For the past ten years, the people of Ultradent have come together in tremendous and caring ways to raise food and money for not only the Utah Food Bank, but to help support many important and pressing causes all around the world. Most recently, half of the funds raised during our annual food drive went to help our brothers and sisters in Nepal, whose lives and homes were ravaged and devastated by a massive earthquake in the region, which killed and injured many. Additionally, throughout the year, Ultradent supports numerous humanitarian causes and missions at home and abroad by donating funds, dental supplies, and the like to organizations seeking to help improve the quality of life of others—be it through dental care or other important and worthy means.

I’m often asked if my extensive international travel is part of the reason Ultradent participates in humanitarian work. Ultimately, my answer is no. I do not believe one must have traveled abroad or have even have traveled at all to possess humanitarian values. Having grown up FLDS (before leaving the church in 1995), I often felt different, having been a minority in my community. Having had that experience really put a special feeling in my heart and gave me some insight and compassion for those who perhaps aren’t the most popular or who are often perceived as weird, strange, or who are even simply overlooked.

At the end of the day, you don’t have to travel to any other part of the world to know what it feels like to be human. We bleed the same, our hearts are the same. Yes, our cultures and backgrounds are different, but every parent suffers when a child is lost. Every child suffers when a parent is lost. We all hurt, we all cry, and we all laugh—for very common reasons.

We could go on forever identifying the differences in our cultures, but ultimately we have so much more in common than we have different. Evidence of that can even be seen in some of our common body language. A smile is universal, laughter is universal, and a frown is universal. There’s more in common than there is different. Tragically, we tend to focus on our differences and push our universal similarities aside. However, I often share that if we would spend more of our time identifying those things that we have in common, the balance sheet would be quite encouraging.

I believe in helping others in any way we can. I believe in finding and celebrating our commonalities, and I believe in standing up for and fighting for lives—no matter where they live. This is the most important quality a human can possess—to cherish, respect, and fight for human life. As the wonder Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said,

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent on things that matter.”