact the votes should go towards three or four finalists, and then a separate vote for the winner.

  115. Kent Larsen on January 6, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    Blaine:

    Thanks for the input and idea. We’ll try to consider that for next year. I think we are a bit too far along to change the rules for this year.

  116. Alex T. Valencic on January 6, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    I apologise for giving the impression that I scorn anyone for going to film festivals (heck, I made a film that screened at a local festival years ago!) or that I scorn folks who make and/or watch documentaries.

    I think there is a huge difference between documentary film-making in general, and the type of documentary film-making done by those I cited. Many documentary film-makers approach the subject very seriously, and try to give a very balanced viewpoint (take, for example, the PBS documentary on the Mormons). However, the documentary film-makers who are only trying to push an agenda and try to shock people tend to be the kind I disdain. It is quite possible that Cowan’s documentary will be of the former kind, but from what has been said of it here (especially by Kikki Planet), it sounds like it is more of the latter. Like others, I choose to reserve final judgement until after I have seen it.

  117. LEW on January 7, 2010 at 7:32 am

    With a few exceptions, this is a very USA-centric list of nominees. It is a world-wide church. One would have expected many more nominations from other countries.

  118. zionlist.com on January 7, 2010 at 8:04 am

    These choices are really quite poor, imo. It’s basically a partial list of LDS public figures, at least one of which does not practice.
    On top of that, it doesn’t really make any sense why most of those people would be nominated as significant influences when in fact for the most part they’ve done things as inconsequential as fronting rock bands and acting in movies. Almost no one on that list has had a specific or significant impact on the Church. Glenn Beck is the best option, imo.

    The prompt is also inconsistent. If we were to take it individually, we might consider primarily non-LDS people as candidates for the position, but the nominees are almost if not all members of the Church. There’s no necessity that a Church member has influenced the body of the Church significantly; I’d argue that Barack Obama or other prominent non-Mormon politicians have had a much larger impact on the Saints as a whole.

    And the winner right now is “Reed Cowan, filmmaker who recently released a film criticizing LDS Church involvement in California’s Proposition 8″, with 51% of the vote. It just shows how ineffective something like this is — almost nobody in the Church as a whole has heard of this dude or his film, and his impact is insignificant for the Church at large.

  119. Joseph Price on January 7, 2010 at 11:16 am

    People who have disavowed their membership shouldn’t be on the list. Particular those who are making war on the Church.

  120. Chris Henrichsen on January 7, 2010 at 11:38 am

    117-119,

    Nominations where taken for a week on a different post. It is a MOTY contest of a BLOG. No need for all the self-righteous indignation. Lighten up.

  121. Kent Larsen on January 7, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Lew (117): I agree, and I wish we had more non-U.S. candidates. We only list those we know about and who have been nominated. Because nearly 50% of the Church membership is in the U.S., it is natural that the list will be oriented towards the U.S. The fact that this blog is in English also skews the sample. People who speak English mainly know about people who speak English.

    Unfortunately, the domination of English in the Church also means that impact must be made in English somehow. That means that non-English-speaking nominees have a very tough time.

    zionlist.com (118): Please, we hope next year to start in early December. Help us come up with a better list. If you visit the post where we take nominations, you will see the full qualifications we listed. I can’t speak for why each of the people on the list have been nominated — since nominations were open and we only required that the persons nominated made the news somehow during the year (beyond having a Mormon connection and the other qualifications listed).

    BUT, fortunately, the bloggers here on T&S will make the final selection. Even if Reed Cowan ends up with the most votes, he won’t necessarily be named “Mormon of the Year.” Last year, Stephanie Nielsen received the most votes, but we selected Mitt Romney because we felt his impact was significantly larger in 2008.

    Joseph Price (119): Are you sure that someone that has disavowed membership in the Church can’t have the most impact during the year? I’d submit that regardless of whether someone has left the Church or not, their impact can be extremely large. That is what this recognition is about. I suspect your feelings are more about what will look best to others.

  122. jael ruesch aka "jael on January 7, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    I’d like to mention the devoted LDS “Urban Meyers”………… wish he’d been on the list. He is the Head Coach for the U. of Florida Gators. Has stated openly that his God, Family, come first, then coaching. He’s been a huge and great influence on his young team, who barely missed their second Eastern Conference Championship under Coach Meyer. Won the previous year. They did go on to win their “Sugar Bowl” game. Coach Meyer was picked from coaching, I believe, the Utes before being hired as the Head Coach in Florida.

    sincerely,

    jael
    St. Augustine, Florida (originally from Utah)

  123. kate on January 7, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    What is the point of even voting. The people that are decided have already decided. And some of the people on this list are more of an embarassment to mormons than anything else. Why don’t you have actual active mormons on the list, but oh I forgot, I’m reading this on the Times and Seasons. People who go out of their way to be contrary.

  124. manaen on January 7, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    122.
    RE: “the devoted LDS ‘Urban Meyers’”
    .
    Urban Meyer is a Catholic.
    (See second paragraph here)
    .
    However, I felt it was classy of him and his wife to attend a session of General Conference while he was Utah’s head coach.

  125. Kent Larsen on January 7, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    kate (123): I’m afraid you are not correct. Nothing has been decided. The discussion among the T&S bloggers hasn’t started yet, and I have not yet heard any of them express an opinion about who the “Mormon of the Year” should be.

    I have updated them about the raw numbers of votes that each nominee has received from time to time, and we will look at those numbers again after the vote finishes at midnight tonight. In addition, I’m sure that many of my fellow bloggers have also followed the conversation on this post.

    So, opinions expressed here and votes cast still could influence us!

  126. Bob Niemic on January 8, 2010 at 3:38 am

    Reed Cowan, through his documentary film on Prop 8, will have a profound impact on Mormonism, present & future. Of great importance is that the film deals with the controversy surrounding the Church’s involvement in politics.

    Reportedly, those who viewed advance screenings of the film were impressed by the film’s power. The Church and some of its members are threatening to boycott Sundance because of the film. That indicates how powerful this film is, and will continue to be long after Sundance.

    In my view, the Church’s reaction is to the film’s brutal honesty. The fact that the Church, it appears, refuses to accept some or most of the facts documented in the film contributes to the significant impact the film will continue to have on the Mormon faith for years to come, unless the Church recants soon & acknowledges the mistakes & transgressions it has made.

    For these reasons, Cowan is most deserving of the title Mormon of the Year. Respectfully, I think it would be wise for the editors & bloggers of this site to accept the undisputed facts and the clear plurality of the voters. To ignore that would only further contribute to the scandal of the Church’s involvement in the politics of Prop 8. More importantly, the editors & bloggers would be condoning Prop 8′s denial of the free exercise of other religions that recognize the sanctity of marriage between same sex couples. To deny this free exercise of other religions in favor of, in the context of civil law, imposing the Mormon view on all people of other faiths is a violation of freedom of religion and equal protection under the law.

    For these & other reasons, Cowan’s win in this pole needs to be accepted by those who make the final decision on Mormon of the Year. That decision, in my mind, has already been made by the public and undisputed facts.

  127. Alison Moore Smith on January 8, 2010 at 4:40 am

    Tim #68

    And I respect people for believing whatever they choose to believe.

    Unless they choose to believe that gays shouldn’t marry. Then they get a good smack on the backside.

    But I also feel it is 100% wrong to force ones beliefs on the rest of the people of this free country.

    Every law enacted “forces” beliefs on the citizens.

    Same sex marriage ONLY effects the two consenting adults that are involved.

    If this is so, then why do you need to get married at all? If being denied the legal status of “marriage” is the issue — since you can have a ceremony, exchange rings, live together, call each other husband, and have sex, why does the legal status (apparently according to some whacked out homophobes (being the only people on the planet you don’t “respect”)) matter? I mean, since it ONLY effects those two people and those two people are acting married anyway.

  128. Alison Moore Smith on January 8, 2010 at 5:15 am

    Kent:

    Are you sure that someone that has disavowed membership in the Church can’t have the most impact during the year? I’d submit that regardless of whether someone has left the Church or not, their impact can be extremely large. That is what this recognition is about.

    Defining “Mormon of the Year” as merely someone who IMPACTS Mormons — but then requiring the nominees to be Mormons/ex-Mormons/disaffected Mormons — doesn’t make a lot of sense. IMO it should either be:

    Mormon of the Year someone who is LDS technically and who identifies as one, and who has had a notable impact on the church

    or

    Mormon Influencer of the Year (or something way more clever) someone of any (or no) affiliation who has strongly impacted church members

    Like it or not (and Time Magazine notwithstanding) Mormon of the Year gives the impression that voters see him/her as a positive contributor. Unless the title is Jerk of the Year or something similar, people will assume you think the honoree is grand. And I’d be willing to bet Time took a beating for calling Hitler “Man of the Year,” no matter how many times they explained it. So, I’d also go with the idea that the impact should be seen as positive. But I probably won’t get very far with that suggestion. Given how contrary we are, and all that.

    kate, I agree it’s a bit odd to have a vote that can be disregarded. But think of it like the American Idol judges yammering on about who has star-power and who stunk and who was pitchy. Even though the tweens texting in 200 times would really decide the winner, the judges could try to influence them. So, influence away.

  129. Dale on January 8, 2010 at 8:16 am

    127 & 128.

    How about Alison Moore Smith for Mormon of the Year? She so perfectly represents/personifies the unfortunate narrow-mindedness of still far too many Mormons with regards to this admittedly sensitive subject of legalizing personal relationships.

    Ms. Smith, no one wants to spank you for believing that gays shouldn’t marry (each other) or even for believing — as you do — that a member of the tax-paying majority deserves more rights than any one tax-payer of a particular minority. (1950, anyone?) Believe what you may.

    But consider yourself at least virtually spanked (violently) for the simple attitude that your Jesus is better than my Jesus.

    Granted, you do propose one intelligent idea: Since “you can have a ceremony, exchange rings, live together, call each other (husband or wife) and have sex, why does the legal status matter?”.

    I agree with Alison, let’s ban marriage all together. For everyone. It just doesn’t matter!

  130. Alison Moore Smith on January 8, 2010 at 9:30 am

    Dale, your firm grasp of the fallacy of ad hominem notwithstanding, I think even “admittedly sensitive subjects” should be discussed reasonably. Those promoting gay marriage can and should be questioned on the logic of their arguments.

    Of course some “tax-paying” citizens have “more rights” than others. My teenagers pay taxes, but aren’t afforded all the accoutrements that other taxpayers are. (Even the adult teenager.) My blind friend isn’t allowed to drive. Those imprisoned can’t hang out at the local pool hall.

    As for whether disallowing gay marriage denies you rights others have, I am unsure. Generally speaking, I don’t think the “right” you are referring to has ever been “marry anyone you love.” Nor do I think it has been “marry anyone you love as long as they consent” or “marry anyone you love as long as they are a consenting adult.” It seems to me that the “right” you speak of has always been understood to be between men and women. Not same genders, not adult/child, not cross species, etc.

    It’s obvious that we, as American citizens, make decisions about what is good for society as a whole and that people are impacted by those decisions. We do it all the time by determining driving/drinking/voting ages, by determining what behavior is abusive and criminal, by declaring certain substances illegal, be requiring mandatory education and/or military service. And in all those cases you can say that some “right” is being imposed upon – if indeed you believe you have the right to do anything you want.

    It’s also interesting that you have decided that I am opposed to gay marriage. I’ve actually been quite vocal about the fact that I’d actually welcome a change in church policy (given that this is an LDS website) on the matter. I simply disagree with the ideas presented by some who support gay marriage. Horrors.

    Lastly, you erroneously state that I don’t think marriage matters. The fact is, I think marriage matters a great deal and impacts our culture and environment tremendously. But Tim stated that it only impacts the two adults involved. Given his own opinion on the matter (with which I disagree), I wonder why he cares and what he thinks he’s being denied.

  131. Kent Larsen on January 8, 2010 at 10:35 am

    Thanks everyone for their comments. Since the vote has finished, I am closing comments on this post.

WELCOME

Times and Seasons is a place to gather and discuss ideas of interest to faithful Latter-day Saints.