I write this at the request of Brother Crowther. I don’t know him well enough to call him Duane. In fact, we have never met, as far as I know. But if I do slip into familiar voice, please forgive me. I feel as if I have known him for years, over forty at least. That was when I was first introduced to his two most popular books: Life Everlasting and Prophecy: Key to the Future.
Life Everlasting and Prophecy: Key to the Future
I have read it so much I have lost the jacket cover of Life Everlasting. The jacket cover of Prophecy: Key to the Future (hereinafter referred to simply as Prophecy), is worn and taped on all edges and corners. I grew up with these books. I read them when I was a teenager and have read them perhaps a dozen times each, especially Prophecy. I think you can tell I’m an old guy.
Bookcraft – publisher of many wonderful books
Life Everlasting was first published in 1967 by Bookcraft (now there’s a name that brings up memories), while Prophecy was first published in 1962, also by Bookcraft. In case you don’t know, in the old days, if your book was not published by Deseret Book, it wasn’t considered top-tier Mormon doctrine, or perhaps had some questionable or debatable content as the subject.
My Introduction to Duane’s Writings
If I remember correctly, Prophecy was first written as a Master’s thesis at BYU and later expanded for publication. I fell in love with the book from the moment I first laid eyes on it at Ellsworth Stationers in Baldwin Park California, the place we went to buy LDS books in my youth. It was with my sister, Tricia, now a librarian, and my mother who bought and read them.
Our Regular Trips to the Book Store
I seem to recall I devoured it that night. This was the 22nd printing of 1973 so I was sixteen. I also bought Life Everlasting as well as The Coming of the Lord by Gerald Lund on the same day, and Mormon Doctrine, Second Edition, by Bruce R. McConkie. We were allowed four or five books each trip to the bookstore. They didn’t cost nearly as much then as they do now (maybe $5).
Books That Augmented my Testimony
Later favorites from these trips to Ellsworth included Great Basin Kingdom by Leonard J. Arrington, The First 2,000 Years by W. Cleon Skousen, along with The Third Thousand Years and The Fourth Thousand Years. Mother bought me several biographies about Joseph Smith including one by Donna Hill and No Man Knows My History by Fawn Brodie, which she gave me when I was going to college and Institute after my mission in 1978.
I Inherited My Love of Learning
My mother was a wonderful person, a schoolteacher and amateur gospel scholar extraordinaire. She taught the gospel doctrine or genealogy / family history classes for about as long as I can remember while growing up in the old Covina First ward and Covina Stake. Mother loved to teach and she loved to teach her children. I inherited my love of learning from my mother.
Mother Owned an LDS Book Store
Mother loved LDS books so much she opened her own LDS bookstore in La Verne CA back in the early 1970’s called Leta’s Books. I remember seeing all the new books each year with James Mortimer of Deseret Book. The bookstore didn’t last long. Mother had no business sense so she lost a lot of money – all of my dad’s life savings, but if it bothered him I could never tell.
My Recent Email / Letter From Duane Crowther
I hope you get the impression I love to read LDS doctrine and history and have since I was a teenager. But I digress. Let’s get back to Duane Crowther. I was surprised with a post on my blog from Duane the other day. It was put it in my “About-Tim” section. I answered it within two hours, also posting a public reply. He emailed back privately as did I and this is the result.
I Have Written Much About Excommunication
You’ll have to read both letters to get the full story but in a nutshell, because I have written a number of stories about individuals who have been excommunicated (Mel Fish, Denver Snuffer), my blog shows up high in a Google search on the topic. By sheer coincidence, I also published a bunch of reviews on NDE books, another favorite subject, and Duane’s book shows up there.
Unintended Consequence of Search Engine Optimization
Now I’m a computer dude by trade, but I’m more of an old-fashioned infrastructure kind of guy. That means I design and administer networks to make them run efficient. I don’t know much about websites, blogging or especially SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Duane pointed out that when you Google his name, excommunicated shows up afterward, along with other words.
SEO Can Cause Some Weird Google Search Results
Well, he’s not unique in that regard. You can find weird stuff behind famous people’s names, including LDS authors if you Google their name and leave a space. For example, “obituary” shows up behind Gerald Lund’s name and as far as I know, he’s not dead yet. He was our Institute Director and bishop for many years so we keep pretty close tabs on him. I think we would know.
Duane Crowther Has Not Been Excommunicated
Oh, you may be wondering why Duane wrote me about this little problem. It just so happens my blog shows up first under his name and the word “excommunication.” Now we know Duane has not been excommunicated and never was. He currently serves in the temple presidency of the Asuncion Paraguay Temple. Naturally he thought I was writing he had been excommunicated.
Google – They Keep Their Secrets to Themselves
I’m afraid I didn’t do a very good job of convincing Duane there was anything I could do to make that connection go away. Google concatenates words and phrases from several posts in some random order only they understand. We bloggers have very little to say and no control over what appears under our names or the subjects about which we blog. It’s really unfortunate.
This Post is in Response to Prayer
So again, this post in in response to a private request from Duane separate from the public letter he posted in my “About-Tim” section. He asked me to pray about it and explain the situation in one of my regular blog posts. I’m more than happy to comply. The last thing I want is offend one of my boyhood heroes who got me started down the path of studying about the last days.
SEO is Like Free Publicity for Bloggers
I guess I’ve done too good a job at SEO – unintentionally, let me assure you. All I do is make sure when I write a post, it gets announced in Twitter, Google Plus and Facebook. I think that’s all done through a widget called Networked Blogs. I’m grateful for the publicity. Seems like ninety percent of my hits come from Google searches, then Reddit and a few LDS bloggers.
Anonymous Searches Beat Out Directed Searches
I don’t get anything from the conservative LDS Mormon blog Aggregators anymore – ldsblogs, Mormon Blogs and places like that. As I’ve noted before, they either dropped me when I changed from Blogger to WordPress or when I started blogging about Denver Snuffer. So all you people who come here from a Google Search – about ninety percent – thanks for your visits.
Duane’s Official Quote – A Misleading Listing
But if you came here expecting to learn more about Duane Crowther being excommunicated, you won’t find it here. I know nothing about that, but I will share what he wrote again: “…I’ve never been excommunicated, nor have there ever been grounds for that to take place… such a misleading listing can be very harmful to one’s reputation.” I agree and wish Google wouldn’t put them together.
How to Get Google to Change Their Algorithm
Now maybe you SEO experts out there can offer some suggestions on how I can grant Duane’s request with some action on my part. I know you can work with Google in correcting erroneous information about a company listing. For example, we did that the place where I work. But still, the 2001 Aspen crash will always be listed under the name of Avjet. It is simply unfortunate.
Conclusion – My Public Apology to Duane Crowther
Brother Crowther, in addition to what I wrote in my letter, please accept my sincere apologies for this unfortunate sequence of events from my blog that causes a Google search to concatenate your name with a word I have used a lot in many of my posts. As I wrote there, I have a lot of respect for your contribution to the world of LDS Book Publishing. God bless you my friend.