Announcing the William Law X-Mormon of the Year Award!!

You may have seen that Times and Seasons elected Harry Reid “Mormon of the Year” for 2009. Then — not to be outdone — BCC created the Boggs-Doniphan “Gentile of the Year” Award, and awarded it to Stephen Colbert. Well, it’s time for Main Street Plaza to get into the game!!

Suggested by our own Chino Blanco — who also provided the fabulous graphic! — Main Street Plaza will be hosting the 2009 X-Mormon of the Year Award.

Before we start the election, we need to make a couple of decisions. First of all, what should the award be for? Should it be the exmo who has had the biggest impact in general in 2009? Or should it be the exmo who has had the biggest impact on Mormonism in 2009 (like William Law, who is a bit of a footnote in the grand scheme of history, but who had a pretty big impact on Mormon history)? Or something else?

Second of all, we need to collect the nominations! I’ve thought of a handful, but I’m sure I’m missing some obvious ones:

** Reed Cowan, for his work on 8: The Mormon Proposition, premiering at Sundance. He was actually nominated for “Mormon of the Year,” but I think he qualifies for this contest as well, right? Or is he still a member in good standing?

** Heather Armstrong, a.k.a. Dooce (also cribbed from the T & S nominations). She was named one of the 30 most influential women in media and also published her second book in 2009.

** Brian Keith Dalton, a.k.a. Mr. Diety. He has confirmed a few times (including here) that He’s a former Mormon. In 2009, He and His team produced the third season of Their series on Their own.

** Chad Hardy, for Hot Mormon Muffins. I think Hardy gets bonus points for actually getting X’ed because of his work, and for the fact that BYU refused him his transcripts.

So what do you think? And who else should be nominated?

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C. L. Hanson is the friendly American ExMormon atheist mom living in Switzerland! See "letters from a broad" and the novel ExMormon for further adventures!!

70 thoughts on “Announcing the William Law X-Mormon of the Year Award!!

  1. Sounds like a great idea to me!

    I think what we need is a list of famous X-Mormons. Maybe we should add a page to MSP with a list of famous X-Mormons? What do you think?

    Also, what does the winner get? I think we should have an award. Maybe a t-shirt with the award logo on it? Maybe it’s time MSP created a Cafe Press store so people can buy merchandise anyway…

    Finally, how are we going to vote and who gets to vote?

  2. Steve is a great pick, but I’m going with Reed Cowan this year. I’m not downplaying Steve, I think his stuff is wonderful, but he can have the award almost any time when other things aren’t going on of greater importance. This “protect” marriage thing and the Prop 8 debacle certainly was in the spotlight recently, and Reed’s work on this is important.

    Also, what about nominating that kid who won the screenplay Oscar for the Milk movie? Isn’t he exmo? I loved his acceptance speech.

  3. Measure — Ah, yes — I should have thought of him! T&S specifically excluded GA’s, but we don’t have to exclude their grandchildren. 😉

    The only thing is that it would be good to find at least one 2009 article about him in a mainstream publication (not just blogspace). I’d kind of like to avoid turning this into a popularity contest of blog/forum-space. We could do a separate contest for that. 😉

    ProfXM — It’ll be decided by Internet poll, once we’ve collected up the nominations.

    That’s a great idea to make a t-shirt for the winner!! The other guys didn’t even bother to notify their winners (much less give them something), but we can do better than that! 😉

  4. Im not downplaying Steve, I think his stuff is wonderful, but he can have the award almost any time when other things arent going on of greater importance.

    I was kind of thinking that too. He might be better for a lifetime achievement award, rather than specifically 2009.

    Also, what about nominating that kid who won the screenplay Oscar for the Milk movie? Isnt he exmo? I loved his acceptance speech.

    Isn’t he also involved in Cowan’s movie? I thought of him too, but I don’t remember his name…

  5. Well, if it helps, my vote would be for Chad Hardy. I was merely nominating Steve, but if he doesn’t make the nomination cut, that’s fine.

  6. I don’t want to be that guy, but to avoid difficulties later, how are we defining “X-Mormon”?

    Is it former LDS, or are other sects eligible?

    When we say former, do we mean that they have resigned or been excommunicated? Or is non-belief or non-participation enough? What level of belief or participation is acceptable.

    Obviously, we’re not going to be able to have hard and fast rules, but it would be helpful to have some guiding principles.

  7. Now I regret reading that list of famous exmos that Measure provided. Maybe every other year, we can call it The Philastus Hurlbut XMOTY award?

    Re Steve Benson, I think the 232 cartoons he drew for the AZ Republic in 2009 make him a shoo-in for a nomination, even if I’d probably hold off voting for him unless it was in the X-Mormon of the Decade category.

    Re the T-shirt, that’s a brilliant idea. Count me in for help on the fundage or production side if needed.

    Oh, and I want to change my nomination to: The entire crew of 8: The Mormon Proposition (Bruce Bastian, Reed Cowan, Steven Greenstreet, Emily Pearson, DLB,

    I kinda like “X-Mormon” being left open-ended … Did someone from a non-Brighamite Mormon sect make news in 2009? If so, I’d say nominate ’em. Also, I agree with the OP: Anyone who got formally ex’d in ’09 would gain serious bonus points in my book. As such, here’s my latest nomination: John Remy, of Mind on Fire fame, ex’d on 09/09/09.

  8. Open ended is fine as long as we all understand that’s what’s going on. We’re a lot more easy going about group membership than TBM, but if someone were to nominate (purely an example) John Dehlin, would that be out of bounds?

  9. I’d second the nomination of any nominee whose Mormonism comes hyphenated by any letters other than TBM, but that’s just me, because I’d prefer to see as many candidates on the ballot as possible and let the voting sort them out. For example, in John’s case, I’d be glad to second his nomination, and would look forward to enthusiastically campaigning for his defeat once the fun starts. And not knowing the outcome is most of the fun, isn’t it? MSP ain’t T&S, where the powers-that-be run a poll with the caveat that they’ll merely take the results under advisement. Gag. And MSP for sure ain’t BCC, where they’d rather jack the poll before admitting an outsider had won. Barf. I expect we all expect better behavior here, so I say nominate away.

  10. Even though we accept John Dehlin among exmos, he probably doesn’t consider himself to be one — and actually might be offended at being called one. But maybe not.

    However, we can go with Chino’s idea of loosening the restrictions to put a lot of people on the ballot. In that case, we can include Steve Benson and John Dehlin (if someone is nominating him — not just making a query), and even Sarah Pratt (nominated @10), despite the fact that she’s been dead for well over a century. 😉

  11. chanson – I don’t consider Dehlin an exmo, but I would count him among the x-mos … where “x” is whatever qualifier happens to apply … e.g., I’d even count cafeteria-mormon Kaimi Wenger as an x-mo. That John or Kaimi might balk at being nominated for x-mo of the year seems like all the more reason to include them. 😉

    That said, I agree that winning nominees should have accomplished something of note outside blogspace during the past year, but feel that’s a determination safely left for later, since online popularity tends to correspond with getting almost nothing done elsewhere (present company excluded, of course).

    Lastly, I’ll just note that I think you were having a go at me with your seconding of Sarah Pratt’s nomination. I trust we can all agree that nominees who were pushing up daisies prior to 2009 should be politely rejected.:-)

  12. I nominate Brecken Swartz who founded the Handreach foundation, which helps children who are burn victims in the developing world.

    Brecken has organized hundreds of people to put their tithing to better use. You might have witnessed some of our efforts on Facebook when we raised money for the treatment of a particular child.

    Brecken Swartz is also the co-founder of the LDS Safe Space Coalition, a gay and straight alliance for Mormons. Until her family left the church, her husband was the bishop of the Beltsville, MD ward.

    Brecken has also helped dozens of Chinese graduate students by finding housing, support with legal problems, navigating the university bureaucracy, and teaching them English (formerly at the LDS Institute building). By herself, Brecken has done more for foreign students than the university itself.

    If Brecken is not yet famous then she ought to be. Main Street Plaza could not make a greater difference.

  13. Chino — That makes a lot of sense. So anyone who is or has been Mormon — but in a thinking-outside-the-manual sort of way — is eligible for nomination (whether or not they self-identify as exmo). But those on the final ballot should be people who have done something newsworthy during 2009.

    Hellmut — excellent nomination! I wasn’t aware of her accomplishments, but you’re right that this contest is a good way to shine more light on some unsung heroes.

    Plus it’s nice to have another woman nominee without having to include dead people. 😉

  14. I third Dustin Lance Black…

    I like the idea of the exmormon with the biggest impact in general.

    We could always nominate President Obama’s mother, as she was proxy baptized as mormon earlier this year. And being the mother of the president is quite an accomplishment!

    But we probably want to focus on living people. And those that are more than tangentially related to mormonism.

  15. This is totally O/T, but I don’t expect T&S to post this, so I’m dropping it here:

    One thing I’ve heard repeatedly since Day One from Kim Farah, and Scott Trotter, and Michael Otterson, is that folks like me are “entitled to our opinions but not to our own versions of the facts.”

    Now that “the facts” have finally been entered into the public record, I’d like to express a final opinion: that besotted trio is unworthy of the sincere devotion of the Mormon rank-and-file on which its livelihood depends. Thank goodness the three are only LDSPA and remain as fungible as ever.

    That they were sold a bill of goods by the likes of Gary Lawrence, and Glen Greener, and Sonja Eddings Brown, and Bart Marcois, is no excuse. Kim and Scott and Michael were being paid to know better.

    The time has come for them to resign out of respect for the devotion that remains.

  16. I second Ann Dunham. Previous commitments re only nominating the living be damned.

    Sorry. That “Plausible Deniability” thread over at T&S has me seething at the moment. As if anyone has time in their day to think about how to pull one over on the Mormons and leave them holding the bag. As if. Reality: Now that they’re on the radar, suddenly there’s some vast left-wing conspiracy to frame them for what they obviously and proudly accomplished in 2008.

    Own it, you whinging poms.

  17. I’m glad I asked the question because I had no clue that “X” was a placeholder instead of a sexed up replacement for “ex” (and a play on the X-men name).

    In that case, I nominate Harry Reid because as the most powerful X-Mormon (where X = politically liberal), people have wished for his excommunication in my presence not more than a week ago (because liberals aren’t TBM apparently).

  18. Chino, thank you kindly for the nomination, but I think others are far more deserving. I second Brecken’s nomination (and her husband!)–they left Mormonism while he was a Bishop, and she’s a great example of someone who channelled all that Mo energy into the worthy causes that Helmut cited above. She’s been a strong influence on me for how to carry on in the after-Mormon-life.

    If anyone’s interested in learning more, I have links to her foundation and I interviewed her about her foundation’s work and her journey out of Mormonism.

  19. Wow. It’s an honor just to be nominated, and mentioned in the same breath as McCowan. You like me, you really like me. I’d like to thank my mom, and my 9th grade seminary teacher, and my agent, and my co-bloggers, and the Journal of Discourses . . . .

  20. I think Walter Kirn should get some love. Thumbsucker and now Up in the Air have turned into pretty great films, albeit with the Mormon plotlines deep-sixed. Oh well.

  21. I am so counting on chanson to come along and clean up any mess I’ve made, but in the meantime …

    Jonathan Blake – That’s painful. If you’ve accompanied the Prophet to a meeting with POTUS, you’re certified TBM in my book and those folks you mention deserve a big STFU. Respectfully, I think Reid’s got no place running for XMOTY.

    JohnR – Showing the rest of us how it’s done.

    Kaimi seems like such a nice guy, can someone else pls let him know that he wasn’t actually nominated? Also, pls pass along sincere thanks for his help confirming Ben’s TBM status.

  22. I nominate Russell M. Nelson who appears to have apostasized from the gospel of Jesus Christ when he declared that God’s love is conditional.

    I do not know which church Nelson belongs to these days but given that he is also preaching that people only marry members of their own group, we need to brace ourselves for a variety of distasteful possibilities.

  23. In addition to Up in the Air‘s 2009 film release, Kirn’s Lost in the Meritocracy: The Undereducation of an Overachiever was published last year, too. Cool.

    Thanks for dropping by, Christine!

  24. I am so counting on chanson to come along and clean up any mess Ive made, but in the meantime

    Just keep the nominations flowing, and before preparing the final ballot, I’ll confirm the candidates aren’t TBM before adding them. 😉

  25. So far as I can tell, up to now, the list of 2009 X-Mormon of the Year nominees includes:

    Walter Kirn
    Chad Hardy
    Reed Cowan
    Steve Benson
    Brian Keith Dalton
    Christine Johnson
    Heather Armstrong
    Dustin Lance Black
    Brecken Chinn Swartz

    If Russell is in, I guess that makes Sheri Dew a shoo-in. Do we really wanna go down that path?

  26. Wait . . . Seth is a TBM?

    Am I missing something here? I thought TBM = chapel Mormon. Not liberal Mormon / Mormon apologist / Internet Mormon.

    And he hasn’t just been fighting the ex-Mormons. As far as I can tell, he also fights the evangelicals, the atheists, and the really dumb Mormon apologists. In fact, I’m pretty sure this is the regular state of affairs in Seth’s household.

    #36 Hellmut ~ Russell Nelson may not be an apostate but he is definitely a heretic.

    He is too an apostate. Remember this?

  27. Can I nominate Chanson? Or how about Seth?

    This is actually what I was getting at in comment #5. I’d rather not include any of the regulars at MSP among the choices. I think that throwing in an Internet popularity contest would be a distraction from finding the X-Mormon who has had the biggest impact in 2009.

    For blog/Internet popularity, we could follow up the Niblets with a exmo-space contest of our own (as I think aerin suggested last year). Anyone have ideas on a good parody name we could use for that?

  28. “The Giblets” … the best of the shocking, vital, mammoth exmo internet.

    Inspired by this bit from Elizabeth Alexander’s “Neonatology” …

    Shockingly vital, mammoth giblet,
    the second living thing to break free
    of my body in fifteen minutes.

    The midwife presents it on a platter.
    We do not eat, have no Tupperware
    to take it home and sanctify a tree.

    Instead, we marvel at my cast-off meat,
    the almost-pulsing slab, bloody mesa,
    what lived moments ago and now has died.

    Now I must take the baby to my breast.
    There is no mother here but me.
    The midwife discards the placenta.

  29. lol.

    Considering that the name “Niblets” is probably inspired by Hugh Nibley, I was kind of thinking along the lines of “Hurl-butts”. But it somehow doesn’t lend itself to as cute a graphic…

  30. For the record, this is me registering my disappointment with this thread’s descent into lowbrow scatological humor la “hurl-butt” … not to mention the recent cheap shots at the Twelve Apostates’ expense.

    That said, if you miscreants are gonna riff on the names of your betters, at least do it right, you Spawn of Brodie. Or is it Pawns of Brodie?

    Whatever it is, y’all have already got one contest to run, so how about fewer humorous asides and a little more focus? Thanks.

  31. I was thinking of famous awards. (EGOT, Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony; if anyone watches 30 rock…)

    William’s wife was named Jane. There’s also the Expositor. (So we could do awards named the “Fawns” or “Janes”. “Williams” doesn’t quite work).

    For graphics, what about some sort of quaker on the moon – like the MTV moonmen for the video music awards?? I’m not sure the name and the graphic have to be related but that’s just me!

  32. Spawn of Brodie

    Ooh, me like. I think that would be a fantastic name for an exmo blogging award. 😉

    And we could nickname the award a “Fawn” — kind of like how the academy awards are nicknamed Oscars…

  33. I like the way you think, chanson. Unfortunately, aerin weighed in first … i.e., I’ve already invested serious time and effort into producing a gorgeous graphic depicting a defiant Tina Fey defending The Expositor from Mormon rabble dressed in Quaker spacesuits attempting to overrun our exmo moon base.

    But, if you really do like “Spawn of Brodie” … well, I’ll just storage that Mormon moonscape and move on. Cheers.

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