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Mormon News: All the News about Mormons, Mormonism and the LDS Church
Posted 07 Dec 2001   For week ended November 30, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 30Nov01

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 President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Gordon B. Hinckley, 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 the search feature on this page. News stories from other sources are also acceptable.

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

On December 15th 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.

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

Gary Crowton As the replacement for famed BYU Coach LaVell Edwards, who retired last year, Crowton only had to do as well or a little better than Edwards had last year to be accepted as adequate. Instead Crowton has led the Cougars to their first undefeated (so far) season since their National Championship in 1984. See:
Crowton Will Be Named BYU Coach Today
Mormon News 7Dec00 S2

Eugene England Known for his untiring attempts to bridge the gap between liberal and conservative LDS Church members, W. Eugene England died August 17th of brain cancer. His example made a lasting impression for Church members of how to live in a community with conflicting views. See:
Remembering England
Mormon News 25Aug01 A2

Tom Green While not now an LDS Church member, Tom Green has been in the news this past year as much as any other Mormon. The Utah polygamist, once an LDS Church member, appeared in newspapers worldwide during his trial on bigamy charges. Although Green wouldn't see it this way, he gave the LDS Church more opportunity to disavow itself of polygamy than it would otherwise have had. See:
Polygamist Green Given Five Years, $78,000 Judgement
Mormon News 27Aug01 N5

Orrin Hatch Hatch continues to have a major impact on U.S. policies, including his groundbreaking decision to support the use of federal funds for stem-cell research. With Hatch leading the way, all five Mormon senators eventually supported stem-cell research, and the views of many conservatives were moderated on this issue because of his decision. See:
Hatch Favors Stem Cell Funding, Draws Pro-Life Ire
Mormon News 6Jul01 T2

Paula Houston Lawyer Houston was named Utah's Porn Czar to handle citizen complaints about pornography and help Utah's local governments draft laws that meet constitutional muster. The unique nature of her new job led to national attention.
LDS Church Member, Utah's 'Porn Czarina,' Gets National Attention
Mormon News 9Mar01 T2

Elbert Peck For fifteen years Elbert Peck led Sunstone magazine, despite criticism from conservatives and continuing struggles to keep the magazine growing. In spite of the criticism, Peck has maintained his belief that Sunstone provides a needed and enduring role in the Mormon community. See:
Long-time Sunstone Publisher Elbert Peck Resigns
Mormon News 14Jun01 N4

Naomi Randall A longtime leader of the LDS Church's Primary organization, Randall was best known for authoring the favorite LDS hymn, "I am a Child of God," in 1957. Randall died May 17th at age 92. See:
'I am a Child of God' Author Naomi Randall Dies
Mormon News 21May01 P2

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, known for rescuing the 2002 Winter Olympics from a bribery scandal that could have put it in the red. And since the 2002 Games he is preparing for is in the Mormon heartland, he has also become visible to many Mormons. See:
Deseret News Profiles Mitt Romney
Mormon News 7Jul00 S2

William Sadleir Sadleir pulled off one of the biggest Mormon commemorative events in history, focusing the attention of news media on two continents as well as hundreds of thousands of Mormons on a small group of ships commemorating the immigration of more than 80,000 Mormon pioneers from Europe to America. SeaTrek2001 was simply the biggest Mormon event since the 1997 Mormon Trek re-enactment. See:
SeaTrek Sails; Commemoration Gets International Attention
Mormon News 8Aug01 N6

Mark Wattles CEO of Hollywood Entertainment has managed to turn around his company and raise its stock price during the year from under $1 a share to a high of $12 a share. See:
Hollywood Entertainment Fighting Investor Fears
Mormon News 19Sep01 B4


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