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?
The Mormon practice of proxy ordinance work has once again made its way into the news, this time involving someone no less prominent than our U.S. President’s late mother.
When I was a youth (pre-1978), a magazine article about the Church hit the newsstands in Washington D.C., and we, local members, were ecstatic with what we considered great coverage of the Church. So I was very surprised at the negative reaction of the missionaries in our ward. It seems that the article had a few negative things to say that we thought were minor (and accurate), and the missionaries felt were major derogatory statements that put the Church in a bad light. While the situation isn’t the same, I read a similar reaction yesterday, objecting to the mention in news articles of someone’s religion. In this case it is one I don’t agree with.
Lots of movement on the SSM front today (and this week in general). Today, Vermont’s legislature passed a bill allowing same-sex marriage. Also, Washington D.C.’s city council passed a bill recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages. Meanwhile, last week the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously ruled that same-sex couples had a right to marry under the state constitution. And the California court will rule on the Prop 8 appeal in the next two months. (I don’t think the appeal will succeed.) There is no official statement that I’m aware of about these recent developments (the Newsroom is silent so far; the most recent releases on Prop 8 or SSM are two month old discussions of Prop 8 filings). Will the church weigh in on these new developments with official statements or California-like campaigns? One thing is for certain — the last word on the topic is not yet in, and there will probably be lots of news in this area within the next few years.
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.