In the December issue of Atlantic magazine, a group of ten eminent historians (4 Pulitzer Prize winners) placed both Joseph Smith (#52 – ahead of Bill Gates, John Quincy Adams & Robert E Lee) and Brigham Young (#74 – just ahead of Babe Ruth and Frank Lloyd Wright) on its list of the 100 Most Influential Americans of all time.  See www.theatlantic.com/doc/200612/influentials

The Deseret News had a story which had a portion as follows:  “Many of the panelists are political historians, but at least two of them have written about or researched the early history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to Jan Shipps, president of the American Society of Church History and a longtime scholar of Mormonism.  Mark Noll, a professor of history at the University of Notre Dame, preceded Shipps as president of ASCH and specializes in religious history. Gordon Wood, professor of history at Brown University, presented a keynote lecture on the early history of the LDS Church at the Mormon History Association more than two decades ago, she said.”

I think this is fabulous.  I know that when they open these types of polls up to the general public, I am not surprised that Joseph Smith or Brigham Young are ranked as the Mormon internet gets rocking and stuffs the ballot box.  However, in this case there was none of that and, yet, both made it on the list.  It is nice to see that there is recognition that these two have had a significant impact on the US History from an expert’s point of view.  This led me to wonder how would Mormons rank their top ten Mormons of all time. 

Here is my list:

1.  Joseph Smith (duh!)

2.  Brigham Young (duh!)

3.  Spencer W. Kimball (Blacks & the Priesthood)

4.  Harold B. Lee (Instituted Correlation)

5.  Eliza R. Snow (Relief Society, etc.)

6.  Oliver Cowdery (Pivotal early leader)

7.  Sidney Rigdon (Pivotal early leader)

8.  Emma Smith (Critical for success of early Church)

9.  Gordon Hinckley (Expansion of Temples)

10.  Leonard Arrington (Church Historian – Brought Church History into modern days)