Michael Otterson advised the press: to understand Mormonism, go to the source and allow Mormons to define themselves. But what if these Mormons are survivalist Joel Skousen, Tea Party painter Jon McNaughton, or Tammy, an anti-government gun-toting rodeo queen from Overton, Nevada? All three were lengthily interviewed on French national radio.
We opened nominations for Mormon of the Year 2011 on December 9th. To keep everyone up to date, here are the nominations so far. Nominations remain open through December 31st, and a public vote on the candidates will begin January 1st. Feel free to make additional nominations or second any of those that have not yet been seconded, if you think they are worthy.
Its that time of year again. The media will soon start reviewing the important news stories of the year, Time will soon select its Person of the Year; so we should get busy selecting the Mormon of the Year. For those who don’t remember, T&S selected Mitt Romney as the Mormon of the Year for 2008, Harry Reid for 2009, and Elizabeth Smart for 2010. As in the past, the choice does not mean that the person is a good Mormon or even a good person. This designation is solely about the impact the person has had. Note: We have made one major change to the nomination procedure: Nominations must be seconded! We hope this will make sure that nominations are serious, and not in jest as some have been in the past. I think the other ground rules are basically the same as in the past (suggestions about changes to the rules are welcome – we try to improve the rules each year): Nominees must be Mormon somehow — nominees must have been baptized and must claim to be Mormon. Nominees must have been living at some point during the year. The LDS Church First Presidency (including the Prophet) and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are not eligible (because they would win every year, making the selection pointless). Nominees must have had enough of an impact to have made the news during the year. Collective nominees (i.e., all those who…
I recently finished The Theocons: Secular America Under Seige and put up a short post on it elsewhere. But as I continue to mull it over I have a different idea to float than I discussed in the other post, namely that the rejection of Mitt Romney as a presidential candidate by religious conservatives in the Republican Party marks a triumph of sectarianism over politics that will undermine (or already has) the political influence of the theocons, to whatever extent you grant they have had influence.
This final of three posts, covers Times and Seasons reader Last Lemming’s suggestions for Mormon of the Year for the years 1990 through 2007. We already posted on Monday his picks for 1950 through 1969 and on Wednesday 1970 through 1989. 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 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.
Image via Wikipedia After careful consideration, the staff of Times and Seasons has selected Mitt Romney as Mormon of the Year, our annual designation of the Mormon who had the greatest impact or influence on Mormons and Mormonism in 2008. During 2008 Romney concluded the most credible presidential campaign of any Mormon to date and dominated the U.S. national news early in the year like no single Mormon has in recent memory. He garnered a great deal of both praise and criticism, gaining him significant endorsements as well as important detractors. Remarkably, his supporters included many Evangelical Christians, which helped break down the unfortunate views of some Evangelicals toward Mormons. Also on the international scene, numerous press articles mentioned Romney’s membership in the Mormon Church, thus contributing to the image of the Church abroad. Romney was not merely a very visible Mormon, however; his Mormonism was a major influence on the course of his campaign, in both positive and negative ways. Many called for Romney to distance himself from his religion, as JFK had done many years earlier. Instead, Romney responded by articulating the values he shares with many other Americans, which his faith supports, and by articulating the importance of all faiths in the life of the nation. Romney’s public image was inextricably tied to his Mormon beliefs, and this faith, which drove a myriad of storylines, appeared to contribute to the unease with him as a candidate, helping…
OK, now that we’re looking at the Mormon of the Year, I’d also like to look at what the big news stories were for the year. In a lot of ways its been a very busy news year, with, by my count, three big stories dominating: Mitt Romney’s presidential candidacy The confusion of the LDS Church with the FLDS Church in the news The Mormon role in the successful effort to pass Proposition 8. But there were also smaller, important stories that happened during the year, especially if you include in News about Mormonism news about people who are Mormon.
Its that time of year. The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is traditionally the media’s time for reflection on the past year — the time when we see story after story on the best or most important stories of the year, or the most important person of the year (as Time magazine just named — no surprise there). I enjoy these looks at the past year, and given how much LDS Church members don’t usually know much about news that involves the Church, it seems to me these lists might be quite useful. So let me pose the question: “Who should be the Mormon of the Year?”
Mormon Times posted a list of LDS athletes who are headed to the Summer Olympics. An impressive group — I hope they all make their respective teams and countries proud in coming weeks.
Mormons contributed to Mitt Romney’s campaign over the past year and half in some pretty eye-popping numbers (see, e.g., here and here). As such, I decided to comb through the campaign finance contribution records to see who exactly some prominent Mormons were donating to this past election cycle.
A pro-Huckabee blog recently(ish) set out the (now somewhat dated) argument that (non-Mormon) Christians have a Biblical duty not to vote for Mitt Romney. In response, Bruce (husband of blog-butterfly Margaret) Young wrote a short rebuttal piece. (He’s also a BYU professor of some renown.) I thought the discussion might be of interest (to the T&S community), and so with the permission of Bruce and Margaret Young (have you asked her about her movie lately?), I’m posting it here. My response (to Pastor Haisty’s argument that, according to John the apostle, Christians should not wish someone who believes in a “false Christ” well and should not welcome such a person into their home or any “house” that in some sense belongs to them):
For the first time in American history, a Mormon had a serious shot of making it to the highest office in the land. But no more: Mitt Romney has pulled out of active competition for the Republican nomination and thus for the presidency. How should us Mormons feel about that?
Here is my argument: Let us suppose that Mitt Romney does not become the next president. What will this mean for the Mormons? There about 5.7 million Latter-day Saints in America, which in a nation of more than 300 million makes us demographic chicken feed, but the question is important for what it reveals about the presidency and its relationship to American citizenship. You can read the rest of the argument here. What do you think? Too grim? UPDATE: The Salt Lake Tribune ran a shorter version of the article in today’s (1/6/2008) edition. FYI.
There have been some interesting discussions of Mormonism in the media lately. Commenters like Lawrence O’Donnell, Maureen Dowd, Frank Rich, and others have made statements about the church in highly public places. What are we (or others) to make of these? In this post, I’ll try to address some of the questions that I’ve seen in various media contexts lately.
As of this writing, Google News lists 769 newspaper reports about Mitt Romney’s speech yesterday, and 8,232 stories since yesterday containing the word “Mormon”. Please share your finds with the rest of us.
Much of the commentary and criticism swirling around Mitt Romney and the religion issue seems to take as its starting point the assumption that there is a single Mormon view on any particular issue, decided by LDS leaders and accepted by the LDS membership. Too bad there isn’t a Mormon view on particular issues. That kind of kills the theory.
Thank you, Mr. President, for your kind introduction.
We recently surveyed a bunch of politically savvy bloggernacle types — including some of our own T&S crew — and asked them to answer in a few paragraphs this question: “What would you say tomorrow (in the much-anticipated “Religion Talk”) if you were Mitt Romney?” Here are replies we’ve received: