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Dear Meridian Friends,

At this Christmas season, I want to tell you what Meridian means to me and ask you to help Scot and Maurine perpetuate and grow this important LDS treasure.


This People Magazine

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I met Maurine Proctor in the late 1970s when Rick Olsen and I were launching This People Magazine. I hate revealing my age! Maurine was a writer-a good writer-and I was a publisher with the hope of becoming a writer one day. We hit it off, but it wasn’t until a few years later that our paths crossed again when she and Scot became the new editors of This People. By that time, I had purchased Sonos Music Resources, a sacred music publishing company, and began my career as a publisher in earnest.

Using the Internet

Internet Icon_121212_smallLater, Scot contacted me with a visionary idea about using the Internet as a vehicle to connect Saints throughout the world and reach tens of thousands more people than we had ever reached in print. At that time, I was in contact with several-thousand email subscribers, so I gladly merged them with Meridian’s subscribers, and Meridian began to grow.

Becoming an Author

After I sold my publishing company, I began pursuing a life-long dream of becoming an author. I had nursed an idea for nineteen years, so during the fall of 1995, I began to write. I would let no one read my book because I was certain that it was terrible. I even considered using a pseudonym so I wouldn’t have to endure public embarrassment.

I wrote the book when my family was suffering a temporary poverty, and I determined to give the manuscript to my wife for Christmas. I finished the first draft on Christmas Eve 1995, printed it out and ran down to Kinkos to bind it. I presented it to my wife on Christmas day. By Christmas afternoon, she had edited it and I began rewrites.

Ah, the life of a writer!

The Mourning Dove

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Three months later, I self-published The Mourning Dove. It sold 30,000 copies in the first four months then a prominent literary agent signed me to a contract and sold the book and The Touch of the Master’s Hand to a national publisher. I was finally an author!

Missionary Tool

Fast-forward to 2004. For months, a thought had pressed upon my mind. How could the Internet be used as a missionary tool? I experimented with several ideas-all of which were successful-when a couple of good friends encouraged me to create a non-profit foundation to give the idea a home. That was the birth of Gospel Ideals International (www.gospelideals.org).

The Spiritual Experience that Connected Me to Meridian

Now comes the good part, and please forgive me for referencing a spiritual experience. One of the champions of Gospel Ideals was my mission president. We had worked this Internet missionary idea for several years until he contracted cancer. When he was dying, he asked that I come and give him a final blessing in the hospital. During our conversation, I asked him to please find a way to continue to help me, and he promised that he would try. We had that kind of relationship, and we both believed that important work is conducted by fellow-servants from both sides of the veil.

A few days after my mission president passed away, I was pondering a publishing issue, when a thought shot through my mind, “Call Scot and Maurine.” I did, and during the conversation, Maurine asked if I would like to write for Meridian. The idea was intriguing. I had only written books and writing articles would be a wonderful challenge. I agreed.

After I hung up the phone, I sat back and wondered about what had just happened. Then I heard a voice say, “You are welcome.” I knew whose voice it was.

Meridian as a Platform for Me and Others

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In the last three and a half years, I have written several hundred articles to a huge international audience of Latter-day Saints on a variety of subjects. In terms of teaching the gospel, I have a greater impact through Meridian than I ever have had with writing books.  And I’ve been fairly successful as a book writer. Over the years, I’ve sold over 200,000 books, but I can reach that many people each month through Meridian.

I know the Proctors. I know their devotion to the Saints. I know their commitment to bless you life. I know that they have given all that they are and have to provide us this “national treasure.” Did you know that Meridian reaches about 70,000 people each day with around 500,000 unique monthly visitors to their website from over 220 countries? My fellow Meridian columnists and I could never reach such a vast audience of Saints if Meridian did not exist, and you, the subscribers, would never be able to access the writings of some of the best literary talent in the Church.

Please Take Action Now

I urge you to help my friends, Scot and Maurine, and become a voluntary subscriber to help them continue publishing this expensive and demanding magazine. This publication connects Saints all around the world and blesses countless lives, like yours. Advertising alone cannot begin to offset the publishing costs, so I ask you, as a Meridian writer who has benefitted tremendously, to help out just a little-today.

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Bless you and merry Christmas!

Larry Barkdull