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Hi I'm Rick Bennett

I converted to Mormonism on April 23, 1966. My career is hi-tech advertising, and I've written two novels.

About Me

When I was 6 years old, I decided to perform what I now know as an “Einsteinian Thought Experiment.” I purposefully stood by the flagpole in front of my grade school and determined to remember the exact “me” of that time, vowing to see if I turned out to be the same “me” as an adult. It’s been almost sixty-two years, and yegads, I’m the same person! I’d probably still be on a Wyoming ranch if my mother hadn’t seen Time Magazine with Andover's John Kemper on the cover. And I wouldn’t have met my Upper Middle roommate Jim Shuey, whose seminal influence guided the rest of my life. You see, Jim was brilliant, unlike the formerly smartest kid in Sheridan, Wyoming who found out at Andover that he wasn’t as smart as he thought he was. I majored in mathematics and went into computers, later using common sense to design a piece of electronics that made national headlines. After all, a mathematician can become an engineer by simply learning Ohm’s Law. Then, believing my own PR, I sold that company and ran for the Congress. Luckily I lost, and met another mentor: Tony Schwartz, whose famous Daisy television ad ran only once on one network and destroyed Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign. I worked with Tony to help engineer Massachusetts’ tax-limitation 1980 initiative. Tony once asked me why I ran for Congress, and I gave some swill about making a diffeence. He laughed and said, “Rick, one good ad can do more to change the world that all the politicians placed end to end.”

Why I am a Mormon

When I was in first or second grade, I went into my basement in Sheridan, Wyoming and closed myself into a totally dark closet. There, I said a simple prayer: "God, if there is a God, please let me know what you want me to do with my life and I'll do it." Somehow, that prayer complied with heavenly "rules of engagement" that caused many miraculous things to happen in my life. In high school, I seemed to date Mormon girls. One of my best grade school friends was Catholic (I was Episcopalian, or "low Catholic"). One day, we were standing on a bridge, pretending it was a boat, taking us to someplace exciting (when you're standing on a bridge looking at rushing water, you feel as if you're on a boat). I asked my friend, "What is the purpose of life?" He happened to have his Catechism from Holy Name school with him, and we looked through it. As nearly as we could determine from my friend's Catechism, mankind's duty on earth was to honor the Virgin Mary. Admittedly, this was theology as understood by two grade-school boys. But I just knew there was more to life. Interestingly, whenever I went over that bridge on the way home, the Spirit would remind me of our discussion about the meaning of life. Going the other way, away from home, I seldom remembered the conversation. But years later, after my wife and I had been sealed together in the Salt Lake Temple, I took her to Sheridan and showed her the bridge. And I told her how I always remembered the discussion with my old friend as I headed home, across the bridge. As I pointed across the bridge toward home, she laughed. Because I was pointing to an LDS chapel just on the other side of the bridge. All along, God had been directing me toward the LDS church! A lot of miraculous things led me to Mormonism, and I'd be glad to share my witness of Joseph Smith and THE BOOK OF MORMON, but fundamentally I'm a Mormon because of a sincere prayer offered as a little boy. God just can't ignore those kinds of prayers.

How I live my faith

I've spent my career helping the likes of Oracle's Larry Ellison and Salesforce.com's Marc Benioff. But my greatest satisfaction is working with my wife teaching five-year-olds in Primary. That's kind of my mental level. Remember my above-referenced “Einsteinian Thought Experiment?” I’m mentally six years old! Yep, I've reverted to my true age. Besides, what better way to influence a life for good than to have a meaningful impact on a five-year-old. Let me share an example that I believe these kids will remember their entire lives. The lesson was on love and charity. So we told them Jesus' parable about the Good Samaritan, who found a man who'd been robbed on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho. Two men passed him by, but the Samaritan ministered to him, and even took him to an inn. I dressed up in my one Bible-like robe and went into the church parking lot, where I lay on the sidewalk. [Note, I told the bishop and Relief Society leaders NOT to call 911, because there was NOT a person in the parking lot who'd had a heart attack.] Then my wife brought the children out on a stroll to Jericho. The pretended to pass me by twice. Then, they pretended to minister to me, wrapping me in bandages and taking me to "the inn." We start preparing the next week's lesson during Family Home Evening. I put as much creativity into each lesson as I put into any ads I've created for my hi-tech clients. I've been in a bishopric, served on the high council, as high priest group leader, twice as elders quorum president, once as stake mission president, as Explorer Scout leader (I took the boys on a 3-day, 400-mile bike ride from Sandy, UT to Lake Powell), and even as stake young mens president. But Primary is the best calling I've ever had.