Working for the man ain’t no crime, yo

~ 04 December 2006 ~

At the beginning of the summer, had you told me that I’d leave Utah as a freelancer, move to Arkansas for a short while, and then settle in Florida — only to end up back in Utah employed by a worldwide religious organization — I would have have offered this terse riposte: “Pfft! Shut uuuuup.”

And yet that’s precisely what has happened.

While I’ve had plenty of time to think about how I might phrase this announcement, words seem to flow like molasses once pen hits paper. Or more precisely, fingers hit keys. But for those interested in the details, keep reading after the jump and I’ll do my best to wax eloquent. For you skimmers out there, I just spoonfed you the highlights.

Following 18 months of successful freelancing, I’m now Principal Interaction Designer for the LDS Church in Salt Lake City, Utah. A client of mine since earlier this year (see comps), they had contacted me regarding a second project, from which discussions sprung up about potential employment. An offer was extended that was too good to turn down, and I accepted. While some of you are aware that I came close to taking a job with Apple, most of you are impervious to the fact that I was also recruited, in part or full, by a few other top tech firms since. But the timing was never right.

Or maybe there was more to it than just timing. Maybe it’s the crew I now rub shoulders with on a daily basis, some of whom include Gilbert Lee, John Dilworth, Jason Lynes, and Randy Hall (several others mentioned at the unstoppable who oversee dozens of sites and web apps. Maybe it’s the appeal of working for an organization with members and operations in more than 160 countries and 100 languages. Or maybe it’s the belief that I’m not just working for the man, but rather for something that supersedes temporal employment.

Bah, who am I kidding? Truth of the matter is I merely needed new blog material, and moving about the country for five months was a perfect conduit for inspiration. I must go now. I’ve got lots to write about.



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1   Jesse Newland ~ 04 December 2006

Congrats! I’ve been friends with Jason Lynes for a couple of years and have been consistently impressed with his and the LDS Design Team’s work, and I’m sure you’ll only raise the bar. Good luck!

2   Pete ~ 04 December 2006

Shame it’s a heretical organization tho.

3   Andy ~ 04 December 2006


I hope by “heretical” you mean really good and happy people who love Jesus, each other, and who generally are quite wonderful people to be associated with.

Perhaps you meant “helvitica” which, being their font of choice, Cameron is going to help them out.

4   Jeff Croft ~ 04 December 2006

Congrats, Cameron! I’ve always been impressed with the LDS Church’s web design team, and with all of Mormons I’ve ever known, for that matter — good people, almost always. Should be a great place for you.

And yes, working internally has several benefits over freelancing (and vice-versa). Sometimes I think our industry is way to high on the freelance and agency models. There are a lot of places with in-house design and web design teams that are really wonderful places to work — and often times, the work serves more of a purpose in the community, rather than just being experiential advertising fluff.

Congrats again.

5   Kristian ~ 04 December 2006

woot DUDE!

That’s all I can say….

DUUUUUUDDEEE!!!!!!!!!!! ;-)

I guess I can also say that once again, you’ve made me green with jealousy over your rock-star greatness.

6   Jonathan Snook ~ 04 December 2006

@Andy: lovely retort!

@Cameron: many congrats on the new full-time work. I’m sure it feels nice to be home in Utah again. SLC is definitely a nice place.

7   Philip ~ 04 December 2006

Holy schmoly! Congratulations & good luck with the new gig.

8   paul ~ 04 December 2006

Impervious? Wow! Thanks dude.

9   Josh ~ 04 December 2006

Having worked with the LDS church in the past, they were a great bunch of folks to work with.

Good luck, and welcome back home!

10   Michael ~ 04 December 2006

Congratulations! I selfishly hope that your new gig doesn’t diminish your output at Authentic Boredom, nor prevent you from writing more books; whither I go, so does CSS Mastery.

11   Natalie ~ 04 December 2006

Oh dear. Hope the job goes well, but be careful 2 Tim 4: 3-4

12   Kim Siever ~ 04 December 2006

Huh. I didn’t know the church made offers that are hard to refuse. :)

13   Keith ~ 04 December 2006

Wow, crazy stuff. You’ve been all over the place! Anyway, congrats on the job, it really sounds like a good fit for you.

14   Dave Simon ~ 04 December 2006

Folks, if you feel you need to criticize the LDS church instead of saying something on topic, just don’t.

Cameron is sharing a change in his life that seems to be very positive for him and his family.

I’m not LDS, but my mom worked for a Mormon for years and my wife’s best friends were raised Mormon (one is still very involved in the church.)

The Mormons I’ve met are, by a large majority, very good people. I’m sure they have their share of asshats, as every group does, but that doesn’t erase the fact that the church is made up of mostly good folks.

Congratulations, Cameron.

15   Jamis ~ 04 December 2006

That’s sweet dude. I hope your posts won’t decline. Are you gonna fill us in when you work on new apps for the brethren?

Also, at some point please let us now about the differences between freelance and working for the church.


16   John B ~ 04 December 2006

I have a mormon client so I have no intention of slamming LDS. I saw the job ads for LDS and it seemed quite clear that they really, really, really wanted a member of the church for the job. IIRC, they even went so far as to say they would only consider certain non-LDS for contract-only positions. That was enough to put me off even considering applying. Maybe I was just being hypersensitive. But I would have to assume that you are mormon or they relaxed the rules a bit. In any event, congrats!

17   Mark ~ 04 December 2006

Awesome congrats Cameron, good to see someone passionate about God and driven by more than just money!

18   Joshua Brewer ~ 04 December 2006

Congratulations! As my dad always said, “You can’t steer a parked car!” Cudos on the boldness to uproot the family only to come back to something greater!

Since none of us guessed this scenario - maybe you can take a vacation and come visit beautiful San Diego for one of our Refresh San Diego meetings… sunny, 72 degrees… It would be our treat!

19   Mike D. ~ 04 December 2006

Very nice. Now I can rip on Florida again without hurting your feelings. :)

Welcome back to civilization!

20   Kevin Tamura ~ 04 December 2006

Congrats Cameron.

21   Dave S. ~ 04 December 2006

Wow, I didn’t see that one coming. Congrats, it sounds like a good fit, and I’ll bet your family is happy about heading back!

Can’t wait to hear about the experience of going from freelance back to employment, that would make for some mighty interesting blog fodder.

22   Charlie Park ~ 04 December 2006

Phenomenal, Cameron. Good show.

23   Geof Harries ~ 04 December 2006

John B - I don’t see why LDS would want anybody but a member of their organization to take the lead as Principal Interaction Designer.

Person in said role will likely have a lot of influence in the greater direction and purpose behind the LDS materials + user experiences. Having a non-member in that position, would in my mind, could have negative consequences.

24   Geof Harries ~ 04 December 2006

Me write good.

The last sentence should read:

“Having a non-member in that position, would in my mind, risk negative consequences.”

25   Scott ~ 04 December 2006

Mormons rejoice! Save us from the current and beta design on I loath using the current library.

26   Joseph Scott ~ 04 December 2006

Congrats! I’m excited to see what you’ll be bringing to Church web sites. Are we going to start seeing posts from you at now as well?

It is great to see the Church being able to hire top notch folks.

27   Matt Turner ~ 04 December 2006

I think by ‘heretical’ pete meant the whole thing about God the Father having a body like ours and a wife and Jesus being their son. (Garnered from Belief Net)

With regards to working for the man, no, it is definitely no crime! I think a lot of people see being freelance as some kind of badge of honour. A lot of time it’s six of one, half a dozen of the other- i’m looking forward to having a ‘real’ full-time job again later next year.

28   Keanen ~ 04 December 2006

Congratulations. I think the design on your portfolio is lighyears ahead of their current design on the site (and I told them so about a month ago). Glad to know they will really have some great talent working there now.

29   Chris Peterson ~ 04 December 2006

Congratulations, Cameron. This is great news for you, the family, and LDS. Having lunch with the LDS gang at SXSW was a highlight for me. They are simply wonderful folks.

Best of luck to you in this new adventure.

30   Mike Stickel ~ 04 December 2006

Wow, congrats on the opportunity Cameron. Sounds like the past year or so has been quite the adventure for you.

31   Richard K Miller ~ 04 December 2006

Congrats Cameron! The crew sounds like a great team to work with.

32   Paul R. Redmond ~ 04 December 2006


Well said!

33   Joshua Lane ~ 04 December 2006

Hey Cameron, congrats on the new gig! I recently took a position at Urban Outfitters, so I know your situation well ;)

Although, my two weeks of freelancing isn’t quite the same. Still, it’s exciting, no?

34   Nick ~ 04 December 2006

Congrats, Cameron.

35   gb ~ 04 December 2006

I just hope you don’t have to wear a white shirt and tie every day for work (I know most employees at TCoJCoLDS do, but I’m hoping NorthTemple is different). I’d go insane.

And I’m betting that coming in to the 20° weather of SLC is going to shock the system after being down south for a while.

To all the religious posters: hey, we’re talking jobs and business here, not your personal dogmas, k?

36   Anne ~ 04 December 2006

Ditto what Scott said — the library is terrible. I look forward to the improvements you will bring about in your new position.

I just looked at, and it’s obvious that y’all need some ladies on that team. Maybe I should apply for that Interaction Designer position …

37   Kristofer Baxter ~ 04 December 2006


Salt Lake is such a great city with a culture all of its own. Having spent part of the year there I can say that I am quite jealous.

38   Chris Kavinsky ~ 04 December 2006

Congratulations, Cameron. Coming from someone who recently went the other way (full time for a church to freelancing), there is an adjustment. But with someone of your talent and experience, that shouldn’t be a problem.

39   Carolyn Wood ~ 04 December 2006

You get to work with Gilbert Lee?! You are fortunate, indeed. He’s a great guy, and such a good designer. Looking forward to hearing about what you all do.

40   Seth Neilson ~ 04 December 2006

Way to go! There’s a lot of work to do, and I think you’ll be a great fit. Looking forward to seeing what comes out of there soon… Tell Sweeting hi for me!

41   Blake ~ 04 December 2006

With 4 boys under your wing, God knows you weren’t moving around for “the fun of it.” I didn’t realize you had settled in Florida…then again I’m a skimmer. Shame on me! All the best at your new job.

42   Clifton ~ 04 December 2006

This is the best news I’ve heard since the announcement that the Book of Mormon had been translated into Spanish (a long time ago).

Congrats, Cameron. There are a lot of great new homes going up here in North Salt Lake if you’re looking for a place to live that’s only a 10-minute skip to downtown (and the Apple Store).

43   Richard Davies ~ 04 December 2006

Congratulations Cameron! I’ve always admired your work and I’m glad that The Church’s web team is gaining such a highly talented person.

BTW, it’s interesting to note the amazing progress that The Church has made in the last ~175 years, yet it’s clear that The Opposition hasn’t changed his tactics much… ;-) But at least it seems that more and more people are starting to see through the misconceptions and realize that we’re not that bad after all :)

44   Cameron Moll ~ 04 December 2006

Where to begin… Thanks for the feedback, all.

A few selected replies:

I selfishly hope that your new gig doesn’t diminish your output at Authentic Boredom, nor prevent you from writing more books;

No guarantees, but I’m hopeful I’ll still continue to write frequently here.

Folks, if you feel you need to criticize the LDS church instead of saying something on topic, just don’t.

Thanks for steering the conversation back on track, Dave.

Can’t wait to hear about the experience of going from freelance back to employment, that would make for some mighty interesting blog fodder.

Hadn’t considered that particular article, but with two of you mentioning it, it’s worth considering.

maybe you can take a vacation and come visit beautiful San Diego for one of our Refresh San Diego meetings.

Absolutely. Truth be told, we already miss the sunny Florida weather (4 deg F here just the other morning).

Very nice. Now I can rip on Florida again without hurting your feelings. :)

Ha! See previous comment.

Are we going to start seeing posts from you at now as well?

Yes, most likely. Though gimme a little time to catch up with posts here on this site :D

I just hope you don’t have to wear a white shirt and tie every day for work

Not at these particular offices (KSL building). But I don a suit every couple days for meetings and such at the main building.

45   Nic Johnson ~ 04 December 2006

Congratulations, Cameron. Echoing the other comments, the Church’s design/interaction work will be well cared for in your hands.

BTW, is this the Senior Interaction Designer position that was on your authentic jobs board (and is still on the LDS employment site), or is that one still open?

46   Cameron Moll ~ 04 December 2006

The Sr. Interaction Designer position is still open (see listing).

47   bennion ~ 04 December 2006

Congrats Cameron! Glad to hear you’re coming back to Utah. Let’s do lunch some time soon! Travel safe my friend.

48   Cameron Moll ~ 04 December 2006

I’m already back in UT, bennion :D

49   Zoe ~ 04 December 2006

Congrats Cameron! I’m so happy about this — my favorite designer can improve one of the sites I visit often. I’m going to bug you about my pet improvements I want made on now. ;-)

I agree with Anne, though — that NorthTemple group needs some diversity, and the addition of at least one lady would help!

If you come out to San Diego, perhaps I can tempt you with sunny and warm North Carolina some time? The Atlantic ocean is far more hospitable than the Pacific. :-)

50   Jared Christensen ~ 04 December 2006

PLEASE try to get your hands into MLS. It’s come a long way, but it’s still pretty sad to work in.


51   Brandon ~ 04 December 2006


Congratulations on your new gig and welcome back to arctic Utah (what it has felt like in recent weeks, ha)! I have learned quite a bit from your book “CSS Mastery” as well as your insightful blog posts (though your blog has only recently been added to my “Bloglines” feeds, ha) Keep up the good work, as I am sure you will.

From an inactive member of the LDS faith who does not currently attend, I agree the Church does not deserve the bashing it gets and especially not on a Designer’s personal blog!!? There is too much to praise and it seems such a waste of time to denigrate others’ faith and belief system.

Well, to get off my soapbox - I look for good posts in the future (but NO pressure though - ha) - Take care and try not to freeze …

52   Greg ~ 04 December 2006

Just when you think you can get out, they pull you back in *lighting, thunder*. I still can’t believe you were able to pack it all up and move back in eight days. Crazy.

53   Dave Rau ~ 04 December 2006

Ahhh yeah! Josh and I can continue to run amuck in the culture-less swamp we call Florida without interference from the mighty Moll. Sweet!

Somebody get me outa here!!!!! I need outa this state NOW.

54   Joshua Lane ~ 04 December 2006

@Dave Rau - Weren’t you thinking of moving to Philly? I heard a bit of a rumor from the HC folks. It’s not as warm as Florida, but we have fancy old buildings!

55   Dan Cederholm ~ 04 December 2006

The next time I move, and start to complain about the process, I will remember your journey from the left coast and back again :)

More importantly, congratulations!

56   John ~ 04 December 2006


I guess what I was trying to say about the job posting was, “Understood. Message received. Moving along now.” I generally believe a business or organization should have the freedom to hire whomever they wish for whatever reasons (within the bounds of the law, I suppose), but that’s just my libertarian bent. I’m in Montana so I’m always interested in cool jobs in neighboring (or nearly neighboring) states because A) they’re so few and far between, and B) if I have to leave Montana I don’t want to go too far. =)

Regarding other issues people have snuck in their comments, I prefer to respect our host’s online home. =P

57   Joshua Steimle ~ 04 December 2006

Welcome back Cameron. The LDS Church appears to have come a long way from the days when they were known for being a low-paying employer. I’ve talked with several web-types over the past year or two who have gone to work for the Church who have either said things along the lines of “They offered me more than I could believe” or “I told them what I wanted and they offered me more” or “They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse,” but without any mafia-related connotation. They just meant a lot of money.

Whatever else people say about Mormons, at least they won’t be able to claim that they have a lame website.

58   Jon Linczak ~ 04 December 2006

Ah, the truth comes out! Glad to hear all is well. You must have one amazing, understanding wife and kids to go through all those moves in a short period of time. :) Best of luck in the new position.

59   Jared Smith ~ 04 December 2006

Congratulations and welcome back to Utah! It was just a few weeks ago at lunch while at Refresh06 that we were discussing the web site. Kinda makes a bit more sense now. Mormons rejoice - that site needs some serious help.

We really ought to continue our conversation about the inaccessibility of the site… once you’re settled in and unpacked.

60   Cameron Moll ~ 04 December 2006

Um… yeah, I ran that very test just the other day. The beta scores much better…

61   Shane Guymon ~ 04 December 2006

Hopefully uou didn’t sell the house…

thats awesome congrats, thats an awesome deal, I would love to work for the church (LDS.) That would be a great job. Maybe one day…

62   Liam ~ 04 December 2006

It’s sad this has turned into a religious carnival, there are a few places I didn’t expect to have to read about the wonders of Christianity and this is one of them.

But then, this is your blog and your readers opinions. Those of us who don’t like it, or are uncomfortable with things like: ‘really good and happy people who love Jesus’ and ‘good to see someone passionate about God and driven by more than just money!’ Can leave.

Congratulations. Thank you for the—previously posted—reading material.

63   Tom Bowcut ~ 05 December 2006

Congratulations! I, along with the others, look forward to the continued top quality work coming from the church. I’m sure you will be a great asset to an already amazing team. Good luck.

64   Mark Boulton ~ 05 December 2006

And there was me complaining about a 45 minute drive to work last year. Many congratulations Cameron.

65   kartooner ~ 05 December 2006

Cameron: Congrats on the new gig. Should be an awesome experience for you.

Now, work that pixel magic!

66   chuck ~ 05 December 2006

Wow! I don’t feel so bad now.

I took a job back in May and moved my family to Virginia … after being there for only 6 months, we’re back in Texas.

The fun is in the journey, not the destination, eh?

67   Travis Schmeisser ~ 05 December 2006

I have to agree with Dave’s comment: culture-less indeed! And too hot…

68   Cameron Moll ~ 05 December 2006

It’s sad this has turned into a religious carnival, there are a few places I didn’t expect to have to read about the wonders of Christianity and this is one of them.

Actually, I’m surprised it took 62 comments before a remark of this sort surfaced. For the record, I don’t intend to change the tone of my writing around here, but I’m certainly entitled to a more “enlightening” post every one hundred or so, especially given the nature of announcement.

69   Mitch ~ 05 December 2006

Hilarious. It’s always interesting to read people’s views on religion, mine particularly. Glad you came back, Cameron. It was cool having you in the same city, although I saw you like once every 2 years. I recently moved North one city. Are you still close?

70   craig ~ 05 December 2006

“Or maybe it’s the belief that I’m not just working for the man, but rather for something that supersedes temporal employment.”

Would that we could all see our world that way.

From my seat here in a Roman Catholic pew (from which I cannot objectively view the LDS church) I can see the subtle and yet tremendously life-altering power of that 21 word sentence. And while that sentence comes as an almost thrown away comment followed by a gentle dismissal (seemingly intended to soften the blow just landed on the reader), I can imagine that those words define what would indeed be both the most compelling and the most terrifying reason to make the decision.

Do well.

71   Peter Kaizer ~ 05 December 2006

As the Web Site Director for Catholic Relief Services - another Faith Based Organization - I congratulate you. There are many joys to working “in-house” and weather or not you are of the same spiritual persuasion as your employer is of no consequence. As long as you believe in the cause you are promoting.

I have always enjoyed your work and look forward to more interesting posts!

72   Daniel Amezcua ~ 05 December 2006

Congrats! Welcome to the family here in Utah. It is a mini-Silicon Valley here which means you are heads above the rest to get the job!

I also agree with Peter, believe in the cause you are promoting.

The LDS people are good people and Utah is a wonderful place to live. Congrats!

73   Connor ~ 05 December 2006

Congrats! I look forward to seeing the non-top-secret stuff you come up with for the Church!

74   Clay Butcher ~ 05 December 2006


Can you get me tickets to the BYU-Oregon Bowl game in vegas? (joking)

75   Mark Priestap ~ 05 December 2006

You’re one of my design inspirations and you’ll continue to be. Thanks for all the excellent design direction you’ve given all of us.

That said… (oh no)…

I know you’re not asking for this, but I hope it will be helpful… The LDS sound like they trust Jesus and encourage personal relationship with Him, but in the end it is a religion that depends upon good works of people instead of the righteous work of Christ to pardon our sin. Mormons are often amongst best of the best in terms of being upstanding people, but there is no amount of good we can do to deserve eternal life. (Rom 3:23, 5:12) The Apostle Paul was far more righteous than we could hope to be and still did not measure up. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us.” Titus 3:5

I’ve struggled with trying to earn salvation for many years… it is truly good news to know that Christ did it all for me and endured the punishment I deserve. It is, conversely, bad news to think I have to earn it, since there would be no hope.

76   Mike Smullin ~ 05 December 2006

Congratulations, Cameron! Working for the church is a great privilege and I’m sure you will learn a lot from it. I love the comps you did for the church site… Keep up the great work. :)

77   Raymonn ~ 05 December 2006

I would’ve like to see you stay in Arkansas. I am actually from Texarkana, Arkansas.
Good luck with working for the man.

78   Raymonn ~ 05 December 2006

oh yeah, I just accepted a job working for the man. Actually it’s my first formal job in the industry. I hope to learn lots from them.
You are also an inspiration.

79   Alexander Graf ~ 06 December 2006

Congratulations, Cameron! If the offer was really that good and the timing was right, why turn it down.

And to all the religious posters around here, wow, can you please come back to the topic? I don’t think anyone came here to enjoy comments about religion. This is business people. Seriously.

Anyway, congratulations again Cameron.

80   Natalie ~ 06 December 2006

Alexander, and all you others, at the end of the day this IS the topic; read the post! People like Mark and others are only looking out for people. Thanks for all your excellent instruction and insight Cameron.

81   Mark Priestap ~ 06 December 2006

Hopefully my previous post didn’t come off pompous… Like Natalie said, just lookin’ out for my peeps.

Love your work man - your work is probably my top inspiration. Such a blessing to me.

82   Paul Mayne ~ 06 December 2006

Congrats Cameron. Great team they’ve got over there and they are lucky to have you.

Good thing you are near The Gateway as Crossroads mall is dead and COB food is best taken only once a week.

83   kory ~ 08 December 2006

Excellent career move. Might I even say a move “up”…and yes it is something that supersedes temporal employment. Congrats!

84   Marla Erwin ~ 09 January 2007

I saw the LDS ad looking for a designer and thought to myself, “If they had any sense at all, they’d hire Cameron Moll to continue his excellent work.”
I managed to miss this post entirely until now, so it gave me a good grin to see that the LDS folks have a great deal of sense indeed.


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CSS Mastery CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standard Solutions A solid round-up of indispensable CSS design techniques by Andy Budd, Simon Collison, and Cameron Moll.

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