Top 5 Reasons to Study Abroad in France

The first thing one thinks of when hearing the word “France” is the Eiffel Tower. Indeed, the Eiffel tower is a major reason that students want to go to France to study. First of all, France is very rich in history. The French Revolution in itself has created so many landmarks that a student studying European history would be thrilled to just visit those places. Nevertheless, France is not only for European history students. An international study abroad program looks out for more reasons than just the history of the country.

So what do students look at when choosing a country to study and live in? Well, of course, it is more fun to learn French in Paris or stay in Biarritz than to study French in Idaho. But there are many reasons why international students choose France. We’ll count down the reasons for visiting France, starting from Number 5.

Number 5 on our list would be that France is inspiring. How so? Imagine yourself gazing up at the Eiffel tower with your university books in your hand at sunset. The scene ahead of you would simply take your breath away. Adding to that would be the pride of being a student in this wonderful country that produced such a magnificent landmark. An international study abroad program is designed to give students that satisfaction; the pride to be a student in France. Artistically inclined students would be awestruck to see Picasso’s work firsthand. Seeing something you have only seen before as copies, or in a book, would be altogether a once in a lifetime experience. What about sipping coffee at the local bistro? In a place as rich in culture as France, that very action requires some confidence, which students will definitely gain while studying in France.

4th on our list would be that France is the perfect place for venturing out and exploring. An international study program is not only about studying. Encouraging students to go on excursions to various parts of the country is very much part of the agenda. France has many places to visit. Students can go to the Alps to ski, take a cruise down the Rhine or even visit the home of French Kings in Fontainebleau. These trips are beneficial in both ways; academically and leisure-wise. Also, from France, it is easy to take trips to major European cities like London, Madrid, Brussels, and Milan.

The 3rd reason on our list is somewhat related to the 5th reason. Paris, the capital of France, is a world famous center of art, fashion, cuisine and culture. By participating in an international study program, not only would a student benefit academically, he/she would also benefit in other ways. For example, France is the homeland of famous fashion designers, such as Yves Saint-Laurent. Students may have grown up hearing his name and wearing his label, but actually staying in the same country as him and experiencing his material first hand is an altogether different story. Christian Dior also hails from France, as does Jean-Paul Gaultier. And why not grab a gift for someone back home (or yourself!) at the Louis Vuitton flagship store near your school in Paris? French cuisine is extremely rich too. It is sheer ecstasy to just taste French cuisine, let alone enjoy it day in day out.

Next on our list, coming in at Number 2, would be that France is an economic center. It is the 2nd European economic power and the 2nd biggest service exporter in the world. Many multi-national companies operate in France and all over the world; and this opens up plenty of doors for students who come here to study. Some multi-national companies include Airbus, L’Oreal, Danone, Renault and Carrefour. These five companies are in five completely different fields, which show the vast range of choice students have when they graduate.

The definite Number 1 reason would be that France provides quality education. It is also a safe country. Its universities are internationally recognized and they provide a wide range of subjects for students to choose from. Students emerge from these education centers as mature adults ready to face the world.

Well, you’ve come to the end of our Top 5 Reasons to Visit France. Our conclusion: Going abroad on an international study abroad program can provide you a well-rounded way to better yourself, by immersing yourself in a land and culture that is very different from your own. France is indeed an excellent choice for students planning to study abroad.

“The Women of Mormondom:” A Tell-All About the Adam-God Doctrine Venerated by the Mormon Church

Most Christian people unschooled in Mormon doctrinal history, who are currently being taught LDS doctrine by the full-time Mormon missionaries (those 58,000 some-odd young men and women who wear suits and ties and modest dresses, with badges identifying them as elders and sisters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and by the millions of older part-time men and women called ward missionaries, don’t realize what went on in the Salt Lake Utah Valley from 1851 to around 1900; that is, the religious culture of the Mormon people, the god that they worshiped, and the detailed theology surrounding that worship. To be perfectly honest, some of those full-time and ward missionaries ignorantly don’t have any idea about correct Mormon history. The changing doctrines established by the first founding prophet of the Mormon Church, Joseph Smith, from 1830 to 1844, were declared by Smith to be continuing revelations from his god, and thus were rendered by him as cannon scripture (the mind, will, and voice of the Mormon lord). You see, after Joseph Smith was lynched and killed by his detractors in Carthage, Illinois in 1844, Brigham Young, the second prophet, seer, and revelator of the Mormon Church, led the primary component of the multi-splintered LDS Church from Nauvoo, Illinois west to the Salt Lake Valley in order to practice, in virtual isolation, the religion given to them by Joseph Smith. Yet, Young took with him, from Nauvoo, thousands of former Christians who had come from all over the world to follow what they thought were the commandments of Jesus Christ.

This essay is concerned with, and focused on, the primary theological doctrine practiced by the rank-and-file Mormon people, which, in its original form, was concocted, and verbally rendered, by Joseph Smith before his death; and which was expanded by Brigham Young into a formal written cannon doctrine that was placed, in 1877, as a liturgy into the Mormon temple rite in the St. George Mormon Temple. The problem that arose at the advent of the 20th Century, some 23 years after the death of Brigham Young, was that this precious Mormon doctrine was totally unchristian in theology and, thus, a detriment to the false pretensions of the Mormon Church before the American Christian world that Mormonism was a Christian religion. This was during the time that Utah was being considered for annexation as a U.S. state. You see, all of the 20th Century Mormon prophets, seers, and revelators, who have comprised the First Presidency (the presiding Mormon prophet and his two apostle counselors) and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the second ruling body of Mormon General Authorities), have denied, and currently deny, that Brigham Young, as a presiding prophet of the Mormon Church for nearly 32 years, proclaimed, as the Adam-God Doctrine, that Adam, of the Garden of Eden, and Eve, his wife, were the heavenly father-god and the mother-goddess that procreated the spirits of all the men and women who were born, are being born, and will be born into mortality. Moreover, one of the 20th Century’s presiding prophets, and presidents of the LDS Church, Spencer W. Kimball, called the person who concocted the Adam-God Doctrine a heretic and, more or less, damned him (Brigham Young) to perdition in one of his LDS General Conference addresses in 1984. Nonetheless, since the year 1995 the Internet has opened-up a virtual library of 19th Century Mormon doctrinal history to the world, which was deliberately hidden by the Mormon Church from the eyes of the Christian world for the greater part of the 20th Century.

Most non-fiction books written by authors are intended to, either, extol, define, or denigrate certain ideas and cultures, and the people who advocated or opposed them. Biographies are written to explain the facts surrounding peoples’ lives, and books of history are written to explore the facts surrounding events that have shaped particular societies. Most biographies are written after the people, about whom they concern, are dead. Take, for instance, the original biography of George Washington, by the author Weems. This historical collection of facts about George Washington has always, since its publication, been regarded as essentially correct; though certain details about Washington’s youth have been debated as to their complete correctness. Essentially all books that have been written about particular 17th, 18th, and 19th Century cultures, extolling them during the time that they existed, have been regarded by most historians as factually correct, especially if the presiding figures of those cultures put their seals of approval on the books. As such, the most revealing written work describing the theological doctrines of the Mormon Church, as the Mormon people practiced their religion in the theocratic Utah Valley under the thumb of the presiding Mormon Prophet, Brigham Young, from 1851 until around 1877, was a book written in 1877, by Edward W. Tullidge, which was reviewed and blessed by Brigham Young before its publication, and dedicated to the second General President of the LDS Relief Society, Eliza R. Snow. Its title is “The Women of Mormondom.” Approximately five hundred copies of the book were printed between 1877 and 1900, but very few of them remain in existence today because, in 1907, the presiding Mormon prophet, Joseph F. Smith, ordered that all copies of the book, in the possession of faithful Mormons in Utah and Idaho, be burned in order to destroy the existing written evidence of the Mormon culture surrounding the Adam-God Doctrine. Most of the faithful true-blue Mormons complied with Smith’s order, which left only a scant few copies of the book remaining; those possessed by libraries and collectors around the world. Fortunately, the book can still be requested and obtained via inter-library loan by those individuals desiring to read it.

As I write this essay, I have, on my desk, a second, 1965, reprinted copy of “The Women of Mormondom,” (obtained from the Lovejoy library of Southern Illinois University) to which I am referring. Of all the people who eventually read this essay, I sincerely hope that it reaches the eyes of Marcus B. Nash, a member of the Mormon First Quorum of the Seventy, the body of Mormon General Authorities who are not prophets, seers, and revelators; but full-time men who do the official bidding of the presiding Mormon prophet and his twelve apostles. I knew Nash pretty well when he was a Mormon stake president in the Lynnwood, Washington Stake for a number of years, before he was made a Mormon general authority. On numerous occasions, I talked with him about Mormon doctrine. You see, it was during the year 1999 that the Lord Jesus made very clear to me the heinous heresies of Mormon theology and the doctrine arising from it; and it was in early 2000 that I made this officially known to Stake President Marcus Nash in a conference that I had alone with him, and only him.

I am sure that Nash distinctly recalls the occasion at the Mountlake Terrace, Washington Chapel, when I showed him detailed evidence, from a meticulously compiled book of Mormon doctrinal history written by Mormon historian Fred Collier, that Brigham Young, as a presiding prophet of the LDS Church, placed the Adam-God doctrine, in a written liturgy, into the Mormon temple rite as cannon scripture in the St. George Temple in 1877, just before his death. Nash, then an attorney (a graduate of the Brigham Young University Law School), just looked at me, like he already knew that what I was saying was fact, and said in a monotone, “You can’t be sure that’s the truth.” I remember responding, “It’s as much historical fact as the fact that Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States.” Nash, for whom I had recently served as a ward mission leader of the Mountlake Terrace Ward, got up without saying anything else and walked toward the door of the small room in which we were sitting; but before he left he turned around and said, “You know, spouting stuff like that can cause you to lose your membership in the Church. I’d advise you to remain quiet about what you believe is fact.” About a week later, I was curtly, and unexpectedly summoned into the office of the Mountlake Terrace Ward Bishop, Kim Juritch, and bluntly told not to talk to any of the ward members about the Adam-God Doctrine, which I had mentioned to Marcus Nash. Juretich said, at that time, that my membership in the Church was on the line.

Tullidge’s book, “The Woman of Mormondom,” has a very ornate black and white picture of Eliza R. Snow on its second page. Snow was the second General President of the Mormon Relief Society, the official church auxiliary to which all faithful Mormon women belonged, and still belong, and was made the celestial (heavenly) polygamous wife of Joseph Smith (by proxy in the Mormon temple) before her death. Tullidge wrote his book dedicated to the task of revealing how the Mormon women of the Salt Lake, Utah Valley, both wives and unmarried spinsters (like Eliza R. Snow), were dedicated to the theological doctrines pronounced as cannon scripture, and the will, mind, and voice of the Mormon god, by Mormon Prophet Brigham Young. Further, yet, is the preeminent realization that the basic theology of the Adam-God Doctrine came not from Brigham Young, but from his mentor and teacher, Joseph Smith. On pages 13-14 of his book, Tullidge wrote:

“The oracle of this last grand truth of woman’s divinity and of her eternal Mother (Eve) as the partner with the Father (Adam) in the creation of the worlds, is none other than the Mormon Church. It was revealed in the glorious theology of Joseph (Smith), and established by Brigham (Young) in the vast patriarchal system which he has made firm as the foundations of the earth, by proclaiming Adam as our Father and God. The Father is first in name and order, but the Mother is with him, these twain, one from the beginning.”

The fact that Eliza R. Snow and Brigham Young, both, blessed his book and its contents before it was published indicate that they fully endorsed what Tullidge published as theological fact about the Adam-God Doctrine, and the other history, doctrine, and cultural practices of the 19th Century Mormon Church mentioned in the book. Tullidge’s book reveals the facts about the 49 year practice of the Adam-God Doctrine by the rank-and-file Mormon Church before and after the death of Brigham Young, with the same unadulterated veracity that Parson Weems wrote, in 1800, the biographical “The life of Washington.” This book is a complete vindication for the Mormon scholars and historians who were accused of blasphemy, and of teaching false doctrine, by the Mormon Church hierarchy. The Salt Lake Mormon leaders vilified and excommunicated any Mormon historian who publicly, and correctly, stated the doctrinal history of the Mormon Church and its intricate practice of the Adam-God Doctrine in its temple rite until around 1907. Yet, the attempts by the Mormon Church authoritarians to eviscerate, and rewrite, the cult’s own 19th Century history has, since 1990, backfired, and has clearly shown the world, especially since the advent of the Internet, that Mormon doctrine has, since 1830, been only a convolution of changeable uninspired man-made ordinances and rules, and not the word of an almighty, omnipotent, omniscient, and changeless God, everlasting to everlasting.

In “The Women of Mormondom,” on page 180, Tullidge writes, “Adam is our Father and our God. He is the God of the earth.” So says Brigham Young. Adam is the great archangel of this creation. He is Michael. He is the Ancient of Days. He is the father of our elder brother, Jesus Christ-the father of him who shall come as Messiah to reign. He is the father of the spirits as well as the tabernacles of the sons and daughters of man, Adam!”

You see, Mormons believed, and many still believe, that Adam was resurrected prior to Jesus Christ’s resurrection. Further, on page 179, Tullidge continues. “Michael (another name for Adam) was a celestial, resurrected being, of another world.” You see, Joseph Smith taught, and Brigham Young expanded, the Mormon doctrine that ordinary mortal men can become gods, with a capital G, after they are resurrected, and that Adam was an ordinary mortal man who lived on in another previous world, on an earth somewhere in the cosmos, who was resurrected and made into a god, with a capital G. Brigham Young taught that Adam was not created, but came about biologically by being born in ordinary mortal fashion. On page 180, Tullidge continues. “Adam was not made out of a lump of clay, as we make a brick, nor was Eve taken as a rib -a bone– from his side. They came by generation (biological reproduction)… ” Through the time that Brigham Young advanced the Adam-God Doctrine, he preached the principles of the Doctrine in discourses pronounced during LDS General Conference. When the context of Tullidge’s words are examined and studied in “The Women of Mormondom,” the context of what Brigham Young said in the following segment of an April 9, 1852 General Conference address is totally understandable:

“When the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Spirit. And who is the Father? He is the first of the human family… However, I have told you the truth as far as I have gone… Jesus our elder brother was begotten in the flesh by the same character who was in the garden of Eden and who is our Father in heaven. Now, let all who hear these doctrines pause before they make light of them, or treat them with indifference, for they will prove their salvation or damnation.”

To understand that Edward Tullidge also, himself, fully believed the Adam-God Doctrine will assist the reader in realizing that he was writing what was the predominant theological belief among the Mormons (Latter-day Saints) in the Salt Lake Valley and among the British Mormons in 1877. On page 196, Tullidge wrote:

“When Brigham Young proclaimed to the nations that Adam was out Father and God, and Eve, his partner, the Mother of a world-both in a mortal and celestial sense-he made the most important revelation ever oracled to the race since the days of Adam himself.”

Tullidge makes plain the Mormon doctrine of the heavenly mother-goddess, who Eliza R. Snow immortalized in her song-poem, “O My Father.” As Brigham Young declared, “A race cannot be spiritually procreated without both a Father-god and a Mother-goddess. On page 197, in his book, Tullidge exclaims, “Thus opened creation, and the womb of everlasting motherhood throbbed with divine ecstasy. We shall prefer Brigham’s expounding of the dark passages of Genesis. Our first parents were not made up like mortal bricks. They came to be the Mother and Father of a new creation of souls.”

The worshiping of a Mother-goddess in heaven is an implicit part of Mormon theological doctrine that underscores the basic eternal rule that a Mormon man cannot become a god, with a capital G, but by adhering to, and obeying, all of the commandments of Mormonism, and that the celestial sexual relationship between a Mormon exalted-man god, with a capital G, and his wife, or wives, to whom he is sealed by power of the Mormon priesthood, and with whom he shares the priesthood power, is the only way procreation of spirit children, and the shaping of worlds through preexisting matter, can be accomplished. You see, a Mormon god, with a capital G, has no power to create, but only transform something preexisting through a partnership with his goddess-wife. Tullidge, on page 195, calls the doctrine of goddess-motherhood the “Trinity of Motherhood, or the celestial Masonry of Womanhood, and states that, “The book of patriarchal theology is full of conceptions. Like the star-bespangled heavens-like the eternities which it mantles-is that wonderful theology.” Regarding Eliza R. Snow’s own proclamation of the doctrine of the worship and veneration of the goddess-mother of this world, Eve, Tullidge, on page 190, writes, “It was of such a theme that “Sister Eliza” sang; and with such a theme her hymn of invocation to our Father and Mother in heaven soon made the saints familiar in every land. Let us somewhat further expound the theme of this hymn, which our poetess (Eliza) could not fully embody in the simple form of verse. God the Father, and God the Mother stand, in the grand preexisting view as the origin and center of the spirits of all the generations of mortals who had been entabernacled on this earth.”

The relegation of Jesus to Adam and Eve, the Father and Mother in heaven is clearly understood in Tullidge’s explication of basic Mormon theology spawned by Joseph Smith, expanded and clarified by Brigham Young, and worshiped and venerated by all of the Mormons who accepted the temple doctrines expressed by liturgy, during and after 1877, in what Brigham Young entitled the “Lecture before the Veil.” This was basic Mormon theological doctrine that all Mormon men and women, who aspired to be gods and goddesses, had to accept by swearing fidelity and allegiance to the secrets of the Mormon temple. As a further evidence of the truthful and factual writing of Edward W. Tullidge, in his book, “The Women of Mormondom,” the complete explication of the “Lecture at the Veil,” the composite Adam-God Doctrine, which was placed into the Mormon temple rite by Brigham Young in 1877, may be found in its entirety in the 1979 book compiled by Fred C. Collier, “Unpublished Revelations of the Prophets and Presidents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Volume 1, Part 75.” The original document, handwritten by N. John Nuttal, Brigham Young’s private secretary, in February 1877, from the spoken words of Brigham Young, was placed in the vault, or safe, of the St. George LDS Temple in 1877, and it has remained there unto the present day; unless it has been destroyed by order of a presiding Mormon prophet, since 1877, to eviscerate evidence that might be subpoenaed by a court of law to prove that the Adam-God Doctrine was, indeed, regarded as holy Mormon doctrine and scripture in the Mormon temple.

Therefore, there is no doubt that the book, “The Women of Mormondom” was intended by Edward Tullidge to encapsulate, and to expound, the polytheistic patriarchal theology of Mormonism and to extol what Brigham Young had revealed as the mind, the word, and the voice of the Mormon lord, and the power of the Mormon god unto salvation, according to the cannon scripture found in the book of LDS scripture known as the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 68, verse 4. The book was also to extol Eliza R. Snow and her dedication to the Adam-God Doctrine through her poetry, songs, and other good works. The ever-changing face of Mormonism, therefore, cogently illustrates that what was once, in the 19th Century, sacred LDS doctrine, was pragmatically changed by the Mormon hierarchy to be regarded as heresy in the 20th Century and to be, on the surface, denied as fundamental Mormon theology. This pragmatic change was, however, intended not as an evisceration of the doctrines of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, but only as a deceptive smoke-screen to manipulate Christians into believing that Mormons worship the Jesus Christ of the Holy Bible, which they don’t. The Mormons wanted, in a manner of speaking, to have their cake and eat it, too; but historical facts and the essence of truth cannot be hidden very long without the pretenders being detected. Those converts to Mormonism will eventually discover through their own research efforts, or being informed by an essay such as this, what the Mormons believed as theological doctrine during the 19th Century, and what they did to hide it from mainstream Christianity during the 20th Century. Thereafter, they will have to decide whether they will continue to serve the false gods of Mormonism or turn away from them and serve the Lord Jesus Christ, the one and only Savior of the world, the one God and master of the universe. I hope that Mormon Marcus Nash will eventually be one of these people.

The proof, they say, is in the pudding. This simply means that the taste of a resulting pudding, created from a variety of, supposedly, good ingredients, will determine whether it is fit for consumption. Jesus said that a fountain of water can not bring forth, both, bitter and sweet water. A good tree will also produce good fruit, not fruit that is not good to eat. The Lord Jesus used these examples to illustrate what the Apostle Paul would say later, in different words, in the Book of Galations, the first chapter. Paul said, in paraphrase, that if any other teacher, or proclaimed prophet, teaches any other Gospel than the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, found in the holy scriptures written and delivered by the Apostles of Jesus, as found in the Holy Bible, let that teacher, prophet, or whoever, be accursed. That is, you turn away from the false teaching and cleave unto the words of life spoken by Jesus and his true Apostles. Let the Lord do the accursing.

People-Watching From The Blogosphere

When I was about 7 years old, my pediatrician, Dr. Milstein, told my mother he planned to put a soapbox in his office so I could stand on it and give speeches. “He’s going to be a politician someday,” Dr. Milstein predicted.

Not quite. Even if I wanted to run for office, which I do not, my socially liberal Republican leanings have been out of fashion since around the time I stopped seeing Dr. Milstein. But the Internet is an excellent soapbox, and when I sat down to write this post, I realized how well he had me pegged.

Today marks five years since I started contributing to my firm’s every-business-day opinion column. That’s a lot of opinion. Someone else might have run out of things to say by now, but as my weary pediatrician anticipated, not me.

I read about a half-dozen news sites each day. It is never a problem to find interesting people or issues to write about. The trick is to do this without being a self-righteous blowhard. Or at least without being a self-righteous blowhard so often that people start to avoid reading your work, the way I try to avoid reading the work of several New York Times op-ed columnists whom I consider to be insufferable SRBs.

Most of the columns I write, and most of the ones that I enjoy reading, have two parts. The first tells the story; it provides the reader with enough facts and context to understand and care about the issue. The second gives the writer’s opinion about the issue. The typical SRB is convinced that his or her opinion is the more important part. I disagree. People have opinions of their own, but everyone likes a good story. If I write a column that tells an interesting tale, even if it is only about a 7-year-old and his doctor, someone might enjoy reading it. This then allows me to offer my perspective in a way that I hope will not be too self-righteous.

When I look back at some of my favorite columns of the past five years, or some that elicited the warmest response, they were often about someone who did something interesting or noteworthy.

Sierra Harr is a good example. I wrote about her a couple of years ago when, as a high schooler in Idaho, she fought a rules change that would have prevented her from playing on her school’s boys golf team, even though her school did not field a team for girls. The column was picked up by Ezine Articles, where Sierra’s mother found it a few weeks later (and posted a comment thanking me for accurately telling her daughter’s story). Sierra went on to complete a successful high school sports career this spring, and has signed on to play golf for Brigham Young University next year.

I especially enjoy writing about the challenges and triumphs of young people. Last year I observed that some aspiring musicians are building a fan base by putting their music and videos online themselves, without benefit of radio airplay or record label support. Besides performing original compositions, they introduce themselves to future fans by covering songs popularized by established artists.

My column focused on country artists Artie Hemphill and Maddie Wilson, and on their collaborator Andrew Pulley (working at the time under the stage name Drew Williams), who recorded their cover of “Highway Don’t Care” at Pulley’s Sapphire Studios in Provo, Utah. Drew called me a few days later to thank me for the recognition and to ask how I came to write about their work. His call was the start of a strong friendship and working relationship. My firm signed up to support Hemphill’s forthcoming album release (a topic for a future column), and Drew arranged an invitation for my daughter and me to meet his highly talented friend Lindsey Stirling, a violinist who has built a big and enthusiastic global following almost entirely with self-produced tours and online videos. She also happens to be my daughter’s favorite performer.

Another instance of excellent work that I discussed in a commentary came from New York Times writer Amy Harmon, who produced a noteworthy multimedia piece on a young couple who are each living with Asperger’s syndrome. Harmon applied all of the tools of online, video and print journalism in ways that complemented one another to tell the story in a richer way than would have been possible in traditional print or broadcast alone. A former journalist myself, I still follow the field closely, and I thought Harmon’s work was worth special attention.

Things don’t always go swimmingly for young people, of course. The much-hyped but short-lived Occupy Wall Street movement was a case in which I thought that (mostly) young people who had many frustrations but lacked much direction were manipulated to serve other agendas.

Of course I don’t always write about young people, or unknown people. Occasionally I feel I have some personal perspective worth adding about a public persona, such as Walter Cronkite or the late comic Soupy Sales. Sometimes my story is about someone interesting or important to me who is not publicly known at all, such as my wife’s Aunt Margaret, who managed to earn a doctorate in science as a Jewish woman in prewar Hungary and then had to survive Auschwitz before she could use it. A recent post also focused on Hungary and on my small part in a search for lost family and treasure.

Not many opinion writers even attempt to turn out 800 to 1,200 words per day, five days per week. I could not have done it either, at least not for long, without the help of my colleagues Eliza Snelling, in the column’s early days, and of Amy Laburda for the past four years. Though I provide the ideas and framework for each post, and I do the final edits, Amy and I divide the drafting responsibilities. She may not always share my point of view but she certainly understands it, and she provides a lot of the research and background that helps readers appreciate the story behind our comments. It’s fair to say that there would be no Current Commentary without her.

Fashion Production Across the Globe

The term “fashion” generally refers to a popular practice or style in the areas of clothing, makeup, accessories, footwear and so on. However, when considered in a strict sense, fashion mainly refers to the trend in dresses or the kind of attires and apparels people put on. The issues of style and design have a lot to play when looking at fashion across the globe. Fashion production has continued to be a moving trend all over the world. Several kinds of fashion attires are all over the place. Fashion trends keep coming onboard on yearly basis. The fashion enterprise is indeed an interesting aspect of business that is generating waves across the world.

Fashion productions are thriving all over the world. Different kinds of fashion products have continued to be produced by many companies across the globe. The fashion industry is always a beehive of activities in almost every nation of the world.

Actually, the fashion industry is a modern age product. This is a fact since most clothing materials were custom made prior to the mid 19th century. Before the advent of the fashion industry, people only made use of handmade and homemade clothing materials. Such materials were made by local tailors and other dressmakers in those days.

However, the dawn of 20th century marked the beginning of new inventions in the fashion industry. Diverse kinds of modern technological tools were introduced. Different kinds of sewing machines, threads and other tools came onboard. There’s also the development of the factory system of production which gave rise to the establishment of many fashion industries across the globe. Big fashion companies started making waves in various countries. This gave rise to the production of quality fashion attires, apparels and other clothing materials.

Today, mass production of fashion wears is the order of the day. There’s the proliferation of fashion industries, companies, wholesale outlets, retail outlets and so on. Different kinds of fashion wears are now produced in diverse patterns. Diverse kinds of approaches are also being used in the production process.

The bulk of fashion production activities as it pertain to the fashion industry actually started in the European and American continents. However, it has now assumed an international status. Fashion is now a highly globalized industry which is found in every continent of the world. Some fashion wears and products can be designed in one country while they are eventually produced in another country. Such fashion products are also imported or exported across the globe after the production process.

Meanwhile different kinds of approaches are being used in the modern day fashion production. There’s the production of raw materials such as textiles, fibers, fur and leather. There’s also the production of different kinds of fashion products by manufacturers, contractors and fashion designers. Different kinds of styles and designs are also used in the production process.

Finally, fashion production has also attained another great height with the invention of the internet technology. Today, several fashion producers operate their business online. Lots of fashion products are now sold online. This has continued to change the face of the fashion enterprise across the globe.

Lucrative Fashion Jobs Abound

The latest fashion industry news has announced a great number of varied fashion positions that eager enthusiasts must fill up. Numerous jobs abound in the fashion world. One can be a model or designer – every skilled individual is needed to take up an exciting job. Still, the industry is not just about designing or modeling – it is so broad that there are immense fashion career opportunities available to those who want them.

Best Fashion Jobs Available (Aside from Modeling and Clothes Designing):

Even if an individual has no skill or talent to start his own clothing line, there are actually tons of other opportunities that will allow him to become a part of the fashion industry. There are jobs – and not just as a model or designer – that anyone else can enjoy doing within the industry.

Fashion Merchandiser

A competent merchandiser spots anything that can be turned into the latest fashion hit. For an individual to do well as a fashion merchandiser, he must have the instinct to know if an emerging style has the potential to become a hot fashion item.

He knows wearable items that sell, and identifies ones that will forever remain as stocks in department stores. A good fashion merchandiser performs product development – from the conceptualization to the final production and marketing of the product.

Fashion Brand Manager

Anyone who is serious in selling clothes knows that he is promoting and selling a brand. The main responsibility of a brand manager is to create an image for his fashion brand. He does this by developing unique ways to present such brand to consumers. Ideally, a brand manager possesses a degree in Merchandise Product and Brand Development to do well in this career.

Accessories Designer

For the individual who believes that he has an eye for accessories, and can create ones that can make a lasting impression to people, he must consider a lucrative career in accessories designing. To do well in this job, accessories designer must go to the hottest accessories oases such as fairs and trade exhibits. From these events, he can gather helpful inspirations to create unique designers for his own line of accessories.

Fashion Buyer

Fashion buyers are responsible for maximizing the sales and profits of a fashion boutique. They are a step ahead when it comes to fashion trends. This allows them to be ready to provide clients with the clothes that will satisfy their fashion preference. Apart from the selection of merchandise for the store, a fashion buyer is involved with its promotion and sale.

Definitely, the fashion industry is one of the most vibrant industries today. This is why there has been a great supply for jobs of all types, each of which zeroes in on a particular area in fashion. Most fashion industry news point to the fact that such availability of fashion jobs will remain on the rise for a couple more years.

The Popularity of Fashion Blogs

The Internet is chock full of them – fashion blogs of different shapes and forms, expounding on the merits of skinny jeans versus boyfriend jeans. Or why pink is the new black and all that jazz. Going online these days means getting your fill (whether you like it or not) of the latest fashion trends by way of fashion blogs.

Perhaps some people would argue that fashion is not that important and it’s something they can do without. However, if you think about it, fashion has always been part of our lives – it has always greatly influenced society and culture, mainly because it is made possible by factors like the weather, the environment and more significantly, by an individual’s personal experiences, beliefs and values.

Fashion even helped define certain eras in history which involved class discrimination, the thin line between royalty and non-royalty and even social dressing restrictions. In the old days in Western Europe, government regulations prevented the bourgeoisie from dressing up in fine clothes so they wouldn’t look like royalty. In China, the dragon was considered a symbol of the emperor and thus, should not be worn by non-royals. During World War II, the length of American women’s skirts was restricted due to fabric rations. It just goes to show, fashion has always been a major influence in our life and that we’ve always lived with it – we just didn’t know it.

Today’s fashion-conscious people or fashionistas, as they are fondly referred to, live with fashion in different ways. They use fashion blogs as a means to check out new trends not to be perceived as cool or in, but to know what people on the streets are wearing. Fashion bloggers themselves have a firm grip on the latest styles and shy away from those that lean towards the “outrageously expensive” and suggest instead, what is cheap but chic.

Another reason fashion bloggers are popular is because they themselves were once fashion outs – outsiders who, due to their persistence and perseverance in gaining an upper hand over the so-called “snobs” in the fashion industry, have become lauded insiders. They send the fashion world spinning with their honest takes on this season’s collections via honest and real takes on the current trends and how the ordinary folk may be able to carry them off.

They also possess a myriad of talents from which they derive even more influence for their blogs. Some of them host fashion events or dress the windows of the world’s most famous and finest fashion storefronts. Still, others shoot look books and even walk the catwalk themselves. Such is the success of fashion blogging that even other major industries like advertising, want a piece of the action. Because fashion bloggers are faithfully followed by women everywhere, they have become potent personalities whose words are read and taken to heart like one would the Bible. And advertisers and retailers are eager to get their products moved in big ways.

Yes, fashion blogs are here to stay. In fact, it can be safely said that they are slowly but surely replacing magazine editors as the leaders of style and fashion. Fashion blogging is one industry where the huge payoffs outweigh all the risks – fashion bloggers may very well be the fashion world’s answer to high corporate earners in the world of business who make business suits look good.

Symbols of Darkness

There is a tendency, in the Church today, toward adopting the manner and dress of the world. For instance, it is not uncommon to see tattooed and pierced persons in the pew on Sunday. Often these are not new Christians recently saved from the kingdom of darkness, but second and third generation Church goers, young (and no so young), people raised in Christian homes.

One way that the Church has chosen to deal with this growing phenomena is to down-play the significance of these demonic symbols. That isn’t because the older generation actually approves of tattoos and facial piercing; it is because the older generation doesn’t really have a well thought out objection to the practices.

For the most part those Christians who oppose “body art” do so simply because it is not “Christian.” They’re right, but when a young decorated Church goer asks why it isn’t Christian, the undecorated can only say that it is worldly and un-Christlike. At which point the hipster will ask what it is about body art that is worldly and un-Christlike. Typically this leaves the artless one speechless. To the conservative Bible believing Christian, tattoos and piercings1 are plainly contrary to Christ’s example and one’s identity as the temple of the Holy Spirit. Yet he finds that he cannot really articulate a convincing argument as to why. The reason Joe conservative Christian cannot articulate his belief is because in “modern rationalistic Western society, men do not understand the power of non-verbal symbols and of dress.”2 In other words, because your average Christian does not understand the significance and prevalence of symbolism he cannot formulate an argument against the misuse of symbols.

James Jordan has written that:

Symbolism, then, is not some secondary concern, some mere curiosity. In a very real sense, symbolism is more important that anything else for the life of man.3

Jordan’s thesis is that all of creation is designed by God to tell us about Him and to teach us about reality, by means of symbols. In other words, the world does not exist for its own sake nor ultimately for the sake of man; but it was brought into being in order to disclose God in the symbols of creation.

For instance, God is a shepherd (Ps. 23:1), a fire (Heb. 12:29), like a lion and like a flock of birds (Is. 31:4-5). He is an eagle (Deut. 32:11), a lamb (Is. 53:7, Rev. 5:6), a hen (Matt. 23:37), the morning star (Rev. 22:16), food, drink and bread (Is. 55:1, John 6:35), a rock (Deut 32:4), and a tower (Prov. 18:10). Thus the Christian view of the universe must be fundamentally symbolic.4 We look at a flower, a rock or an eagle in flight and say, “here is wisdom, here is God on display.” These things are expressions or symbols that help us to discover God and to learn to see through God’s eyes, so to speak. Or to put it another way, the stuff of creation allows us to peer into the (ultimately incomprehensible), character of the Creator and teaches us to think in terms of symbols.

This is how Jesus thought. Take the time to reread the Gospels and you will be reminded that Jesus constantly used symbolic language and stories (parables), to convey truth. If symbols are not important, than nothing Jesus said is important. It seems that everything he taught was explained with symbols. Hence, the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, a dragnet and a pearl of great price. His followers must take up the cross, take on His yoke and let go of their lives.

Since mankind is the special image bearer of God (a special symbol of God), he is likewise a symbol maker. Thus when we invest something with symbolic significance we are supposed to follow God’s lead (Eph. 5:1). For instance, God uses dragons to symbolize evil. In like fashion, our use of dragons (in literature, art and so on), should correspond to God’s symbolic use of dragons. This isn’t to say that a Christians may never utilize dragon imagery in a positive fashion. God Himself speaks of the fire breathing Leviathan in positive terms (Job 41). Indeed, the Tannin, the great monsters of the deep – including Leviathan – were God’s own special “pets.” Moreover, God endows some symbols with multiple meanings. For instance, there is both the lion of Judah and Satan prowling like a lion (Rev. 5:5, 1 Peter 5:8); the righteous are as bold as a lion and the ungodly ravage like a lion (Prv. 28:1, 15); a lion is the servant of God bringing judgement and it is a wicked people in rebellion against Him (Jer. 4:7, 12:8). Nevertheless, until we better understand God’s fluid use of symbols we should remain within the obvious guidelines provided by Scripture.

Symbols are powerful; they are more than the expression of ideas they actually give direction to life: “for God, symbols create reality, for man, symbols structure reality.”5 To suggest that we can arbitrarily redefine the meaning of symbols is foolish. For instance, if I were to conduct next Sunday’s services while wearing a tie embossed with a swastika, I have little doubt that on Monday I would no longer be employed by the Idaho State Veterans Home in Lewiston or be the pastor of Cottonwood Community Church. Why? Because the Nazi swastika is universally understood as a satanic symbol of evil and death. But what if I protested and claimed that I was rehabilitating the symbol for Christian use? What if I said that I viewed the swastika as a symbol of giving one’s all for the sake of Christ and His kingdom? It wouldn’t matter. Symbols are too powerful to be toyed with. Even though the swastika has ancient origins that have nothing to do with Naziism I have no doubt that it will forever be associated with the horrors of unbridled power, brutality and death. Truly, the swastika structures reality. It defined a worldview and served as a spur to action drawing out the grisly barbarism of a pagan Germanic people. The same is true for many of the symbols utilized in the sub culture of body art. Skulls, bones, bats, and so on all remain symbols of bad luck, death, magic and evil 6

Which brings us back to the issue of tattoos and piercings. The real reason that they are inappropriate for Christians is that those things symbolize evil. Tattoos and piercings are symbols of a worldview that is opposed to God and His kingdom. In the Bible, marking or cutting the flesh was prohibited because it was part of the Canaanite culture – specifically a ritual to honor or mourn the dead. In Leviticus 19:28 we read, “You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord” (cf. 21:5, Deut. 14:1)7

Pagan thought has long embraced chaos as a regenerative fountainhead; bestiality, homosexuality, self mutilation and so on are indulged in an attempt to size the supernatural power of chaos.8 As a matter of fact there are many today who consider their participation in self mutilation a spiritual experience. They believe that enduring the pain of tattooing or piercing develops control and allows them to discover a deeper sense of themselves.9 Truly it is a spiritual experience; a descent into the realm of the occult. Thus the tattooed and pierced wear the uniform of paganism’s foulest form whether they realize it or not.

Moreover, tattooing and piercing have been endowed with negative symbolism in our age as well. Even today with the practices being so prevalent, tattooing and piercing are still equated with criminals and the lower class.10 And yet, modern Christian youth apparently believe that they break new ground by joining the ranks of the tattooed and pierced. Part of the deception is the belief that the underclass lifestyle (and the uniform of paganism), is somehow more real than a life lived in Christlikeness. Theodore Dalrymple writes that those who adopt the norms of the underclass are;

…under the influence of the idea that some aspects of reality are more real than others; that the seedy side of life is more genuine, more authentic, than the refined and cultured side – and certainly more glamours than the bourgeois and respectable side. This idea could be said to be the fundamental premise of modern popular culture.11

Whether the church going tattooed and pierced care to admit it or not, “body art” remains the uniform of the criminal element and the occult; it is associated with rebellion and youthful foolishness – all defined as sinful by God. The tattooed and pierced have the short term view of the self centered worldling rather than the long term view of the self sacrificing born again kingdom Believer. Rather than see the increase of body art in the church as a sign that its symbolic value is undergoing a positive transformation, we need to recognize it as a creeping influence on the Church by the world and the kingdom of darkness.

Direct Marketing Copy – 7 Ways to Succeed When You Can’t Use an Offer to Sell

Introduction

Crack open any direct marketing text and you will quickly learn all about the Elements of Promotion: List, Offer, Art and Copy.

You will also quickly learn that the Offer accounts for 30% of the effectiveness of any direct marketing program.

But companies working in the insurance and financial industries are generally constrained by federal and state guidelines from making a traditional offer. So what do you do when you cannot say 50% off, Buy One Get One, Early Bird Discount or Extra year of coverage FREE?

More often than not, the answer to this question is settle for less. But it does not have to be that way. There are a number of strategies you can use to boost your response rate, conversion rate and your overall ROI.

These strategies can be implemented by any smart marketing team, do not cost a lot and are all explained right here. So please, read on.

1. Leverage your USP to focus and strengthen the appeal of your message

If you want your direct marketing efforts to sell hard and stand out from the pack, you need to leverage your Unique Selling Proposition or USP. A USP allows you to quickly demonstrate what makes you different from the competition and focuses your message so that you always speak with the same voice.

General ad agencies have been using the concept of the USP to successfully differentiate their products and stake out turf in the marketplace for years. You just have to watch television for an hour to see commercials that demonstrate that the companies with household names know their USPs and know how to use them to put their products across.

Many direct marketers think they get little or no advantage from a USP because they narrowly target their audience. But actually the opposite is true. Because direct marketers know where their leads and their sales come from, they are able target their USP towards the people they most want to reach and offer that target audience a worthwhile benefit they will not find anywhere else.

To use a Unique Selling Proposition in this manner, you simply set up it up like this:

For people who meet a very specific set of criteria, our product is the best choice because it provides this unique benefit.

So give your marketers, your copywriters, and your sales people sales people a solid platform from which to launch their efforts. You will find that they will automatically:

Speak with one voice.
Reinforce each others efforts.
Create more effective solicitations.
Achieve better overall results.
Improve your ROI.

Essential Elements of your Unique Selling Proposition

The concept of the USP was first described by Rosser Reeves, former chair of Ted Bates in his book Reality in Advertising. According to Reeves, the USP has these three characteristics.

You make a proposition to your prospect that says, Buy this product and you will get this benefit.
The proposition must be unique, one the competition cannot claim or does not offer.
The proposition must be appealing to your prospect and strong enough to provide a sustainable competitive advantage.

2. Pump up the value of your products and services.

You may not be able to make a standard offer. But that does not mean you cannot offer prospects something that makes them sit up and take notice. Good old fashioned value.

Pump up the value of your product and that value can go a very long way towards making your customer forget the lack of an offer.

Begin by referring back to your USP and take a long hard look at the unique differentiator of your product and its supporting benefits. Then make sure that those benefits are clearly stated and given place of pride in your solicitations.

Do not make the mistake of substituting features for benefits. For example: many companies place this common service feature in the middle of a bulleted list believing that that they have provided an important benefit:

24-Hour claim service

But prospects read right past it without realizing its importance because they can not see the benefit hidden away inside the feature. To make your prospect realize the true value of 24-hour claim service, why not pump up its value? All you have to do is demonstrate what it really means by using copy like this:

No matter when, or where, you have an accident, we will always be just a toll-free call away. 24 hours a day. 7 days a week. Holidays included.

If you offer a broad range of discounts, pump up your value by pointing up the total savings of these discounts to your prospects. Most companies say:

People save an average of $400 when they switch.

Instead, demonstrate how many ways to save you provide by saying something like this:

We offer 8 different discounts to make it easy for people like you to save average of $400. Add up your discounts. Then decide what you will do with all the money you save!

I am sure you can see just how compelling a feature becomes when you exploit the benefit it provides. Now think how much more compelling your copy, and your overall solicitation, will be when you pump up the value of your products and services.

Are you overlooking benefits your prospects would love?

Spend five minutes in Direct Marketing and someone will tell you that benefits sell harder than features. And that the more benefits you promote, the harder your advertising will sell.

Yet with all the talk about benefits, it is surprising how many companies forget to mention convenient, benefit-laden services. Instead they hide these benefits away until the prospect becomes a customer, and then introduce them as Customer Service.

Do not miss the opportunity to hype these hidden benefits in your advertising. Instead, take the time to review all the services you offer your customers before your next acquisition campaign. Then allow your prospects to see how easy their lives will be when they choose to do business with you. Consider everything you do, including:

Automated payment options.
Monthly payment plans.
Automatic coverage increases or policy upgrades.
Accident forgiveness.
One-stop claim service.
Annual coverage reviews.
24-hour claim service
24-hour customer service

Start demonstrating the benefits of features like these. Then sit back and watch how this simple technique can improve your results.

3. Find your best prospects by getting to know your best customers.

Find a good prospect; the most important part of what makes your direct mail solicitation successful is already under wraps. But where do you look find the prospects who are most receptive?

Right under your nose.

The truth is your current customer base is a comprehensive list of the best prospects you have ever found. Each and every one of those prospects has already bought what you are selling. So if you want a better prospect list, all you have to do is:

Study your current customers.
Discover what attributes they have in common.
Find more people with those same attributes.

The science of data analytics calls the process of finding prospects just like your clients cloning. Any number of companies specializing in data analytics can easily clone your best customers and provide you with a list of individuals that should respond well to your solicitation.

To clone your customers, data analytics firms import names from your customer database along with any information you have about those customers. Then they carefully overlay additional information based on inferences made by what they already know.

Finally, they use this information to tell you exactly who your clients are and based on that information, which your best prospects are likely to be. This information then allows you to build highly targeted, better performing lists.

You are probably working with a company that can perform this type of customer analysis right now. So if you want a better performing prospect list all you have to do is tell your data firm who you are looking for.

Then leverage the power of your newly improved prospect list by writing advertising that exploits the needs and desires you know these prospects share. The results are sure to surprise you.

What are your criteria for a great customer?

To use your best customers to find your best prospects, you need to know exactly who they are. That means setting specific criteria by which to rank the people who buy your products and services. And that means knowing what is really important to you. Start by asking you what makes a good customer. Is it:

Frequency or number of purchases.
Size of policy or number of items insured.
Number of family members insured. Income/education level.
Method of premium payment
Multi-lines purchases.
Number and sizes of claims

Once you have a detailed picture of your best customer, you are well on the way to cloning that customer over and over again.

You also have all the information you need to hit your best prospect with a message that closely targets their needs, wants and attitudes, giving you a highly effective way of getting them to buy.

4. Change your point of view

As a marketer, nobody has to tell you that your goal is to generate more sales from all your channels. So you spend your time concentrating on how to increase response, lower your cost per order and improve your overall ROI.

Of course you do? It is what you want.

But while you concentrate what you want, do not forget to concentrate on the one thing that is most likely to help you achieve your goal. What your customer wants.

It seems incredible but more often than I care to admit, smart marketers hand me a marketing creative brief that carefully outlines all of their goals and neglects to provide me with the information I need to make that product attractive to their customers.

In short, they have forgotten to look at what they are selling from the point of view of their prospects. Your prospects do not care about whether or not you beat your control, or even if you make money. All they want to know is: What is your product or service going to do for me?

That is the question you must keep firmly planted in front of you whenever you begin any new marketing venture. If you keep finding innovative ways to answer your prospects questions, you will keep finding innovative ways to meet your sales goals.

So take the time to get inside the head of your prospects. Communicate what you know about what they want to the people who create your advertising and watch what happens.

Here is a marketing creative brief designed to create sales.

To change your perspective on your advertising, change the way you brief your colleagues. Answering the series of questions below will force you to think like your prospects and customers, which means you will automatically answer the question What is in it for me? from their point of view.

Marketing Creative Brief

What is the key fact or the most important thing we must know about this product and this advertising assignment?

What is the single most important benefit our product offers? What facts support this benefit? What are we really selling?

Who are we selling to? Why are we selling to these prospects now? What action do we want our prospects to take?

What negatives might our prospects cite regarding our product or our category in general?

Who is our competition and what do our prospects think of them?

Why are we better at providing what our prospects want than the competition? What medium/media are we using to reach our prospects?

What is the tone and manner of this project?

What elements are mandatory?

When must the project be completed?

What is the budget?

5. Use emotion to strengthen your message.

Your prospects are never going to purchase your products because it is the logical thing to do. But they might just buy because it is the smart thing to do.

See the difference?

Unless your advertising evokes an emotional response from your prospects, you will never get the great results you want, even if you have a great offer. And if you do not have a great offer? You have to create a great desire for what you are selling, or you are sunk.

You see, it is our emotions that move us, not our ability to think rationally. Even someone who claims to be completely unmoved by anything other than cold, hard logic will not act until he is motivated to do so by his feelings.

To use your prospects emotions to do what you want, you have to think about what they want. Remember, your prospects only want to know, What is in it for me? So ask yourself these two questions:

What is the most important thing that my prospect wants that will draw them to my message?
What is the primary emotion I must target?

Or in other words, give him the one thing he wants, and offer her the one thing she longs for.

I can feel some staid bankers, and insurance professionals backing off in shock. Talking about emotion in direct marketing can feel sleazy or underhanded to people who deal with the financial bottom line every day.

You have to understand that most people will not purchase a flood insurance policy because it is a logical way to pay for repairs. They will only grab for their checkbook when someone tells them that water driven toward their homes by hurricane-force winds has the power of a 10-ton locomotive.

You see? Fear is a great emotional driver. So is love. So is greed. Why do you think the word FREE is so powerful?

Your package does not have to be large, expensive or highly promotional to pack a high emotional wallop. An official looking package gets opened because it makes people nervous. An invitation-style package because it makes people feel wanted and maybe even a little important.

And once you reach out and grab your prospects with emotion, then you have the ability to follow up with logic. That is because while people make the decision to buy based on emotion, they love to back that emotional decision up with logical reasons to make the purchase.

So do not neglect to feel the pain your prospects feel, or rouse their anger or stroke their pride. That is what makes them buy.

How many of these Persuasive Emotions make it into Your Advertising?

Take a few moments to analyze the ads you think are most effective and you will discover that the marketer probably started by asking one, or more, of these questions

Does your prospect want relief from something? (freedom from anxiety)
Is your prospect afraid of something? (fear)
Does your prospect want to feel sexier? (vanity)
Does your prospect want to appear to be smarter? (pride)
Does your prospect have an unfulfilled hope of some kind? (longing for fulfillment)
Is your prospect insecure? About what? (Worry)

Then start asking questions of your own. The types of emotions you will uncover are endless. In fact, I think you will eventually be adding to this list.

Altruism Anger Benevolence Boredom Confidence Confusion Curiosity Desperation Envy Greed / make money Guilt Happiness Hope/optimism Laziness / avoid effort Loneliness Love Lust Optimism Patriotism Pride Save money / frugality Save time Self-reliance / independence Surprise Sympathy Vanity / be popular / social acceptance Whimsy Win acclaim Wit

6. Tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth Part I : Do not make any promises you cannot keep.

There is a television show about an ad agency on TNT called Trust Me, and its name is very apropos. All marketers and advertisers are in the trust business and everything we do either builds trust or tears it down.

We constantly make promises, both explicit and implicit, to our customers and prospects. While we keep our explicit promises very well, we tend to break a great many of our implicit promises.

Take for example, the popular Express Mail format. It is intended to be mistaken for genuine express delivery, but when the prospect opens what he perceives to be an important document, all too often he only finds junk mail. This disappoints your prospect, breaks the bond of trust and loses you sales.

All too often marketers mistake the format for the message. They think that if they put their sales message in an official format it will automatically lift response over a promotional mailing. More often than not, they are wrong. Why? Because they are not using the format in a truthful way.

Here is an excellent example of what I mean:

Some years ago, a telecommunications company mailed $5 and $20 checks in an official manila envelope. Cash the check and you switched your long distance service. The recipient could clearly see the check safety paper through the address window, and a message to the postmaster helped to make the envelope look important and valuable. When the prospects opened the package, they got what they expected, responded accordingly and the package remained the control for years.

Then one of the marketers who developed this check package decided it would work well for a financial company. This company had a credit card rewards program that mailed $25 savings bonds to cardholders when they earned 2,500 points. The same check format was used, but a facsimile of a savings bond replaced the check. Recipients quickly figured out they would have to spend $2,500 to get $25 that the solicitation promised. Response was dismal and the solicitation was an embarrassing failure.

It is easy to why the first package was successful. It delivered on its implicit promise. The second one did not and failed.

Yes, the first package had a hard cash offer and the second did not, but you cannot blame the lack of an offer on the failure of this package. A promotional package mailed alongside it, and with no offer, garnered outstanding results. The outer envelope had a headline that read:

In 2016 a college education will cost over $120,000. Are you saving enough?

Inside the letter offered the rewards card as an easy way to supplement college savings and the package out-performed all expectations because it told the truth.

So do not make the mistake of thinking a powerful format alone will influence prospects to respond. You will only succeed when your message fulfills the implicit promise your package makes.

Tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth Part II : Avoid a sea of footnotes.

Pick up a piece of direct mail in any one of a number of highly regulated industries and you will not have to look far to find an asterisk.

Sometimes those asterisks appear in the headline.

Sometimes they appear in the headline on the front of the envelope.

I am often told that the sea of footnotes is part of an effort to be totally honest. Other times I am told that they are required by law.

You cannot always avoid an asterisk and a footnote and a lot of unexciting information is required by law. But just popping in a footnote every time you are forced to mention a negative can actually hurt your overall credibility. Prospects very quickly begin to recognize that an asterisk is a red flag denoting that some bad news is coming. So instead of hiding a problematic fact, the footnote not only calls attention to it, but also tells your prospect that you are trying to fool him by attempting to hide the bad news.

So what should you do? Find a way to state as much as you can as forthrightly as you can. For example, if you are selling auto insurance you need to tell people who will qualify for your best rates. Often you will see a statement like the one below:

Safe drivers save money with our best rates.*

* You must not have received a moving violation nor had an at-fault accident in the past five years.

But the requirement seems less burdensome, and your copy appears much more open and friendly if the qualification is stated like this:

We cannot offer our best rates to everyone, but if you are a safe driver who has not had a moving violation or an at-fault accident in the past five years, we stand ready to help you save money now.

Both examples state plainly that you must be ticket and accident free to get the best rates, but in the first example, you give your prospect a benefit and then take it away in footnote. While in the second example, you bestow a special benefit on the people who qualify.

Being honest and forthright can also help you to sell harder. Imagine how intriguing mailing would be if the envelope had a headline that read:

Open now to find out why the state of Idaho will not let us make you any special offers (and how we can still help you save an average of $300).

Yes, Terms and Conditions will still wind up on the back panel of a brochure or tucked in a box on the back of a letter. But the more straight you are with your prospect, the better your results will be.

Murder in an Alaskan Forest

No one-at least no human-knows his name, or even if he had a name.

We don’t know where or when he was born. We know nothing about his life.

But we know a lot about his death. A politician/trapper from northeast Pennsylvania went to Alaska and killed him. We know this because the local newspaper opened almost a full page to tell us about the glorious hunt.

The story included two pictures. One three-column picture showed Mighty Trapper, smiling and in heavy cold winter clothing, holding the dead lynx by his back legs, his life cut short by at least 10 years. The other picture showed Mighty and his brother, a biologist with Alaska’s Fish and Game Department, each holding a dead lynx. One of the animals appears to be a young female, possibly not even past puberty.

The article tells us that the politician/trapper, who began trapping and killing animals while in elementary school, went to Alaska to “live a lifetime dream of running a trap line in the Alaska interior.” He said he hoped his lines would ensnare not only lynx, but wolves and wolverines as well. However, traps are indiscriminate devices that not only capture their intended victim, but also other animals as well, including dogs and cats if they’re in the area. He didn’t get wolves or wolverine, and only killed one mink. “My first thought,” he remembers, “was we should be able to catch dozens every day.” Unfortunately for the trapper, the mink traveled beneath the snow and ice.

The average Canadian lynx (Lynx Canadensis), a close relative to the bobcat, weighs 18 to 30 pounds, has acute sight and hearing, has long legs and large furry feet but can’t run fast except for short distances, and survives primarily on a diet of snowshoe rabbits. Their only major predator is the human.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lists the Canadian lynx as “threatened species” in the 48 contiguous states; the Humane Society of the United States is pursuing litigation to change the status to “endangered.” The primary habitat of the lynx is the boreal forests of Montana, Idaho, Washington, Wyoming, with a presence also in New England, Minnesota, Utah, and Colorado. But, Alaska allows unlimited killing during a three to five month season, depending upon region, beginning about Nov. 1 each year, and Mighty Trapper was there to kill lynx. “The state says to capture as many as you can,” he told others after returning to his home.

“Trapping is the greatest sport there is,” this politician told the outdoors reporter, and pointed out, “I’m so very proud to be a part of this real American heritage.” When not serving as one of three county commissioners, he works every morning for several months a year killing muskrats, raccoons, fox and, reports the newspaper, “other fur bearing animals.” He often jokes around-with individuals and in public meetings-that he’s a member of PETA. Not the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, but People Eating Tasty Animals. It gets a laugh, and lets everyone know what he thinks of animal rights organizations.

As “thrilling” as setting lines and killing lynx may be to some people, it isn’t all that difficult. “Because they’re curious, not as wary of humans, lynx are one of the easier animals to trap,” says Doug Larsen, director of wildlife conservation for the Alaska Fish and Game Department.

A trap line, which may extend several miles, usually consists of dozens of individual traps. The snare wire trap relies upon an animal walking into a wire noose and being strangled by its own forward motion; a steel jaw trap clamps down on an animal’s leg; the conibear trap is a body trap. Mighty Trapper used a few snare traps and a couple of dozen coil spring traps. “Most animals suffer from a few hours to a few days,” says Pierre Grzybowski of the Humane Society of the United States. The animals often die from hypothermia, strangulation, shock, or from inability to flee predators. Although several trapper codes of ethics suggest that traps be checked regularly, and several states require trappers to check their lines daily, Alaska has no such requirement. Animals that are still alive, even if only barely at the time trappers return, are killed by being choked, clubbed, or shot in the head. The carcasses are often thrown out as trash, the fur usually sent to auction houses.

In the March 2008 auctions, the two largest fur auction houses sold about 5,000 lynx pelts, each for about $300. The pelts of most other animals sold for under $40 each, many for under $10 each. The house takes a 9-11 percent commission. Although prices were higher this year because of extraordinarily cold weather in northern China and Russia, thus causing fewer animals to be killed, “Only a tiny minority trap full-time and can make money from it,” says Grzybowski. The money most trappers receive from auction “barely covers the cost of gasoline and the cost of traps.” Most trappers, says Grzybowski, “do it solely for the recreation, and nothing else.”

About 40 percent of the 500 bidders at the North American Fur Auctions sale were from China, according to data provided by NAFA, one of the two houses. Most of the other bidders came from Russia, Greece, and Turkey. But, the coats don’t stay in those countries; they are designed, sewn, and shipped into the United States and other countries where the rich can parade their affluence.

The fashion industry is what drives the trapping and sale of fur. Faux fur, synthetic fur, looks almost exactly like real fur, is just as warm as real fur-and is significantly cheaper. One or two lynx pelts are necessary for a coat trimmed in fur. Full-length lynx coats, which might be made from as many as 15 pelts, sell for $7,500-$20,000; a few sell for as much as $50,000. Jackets sell for about $5,000. Although most trappers are men, women are the primary buyers of fur-trimmed and full fur coats. “It’s a status thing,” says Grzybowski, “they want to wear real fur. They want to show off.”

A Saks Fifth Avenue full-color catalogue in October 2007 told its customers, “This season, fur takes on so many imaginative shapes-Discover it all at the Saks Fur Salon.” One of those shapes at the Salon was an $8,000 woman’s jacket “with brightener-added lynx trim,” available for a sale price of $5,600. Among other chain stores that sell real fur are Burlington Coat Factory, Dillard’s, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor, and Nordstrom. Lynx hats, jackets, and other clothing items regularly appear on amazon.com, eBay, and dozens of on-line stores. However, more than 100 major designers and chain stores-including Calvin Klein, Guess, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Lands’ End, J. Crew, Eddie Bauer, American Eagle, and Gap-refuse to work with or distribute real fur.

Mighty Trapper says he plans to return to Alaska in two years when both the rabbit and lynx population are expected to be at a 30 year peak. But, the increased population of the lynx and the possibility that the fashion industry may find other animals to exploit will probably lead to lower prices at the March auctions. It may not matter, anyhow. Mighty didn’t even sell the pelts. He had two of them tanned, and the other one, the one of the largest lynx, sent to his home, eventually to be stuffed and mounted-a trophy of a murder.

As for the newspaper? If Mighty returns to Alaska, it’ll probably run another story and picture of him and an animal he killed. Almost every day during the Christmas season, the newspaper prints several pictures of orange-clad hunters and their deer and black bear. During other times, there’s likely to be pictures of hunters and almost every fur-bearing animal in the region, including bobcats and coyotes, neither of which is edible, neither of which threatens humans. The editor’s attitude to those readers who complain in this highly religious rural area where boys and girls grow up with guns and legally begin killing animals at the age of 12 is, “If you don’t like it, turn the page.”

Perhaps some day Americans, including the politician/trapper who claims to be religious, will turn the page on violence and actually follow the Sixth Commandment, “You shall not murder.”

Fashion Modeling – Prospects After Completing Education

Fashion modeling sounds glamorous and ostentatious profession to many people especially to young girls and boys. The exclusive life style, page 3 parties, designer clothes, international ramp shows and money lure every youngsters but this is just the half truth. The fashion modeling career requires lot of hard work, dedication and self sacrifice to be successful. Fashion has become universal now, there is a huge demand of male and female models in the market. All famous fashion models are being paid very well for any modeling assignment and ramp walk. Their remuneration depends upon the fashion designer and organizer they are working with. Where as aspiring models begin their career with smaller modeling agencies and low budget modeling assignments.

Today fashion modeling has become a huge profession and there is abundance of employment. There is no such educational requirement or age limit to become a model. You may be a school pass-out or graduate, all you need is a good face, height and a glass hour figure. To get into fashion world is a Herculean task due to excessive competition in this profession. All top models are earning very handsome this naturally makes competition very fierce. The international recognition, limelight, celebrity status also make it more difficult to get a break.

However, fashion industry has made phenomenal growth in India in the last fifteen years. Fashion industry is now targeting people of all age group to sell fashion. Earlier, youngsters were the prime concern for the fashion designers, they used to design attires keeping younger generation’s likes and dislikes in mind, but this trend has completely changed now. Today, you can find designers are designing special clothes for middle-aged and older people as well. There has been a tremendous revolution in fashion world which has led to a huge demand of models.

Networking is an important part to be successful in modeling. A strong networking helps you to become familiar with fashion gurus and designers. If you are well acquainted with fashion designers, photographers, make artists then they may recommend your name to others fashion players for any modeling assignment and outdoor ramp shows. Thus, it is suggested to maintain a harmonious relation ship with everyone you meet with.

To begin your career as a fashion model you can start working as a catalog-model, show room model, television model etc. You must make an impressive portfolio of yours and distribute in different modeling agencies. If any top modeling agencies hires you it would be easy for you to enter into the big world of fashion.

It should be remembered your entire career depends on your face so make yourself recognized in the fashion world by attending parties, nightclubs etc. These are the few places where you would find cream of fashion under one roof. Fashion modeling is a lucrative career, it gives you multiple opportunities to travel around your country and globe. Fashion modeling has various categories- Ramp modeling, Television modeling and print modeling, Showroom modeling, Advertisement modeling.

Fashion modeling is a multi-million dollar industry, Bombay is the hub for fashion modeling. Everyday hundreds of youngsters walk-in to try their luck in fashion modeling but very few make it to the top. Fashion modeling gives you international recognition, you may get chance to work with the best international designers in world- famous fashion cities Paris, Milan, New-York, Tokyo etc.

Despite of such tempting opportunities in modeling it is a very short-lived career. You profession is not ever-lasting and you need to tackle excessive stress, work pressure and many unforeseen challenges.