Mormonism in 2012: A (Fashionably Late) Recap

2012I called 2011 “The Year of the Mormon,” and I’m standing by that designation, but what a year we’ve had since then! As the Mormon Moment gets on its bike and rides into the sunset, it’s worth looking back at some of the high points and low points of 2012. Here are my own selections, in no particular order:




Missionary Age Change

Missionary age change

“One miracle at a time.” That was Elder Holland’s response to the question of why sisters aren’t able to leave on missions as early as the elders do. When you think about the long-term impact of letting the boys leave at 18 and the girls at 19, the age change was a miracle indeed.

The BYU memes around the announcement were hilarious, as well.






The Mormons and Gays website might be seen as a small step in the right direction by some Mormons, and a small step in the wrong direction by others. Both are wrong. It’s not a small step at all.


Romney Loses








Romney loses

Did you breath a sigh of relief or of disappointment on election night? Whatever your political persuasion, we’ll be enjoying the positive effects of Romney’s candidacy long after the “Mormon Moment” is over with.


Neon Trees








Neon Trees have a Top 10 Single

Everybody Talks” is another catchy hit by everyone’s favorite RMs-turned rock stars. And it was fun seeing them onstage with Ryan Seacrest as the ball dropped in Times Square.


Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet











2012 in Books

2012 might not have been the amazing year 2011 was for Mormon books, but we had some good ones and some great ones:

  1. The God Who Weeps,” Teryl and Fiona Givens
  2. Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet,” John Turner
  3. The Beginning of Better Days,” Sheri Dew and Virginia H. Pearce
  4. The Book of Mormon Girl: Stories From an American Faith,” Joanna Brooks
  5. The Joseph Smith Papers: Histories, Volume 1
  6. The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith,” Matthew Bowman
  7. A Peculiar People: Anti-Mormonism and the Making of Religion in Nineteenth-Century America,” J. Spencer Fluhman

(Ben P put together an exhaustive list of 2012’s best published Mormon scholarship. It’s at Juvenile Instructor, if you want more.)


Mormons and Sandy








Sandy coverage around Mormons

Thousands of Mormons in yellow vests descended on the hurricane disaster zone in New York and New Jersey. The media, and more importantly, the communities, noticed, and expressed immense appreciation. A videographer in my ward made a beautiful short film documenting the community responses to our yellow vests, which quickly went viral.


Manti Te’o

The best collegiate Mormon athlete this year played linebacker at Notre Dame, and won just about every award except the Heisman. He had a remarkable year both on and off the field, and impressed everyone who learned of his story. Best wishes for a bright NFL career!











Jabari Parker in 2012 is LeBron James in 2003

The best high school athlete in the country is a Mormon, and no, he’s not going to BYU either. And that’s just fine. The freakishly talent high school basketball player has been the darling of ESPN and Sports Illustrated, and will be taking his talents to Duke next year.


Clown Question









That’s a clown question bro.

One of the biggest sports memes of the year also came from a Mormon. Responding to a post-game press question about imbibing, baseball all-star Bryce Harper replied with the timeless rejoinder, “That’s a clown question bro.” The saying was an instant meme; Harry Reid even quoted it on the senate floor.











Brandon Flowers vs. Richard Dawkins

Poor kid. You fly all the way to Norway to do a late night show, and instead of friendly chit chat, you’re ambushed onstage on live TV by the insufferable Richard Dawkins for a debate about your faith. It’s probably payback for us ambushing Mick Jagger on a long plane flight.


Mormon in America







Mormonism Explored on TV

Brian Williams and Rock Center’s in-depth look: Mostly OK. John Sweeney’s in-depth look for BBC: Um… 


Republican National Convention








The Republican National Convention

An extended Mormon Moment at the Republican National Convention. Surreal.













Bloomberg Digs into Church Finances

These stories come along every few years, but never have they been paired with such a blatantly insensitive cover, nor with a collection of quotes that almost justify it.


City Creek







We have a beautiful new mall!

I’ve always wanted a mall.


Pants to Church







Wear Pants to Church Day

What started as an irreverent stunt quickly morphed into an actual Cause. The national media attention and visceral backlash came as a surprise to everyone, including the organizers.



What’d I miss?


  1. Irreverent stunt, eh? Grumble grumble…

  2. Awesome. I hadn’t seen that Flowers vs. Dawkins clip. That’s beyond ridiculous. Brandon is a true saint to put up with that.

  3. “It’s probably payback for us ambushing Mick Jagger on a long plane flight.”

    Hilarious. Although I think Mick Jagger already paid us back with his brilliant comments on that plane flight; the poor GA never had a clue the prank was on him (and through retelling, all of us).

  4. You missed the BBC documentary, but I can forgive such an oversight.

  5. Aaron R., the John Sweeney one? It’s totally in there (and Ronan’s response to it was epic)

  6. Minor correction: “One miracle at a time” was in response to a question about why sisters wouldn’t serve for two years like the elders, not about why their minimum ages weren’t equivalent. In response to a question about the latter, Elder Holland said something to the effect that the GAs have found it beneficial for there to be a gendered age discrepancy, and for the sisters to be older :)

  7. PS. This is a great overview.

  8. Kyle, I only read the first half of the sentence and then stopped. Sorry.

  9. Ah, you’re right, haycockm…thanks for the clarification

  10. What, no Bott?

  11. Oh, missed Bott! No DKP either, mostly because I couldn’t figure out how to write it up.

  12. J. Stapley says:

    A very good year. Thanks Kyle.

  13. .

    Your Mick Jagger joke deserves special commendation.

  14. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL @ mick jagger joke

  15. Love it, although one major (sin of) omission… the clarification of caffeine in the Word of Wisdom. This changes everything (also nothing. Nothing at all).

  16. I love this post. Concise, love the pics, and the commentary is biting, funny, and satisfying. I agree that Bottgate and the caffeine incident deserved mention, though. Other than that, I say:

    A++++++++ would buy from this seller again!!11

  17. Jack Hughes says:

    You also left out the “cherry on top” for 2012: Sen. Crapo’s DUI arrest. Personally, I would be pretty shaken if I learned that any of my former bishops had a secret drinking problem…public profile and elected office notwithstanding. Voters of Idaho, its up to you.

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