Smithsonian Magazine ranks Joseph Smith, Brigham Young high as influential Americans

The Spring 2015 Collector’s Edition of Smithsonian Magazine celebrates the 100 most significant Americans of all time. (

Smithsonian Magazine chose Joseph Smith and Brigham Young as two of the top three American religious figures of all time.

In the Smithsonian Magazine’s Spring 2015 Collector’s Edition, 100 Americans were selected and ranked according to their influence in society and culture.

Joseph Smith ranked No. 1, and Brigham Young No. 3, under the “Religious Figures” category for the magazine.

The magazine’s informational piece about Joseph Smith includes information about the religious excitement during his time, his experience known as the First Vision and the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Brigham Young’s biography in the magazine starts with a quote by the LDS leader: “Mormonism has made me all that I am.”

Other religious figures include Roger Williams, Anne Hutchinson, Ellen G. White, Cotton Mather, Mary Baker Eddy, Billy Graham and Jonathan Edwards.

Senior editor Tom Frail wrote that Smithsonian Magazine has “highlighted what we decided was the most interesting choice within each category.”

The magazine used an algorithmic method developed by Steven Skiena and Charles B. Ward to rank American historical figures, similar to the way Google ranks web pages.

Skiena and Ward analyzed data and took into account the number of links to each person’s online pages, the length of the entries and the number of edits made to each entry.

Other categories of featured influential Americans include “Trailblazers,” “Outlaws,” “First Women,” “Empire Builders,” “Athletes” and “Pop Icons.”


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