The recipe for a Mormon entrepreneur

Published: Wednesday, July 13 2011 6:00 a.m. MDT

Take two cups of creativity, add a cup of practical thinking and season the mix with market savvy.

That's the recipe for making a Mormon entrepreneur.

And with the annual LDS Booksellers Association shindig fast approaching, dozens of new LDS entrepreneurs are emerging fresh from the oven.

When people stroll by the booths at the Booksellers expo, their eyes say it all: "How did they think of that?"

In recent years, clever Mormon "marketeers" have pitched everything from having your family history printed on a set of brass plates (complete with rings) to action figures of Ammon (complete with a set of severed arms).

There have been chess sets where Book of Mormon bad guys like Korihor and Gadianton take on good guys Nephi and Moroni.

In short, Mormons have been at this a long time. They sold goods to gold miners heading to California in 1849 and sold hand-held "funeral home fans" to sweltering Saints attending church back in 1949.

It would be a kick to travel to 2049 and see the wonders that await.

Apparently, our culture has never had much use for art made for the sake of art.

We tend to prefer art with a purpose.

When we create something, we usually create something that has a function.

Part of the Mormon imagination goes into creating and part is used to market.

And, I confess, I — too — have been seduced by allure of it all — by the hustle and action of inventing something and packaging it for the masses.

One of my ideas involved white T-shirts emblazoned with the little figures from the Pearl of Great Price scrolls — you know, "the hawk," "the alligator" and, my favorite, "the bird in a boat."

But the idea never got off the ground.

Sadly, I had the "two cups of creativity" needed, but was short the ingredients of practicality and market savvy.

In other words, my efforts were half-baked.

Today, I know my place.

I create. I let others package, market, distribute and promote.

Unless, of course, someone out there wants to go in with me on my idea for "Mormon Trail Mix." It's a combination of Cheerios, M&M's and raisins sold in little plastic bags for LDS mothers who have noisy kids.

(Did I mention each bag comes with a ready-to-use towelette?)

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