Can you remember everyone who has made the news during the past year? Neither can I. As a result, when we get input each December about who should be “Mormon of the Year,” there is, I think, a bias towards recent events. If a Mormon showed up in the news during the last quarter of the year, that person is remembered. But if the person made the news only during the first quarter, no one remembers them. So what should we do?
This post is my attempt to even out to some degree that problem. If we look now at which Mormons have made the news so far this year, we won’t forget them in the last part of the year. At least, that is the theory. Your comments and criticisms are welcome, of course.
This may be one of those years when the choice seems very obvious. Its hard to dispute the fact that Mitt Romney has had a huge impact in the news so far this year. But this misses one of the fun parts of the Mormon of the Year designation—discovering Mormons you don’t know about who have made some kind of impact in the news during the year. Its not just about naming the top guy on the list, its learning about the rest of the names as well.
Romney is such an obvious choice that, for the purposes of this post, he is banned from being mentioned from this point on. Instead, let’s put together a list of those who, based on what has happened so far this year, we should remember in December. OK?
To get us started, here are a few of the names I think have made or will have made a significant impact by the end of the year:
- Joanna Brooks—The columnist and academic self-published a memoir, subsequently picked up by a major book publisher, and attracted significant attention for her Religion Dispatches column from fans and detractors on both ends of the political spectrum.
- Bryce Harper—The outstanding baseball player selected #1 in the 2010 Major League Baseball draft made his major league baseball debut with the Washington Nationals and promptly played at or above expectations. Should he keep up this level of performance, he is a strong candidate for rookie of the year.
- Gordon Moon, of Duchesne, Utah — LDS Bishop who was accused of failing to report a sexual assault. IMO, the case probably did more to publicize how local leaders should handle potential abuse cases than
- Gay BYU students & Mormon parents of gays — For their viral videos attempting to reduce gay suicides.
- Mia Love — black, conservative GOP politician running for a seat in the U. S. House of Reps.
- Larry Echohawk — former head of the U S Bureau of Indian Affairs who accepted a call as a General Authority at April Conference.
- Neon Trees — Provo-based musical group made headlines because of its objections to alcohol and tobacco ads and sponsorships at their concerts around the world.
[FWIW, I left off the names of two men who have been or are being prosecuted for financial frauds and whose Mormon beliefs hit the media because I’m not sure how readers will react to them on the list.]
Who have I missed?