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