Wednesday, October 1, 2008

52,000 and Counting: Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord as a Missionary Resource

Last year near the end of October 2008 I began blogging and created the Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord blog. It was a few weeks later that Elder Ballard, my former mission president, spoke about the New Media. I took his counsel seriously and have been blogging regularly a few times a week to help in the missionary cause.

I began blogging as a means of disseminating a missionary quote book that I compiled with statements by the First Presidency and the Twelve on missionary related subjects. When I had completed the 632 page missionary quote book Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord I needed a way of getting its message out since I couldn't find an official publisher. As a means of distributing it I decided to place it on the web. I want to use something simple and knew blogger had a lot of features that would make it simple for me to post it and drive traffic to the site.

I also knew that I would need to blog to draw people's attention to my site so they could discover it and the way to do that was to get on aggregators like Mormon Blogs and Mormon Archipelago. The first person to pick me up was John Dehlin who was acquainted with my wife BiV who was a well-known blogger. A couple of the other aggregators refused to help me so I am indebted to the two aggregators for most of my traffic. Four hundred posts later with 52,000 hits I have been relatively successful in getting hundreds of people to look at the statements I spent twenty years compiling. I compiled the missionary book as a labor of love at the direction of Ezra Taft Benson who encouraged me to do it back in 1987. Blogger has been an inexpensive way to put out the gospel message.

As I near the completion of the book I asked members of the Twelve and First Presidency for their pictures as young missionaries or mission presidents and copies of talks to missionaries that were not in print. Only one or two responded in any way. A couple more sent my request to Roger Fluhman, Secretary to the Twelve. His email response on 1 November 2008 is the official policy that the Twelve take when receiving unsolicited correspondence.
"J. Roger Fluhman" wrote: Dear Brother Bruno:

I have been asked to respond to your recent messages to members of the Quorum of the Twelve, inviting them to send you photographs for use with your quote book. The First Presidency have, over the years, asked Church members to recognize that "correspondence directed to Church headquarters as well as individual requests delivered to General Authorities, present an almost insurmountable task├ó€”making it difficult for the Brethren to fulfill the duties for which they are alone responsible." In the spirit of this earlier instruction, I have been asked to indicate that, because of their busy schedules, the Twelve will be unable to respond to your invitation. Though this may be a disappointment to you, we are sure you will be understanding.

Also, when copies of publications in any format are sent by individual authors to the Brethren, the fact of their receiving them is often misused. A kind letter of appreciation from one of the Brethren is sometimes used by individuals to imply endorsement of their product.

The foregoing is not meant to suggest that your intent is not worthy. It also has nothing to do with the merits of your book, or the good you have done.

Sincerely,

J. Roger Fluhman
Secretary to the Twelve


My response to him at the time was:

"Dear Brother Fluhman: I having many years experience dealing with six different brethren on various books and compilations. I do not find it surprising to receive your correspondence since I understand the church's policy and my being low on the Totem Pole. I had already spoken to Barry Taggart at Intellectual Reserve on the matter a few months ago. He agreed that I could do this as a private compilation not as a book for publication. However my deceased father used to say they can only say "no." I learned by working for President Benson on two of his books that when one of he Brethren want it done there is no problem. But in my case I am not under anyone's official sanction I am just following something said to me over twenty years ago by a dead Prophet of God. I don't need endorsements for this book to have it read. I have had three hundred people read it in less than three weeks. In a year I project thirty to fifty thousand will read it. "
Well lo and behold I have hit the 52,000 mark three weeks earlier than I predicted when I launched my blog at the end of October 2008. I want to thank those who have read my various ramblings. It is hard to come up with ways of drawing people to my blog so they can discover the book which is on the side bar. I hope you will enjoy the many missionary resources that I have been providing. It is time consuming and hard work to come up with fresh ideas for this blog. I have also been like a detective tracking down all the missionary blogs with some very sophisticated tools. I honestly have the most complete list available. Sometimes I have chosen some controversial subjects or titles to get more people to view the blog. If you feel the book has helped you in any way please give a few dollars to the missionary fund. My intent is to raise consciousness about all aspects of missionary work.

I am constantly updating the quotes in the Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord book and producing new resources. Over the course of the next year I will be doing all 365 missions as seperate posts with links to information about them. Missionaries and mission presidents can submit information as comments. I am progressing at the rate of one a day so it will be a drawn out process. My rationale for doing it is there is no one comprehensive resource to learn about the mission, the missionaries, and official publications about them.

Over the next five to ten years I will put together a similar missionary quote book with statements by the Quorum of Seventy. But for now only the Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord book has information all in one place by topic for all the Prophets and Apostles, making it a definitive source on the subject.

The Lord has blessed me with a reasoning mind so that I can come up with ways of attracting people to the missionary resource. I hope the information on my site will help you be better member and full-time missionaries. I am doing my small part to build the kingdom of God. May the Lord bless us all to do our part in leading women and men to Christ.

1 comment:

S.Faux said...

Thanks, Dr. B.

I really do appreciate all your extreme hard work on your missionary quote book and your blog.

The real reward for any such projects is the possibility of influencing someone in a positive manner toward the Church. Other forms of profit pale by comparison.

I am impressed by the number you have reached.