During High School, Dave was active in debate, speech, and politics, and
was a photographer for his high school yearbook. He organized a couple of
different political groups. He got a group of high school students
together to campaign for Barry Goldwater in 1964. After the election, he
invited everyone who had helped with that to join him in forming a local
chapter of Young Americans for Freedom.
joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1964, he decided
that he wanted to immerse himself in the influence of other Church members
for his college experience, so he went to Brigham Young University. While
he loved his family dearly, he didn't feel that his family upbringing was
strong enough, as far as teaching him how to be good. He fell in love with
the good, clean atmosphere at BYU. He came back to Minneapolis in the
summer of 1967, but then decided to stay in Provo during the summers and
He continued his political activities at BYU. In 1967,
at the end of his freshman year, he was elected to serve as the President
of the BYU chapter of Young Americans for Freedom. Then, at the beginning
of his sophomore year, he was also appointed the Utah State Chairman of that same organization.
He wanted to get involved in the 1968 presidential election, and in 1968, he was asked to be Utah
State Chairman of Youth for Nixon. He was majoring in political science
and minoring in speech, and was planning to attend law school
and maybe pursue a career in politics.
In 1969, he left his studies and political activities to
serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He
was called to serve in Spain, and became one of the first group of ten
missionaries called to that country. When he arrived, the only LDS unit
in Spain was a branch in Madrid. Several months after arriving, he was asked to
be in a group of eight missionaries to open the city of Barcelona. He was asked to
serve as the Barcelona Branch clerk, and he also kept a detailed diary of the missionary
work and his personal labors. As a result, he was asked to write the history of the
beginnings of the LDS Church in Spain. You may find his entries at the
Barcelona Mission web site and at the
Madrid Mission web site.
Returning from his mission, he lost some of his desire for
political activities, and concentrated on his studies and church service.
He changed his studies to a chemistry major with a math minor, and ended up deciding to go into dentistry. A
highlight of this time period for him was being asked to help produce a new
edition of the Bible for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Working with Dr. Ellis T. Rasmussen of the College of Religious Instruction at
Brigham Young University, a team of professors, seminary teachers, and returned
missionaries who were well-versed in the scriptures created a new edition of the
Bible that was published in 1979. This was the first edition of the Bible that was
produced exclusively for the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints, containing cross-references to the
Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. In addition, it had a
new and unique feature. Rather than have a concordance as an appendix where scriptures
were listed by key words, the concordance idea was expanded to include scriptures that may
address the listed word by concept, but may not include that word. Dave was assigned to
help develop certain topics. In doing this, he put to practical use a scripture file that
he had been developing since a year before his mission, where he had created his own
personal index of the scriptures by topic. The second year of the project, he was asked to
help evaluate the submissions of others, and was given a special assignment of developing
cross-references between the Bible and Book of Mormon. It was a wonderful assignment for
him. Although he was very busy in school and earning money to put himself through school,
the inspiration that came in creating these Bible study aids was a very rich and rewarding
experience for him.
He tells of one experience that was a testimony of the
Lord's help in this project. Sitting at his usual desk in Dr. Rasmussen's
office, he was poring over the Book of Mormon, writing cross-references to
the Bible. Ideas would just flow—no sooner would he write down one
cross-reference than another would pop into his head. Just then, a co-ed with an
immodestly tight sweater walked down the hall, just outside the open door. Dave
looked out the door and was kind of distracted by her. Then she disappeared and
he went back to writing cross-references. However, no ideas would come. The
fountain, as it were, shut down. He realized that he had let his thoughts wander
inappropriately, and stopped his work, said a prayer in which he asked for
forgiveness and help in resisting temptation, and then was finally able to get
back to work. The cross-reference ideas began to flow once again.
Dave got married in August 1975, just before leaving Utah
for the University of Minnesota Dental School. His wife worked for the first
year of dental school, but after their first child was born, he encouraged her
to stay home and he supported the family with loans and part-time and summer
work. He was fortunate to get a summer job as a radiology instructor at the
dental school which paid several times as much as any job he'd had
After graduating from dental school, they moved to Iowa to
set up a dental practice. Their research and visits seemed to show it was a nice
place to raise a family, with excellent schools and stable communities.
In Iowa, David continued to be very active in
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and was
advanced to a seventy and then a high priest. He had
varied leadership, teaching, and clerical responsibilities. Among those
callings, the one that stands out in his mind was serving from 1992 to 1996 as
director of Public Affairs for the Cedar Rapids, Iowa Stake. This was when the
department of Public Affairs was first organized, and Dave got to put together a
stake organization and plan, which propelled the LDS Church into community
and interfaith activity all across the stake, receiving excellent media
coverage. Their successes included organizing an interfaith committee to get the Faith and Values Channel launched by the local cable system,
initiating a National Family Week celebration
involving prominent community leaders, and reviving a city-wide annual Easter Egg hunt in Noelridge Park in Cedar Rapids.
He also became involved professionally. In 1990, he became
the first dentist in Iowa accredited by the American Academy of Cosmetic
Dentistry, and remained the only accredited cosmetic dentist in Iowa for 12
years. He was asked to serve in the AACD as its first Public Relations
Chair, and he organized a
reform group within the AACD called the Friends of the AACD, which helped bring
democratic reforms to that organization in the mid 1990's.
Personal tragedy struck Dave in the late 1990's when his
wife of more than twenty years decided to file for divorce. It was a time of
deep despair for him. It was during this time that he wrote his article for the
Church News: How to Maintain Hope in the
Midst of Affliction.
In 2002, a series of unusual events caused him to reflect seriously on his career.
There was much trouble in his dental practice.
After much introspection and prayer and a visit to the Nauvoo Temple, he came to
feel strongly impressed that he needed to change careers.
While he didn't receive an answer at that time as to what new career he should pursue, for a long time he
had wanted to start a publishing company to publish an LDS board game, Mortality,
that he had invented in 1981. He hired an associate to run his practice for a
whileand arranged to print and market his game out of the
dental office. One thing led to another. He decided to read a little
about the publishing industry, and was very intrigued by the idea of opening a
publishing company to publish books. His dental practice was
called Mapletree Dental Care, so he called the new company
Mapletree Publishing Company. One of the missions he felt passionately about was
the need to get LDS authors marketed nationwide. No one had ever attempted
this in any kind of a serious way before. He felt that President Hinckley had
helped to blaze the trail for this by selecting Simon and Schuster to publish
his books rather than going with traditional LDS publishers. Dave felt that
this needed to be done, and that with his
background in public relations, business management, and previous
publishing-related volunteer work, he could accomplish this. So, on October 24, 2002,
Mapletree Publishing Company was born. The name was taken from a large, old
sugar maple tree that was in front of his dental office, which for a while
served as the headquarters of the company.
The timing of the change was interesting, and from
the perspective of the passing of a decade, seems inspired. Because of
the damage to his reputation, it became clear he couldn't have a
successful dental practice without moving away. He considered that
carefully and prayerfully, but decided he couldn't move, because of his
son, Spencer. So he considered changing careers and got the strong
confirmation that's what he should do. A year later, though, he got
custody of Spencer, and got the strong answer to his prayers that he
should move far away, and quickly. Had the timing of events been
reversed, he may have never considered the idea of changing careers.
Since publishing is a very tough business, capital
intensive and slow-growing, he simultaneously began some Internet
marketing, to provide a steady income flow as he tried to grow the
publishing business. He took his dental practice web site, that he had
begun in 1995, and turned it into a cosmetic dentistry referral network.
He also opened the first Internet dental bookstore in the United States,
patterning it after one he found operating in the United Kingdom.
In 2003, he felt impressed that the publishing company needed to relocate.
He was not able to find, in Iowa, experienced publishing people to help with his
company. He also felt the move would be good for his youngest
son, Spencer, who was the only one left at home,
and that it would help protect him and Spencer from bitter fights with his
ex-wife and the gossip that had been stirred up. He decided to move to Colorado, to
the Denver area. Denver is the publishing center of the West, and there are many
skilled publishing professionals in the area, as well as courses available to
help Dave establish his knowledge of the publishing business. He chose the suburb
of Highlands Ranch because of its excellent family environment, excellent
schools, strong LDS population, and other factors.
In 2006, one of his cosmetic dentist clients had relocated to Chicago, and she urged
him to create a web site for her new practice. He decided to help her, and
soon discovered that there were a number of dentists who wanted him to
handle their Internet marketing. He took on several clients, and found
that he could take them to the top of their respective markets with the
search engine optimization skills he had been learning since 1995. The
following year he made a decision to delegate more of the publishing work to
subordinates in the company and spend more time with the web sites. He
created a separate company, Infinity
Dental Web. He teamed up with a graphic web designer from Pittsburgh,
and began creating web sites for cosmetic dentists. The more of that work
he did, the more he enjoyed it. The Internet business flourished, and the
publishing business began to assume a lesser role for him.
In 2007, on a trip to Arizona to see a dentist client, he met Sharon
Lish, with whom he had corresponded through an LDS singles dating site. He
began dating her, flying down to Arizona a couple of times a month, or
meeting her in Colorado or on trips to other states. In June, 2008, Sharon
and Dave became engaged. In September, Dave moved down to Mesa, Arizona
and Sharon and Dave were married in the Mesa, Arizona LDS Temple on
November 1, 2008.
With the move, he relocated his business. He found a marketing
professional to hire to help him with the Internet marketing company, and
he expanded that business.
He struggled with the decision about what to do for his career. While
he had felt impressed, back in 2002, to switch careers, he had never had
any kind of answer to his prayers about what career he should follow. He
loved the publishing business, but began to realize that it would likely
be many years before he could accumulate the capital needed to expand it
and make it truly prosperous. The Internet marketing business required
very little capital to operate. Finally, in January 2009, he found a
buyer for the publishing business and sold it. By August of 2009, he had
hired a couple more people for Infinity Dental Web and moved the business out of his home
and into a commercial location. The business now has five on-site
employees and nine who work from their homes, and is growing slowly but steadily.
Dave is a dedicated family man, and among his most enjoyable activities are
those with his family. He and his wife Sharon have a combined
total of eleven children, five of whom live in the Phoenix area, and
fifteen grandchildren, with two grandchildren on the way.
His hobbies are jogging, golf, gardening, bicycling, fishing, music, family activities,
politics, and community service.
You may be interested in visiting the links below: