The Salt Lake Tribune has launched a "Mormon of the Year" contest in which, uniquely, readers are asked to nominate their favourites. For obvious reasons they exclude prophets and apostles but otherwise the field is wide open.
Interestingly enough, there is also a contest proposed for "Gentile of the Year ":
The Mormon blog bycommonconsent.com has proposed naming the Gentile of the Year, or the non-Mormon who had the greatest impact (good or bad) on Mormonism in 2008.
Candidates nominated by Ronan James Head, a British Mormon, include:
» Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, whose anti-Romney remarks irked many Mormons
» Catholic Archbishop George Niederauer, who got the Mormons involved in Proposition 8
» The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, whose raid on the YFZ ranch in Texas kept Mormon polygamy in the spotlight.
"As with Mormon of the Year, I'm fair depressed that non-American names do not readily spring to mind," Head writes on the blog. "I'll nominate one anyway: Massimo Introvigne, director of the Center for Studies on New Religions, whose opposition to 'anti-cult terrorism' continues to offer meaningful support to minority religions in Europe."
My own money for "Mormon of the Year" would have to be on Warren Jeffs, the polygamist prophet currently serving a long sentence for offences against a minor. He, surely, has followed most closely the lifestyle and mirrored most accurately the teachings of Mormonism's founding prophet Joseph Smith.
There are so many worthy candidates for "Gentile of the Year" but my own favourite would have to be Bill McKeever of MRM.org for his dedication in moving to Utah to run these guys to ground.
If your going to get it wrong get it really wrong otherwise its not really worth the effort :)
Since this was posted it has been pointed out that the Mormon of the Year was not initiated or sponsored but just reported by the Salt Lake Tribune. It is, rather, the work of Times and Seasons as has been helpfully pointed out by Kent Larson (see comments). They have subsequently decided, unsurprisingly, on Mitt Romney as "the Mormon who had the greatest impact or influence on Mormons and Mormonism in 2008."
I still think an opportunity was missed to get back to Mormon roots. Warren Jeffs would have been an ideal candidate, modelling as he does the life, spirit and teachings of Mormonism's founding prophet. Countless wives, aspirations to godhood, time on the run from the law and an ignominious end, its all there.