Vote for the 2009 William Law X-Mormon of the Year!!!

While taking in nominations, I was surprised by how accomplished and undersung X-Mormons are. Fortunately the Mormon Alumni Association is here to remedy the situation with a brand-new yearly award for the X-Mormon who has made the biggest impact!!! And we will make every effort to send the winner a T-shirt (with the official William Law award graphic).

Here are the illustrious nominees:

Chad Hardy: In 2009 he created a second controversial calendar: Hot Mormon Muffins. He has also been engaged in an important legal battle with BYU when they refused to give him his BYU transcripts after excommunicating him over his previous calendar (Men on a Mission).

Brecken Chinn Swartz: She founded, which helps children who are burn victims in the developing world. She’s 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.)

Reed Cowan: His film 8: The Mormon Proposition premiered at Sundance, see here and here.

Brian Keith Dalton a.k.a. Mr. Diety: With the help of His team, He produced the show’s hilarious third season.

Heather Armstrong a.k.a. Dooce: She was named one of 2009’s 30 most influential women in media and published her second book: It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita.

Steve Benson: In 1993, Steve Benson won a Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning. It would be cool if we could retroactively give him the “1993 William Law X-Mormon of the Year” award. As it is, the 232 cartoons he drew for the AZ Republic in 2009 put him in the running for this year as well.

Dustin Lance Black: He won an academy award for writing the screenplay of Milk, and gave this memorable speech at the Academy Awards ceremony. He also narrated 8: The Mormon Proposition.

Walter Kirn: A well-known novelist, literary critic, and essayist, Kirn’s 2009 achievements include the book Lost in the Meritocracy: The Undereducation of an Overachiever, as well as seeing his book Up in the Air produced as a film.

Christine Johnson: In addition to being a Utah state representative (and ex-Mormon lesbian), Rep. Christine Johnson has taken on the role of surrogate mother, carrying a child for a gay male couple.

Note that Barack Obama’s mother S. Ann Dunham was also nominated (since she has been proxy baptized). Unfortunately, we have to disqualify her from the nominations because we don’t have word from spirit paradise/prison to confirm that she has rejected her proxy baptism and/or apostatized since being dead-dunked.

You have one week to vote here:


C. L. Hanson is the friendly Swiss-French-American ExMormon atheist mom living in Switzerland! Follow me on mastadon at or see "letters from a broad" for further adventures!!

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50 Responses

  1. I enjoyed my time at BYU. I had good friends there, good roommates, good jobs, and good professors. I initially showed up on my own dime, but started earning scholarship money a few semesters in, for which I am grateful. Prior to meeting my husband there, I had more Mormon guys to feel up than I knew what to do with (hey, someone had to make sure those nice young RMs were wearing their garments). I’m not particularly fond of that wing of the Bloggernacle which feels that it is its duty to dump on BYU every time the school is mentioned just so they can show off what trendy librul Marmons they are.

    That said, I find BYU’s decision to revoke Hardy’s bachelor’s degree and withhold his transcripts to be incredibly petty. They can revoke the degree of any Mormon graduate who leaves the church or is excommunicated. Seriously? How many ex-Mormons have they done this to? My guess: not many.

    It’s pretty damned obvious that they’re just doing this as a way of “sticking it” to Hardy because they’re pissed about the calendars. Like I said, petty. Just give the man his degree (or at least his transcripts) and let him go his own way.

  2. Chino Blanco says:

    And the Big Man Himself is already in the lead.


  3. chanson says:

    My own time at BYU was a learning experience that (in retrospect) I don’t regret (though “enjoyed” would be a pretty strong word in my case).

    I was certainly aware that BYU reserves the right to withhold your transcripts/credits if you’re expelled on an honor code violation. I mentioned this possibility in passing in the gratuitous love scene of my BYU story (which I wrote years before it happened to Chad Hardy).

    Ms. Jack — I’d say that you’re right that it doesn’t happen very often, but unfortunately it’s not freakishly rare either. My real-life BYU boyfriend had a hold placed on his transcripts when he was expelled.

    The thing that’s exceptional about Hardy’s case (aside from the fact that it’s so high profile) it that he actually graduated from BYU before being excommunicated. So it makes no sense that he would still be subject to BYU punishment for not following the BYU honor code at that point.

    But let this be a warning to anyone who is at BYU and is having second thoughts about whether Mormonism is true: transfer and/or get a copy of your BYU transcripts immediately — before you “come out” as ex-Mormon.

  4. chanson says:

    Chino, have a little sympathy. Nobody wants to get smited!

    (Or is it smitten? smitten sounds to lovey-dovey for what an angry Deity can do…)

  5. Chino Blanco says:

    Sure, nobody wants to get smote, but there’s little risk of that happening so long as the voters in these parts remain so obviously smitten by the Big Stick in the Sky. Gah. I’m outta here.

    As usual, the Atheist Division of the MAA is all talk. Anyone else here ready and willing to help round up votes for a non-deity?


  6. chanson says:

    Well, we could write Dooce and inform her of this nomination. I suspect that if she linked to this post from her blog, she could blow Mr. Deity out of the water…

  7. Chino Blanco says:

    Yeah, good luck with that. Me and my house, we’re not in the mood to buy a Diaper Pail 2009 Munchkin just to get into Dooce’s good graces. Just sayin’ …

  8. aerin says:

    I’m actually really impressed by Rep. Johnson, who I hadn’t heard of before. I was going to vote for Mr. Black (his Academy award speech was awesome, as was the film “Milk”). But being an openly gay representative in Utah is also very cool. Decisions, decisions.

    All the nominees are pretty cool, now that I think of it.

  9. profxm says:

    I didn’t vote for Mr. Deity, but I can’t say I’d mind if he won. The show is frackin hilarious!

  10. profxm says:

    Chino, do you want to set up the CafePress store or do you want me to? And if I do it, I’ll need a very high resolution version of the images (both the William Law Award logo and the Mormon Alumni Association).

  11. Chino Blanco says:

    Hey profxm,

    I’ve no experience setting up a CafePress store. If you can handle that side, I’ll be glad to supply print suitable graphics from my side. Drop me a line: brother.chino [at]

    While we’re on this subject, how are arrangements coming along re flying me out to deliver the T-shirt in person to the winner? I’m getting a little nervous b/c nobody from MSP has contacted me yet to discuss this detail.

  12. Therese says:

    What an amazing speech by Dustin Lance Black!

  13. Chino Blanco says:

    By the way, not that anybody’s counting, but BCC only garnered 209 votes in their puny “2009 Gentile of the Year” contest. For you sad souls who get a kick out of benchmarks (otherwise known as schadenfreude), here you go:

    In other words, welcome to the Mormon Alumni Association … where transparency rules … a place where the rules rule … as opposed to the Calvinball that apparently rules on the other side of the tracks.

    Bertrand Russell once remarked that “democracy is the process by which people choose who’ll get the blame.”

    We’re X-Mormons. We eat blame for breakfast and still show up for work ready to defend democracy’s verdict. Can “Mormon of the Year” or “Gentile of the Year” make that same claim?

    Yes? No? Maybe so? Bollocks! To paraphrase John Cleese, when it comes to those other contests, better to fart in their general direction and rally to the cry of “Your mother is a hampster, and your father smells of old elderberries, and I’ll vote how I damn well please, and it’ll be counted.” For a change.

  14. Carson N says:

    Goodness people. I’ve never even heard of Mr. Diety until today. Why did everyone hide this gem from me?

  15. Chino Blanco says:

    “I can assure you that in the Bloggernacle there are no awards to be handed out to Chanson or Chino Blanco.” — Steve “Le Bloggernacle, c’est moi.” Evans

  16. I think you guys are cool.

  17. Chino Blanco says:

    Steve’s cool, too, when he’s not stirring the pot.

  18. chanson says:

    I can assure you that in the Bloggernacle there are no awards to be handed out to Chanson or Chino Blanco.

    I feel so persecuted!

    Which is cool because, y’know, for Mormons, being persecuted is almost as good as winning an award. 😉

  19. Chino Blanco says:

    O/T – note to self – remember to nominate Monica Bielanko for that “Spawn of Brodie” award. Can’t believe I forgot to put her into contention for WL2009XMOTY glory.

  20. chanson says:

    I think it makes more sense to nominate her for the Spawn of Brodie award anyway, since she writes a popular (occasionally-Mormon-themed) blog The Girl Who.

    I was kind of thinking of spreading out the awards season by starting the “Spawn of Brodie” nominations this evening or tomorrow morning, but if people are itching to start nominating, we can do it sooner.

    Even coming up with an appropriate set of categories will be interesting. I think we can crib some from the Niblets, but we should also think about aspects of the online X-Mormon community that have no parallel in the Bloggernacle.

  21. Chino Blanco says:

    Hey, fwiw, I didn’t intend my comment as a nudge re S.o.B. scheduling – I’m totally itch-free on that front. Btw, how about asking all the exmo spaces to weigh in with nominees? I saw that Cricket, Simon Southerton, Deconstructor, and Richard Packham were suggested by folks from elsewhere, and those strike me as fine suggestions. It might be fun to ask for more of the same before settling on the final list of S.o.B. nominees?

  22. chanson says:


    I just wrote to Jeff Ricks to ask if would be interested in joining in the fun with us — suggesting nominees as well as award categories.

    If you have ideas of other X-Mormon community site admins I might contact, just say the word, and I’ll drop ’em a line. (Or you can write to them and send them our way, if you prefer.)

    I’m tempted to write to the admins of RfM, to see if they’d be interested in cooperating on this as well…

  23. Chino Blanco says:

    Nah, I suspect you’re way more wired into the x-mo blog admin world, so I’d prefer to content myself with spouting off here.

    Re RfM, I say go for it. It’s all in good fun, so why wouldn’t they want to play along?

    Heck, I’d even suggest contacting the guys over at and asking them to nominate bloggers from the Bloggernacle who, in their estimation, qualify as spawn in sheep’s clothing. Come to think of it, I’m gonna go ahead and suggest Spawn in Sheep’s Clothing as one of our nominating categories.

  24. Chino Blanco says:

    By the way, nearly 500 votes have been cast so far, and I’m noting an utter lack of “Hey, I just voted for …” type comments. What’s up with that?

  25. chanson says:

    Maybe they’re big fans of the secret ballot.

    For the record, I cast the first vote for Brecken Chinn Swartz, and I did not attempt to vote again after that…

  26. chanson says:

    Oh, and there’ll definitely need to be some sort of humor category. It looks like goldarn’s LOLdowment has been nominated… 😀

  27. aerin says:

    #16 – It’s interesting, the posters at MSP are criticized on both sides – by the bloggernacle (faithful LDS) and by the former mormon community. It could be a sign that we’re doing something right???

    It also seems that there are a lot of people who feel that reaching out and building consensus (despite differences in faith) is not worthwhile.

    My question to them is this: what is there to lose by agreeing to disagree? By agreeing that there are intelligent people and points to be made on all sides of the issues?

    Since I don’t have a temple recommend, my point of view is invalid – and since I’m not waving garments in front of General conference I’m not angry enough?

  28. Chino Blanco says:

    Yeah, I take it you noticed that RfM removed the (exceedingly polite) notice that was posted over there? Yet, the Niblets announcement remains … silliness.

  29. Chino Blanco says:

    By the way, another Spawn of Brodie nomination that came to mind: Jesus’ General.

  30. Clay Whipkey says:

    I luvs me some Mr. Diety, but I would sure hope that people like Brecken Chinn Schwartz and Christine Johnson would pull more votes. The accomplishments seem to be clearly more significant. Maybe this is like the MLB all-star voting… a popularity contest. Ah well.

  31. Clay Whipkey says:

    aerin #28:

    Its a matter of boundary establishment. Some folks don’t want their reps spoiled by allowing unsavory types to claim a shared identity.

  32. chanson says:

    Yeah, I take it you noticed that RfM removed the (exceedingly polite) notice that was posted over there? Yet, the Niblets announcement remains silliness.

    Wow, that is just plain weird.

    Personally, I wrote Susan I/S a friendly email suggesting cooperation on this, and asking permission to post about it. I haven’t even bothered to load/read the main page of RfM before getting that permission first. (I have high hopes that she will get back to me on this.)

    I absolutely don’t want to have some sort of “us-vs-them” animosity going on between Outer Blogness and RfM — can you even imagine a more pointless division? — but I have to admit that I find their policies on cooperating (or not) with other exmo sites to be totally baffling…

  33. chanson says:

    @31 — I know how you feel. I love Mr. Deity’s work too, and I’m glad to help give him some recognition for it. However, it would also be nice to recognize “people who make a difference in the trenches” as Hellmut suggested

  34. Chino Blanco says:

    Well, I enjoyed pulling the lever for Christine Johnson all the more at this point because it felt like thumbing my nose at God. Yeah, I get that the writer is God, and that He’s got the horde of slavishly devoted fans to prove it, but aren’t His readers sometimes almost enough to put one off fiction altogether? 😉

  35. chanson says:

    Chino — are you talking about Mr. Deity here? Or Walter Kirn?

    Because Kirn is now winning by a comfortable margin.

    Actually, I’d feel better about this if someone who understands MSP’s stats reporting better than I do could find the incoming link (or tweet?) from Kirn or a Kirn fan site that caused the sudden spike that took him from last place to first.

    Otherwise, it looks a little suspicious (like maybe someone is messing with us just to be funny) since the jump was so sudden and nobody commented about voting for him.

    Kirn is certainly a deserving choice, and naturally, this is just a joke award, so it doesn’t matter. Still, it’s obviously more fun if we’re sure the winner is the person that readers really voted for.

  36. Chino Blanco says:

    Hey, I was talking about Kirn and riffin’ on some random “the writer is God” malarkey I had rattlin’ round my head this morning.

    I think what you’re looking for can be found here:

    I want badly to win this ex-mormon of the year award, the only prize i’ve ever coveted, because i have a helluva speech to give mif i do win, and so I am shamelessly asking for your vote. — Walter Kirn

    Once you’ve read the 33 comments attached to Kirn’s request, maybe you’ll understand my previous comment a little better. 😉

    Long story short, there’s no reason to suspect shenanigans.

    By the way, who said anything about a *joke* award ?!?!?!? I *seriously* look forward to reading Kirn’s acceptance speech here.

  37. chanson says:

    Excellent!! That is cool! 😀

    Maybe this isn’t just an imaginary award after all… 😉

  38. Chino Blanco says:

    Hi Chanson,

    When does this poll close exactly? Might be good to post that right here in the thread, rather than risk a Trading Places tantrum.

    President of Exchange: [Randolph Duke has just collapsed with shock] Mortimer, your brother is not well. We better call an ambulance.
    Mortimer Duke: F*** him! Now, you listen to me! I want trading reopened right now. Get those brokers back in here! Turn those machines back on! [shouts – it echoes pathetically throughout the trading hall]
    Mortimer Duke: Turn those machines back on!!!

  39. chanson says:

    I have it currently set to end automatically on February 2, 2010 at 12:52pm (according to UTC -5).

    I didn’t select the time — that was the default it came up with. However, it’s not too late to change it if you prefer some other closing time.

  40. Chino Blanco says:

    EST is perfect by me, thanks!

  41. walter kirn says:

    i pledge on my honor as a former holder of the lowest class of the aaronic priesthood that my candidacy is real, that i have honestly solicited votes in the accepted traditions of american self-promotion and solipsistic attention-mongering, and that those who’ve voted for me are also real. i might add that by urging them to vote for me i have brought this fine website many visitors from the highest to the lowest social echelons who might never have found it otherwise, which makes me a sort of evangelist to be thanked rather than an interloper to be questioned or reviled. dang right i want this distinction. what’s wrong with that? having suffered through the anti-masturbation campaign revved up by the church in the late seventies, i also believe that i’m fully qualified to represent… screwed up people everywhere.

  42. chanson says:

    Mr. Kirn — Congratulations on winning the award, and thanks for being kind enough to come to our website and accept it!!!

    Sorry about the earlier confusion regarding how you pulled into the lead. Posting about the contest on your facebook page is absolutely a legitimate tactic. I just wasn’t expecting it, so I didn’t realize that’s what had happened. Thanks for sending hundreds of your fans to our blog!! 😀

  43. wry catcher says:

    This thread is very humorous and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

  44. wry catcher says:

    PS: Chino, when you say “Steve ‘Le Bloggernacle, c’est moi’ Evans,” the sun comes out.

  45. steve benson says:

    Congrats to the winner and to all others who were nominated.

    Personally speaking, it was an honor to come in dead last. It reminds me of what Orrin Hatch said when he found himself in an identical circumstance during the GOP presidential primaries a few years ago–where he noted that he did better than he expected.


  46. Jim says:

    So this is how x-mormons spend their days. Why do you have to define yoursleves by what you used to be? Maybe it’s time to move on with your lives and be something other than an X?

  47. chanson says:

    Jim — It’s touching that you’re so concerned about our welfare. Not concerned enough to read the current award posts that led to this one before commenting, but it’s a start.

    Please read the welcome page and FAQ before posting any further random guesses about we’re doing here.

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