2011: The Year of the Mormon

What a wild year it’s been. Never has Mormonism been so culturally relevant, and never has the undulating curve of popular opinion shifted so wildly, so quickly. As the year draws to a close, I think we’re safe in naming 2011 “The Year of the Mormon.” The BCC permas have picked out a few reasons why:

Romney 2012

Throughout 2011, conventional wisdom has been that Romney will eventually lock up the Republican nomination, if only because every challenger has turned out to be…well…non-viable.

JSP Continues to Deliver, as Promised for the Last Decades

The JSP continues to bang out extraordinary material, with the website (including the full Female Relief Society of Nauvoo Minute Book!), R2 and Journals 2 just being released (review to be posted soon). Journals 2 has been forthcoming since the early 1990s (polygamy and temple stuff).

NYC Covered in “I’m a Mormon” ads

Literally, covered. Smiling Mormon faces were plastered all over subway trains, Times Square, and taxi cabs (both inside and out). Coming soon to a city near you.

We Got Jimmered

BYU’s Jimmer Fredette became both a verb and college basketball’s Player of the Year, despite rarely playing on national TV. This was due largely to ESPN’s almost-nightly updates of Jimmer’s crazy on-court exploits and off-court wholesomeness.

Tony Tony Tony (Tony Tony Tony Tony Tony Tony)

The Book of Mormon musical grabbed NINE Tony awards, and will be the hottest Broadway ticket for the foreseeable future. There’s a movie in the works, as well.

2011: A Fine Vintage for Mormon Scholarship…

As Ben outlined over at the Juvenile Instructor, 2011 brought us some extremely fine articles and books. (We see no reason to recreate the JI post here…so go read it.) And let’s give a virtual high-five to our own SMB, whose book In Heaven as It Is on Earth: Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death “single-handedly reorients the study of early Mormon thought,” as JI rightly points out.

…and Not Just Scholarship

While we’re handing out high-fives, let’s give one to our own SteveP, for his brilliant new novel The Scholar of Moab. Our not-at-all-incestuous review by BHodges calls it “the most engaging Mormon novel I’ve read since Levi Peterson’s The Backslider.”  Kudos also to Wm Morris, Theric Jepson, and the other contributors to the disturbingly entertaining Monsters and Mormons.

Kaskade-ing Style

A 40-year-old Mormon was named “America’s Best DJ.” Even more surprising: the award didn’t surprise anyone in the music world.

(And yes, he’ll spin at your regional YSA event. For $200K. And he’ll play LMFAO.)

Brandon Davies

Right before March Madness, the talented BYU basketball player taught the sports world about the BYU Honor Code, the hard way. And then Deadspin tried to teach the sports world about BYU and racism.

Brandon Flowers: Definitely a Mormon

His Mormon.org video is both moving and cool–no small feat–and has been viewed 350K times. Rumor has it there might be another high-profile profile in the works.

Openly Gay Bishopric Member?

OK, so it turns out he is an executive secretary. But still…

The Huntsman Daughters

The brightest light in Jon Huntsman’s presidential campaign is/was the cheeky Twitter feed managed by his daughters.

The Newsweek Cover

The chattering classes couldn’t agree on whether the cover was more offensive to Mormons, Republicans, or the Romney campaign. For their part, Mormons couldn’t agree on whether they should be offended by the cover story or forward it to non-Mormon friends.

Mormon Mommy Bloggers Retain Their Stranglehold of Teh Webz

Mormons continue to rule the Mommy Blogger world, which is not inconsequential in terms of web traffic and marketing dollars. All you need is a Canon D-SLR, a 50mm lens, and loads of free time.

Big Love Wraps Up

After five seasons, HBO’s Big Love calls it quits. We’re not sure if the show was a net positive for the church or a net negative, but it got people talking.

Clayton Christensen: Cover Model

His Forbes cover story was probably the first business article to include a description of Mormon healing rituals. (Folks, that’s how you do member missionary work!)


So an evangelical pastor called Mormonism a cult, and said Mormons would never be accepted as “part of the Christian family.” We’re not a cult, rightOf course we’re not. Either way, even if voters are biased…they shouldn’t say it out loud!


BYU-I doesn’t allow skinny jeans in the testing center! Or maybe they do. Or maybe the culprit wasn’t even wearing skinny jeans (see above photo). We may never learn the full story on this one…but it was fun to watch BYU-I administrators try to spin Gawker.

Pennies From Heaven

A Harper’s cover story helpfully explains how Mormon prosperity doctrine and financial culture had set the course for the Tea Party movement, and eventually the Republican agenda.

Wait, what??

Mormon Pearls Now Online

At the annual MHA conference in St. George, officials from the LDS Church History Library (CHL) announced that the CHL catalog was finally available online.


The Best Mormon Movie of 2011

“The Tree of Life” or “Tabloid”? Discuss.


  1. This is great. And I believe it makes the case for “The Year of the Mormon” perfectly.

  2. Thanks Syphax…I’d expect you’d have some additions on the musical front, beyond Kaskade.

  3. Awesome, y’all. A wonderful recap.

    And I vote “Tree of Life.” They need to incorporate its creation scene into our temple ceremony, stat.

  4. Steve Evans says:

    Great wrap-up. And I agree, Tree of Life.

  5. I would say Brandon Flowers officially “outing” himself would be the biggest in music, but you had that one. While he’s always tentatively called himself a Mormon I think his video testimony kicked it up a notch.

  6. Awesome wrap-up. It’s hard to believe so much happened in the last 12 months. Wow.

  7. Fantastic wrap-up. Well-done.

  8. Tree of Life has my vote as well.

  9. How interesting that the Year of the Mormon is the year immediately preceding the end of the world.

  10. As we used to say here in Brooklyn, “Wait ’til next year.”

    And it was true. Once. In 1954 (about the next year).

  11. This was a great scroll-through, Kyle. I had forgotten and remembered and re-forgotten so many of these things, and it was great to be re-reminded.

  12. Don’t know why I wrote “y’all” in #3; I meant to write “Kyle.” But since it’s the holiday season, and in honor of the wonderful year of the Mormon, I’ll still pass on an “awesome” to the entire BCC community.

  13. Cool.

  14. So amazing to see this all together!

  15. Yeah, Syphax, that was probably my favorite “mormon moment” of 2011. Your move, Neon Trees.

  16. On behalf of the BCC community, I say “same to you, Ben P”

  17. I would love nothing more than to see some crazy dinosaur melodrama added to the temple movie. Bring on Tree of Life!

  18. observer fka eric s says:

    A fun year to observe all things LDS, thanks BCC. I hate politics but love TOF. Ardis’ bomb on Scott B.’s mom was the most memorable post exchange. 2012 should be even more enjoyable.

  19. Tree. Of. Life.

  20. Is it just me or do all of you sing this tune every time you read about the skinny jeans story: “Skinny jeans, skinny jeans, its not your fault”

  21. Good review. What a year. I’m prophet enought to predict that after Romney loses the Republican nomination, the Mormon Moment will done. DONE.

    Don’t know anything about Tabloid, but Tree of Life was the most beautiful film I’ve ever experienced.

  22. Steve Evans says:

    “I’m prophet enought to predict that after Romney loses the Republican nomination, the Mormon Moment will done. DONE.”

    oh yeah?

  23. Yup, Hunter, all downhill from here.

  24. Excellent review. Now if we could just get Gosling to do an “I’m a Mormon” vid…

  25. Eh, I dunno, Steve. I just think that if Romney doesn’t get the nomination, he’ll drop out of the public consciousness very quickly. And with that drop, that fresh Mormon story of 2011 won’t be quite as fresh. I can hear editors, producers, bloggers, etc. saying, “Meh” to all the Mormonyness next year. (All bets are off if Romney gets the nomination, of course.)

  26. Left Field says:

    #17: I’ve never heard of this Tree of Life movie, but there is a pterosaur flying on the back wall of the creation room in Manti.

  27. Don’t forget at least two recent stories on This American Life. That’s gotta count for the NPR podcast crowd!

  28. Steve Evans says:

    #26 don’t you mean a pteranodon? Sheesh.

  29. Kevin Barney says:

    Well done, Kyle!

  30. Great list Kyle (and um . . not just ’cause I’m in it). I think Tree of Life was the most important Mormon event this year. I’m going to go watch it again.

  31. Left Field says:

    It’s definitely Order Pterosauria, but I’m pretty sure it’s not Genus _Pteranodon_. I don’t recall a head crest. But I do seem to remember a plesiosaur also.

  32. Wow. How in the world did you remember all that? Great job, Kyle.

  33. How is Malick’s Tree of Life Mormon?

  34. 1) Don’t forget your own Matt Page in Mormons and Monsters 2) Joanna Brooks in the Washington Post, NPR/On Being interview and named Politico’s top 50 bloggers to watch and finally 3) Mormon Mommy Bloggers need an expensive camera and “loads of free time” ? Good thing they aren’t burdened with masculine traits like talent, ambition or skill. Silly mothers.

  35. Wondering the same as 33. What makes the Tree of Life a “Mormon” film? Did I miss something? Or is it just all the creation footage?

  36. CWC, good adds, can’t believe I forgot Matsby! Not sure what you’re getting at with your #3 though…

  37. What about the popular Mormon Youtube videos…the Old Spice and Katy Perry “Firework” spoofs at BYU? I thought they were cool too.

  38. #33. The Mormon feel of the movie derives mostly from its placing routine family life in a cosmic context, imo. That’s not the only thing, but the first thing that strikes me as apt.

  39. Jane's Diction says:

    Kyle, I think what CWC is “getting at” is you seem to chalk up the Mormon Mommy bloggers’ accomplishments as inconsequential flufff – which their traffic alone seems to refute – and attribute their success to nothing more than a good camera and nothing else to do. How those talented women manage to raise their children, create, oragnize, market themselves, write, and keep it all looking so flawless is far beyond what most of us accomplish from day to day. Your comment seems dismissive, or am I reading you wrong?

  40. I also loved Vocal Point on the the Sing Off.

  41. Good catch, J.

    “The Tree of Life” – Even if it was a terrible horror flick with no redeeming value, it should be mentioned just for the title alone.

  42. One that has not been mentioned is Glenn Beck. He has been the most influential person in the media to wake up the population of the United States. He started the 9-12 project, spurring on the Tea Party. Over 30 million people listen to him. His Restoring Honor in Washington has over 600,000 gathered by the reflecting pool, and about 300,000 on the internet live. Then the Israel gathering called Restoring Courage. If it was not for the Lord putting him into the position of national radio, we would have been a Socialist Nation long ago. His influence has spurred on the Tea Party and many others into getting involved in politics which had made the GOP debates be more crowded than it ever has been. He has been 92 percent right in his predictions for the last 7 years. History books will eventually list him as being one of the most influential persons in America. I’m sure the Lord made it so.

  43. #42 – Um . . . never mind.

    I would like to nominate #42 for comment of the century.

  44. Broken Arrow says:

    Julianne Hough should have made the list even though she seems to be heading in a different direction. Derek has made quite a name for himself as well over the past few years.

  45. “All you need is a Canon D-SLR, a 50mm lens, and loads of free time.”
    Thank you to Jane’s Diction and CWC for pointing out the slam. Kyle, if you stop and think about it, is that what you tell an author who manages to get a book published, or a musician who gives a great performance, or someone who graduates from college, or remodels their kitchen by themselves, or completes a triathalon (which is a word I apparently can’t spell and hate googling a dictionary)? Do you really tell them it’s amazing what they can accomplish with “loads of free time”?
    Most of the mormon mommy blogs aren’t my thing, but I guess all of my own SAHM accomplishments in life (which I think are many from teaching my kids to read to teaching a parenting class) are accomplished during my apparent “loads of free time”? But we are actually just like regular people with all sorts of accomplishments within our daily work or perhaps our areas of interests, some of which take a lot of effort even if the world doesn’t know about them.
    Now that that is out of the way, thanks for a great list! Very thorough and enjoyable to look at. It amazing what you accomplished with a computer, an internet connection and loads of free time!!! (Did that come off as good natured teasing? Because I meant it that way but you never can tell on the internet….)

  46. I also think that Vocal Point and some other singers like David Archuleta maybe should have been highlighted in these memories, but great compilation nonetheless for 2011.

  47. Kyle, great work (and thanks for the shoutout to the book).

  48. Everything is good-natured, jks…this is the bloggernacle!

    Also, Vocal Point! Duh!

  49. clarkgoble says:

    Broken Arrow, does Julianne Hough still consider herself Mormon? I notice she’s shacked up with Ryan Seacrest. Which leads to the obvious quip of what is worse. That or the fact she picked Ryan Seacrest to do it with. (LOL) More seriously it does seem like there are a lot of Mormons who end up in Hollywood but not many stay Mormon for long while in that culture.

  50. Ken Jennings’ book and twitterfeed.

  51. Beware the prophets who predict the demise of Mitt. Remember Zions’s camp when Joseph said, “Behold the Glory of God” Then the small cloud unrolled like a scroll and wiped out the 400 Missourians who threatened to annihilate them. So recorded Mitt’s great, great..granfather in the mid 1830s. The day after Super Tuesday Primary on February 23, 2008 Mitt withdrew his bid for the Presidency. The Bible belt had not endorsed the Mormon, but a tornado came and wiped out 5,000 Bible belt residents alongside the Mississippi River. Mitt nor Joseph were defeated and they both packed up the next day and went home knowing they would return. Joseph’s tornado came in the normal season but Mitt’s was two months before the season. If someone is allowed to record an epilog to the BoM I hope they add this item. Are there any more prophets willing to speculate on the year of the Mormon? Question for the class: Do you think God blesses a nation who will select a righteous leader? Are you registered to vote and did you warn your neighbor?

  52. I’ve been warning my neighbors about Romney for years.

  53. Holy. Crap.

  54. Prudence McPrude says:

    What the heck is Leon doing in Boise? He sounds Latino to me, and if those Idahoans know what’s good for them, they’ll send him packing across that border he crossed illegally.

  55. boiseleon, I am awestruck.

  56. Please keep this thread open longer than normal, just we can get more comments like #42 and #51.

  57. Bless you and all of your offspring Kyle. The mirth I have received reading those two comments has been worth any slurs against the hardworking sisters of the Mormon Mommy Ghetto. And curse Brad for getting to that line before me!

  58. Ray, we aim to please.

    CWC, glad it was worth your while. Didn’t mean to be dismissive–some of my best friends are mommy bloggers! :-)

  59. Brad and Prudence…Prudence, you stole Ben Franklin’s nom de plume but I am of the Zion’s camp root stock and know the Romney family including the ones who still live in Mexico. Mitt’s father, George was born in Mexico and was an American citizen. I am Texan which was Mexico when the Church was registered in NY. If you are in Utah, that was Mexico, too. It seems like you are a Mexican bigot as well as a Mormon bigot. I wouldn’t doubt that you also have the “Kill Mitt” script issued by the Democratic National Committee.(DNC for future reference.) I am Jekyl and Hyde. See if you can find me elsewhere. I am itching for a Lincoln Douglas debate with your best troll, and who would that be? By the way the Salt Lake Tribune was one of the few papers that covered the killer tornado on Super Tuesday. The Lame stream media freaks out when they are forced to explain what happens in the world. By the way, did you know that the dominant language of the Church is Spanish, followed by English?

  60. Your Zion’s Camp root stock won’t keep you out of the mod queue, boiselon. But your crazy rants will, to a point (you’re our best troll!)

  61. I’d welcome a brawl about Mitt. Ah, I love the smell of troll in the morning!

  62. Frank, who is Glenn Beck? I am new here.Who is a troll? You seem like such a serious bunch. Could we just check in a declare who is friend or troll?

  63. I take it back, Kyle.

  64. Tree of Life was interesting, but the best “Mormon” movie I saw in 2011 was Blue Valentine. THAT had some cosmic family drama going on. And it even had a Mormon star. Course I haven’t seen Cowboys and Aliens yet so I don’t know what parallels we can dig up there…

  65. Did Kyle insult boiseleon and then you defended him? Which one of them is a troll? If we are trolling, then who do we pick on? I vote we pick on Purdence. She doesn’t sound like a Morman to me.
    Oh, I am really confused now. I though Mormans were nice, considerate people and the trolls were democrats and marxists.

  66. Skipping the discussion of trolls and Democrats here, but I also wanted to note that Stephen Colbert gave Mormons a Yahweh instead of a No way. Maybe it was the Colbert bump that made 2011 so cool–and it should definitely go in the expanded list.

  67. Prudence McPrude says:

    boiseleon, don’t let my telling of hard truths about the Great Southern Invasion (which truths your own politically correct self seems loathe to confront honestly) obscure the fact that I otherwise wholeheartedly concur with the rest of your theological outlook. I’m a big believer in the GOD of the Old Testament who KICKS *SS and TAKES NAMES, and nothing warms this SAHM’s heart like divine wrath and retribution, administered in collective fashion without regard for the innocence or guilt of the afflicted parties. No sir, none of this namby-pamby, week-kneed, wishy-washy, touchy-feely New Testament crap for moi. I wish God the Father had had the good sense to take Jesus aside, and school him in the ins and outs of CONDITIONAL LOVE, and the nuts and bolts of effective parenting (special emphasis on tornados). Of course, maybe he did, but then communist scribes removed these plain and precious truths, and replaced them with LIBERAL CRAP.

  68. Actually I escaped from San Francisco before I came here. It was a spiritual suck hole like Sodem and Gohnorea. Years ago I found happiness seeing El Paso in my rear view mirror. They have bars on the windows there for a reason so I know of which you speak. I have found my Zion in Boise since I prefer my tacos to be served from the side of a truck and have no trouble getting what I want from what I leaned in high school. I have known the Romney Family since I was a boy scout and have visited the Colonies where George Romney was born. I know they are the real deal and that the Dems have a sower grapes attitude about straight arrow types. It tics me off to see decent people get dumped on. I guess I don’t know you well enough to want to fight with you. I will give it a try if you want to provoke me. I like Glenn Beck and Mitt Romney. I think Sarah Palen is cute and should be on SNL. My great, great GF was a plyg and I was a swinger once. Is that a good start? Will you be on my side or not?

  69. You guys stay up too late. I’m going to pack it in. Gotta see the Tab choir on my Dish tomorrow. And I like David Archuletta a lot, especially with the choir. I’ll look for you all later. You all make a lot more sense than those skags that hang out at the Los Angeles Times.

  70. Frank: “His influence has spurred on the Tea Party and many others into getting involved in politics which had made the GOP debates be more crowded crazy than it ever has been.”

    Fixed it for you.

    Prudence: “Of course, maybe he did, but then communist scribes removed these plain and precious truths, and replaced them with LIBERAL CRAP.”

    Best explanation of NT authorship ever.

  71. Sasquatch, Temple Sq. Protestor, Circa 2011 says:

    I NOT CAIN!!!!

  72. At first I thought this post just documented the great Mormon achievements of the year; little did I know that this thread would add to those achievements.

  73. Indeed, Ben.

  74. 58 I know and their kids are sooo cute! : )

    I thought the “Tree of Life” reference was Lehi’s dream. Every time I think I am well and truly up on my Mormon quips, references and cultural idioms you pull something new out though, so maybe I am wrong.

  75. This thread is really all the Christmas present I need. It is magical.

  76. I agree, Scott. Comment #67 (Prudence) has given me enjoyment each time I read it, and I have read it more than a few times today. My hat is off to you, Prudence. Brilliant.

  77. This is a great list, but I wonder about adding something about BYU’s Vocal Point. That was pretty national coverage.

  78. Dawn and Cowboy on Survivor were two of my favorite for the year. Yes and Vocal Point outclassed all the other do-woppers. They could sing AND dance and didn’t chew gum.

  79. Prudence…Off topic…tell me what I need to know about tomatoes.

  80. Wait…Yes is now “do-woppers”? And I thought Phil Collins fell far…

  81. Oops,,,I erred. Beat boxers is the current vernacular. Am I still missing the point? Mormons are now cool. (hip, neat or bad) I was born 40 years too soon.

  82. it's a series of tubes says:

    This. Thread. Delivers. Comments must be kept open so that we may see the glory continue to come forth.

  83. Who knew that six well known dancers would come from three Mormon families..Donnie and Marie Osmond, Benji and Lacey Schwimmer and Derek and Julianne Hough. Someday Mormons will be famous for spawning entertainers.

  84. When Joseph ran for President of the United States he did not also have a Mormon Governor to run against..times two! Mormons 2 – Evangelist Preachers ZERO! Yeah!

  85. Yeah, we’re already known mostly for spawning.

  86. The highlight of my year of the Mormon was last Sat night when Jesus advises Tim Tibow to ratchet down his devotion and “Listen to the Mormons, they got it all right!”. If you missed it go to Youtube and search for ” SNL Tim Tibow Mormon” . Very irreverent, but significant by modern standards.

  87. leon, the link is in the sideblog on this site – and it’s even quoted correctly there.

  88. Nick Literski says:

    What makes the Tree of Life a “Mormon” film? Did I miss something? Or is it just all the creation footage?

    The “Mormon” connnection is that this film will put you to sleep even faster than the worst high council Sunday talks you’ve ever endured! ;-)

  89. Thanks, Ray. I knew I should have done a fact check as soon as I hit the “Enter” key.
    This is what I posted on The Blaze when the SNL skit was being discussed.
    I guess you are all too PC to acknowledge the punch line for the sketch.
    As he left, he added, “Mormonism? All true. Every single word. All right, peace.”
    Any returned Mormon missionary is rolling on the floor laughing at that one. Don’t worry folks. Mormon people have a sense of humor and are totally amused by the fact that those who hated Mormons have no idea why other than a preacher convinced them it was OK. To me it was the satirical point of the whole rant.

  90. Prudence McPrude says:

    leon, I want to have your baby.

    No, not like that, you lecherous perve. Mostly I just want to remove it from the den of iniquity that is your home and give it a righteous upbringing. But also I want you to see me holding it and recognize what it’s going to be like as a perpetual eunuch down in the Telestial shantytown when you and yours look up at the fecund Celestial penthouse and contemplate the eternity of divine procreation that awaits me and mine. Repent, and be saved, or at least save a little face. You’ve no chance of spiritually progressing to my level, but perhaps you can move up a few percentage points in the heavenly hierarchy. I guess that’s something.

  91. Zounds! I have been found out! Since you recognized me as a lecherous perve you must have actually discovered my online memoir or been one of the old ones and knew me from Philadelphia. Of course we could not have a baby in the natural way even if you were not a transgendered nom de plume. You see, I actually knew Constance Dogood and his/her sister/brother Prudence when they wrote as Ben long ago. I remember history differently than it was recorded and no longer try to revise it. If you are not transgendered you must be hot. Maybe we could meet for Postum some time. Now that I know where you hang out, I look forward to further encounters. I notice you are only here after the sun goes down. Listen to the creatures of the night.

  92. Prudy, I was piqued by your reference to tomatoes.I am still curious about tomatoes.

  93. boiselon=DKL?

  94. Thanks for the compliment but I had to investigate what DKL was and discovered the Zeitcast. I am now a subscriber. No, I’m just a stranger in a strange land who dropped into your sandbox to play. I brought ignoramus and Bocephus along but they didn’t click. Thanks to Kyle for selecting a provocative starting point. I enjoyed that. I enjoyed meeting Prudy and hope she/he will take me up to share a cup of Postum at the Kolob Café. I am hoping she/he is not a transgendered Avatar but I will love him as a brother if he is. If someone will explain the tomatoes to me I would be more comfortable in hanging around.
    Would you all like to see Glenn Beck’s new house in Dallas? He is not at all what you know about him from CNN and Fox. He talks about things like the Iron Rod. His new network has a feature called the 4th Hour which is like Zeitcast on Streaming TV steroids. A couple of you might enjoy it.

  95. Never mind! Now I know where the old gang is…on Zeitcast. Roasted Tomatoes and all his alter egos. I’m in the right place.

  96. I repent! I got may pantries in a a wad over tomatoes and it was really tornados. Notice how the r and n get together when you squint. My bad. Now I am looking for idahospud.
    Is there a rule about how long a thread lasts?

  97. Yes, this long.

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