LDSPRO-Connecting the Community of Saints
by Maurine and Scot Proctor
Plug Your Business Into the World Wide Web. Meridian Magazine offers a new service that helps you find other Latter-day Saint businesses and professionals.
E-mail rains from our computer, a torrential downpour of letters from Meridian readers at the rate of at least 200 per day. We have heard from Johnson Island and Qatar. We are asked questions we don’t always have time to answer (Can you tell me where to get this tee shirt that I saw a few years ago on the BYU campus?) We are sometimes scolded (Why can’t you get the gospel doctrine lessons up earlier? Don’t you know I start preparing my lessons at least by Wednesday?).
With that volume of mail, you can imagine that we have a fairly good idea about what Latter-day Saints are thinking-and here is part of it. Latter-day Saints want to be connected to each other. Like a family spread out across the world that once sprang from the same home, we like to find each other, know about each other, recognize each other in a crowd. With the immense miracle that is the Internet, it is as if the scattering of Israel has taken a turn-the saints want to be gathered together.
Connecting is comfort
Yesterday, for instance, we got this letter, “I am a U.S. military stationed in Germany. My family is planning to visit Jerusalem this summer before we go back to the U.S. Do you have any recommendation of any tour agency (preferably LDS) that can fly us from Germany to Jerusalem, back to Germany and arrange a tour for us…Or if we have any LDS families in that area to accommodate us in a bed and breakfast type of hotel?”
Why did the writer want to find an LDS tour agency? We’re not sure. Maybe it’s because they are traveling to a foreign place and are yearning to know and be known. And why did they contact us? We think it is because Meridian has become a trusted platform of security, a place where people gather to talk, to listen, to share.
Frequently, we have given firesides at stakes around the United States, asked to speak by people who had read our books, but didn’t know us. They would meet us at the airport, take us to their homes to stay, and we were surprised at something. The strangers who met us at the airport became our friends almost instantly. We didn’t have awkward moments of silence while we searched for something to say. No. In fact, usually we ended staying up too late talking to one another-for our kinship was instant.
From these experiences, Meridian’s new service, the LDSPRO Directory was born. LDSPRO is like a Latter-day Saint ‘yellow pages’ of businesses, professionals and services. It’s a place, searchable by profession, or location, keyword or a combination where you can find information about LDS-owned businesses or LDS professionals in any area of the United States or the world.
Would you like to find an LDS dentist near your home? Check LDSPRO. Would you like to find a professional genealogist to help with your family research? A financial adviser that will understand why you are adamant that 10% of your income goes to your church? LDSPRO is the place to look.
Two years ago we moved from Salt Lake City to the Washington D.C. metro area, and frankly, we wanted an LDS realtor to help us find a home. This was not because we don’t enjoy the rich diversity of mingling with people of other cultures and faiths. We have always found the variegated tapestry of humanity to be part of life’s wealth.
In this case, however, we wanted to ask questions another realtor couldn’t have answered. We wanted to be shown where the various wards were located; we wanted to have information about ward boundaries. We wanted to ask about the strength of the youth programs in the area. We knew our realtor could help us find bishops’ names to call.
We were sensitive that in moving we were thrusting our two high-school age sons out of the secure circle of their lifelong friends, so we wanted advice from someone who understood.
It was a research project to find Andrea Crowley-but well worth it. We called an old friend in Maryland who was a bishop. “Do you know of any LDS Realtors in your area?” He connected us with one who found he didn’t have the expertise in Northern Virginia where we wanted to settle. He then recommended Andrea. That took us some time and a lot of phone calls.
Andrea had information to help us in buying our house that nobody could have had. (She was so well-informed on the wards, in fact, that she put us right into her own!) If LDSPRO had already been available, we would not have had to research to find Andrea. Her name would have come up as soon as we started searching “realtor” and “Virginia.” She may have had several clients beside us who wanted similar information if they had access to an LDSPRO.
Andrea’s husband Rich could have used LDSPRO as well. He’s a professional photographer, specializing in weddings-especially those at the Washington D.C. Temple. He’s learned something about taking pictures there that most photographers in the Washington area have had no experience in. He knows the good angles, when the light and shadows fall. Most important, he knows something about what eternal marriage means to the couple he is trying to capture.
Brides in the Washington D.C. metro area would probably like to know about Rich Crowley’s expertise in photography at the temple. They’ll never know by turning to their standard yellow pages.
Think about all the times when dealing with a business or professional who understands your principles and paradigms might be helpful, when clicking on LDSPRO might offer the solution you need. You may want an obstetrician who is supportive as you move ahead to have many children. You may want to find where to order scrapbook supplies. You may want an insurance agent who can help you plan for your unique situation.
Singing in Cyberspace
LDSPRO offers even a greater opportunity if you are an LDS professional or business owner. The Internet is a fantastic new world of networking never before possible in all of history. Cyberspace creates community. Our Meridian writer team bring their insights to 100,000 distinct readers from all over the world per month-and growing rapidly. None of us could regularly have talked to that kind of an audience before the Internet. We couldn’t have found you. You found us in cyberspace.
LDSPRO offers the same possibility for business and professional people. You can find a whole additional clientele by listing in LDSPRO. These are Latter-day Saints who may never find you otherwise. What’s more, listing on LDSPRO gives you a chance to tell something about your business or product that Latter-day Saints may not know if they happened to find you in a phonebook or by word of mouth. You have some room to sell yourself. You have a place to tell what makes your business distinctively excellent.
Who, for instance, wouldn’t be interested in using an accountant with this kind of expertise? Gerlie from Nashville, Tennessee said, “I have served on the National Board of Public Accountants as District governor for four years; several committees at national level; state governor for four years; local chapter president; also was accountant of the year.” Read this and we want to call him.
Craig said, “I have a marketing consulting business in Spokane, Washington. We do marketing, advertising, graphic design and public relations using all the latest tools and techniques to produce results for our clients.” Doris from West Virginia writes that she has 1,000 original quilt designs. Jackie notes that she is an accredited Irish researcher for genealogy.
Even better, you can upgrade your LDSPRO listing to be more than just a listing by adding a complete informational page and picture of your business or product-your own web page hosted on LDSPRO! The technical people at Meridian can help you easily design this page at an affordable cost. For some, this may be the first time that their business has a presence on the World Wide Web. They may discover what those of us who spend a great deal of time on the Internet already know. This connectivity is powerful, adding a whole new advertising venue for your business at a fraction of the usual advertising cost.
Margaret writes, “I am an LDS estate planning attorney practicing in the San Francisco area, specifically Fremont, CA. I have over 20 years experience in preparing living trusts, insurance trusts, administration of trusts and probates, as well as other general business law.”
Paul said, “I am interested in advertising as a sign supplier. I specialize in highway signs and traffic control devices. I also do real estate signage, magnetic signs, computer graphics, and etc. Sales and Installation.”
Where could these businesses and professionals find a place to advertise on the web for less than the price of two movie tickets per month?
The sweep of professions and services accepted in LDSPRO directory is broad, covering the range of needs you have as a consumer. The reach for your business when you are listed in LDSPRO can go around the globe-almost instantaneously.
Do you want to take a look at the initial pages of LDSPRO? We have designed some functional pages that will give you a taste for this new and powerful directory. We’ll give you the link below.
In this “LDSPRO 1.0 Beta Release” you will find that no matter what state you select you will end up in Rhode Island. We chose Rhode Island because it is the smallest state and we wanted it to be highlighted. Read the entries, you will begin to see how specialized this will be to the LDS audience.
In “1.0 Beta” no matter what profession you select you will come up with computers. Look through these entries and you will also get a feel for their breadth and orientation to the LDS audience.
Select a key word (any word) and you will be taken to a default page of dentists. These entries also reflect the kind of write-ups that will be used to describe LDSPRO clients.
Do you have a lot of questions? At the bottom of the page you will find an FAQ tab (frequently asked questions). Click on the tab and we think most of your questions will be answered. Don’t be stymied if you don’t find the right category for your business. The categories will quickly expand into the hundreds.
Look around. Be among the first 1,000 to sign up and you will receive certain benefits for life. You will always have the status of CHARTER MEMBER. You will also receive the first fifteen months for the cost of twelve.
And what are the costs? For just a little less than the cost of two movie tickets a month you can be listed in LDSPRO. It works out to $150 a year (just $12.50/month). You will see other options as you go through the site. How much for the listing and a template webpage? $250 a year. To be place in the midst of 100,000 readers a month and be there month after month at that price is a bargain. And soon LDSPRO will have thousands of members in its directory-don’t be left out.
Here’s a look at those first pages (it’s a simple address to remember): www.ldspro.com
We will soon have more than a hundred account representatives, one of whom will be specifically there for you to answer questions and see to your needs. You may sign up directly through the GET LISTED buttons on the site. You can easily walk through and pay with a credit card. Be among the first 1,000 to sign up-you’ll be glad you did.
If you have further questions do not hesitate to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
There will be further information to follow in days and weeks to come. Remember, LDSPRO 2.0 will be launched some time in March this year.
NOTE: The pages you will see on the LDSPRO today are SAMPLES only and are not LIVE. Every STATE defaults to RHODE ISLAND. Every PROFESSION defaults to COMPUTERS. And every KEY WORD search defaults to DENTISTS. This is only to show you functionality. You may register today and pay your initial fees.
2001 Meridian Magazine. All Rights Reserved.