My apologizes for being absent for the last 10 days or so. Blogging is one of my top priorities and yet lately I have been unable to make time for it. There are a few reasons for that.
Firstly, several of our companies have needed more time from me lately.
- Infobase Media Corp (www.ldsaudio.com and www.ldslibrary.com) is selecting the next vertical market it will pursue. That requires significant research time.
- Directory.net has changed its company name to WebEvident (new web site coming soon!) and has been doing more design and development work on its Searchability (TM) web service, which is already being marketed through multiple partners.
- Worldhistory.com has launched a new web site and has engaged 10 students at Utah Valley State College to work on internet marketing and e-commerce this semester.
- FundingUtah.com is live and planning a version two that will have more features for entrepreneurs and investors.
Secondly, I have continued to have speaking and teaching and writing engagements, such as lectures at BYU and UVSC, writing articles for Connect Magazine, and today, giving a speech at the Provo Rotary Club.
I spoke today about generous and innovative gifts that perpetually bless the world, including:
- Thomas Bodley’s creation of the Bodleian Library at Oxford
- James Smithson’s endowment which led to the formation of the Smithsonian Institution
- Leland and Jane Stanford’s creation of Stanford University in memory of their son
- The Perpetual Emigrating Fund which helped tens of thousands of “pioneers” emigrate to Utah in the late 1800s by loaning them money which they later repaid. One such emigrant was David Eccles who became Utah’s first multi-millionaire. The Eccles family is one of Utah’s most prominent families. They currently run many philanthropic foundations whose assets exceed $1 billion. The Eccles legacy started with a 70 pound loan from the PEF so the family could emigrate from Scotland.
- The Perpetual Education Fund announced in 2001 by LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley which provides loans to thouands of students around the world who are seeking higher education. When the loans are repaid, the funds are available for more students.
Then I talked about more modern gifts from individuals and corporations which provide value now and could bless the world for centuries to come:
- MyFamily.com (if only they would once again offer free web sites for any family in the world!)
- Hotmail and Gmail (free email accounts for everyone)
- Google Print (free access to the contents of some of the world’s most important libraries)
- Skype (free long distance to anywhere in the world for more than 50 million people who have downloaded the software)
- Wikipedia (open content encyclopedia which will dwarf Encyclopedia Britannica in the coming years and become one of the great knowledge resources in the world)
- LinkedIn.com (a valuable social networking service that helps people stay in contact with people they know and trust–when it has tens or hundreds of millions of users it will become an essential part of our lives)
- Worldstock (a wonderful service from Overstock.com helping thousands of artisans and craftsmen in more than 30 countries sell their goods on the internet. Worldstock is already the largest single employer in Afghanistan and I think will be one of the keys to economic growth in developing nations.)
I failed to mention a few others blessings to the world that I usually discuss:
- Open Source software
- eBay (the company offers a world market for millions of sellers — a great gift by itself — but founder Pierre Omidyar’s commitment to give away 99% of his wealth in the next 20 years is also a great gift.)
Thirdly (back to the reasons why I’ve not blogged lately), I have been asked to serve as a bishop in the LDS Church (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). This means that I will maintain my current employment but that in addition I will serve as the minister or spiritual leader for about 120 families in our congregation in Provo, Utah. This is an honor and a very humbling responsibility.
I love the Church and the teachings of Jesus Christ. I am thankful for the great personal peace that I find in studying scriptures and in daily prayer. I don’t know how I would live without being firmly grounded in a religious tradition that teaches faith in God, hope in the future, and charity (or love) for all.
I rarely blog about my personal religious views, and I respect everyone else’s (in fact I learn a great deal by studying writings from various religious traditions), but if you are interested at all in learning more about the Church, or what we believe, or what LDS bishops do, please feel free to email me so we can converse.