A Brief Personal History
I was born in 1948 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. My father, Charles Hall, was an engineer at the time with Northwest Airlines in Minneapolis. In 1951, he got a job with Sperry Gyroscope on Long Island, so the family moved to suburban New York where I grew up. At that time, my dad decided to organize a labor union among the electrical engineers—the first time in the country anything like that had been attempted—and he served as president of that Engineers Association for many years until 1962, when he accepted a position with the AFL-CIO in Washington, DC.
In 1963, my parents separated, and my mother took my sister and me back to Minnesota, where she was from. In 1964, I invited missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to visit and was baptized by them in December of that year.
During High School, I was active in debate, speech, and politics, and was a photographer for my high school yearbook. I organized a couple of different political groups. I got a group of high school students together to campaign for Barry Goldwater in 1964. After the election, I invited everyone who had helped with that to join me in forming a local chapter of Young Americans for Freedom.
Having joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1964, I decided that I wanted to immerse himself in the influence of other Church members for my college experience, so I went to Brigham Young University. I continued my political activities at BYU. In 1967, at the end of my freshman year, I was elected to serve as the President of the BYU chapter of Young Americans for Freedom. Then, at the beginning of my sophomore year, I was also appointed the Utah State Chairman of that same organization, and the following year also became 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, I left my studies, political activities, and girlfriend to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was called to serve in Spain, and became one of the first group of six missionaries called to that country. When I arrived, these six missionaries were all serving in Madrid where there was a small branch of the Church. Several months after arriving, I was asked to be in a group of eight missionaries to open the city of Barcelona. I served as the Barcelona Branch clerk, and I also kept a detailed diary of the missionary work and my personal labors. As a result, I was asked to write the history of the beginnings of the LDS Church in Spain. You may find my entries at the Barcelona Mission web site and at the Madrid Mission web site.
Returning from my mission, I decided to change my major to chemistry education, planning to be a teacher. But an interests test I took scored me highest in dentistry, so after graduating, I decided to go to dental school.
A highlight of my post-mission time at BYU 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. In my first assignments I was assigned to help develop certain topics for that topical guide. In doing this, I put to practical use a scripture file that I had been developing since a year before my mission, where I had created my own personal index of the scriptures by topic. The second year of the project, I 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. That was a particularly wonderful assignment for me. Although I had a very full class schedule and had to work to put myself through school, I can still remember the wonderful feelings I had sitting at my desk in the Joseph Smith Building at BYU, going through the Book of Mormon and having ideas for cross-references just pop into my head, one after the other.
I got married in August 1975, just before leaving Utah for the University of Minnesota Dental School. My wife worked for the first year of dental school, but after our first child was born, I encouraged her to stay home and I supported the family with loans and part-time and summer work. I was fortunate to get a summer job as a radiology instructor at the dental school which paid several times as much as any job I'd had thus far.
After graduating from dental school, we moved to Iowa to set up a dental practice. In Iowa, I continued to be very active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and was soon advanced to a seventy and then a high priest. I had varied teaching, clerical, and leadership responsibilities.
Among those callings, the one that stands out in my mind as both the most demanding and the most enjoyable 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 I got to put together a stake organization and plan which propelled the LDS Church into community and interfaith activity all across eastern Iowa, receiving excellent media coverage. Our 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. We progressed from being shunned by local interfaith organizations in different communities to first joining and then having members serve on the boards of those organizations.
I also became involved professionally. In 1990, I 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. I 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 in the late 1990's when my wife of more than twenty years decided to file for divorce. It was a time of deep despair for me. 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 perfect storm of unusual events that were both personal and professional caused me to reflect seriously on my career. I attended the Nauvoo Temple for guidance. I didn't receive any inspiration about what to do while I was actually in the temple, but on the way home I felt the strong and clear impression that the Lord wanted me to change careers. It was a prompting that caused me considerable puzzlement, because when I followed up and asked what career I should take up, I got no answer.
For a long time I had wanted to start a publishing company to publish an LDS board game, Mortality, that I had invented in 1981. So I hired an associate to run his practice for about six months and arranged to print and market the game out of my dental office. I also began publishing books, ending up specializing in books about how to homeschool. When the six months was up, rather than return to dental practice, I decided to sell my practice and work at making the publishing company successful.
But it appears the Lord was getting ready to answer my prayer about what career would be best for me in a rather backhanded way. When I sold my practice, I considered letting my very successful dental practice website go with it. But then I had a little prompting that I recorded in my diary this way: "I have an impression to work on this dental website, that maybe I'll make good money from a cosmetic dentist referral service." That turned out to be the seed for my current very successful business venture. It was over three years later when I was talking to a dental colleague who had practiced around the corner from me in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Dr. Karen Blair. She had moved to the Chicago area, and I called to ask her if she'd like to be my recommended cosmetic dentist for her area, since I knew she did beautiful work. She agreed but then turned around and had a very strange request for me. Since I had such a successful website, would I do a website for her? It seemed like an off-the-wall request, but when I thought about it, I decided that could be fun.
The website I did for her was very successful. I let the word out to other AACD accredited cosmetic dentists around the country, and soon had four other dentists wanting me to help them with their websites. I got every one of them a number one ranking for their primary search term for their market, and they were some very competitive markets. I got Dr. Bill Cohen ranked number one for Chicago cosmetic dentist, and Dr. Art Chal number one for both Phoenix cosmetic dentist and Phoenix dental implants.
In 2007, on a trip to Arizona to see a dentist client, I met Sharon Lish, with whom I had corresponded through an LDS singles dating site. I 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, we became engaged. In September, I moved down to Mesa, Arizona and on November 1, 2008, Sharon and I were married in the Mesa, Arizona LDS Temple. The move coincided with starting up my dental website business. In January, 2009, I sold the publishing business and incorporated Infinity Dental Web. I began hiring help, and by August, 2009 had three employees and moved into a commercial location. In November, 2012, we moved into our current location at the Alma School Corporate Center in Mesa.
Me and my wife Sharon have a combined total of eleven children, seven of whom live in the Phoenix area, and twenty-four grandchildren. I enjoy gardening, though I find that much more difficult than it was in Iowa. I still play church softball and jog three times a week. I play the piano, and have a calling playing the organ at church every third Sunday.
In November, 2013, I was called to serve as an ordinance worker in the Mesa, Arizona temple. It seems a great sacrifice, with the demands of trying to build my business, but it is also a source of great joy and frequent spiritual experiences.