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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended December 22, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
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Sent on Mormon-News: 19Dec00

By Kent Larsen

Who Should Be 'Mormon Of The Year?'

NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- With the new year approaching, Mormon News will look back at the major Mormon news stories and people that made news in the past year. As part of this review, we are starting a, hopefully, annual process to name the "Mormon of the Year," the person who has had the biggest impact, good or bad, during the past year on Mormons and on the way Mormons are perceived by others.

For most LDS Church members the answer to the question of who is the "Mormon of the Year" is simple and clear, and basically the same each year -- the Prophet clearly has the biggest impact (assuming we are talking about mortals, of course). So, since that much is clear, we have decided to change the question slightly. The "Mormon of the Year" is then:

The person, other than the Prophet, who has had the biggest impact, for good or bad, during the past year on Mormons and on the way Mormons are perceived by others.

Of course there are a couple of other qualifications. First, the person must be Mormon some how - even if that only means that his or her parent was a member of a Church that believes Joseph Smith restored the gospel. Second, the person must have been living at some point during the year 2000.

Our process for naming the Mormon of the year is fairly simple. We will, at least for this first year, let our readers choose the "Mormon of the Year". The process will work like this: First, starting today, Mormon News will take nominations, sent to the following e-mail address:

In addition to the name, please include a sentence or two describing why you think this person should be considered, and please include a link or reference to a news story from this past year indicating that impact. It should be easy to find such a news story in Mormon News' archives (use our new search feature on Mormon News' home page at ).

We will keep an updated list of those nominated on the MormonsToday website at the URL:

The day after Christmas, we will close nominations and open voting at that same web page. Voting will consist of ranking nominated people in a 'top ten' list. Each place on the list will be given a number of points, and the person with the most overall points will win.

So that Mormon News' email subscribers can get to know the nominees better, we will also run a profile of one of the nominees each normal Mormon News workday until the voting closes.

To get things started, I've compiled my own list of 10 nominees to start (in alphabetical order):

Sheri Dew
As a vice president at Deseret Book, Dew was responsible for the editing and publication of President Hinckley's "Standing for Something." As second counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, Dew has had an impact through her speaking on millions of Church members. See:

Richard Dutcher
Dutcher's groundbreaking film "God's Army" has proved that a market exists for films about and for Mormons, winning respect from other film makers and notice from Church members worldwide. See:

LaVell Edwards
His retirement August 17th sparked major reviews of his career in newspapers nationwide where he was lauded as the 'Coach that Changed the Game.' See:

Rulon Gardner
The LDS super-heavyweight Cinderella captured the hearts of the U.S. and the world with his surprising win over the unbeatable Russian Alexander Karelin in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. See:

Orrin Hatch
When Hatch decided to run for U.S. President last year he became just the third LDS Church member to seek a major party nomination for the office, attracting the attention of the news media worldwide. And as the most powerful and well-known LDS politician, Hatch's influence continues. See:

David Huber
Before his newest company, Corvis, went public on July 28th, Huber was little-known outside the investment community. But after the company went public at a shocking valuation of $28 billion, Huber became, at least on paper, the richest Mormon and one of the 50 richest in the U.S. See:

Jon Huntsman
The richest Mormon until David Huber's Corvis went public, Huntsman's generosity and business acumen still win him lots of attention both in and outside the LDS Church. And his connections in many countries around the world still make him a powerful ally for the Church. See:

Neil LaBute
While many Mormons will find his work distasteful, LaBute's work has been seen by thousands as it appeared on Broadway and in theaters throughout the US and in London, England. And with his directorial debut in "Nurse Betty," LaBute's work may even be in Oscar contention. See:

Mitt Romney
When Romney took over the Salt Lake Organizing Committee in January, 1999, he became one of the most visible Mormons in the world. And since the 2002 Winter Olympics he is preparing for is in the Mormon heartland, he has also become visible to many Mormons. See:

Julie Stoffer
Although she was kicked out of BYU for being on MTV's "The Real World," Julie is probably the only 'real' Mormon that most of that show's visitors have ever seen. Her appearance on the show may have been wrong in the eyes of BYU and many Mormons, but, she showed MTV's audience that Mormons are human. See:


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