Andy and Stacie Proctor
Twenty Fourteen was an amazing year. As always, we had lots of fun together. We are blessed to be able to work from home (or anywhere with internet) managing our blogs and an online retail store. Because of this, we love to travel and really enjoy going on road trips. Our trips this year included two trips to California (one for Andy’s 30th birthday and one to run the SoCal Ragnar Relay), one to Las Vegas and St George for Stacie’s birthday, one to the Oregon and Washington coast to be inspired and revisit some of Stacie’s childhood stomping grounds, an all-expense paid cruise to the Bahamas with Q Sciences and one last trip where we brought all our things with us from our apartment in Pleasant Grove to our house in Provo. We celebrated our one-year anniversary and took a picture of us holding a picture from our wedding day (which we will repeat every anniversary). We received our “official” wedding rings from our Christian friend in Jerusalem who custom made them with his own hands. We celebrated the lives and passing of Uncle Kenny Wigg and Grandma Rose Gurr. God be with you till we meet again. We welcomed two new members to our family who eat a lot of millet seed, and know how to fly - we got some parakeets. :) We launched ldsmissionaries.com as a resource for LDS missionaries and their families that now has a little over half a million likes on Facebook. Stacie made great strides in academics and health, completing an academic renewal at Weber State University and overcoming a dairy allergy. Andy started his application to a master program in Pennsylvania, was included in a video with David Archuleta and Skyped with Leonard Nimoy (Spock from Star Trek) at ComicCon SLC, asking him: “How does one live long and prosper in real life?” Andy finished a Book of Mormon project he started seven years ago, writing his thoughts and revelations about every single chapter so that posterity would never wonder what he thought about each chapter and verse. We have done a lot, but we have also become better together. We have learned more patience and better communication, deepened our trust in God, come to value our health more, and found more meaning in being present and enjoying each moment of each day with the people who matter most to us. We were inspired by and grateful for any and all interaction we enjoyed with you, the people we love. Many of you reached out and have been the answer to our prayers. We love you, and we know that 2015 will be the best year of our life! We celebrate the year that is past and welcome in the new with open hearts and hope in Jesus Christ, the Great High Priest of good things to come. God be with you as you work to fulfill the dreams of your heart and be your best and highest selves in 2015.
Andy and Stacie Proctor
I just hosted an event on Facebook where I invited people to leave an authentic and honest review of the Book of Mormon on amazon.com, the largest bookstore on the planet. There are millions of people who have read the book and who could leave an honest review of it on amazon, but who just don't know that this would be a good thing to do. I wanted to invite people to do it during cyber week when so many people are doing their Christmas shopping on amazon already. So I started an event to see if people would respond and leave an honest and authentic review of their experience with The Book of Mormon. Here are the results from the week:
10,756 people invited
2202 clicks to amazon (bitly)
Total number of new reviews 386
5 Star - 275
4 Star - 5
3 Star - 1
2 Star - 12
1 Star - 92
Overall it was a success other than the voting up of the negative reviews. I'll focus efforts next on inviting people to go and vote (honestly) on the reviews that were helpful for them. And I will encourage others to share their review with their friends and family who (if they feel like it was helpful) can indicate that it was a helpful review of the book.
But for now I'll review some interesting things I learned from this.
There are people who were very opposed to this type of thing. Members as well as non-members. Members didn't understand the intent of the event. I just wanted to help more people who had actually read the Book of Mormon to record their experience in a place where other people can read it. In the past, I have been invited to write my experience with the book in the front of the Book of Mormon before giving it to someone. This is almost the same thing in my mind. However there were some people, even members, who thought that I was just trying to cheat the system and that this was a bad representation of the Church. I still disagree with this. Non-members were trolling and were, as always, vituperative and abusive to almost every person who left a positive comment on the event page. Looking backward, I wish there was a way to have more control over who can come and who can't.
I see nothing wrong with posting a suggestion to members of the church who have read the Book of Mormon to post an authentic review of what they thought. There are two reasons why I think this is NOT a breech of the amazon terms of service. There were at least 3 people who said we shouldn't be doing this because it was a breech in the TOS of amazon and that we should not try to promote the church this way (2 were active members as far as I know). Here is why I don't agree with them.
1. Amazon allows amazon users who have not purchased their products directly from amazon, to leave a review of the product. They also have a tag of the review that says "Amazon Verified Purchase" meaning that the amazon user actually purchased the product from amazon.com. If a review is not marked Amazon Verified Purchase, it doesn't mean that the reviewer has no experience with the product - it just means that we couldn't verify that it had been purchased at Amazon. They may have purchased the item elsewhere or had some other interaction with it. You can find the details here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/community-help/amazon-verified-purchase
2. Those who said that we should not be leaving reviews of this copy because it is a purchasable copy and we shouldn't be reviewing a book that we haven't purchased should also be aware of the fact that the exact same reviews are carried over and used for a totally different version of the book that is free. Here is the link to that version:
Anyone can "purchase" this version for free as a kindle download and be a "verified" purchase. The fact is that there are 3 versions with the same reviews attached to them.
In addition to this, I personally feel that it is perfectly honest to leave an honest and authentic review of a book that you have read that is the EXACT same text as the version that is being reviewed. For example, C.S. Lewis wrote an amazing book called Mere Christianity. There are at least 3 different versions of this exact text on amazon.com. I purchased the book years ago in person at Borders Books (when it was still in business). Is my amazon review of this amazing book any less helpful for someone who is buying (or downloading for free a kindle version) of the exact same book with the exact same text? Mere Christianity changed my life, affected my view of Christian philosophy and gave me a way to look at my faith from a more intellectual point of view. And I believe that everyone who shops on amazon should know about this. I could say the same of 10 other books that have affected me and been helpful - that I did NOT purchase on amazon. I'm just adding this part because I think it is ridiculous that members argue against the fact that we should not be leaving reviews of the Book of Mormon on amazon. It is a book that has changed our life and can change the lives of millions of people for the better. Should we not encourage those who have read the book to leave their thoughts on a platform that has been built to give people a place to leave their honest opinion and authentic review of a book that the did NOT purchase on amazon?
As always, I'm still willing to be made aware of my flaws. From the viewpoint of the letter of the law, I may have just suggested people brake the terms of service of amazon.com. Though those who claim it was a breech in the TOS of amazon were also just saying their subjective interpretation of the TOS. If their subjective opinion is correct, then I would argue that their terms of service are limited and don't allow people who have genuinely read (and have an honest opinion about) a book, to help others who are honest seekers of truth, to know what those who HAVE read the exact same text, know about the book. If this is the case, I repent and will never do this again. AND I boldly declare to the world that amazon.com, the largest bookseller on earth, has a flawed system of reviewing the very products which they base their business on. If I can't leave a genuine review of something that I didn't purchase on amazon, then why is there a way to do it? Again, please see the link I posted above from amazon explaining why they let people leave reviews of products that they have not purchased on amazon. It was not a breech in their TOS.
In addition to this, if people who have not read the book are leaving fallacious and vituperative reviews of the book claiming that it is "A Great Book if you Want to Improve Your Sex Life" then I feel that this should be snuffed out by reviews from people who HAVE read the book and have an authentic and honest opinion of its contents.
Overall, I was strengthened as I wrote my honest opinion and authentic review of The Book of Mormon on the amazon page for the book, (which for the record, I did "purchase"). I was also very inspired by the other people who reached out to help me in this effort. Aaron Abbott and Pam Skaggs Peebles were so helpful. I have made a new friend in Aaron. I'm grateful that other people have such a strong conviction of the truth in the Book of Mormon that they are able to spend their time and effort (and resist the opposition that comes directly at you when you are the "host" of an event like this). In the words of another who has put himself on the line to defend the Book of Mormon online (Ben Arkell): "You are 10 minutes away from a self-induced anxiety attack." LOL. It's true. When people are questioning your integrity and calling you names and trying to make you believe you are a monster or whatever else they throw at you.
The Book of Mormon is true, on and off of amazon.com.
And I will not stop supporting it and encouraging others to do the same.
And even if this made no difference to anyone who is considering downloading a free copy (or purchasing) the Book of Mormon, it inspired almost 300 members to think what they honestly feel about the Book of Mormon and record it online. This I think is a great success. To write your testimony and leave your authentic review of the Book of Mormon, please click here: http://amzn.to/1unfBpS