The 12 people who edit the LDS-oriented Times and Seasons blog selected U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) as Mormon of the Year for 2009, announcing it in this post, and it not only attracted some outrage from a few conservatives, but even warranted coverage in the Salt Lake Tribune.
But the designation had nothing to do with Reid's politics; instead, it was a reflection of the combination of Reid's faithfulness in the Church and the position of power he occupies. As the U.S. Senate Majority Leader, Senator Reid is one of the most powerful elected officials in the United States, exceeded only by Barack Obama. Kent Larsen III, the chief organizer of the annual conference at Times and Seasons, said "What most made Harry Reid Mormon of the Year was his overall presence in the news and issues that affect peoples lives."
The blog's 12 editors made the selection, though they did invite readers to offer their own opinions. This year's contest attracted nearly 2,000 votes, and the leading vote-getter was Reed Cowan, a filmmaker who documented the LDS Church's involvement in California's Proposition 8, and who also did a hatchet job on Utah State Senator Chris Buttars (R-West Jordan), presenting Buttars' expressed opposition to homosexuality in a derogatory light. Cowan got 50 percent of the vote, while Reid finished a distant second with 14 percent. Other prominent poll nominees included former Utah governor and current U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman Jr. (13 percent), Fox News host Glenn Beck (9 percent), Twilight author Stephenie Meyer (3 percent), and kidnap victim Elizabeth Smart (3 percent). No one else got more than one percent; read the complete results of the poll HERE.
Larsen then further explained that "The Mormon of the Year designation is a recognition of the effect that the person or group of persons has had during the past year. It is not a prize or award, so nothing of value is being given to anyone as a result of this designation". But he also cautioned that this recognition should not be seen as an endorsement of Harry Reid's political positions or aspirations.
Nevertheless, Larsen's disclaimer did not mollify a number of conservatives who showed up and posted comments to this post which not only vigorously disputed the selection, but also questioned Harry Reid's worthiness as a Church member. One even referred to Reid as a "MINO" (Mormon in name only). Some examples of these derogatory comments (which could have actually been made by trolls, considering the misspellings):
19. C. Daniels 1/11/2010 at 6:52 pm
You people discust me. You take a man who is destroying our country, a man who lies, steals, decieves, supports abortion, etc., etc., etc.,. This man should not even be a Mormon and I cannot believe he still is. He has taken everything good about this country and has either destroyed it, or is trying to destroy it. My only question is how much did he pay you?
28. C. Daniels 1/11/2010 at 7:29 pm
Ardis, what has he done that makes him worthy to be man of the year? Let’s just start with honesty. WHAT has he done that is honest? Without honesty as the basic building block of a human being, there is nothing. I believe him to be evil. Bribing, stealing, lieing, cheating, decieving — We Really Want Him to Represent the Mormon Church. Please someone tell me something he has done that is good.
52. Wing-nut 1/11/2010 at 8:59 pm
Harry Reid is a MINO. He supports a platform that is extremly pro abortion and socialistic. I have always struggled to understand how someone can call themselves a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and then not just support but completely fight for so many things that are destroying individuals and families. I think the writters of this Blog have shown where their agenda lies.
While I tend to agree with these critics' assessment of Reid's politics, they have nothing to do with the premise of Times and Seasons' selection of Reid as Mormon of the Year. Reid's selection was prompted by his power and influence, NOT his politics. And Reid is a devout member of the LDS Church. So we will leave it up to his Priesthood chain of command - and ultimately the Lord - to evaluate his spiritual worthiness.
Now if the predominantly liberal bloggers of the Bloggernacle will apply the same standards when holding forth on Glenn Beck, we will elevate our discourse all round.