9 Highly Wealthy and Influential LDS Returned Missionaries

9 Wealthiest and Most Influential LDS Returned Missionaries Ever

Business Week wrote an article called “God’s MBAs: Why Mormon Missions Produce Leaders,” (see link below) and we thought that we would just highlight a few of these amazing (and wealthy) influencer-leaders who have served full-time LDS missions.

President Brigham Young once said:

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The worst fear that I have about this people is that they will get rich in this country, forget God and his people, wax fat, and kick themselves out of the Church and go to hell. This people will stand mobbing, robbing, poverty and all manner of persecution, and be true. It my greater fear for them is that they cannot stand wealth; and yet they have to be tried with riches, for they will become the richest people on this earth. 1

Here are 9 LDS returned missionaries who have fulfilled Brother Brigham’s prophecy:

1. Josh James (Served in Tokyo, Japan)

Josh James - Wealthy LDS returned missionary

image via inc.com

Josh James is a BYU grad who founded Omniture, a tech company that was bought by Adobe for $1.8 Billion. He has since started another innovative business intelligence company called DOMO. He loves showing other CEOs how to be better CEOs and as for CEOs is probably one of the most active on social media. Some of these guys are hard to follow, but not Josh. Links to his social media accounts are on his website here.

2. Mitt Romney (served in France)

Mitt Romney Wealthy LDS returned missionary

Image via telegraph.co.uk

Amassed an estimated $190 million to $250 million as head of Bain Capital, rescued the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics from a corruption scandal, was governor of Massachusetts, and ran for president twice. Click here to read more about Mitt Romney’s life. Click here to read his book.

3. Clayton Christensen (served in Korea)

Clayton Christensen - Wealthy LDS returned missionary

Clayton Christensen as a missionary in Korea image via claytonchristensen.com

Clayton Christensen is a Harvard Business Professor and one of the world’s top management thinkers, but first and foremost he is a missionary. He is the author of the New York Times bestselling business book How Will You Measure Your Life?

How will you measure your life? Clayton Christensen


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He has been featured internationally multiple times for his fascinating ideas on what he calls “disruptive innovation.”

Disruptive Innovation - Forbes - Clayton Christensen

image via Forbes

But above all of this, Elder Clayton Christensen is a missionary. An everyday missionary. He has been doing everyday missionary work for decades and has had hundreds of experiences with missionary work. These experiences and the principles behind them are taught in his book, The Power of Everyday Missionaries. To read more about his life and work, click here.

 4. Jon Huntsman Jr. (served in Taiwan) and Sr.

Wealthy Returned Missionaries

After his mission was an assistant to President Ronald Reagan. image via sltrib.com

Jon Huntsman Jr. served as former Utah governor.  He negotiated dozens of free-trade agreements as a U.S. trade representative and served as ambassador to China from 2009-2011. He served his mission in Taiwan and ran for president in 2012. Click here to read more about his life.

His father, Jon Huntsman Sr., also served as a mission president in Washington D.C. He is a billionaire philanthropist and wrote a book called Barefoot to Billionaire


5. David Neeleman (Served in Brazil)

David Neeleman Jetblue - Wealthy LDS returned missionaries

image via nj.com

Founder of JetBlue Air and Brazil’s airlines Azul. Served in Brazil. He has been able to keep JetBlue Airlines afloat (no pun intended) even through the hardest economic times for this industry. This book was written about how he did this. He just made a third try for an IPO for Azul air.  Click here to read more about his life.

6. Eric Varvel

Eric Varvel - Wealthy LDS returned missionaries

image via news.byu.edu

Chief Executive Officer of the global Investment Bank of Credit Suisse. To read more about his success, click here.

7. Kim Clark (served in Germany)

Kim Clark - Harvard Dean of HBS - wealthy LDS returned missionaries

image via news.harvard.edu

Former dean of Harvard Business School. Current president of BYU Idaho. To read more about his life, click here.

8. Gary Crittenden (served in Germany)

Gary Crittenden - Wealthy LDS Returned Missionary

image via bloomberg.com

Served as CFO for Citigroup (C), American Express (AXP), and Sears Roebuck. Read more about his success here.

9. Stephen R. Covey (served in England)

Wealthy LDS returned missionaries

image via stephencovey.com

Self help mogul and author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the late Stephen Covey served a mission in England and was also a mission president. Click here to read more about Stephen Covey’s amazing life.

We don’t all have to be multi-millionaire mega influencers, but as returned missionaries, we must rise up as leaders in our own spheres of influence. For more good reading, check out the book The Mormon Way of Doing Business, and make sure to check out this Business Week article called “God’s MBAs, Why Mormon Missions Produce Leaders,” about why the world thinks that the Mormon mission experience produces great leaders.

Have another you think should be added to the list? Please add them to the comments.


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  1. Nibley, Brigham Young, p. 128. Or just click here to read it in Gordon B. Hinckley’s speech.


  1. Also, don’t forget Robert Dotson. My uncle. Started T-Mobile in the US and was CEO till he retired a few years ago.

    • John Stemmons says:

      I hope you will forward this message to your uncle Robert Dotson and any others who might desire to participate.

      If you have more wealth than you need and would like to:

      • Proclaim the Gospel,
      • Redeem the dead,
      • Perfect the Saints, and
      • Help the needy of the world,

      please contact me at [email protected] and I will send to you a copy of my plan on how to accomplish these goals.

      I am confident that if you will just request a copy of my plan, you will see that I am not trying to enrich myself nor am I trying to deceive anyone.

  2. Cody Carpenter says:

    Moroni Bing Torgan, served in Brazil, mission president in Portugal and current area 70 in Brazil. Highest ranking Brazillian politician. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moroni_Bing_Torgan

  3. How is J. Willard Marriott not on this list?

    • It is definitely not a comprehensive list. I based it off of a Business Week article (that is referenced). There are many others who have served and who are highly wealthy and influential. This is just a list. Did J Willard Marriott serve a full time mission? If so where?

  4. You didn’t mention where Eric Varvel served. Also, Carlos Martins, founder of the Wizard language school served in Portugal and has been tremendously influential and successful.

    • It was based off the Business Week article and even they didn’t know where he served. They just mention that he did go to the Provo MTC. If you know where he served, please let me know and I’ll add it.

  5. I wouldn’t post being CEO of Citi or Sears as lifetime acheivements. One is at the crux of financial insolvency and the first one was a primary cause for the USA meltdown. AE is a company I well respect.

  6. Interesting there are no successful LDS women returned missionaries mentioned. Also, how ’bout an article on the “9 Highly Wealthy and Influential LDS non-serving Missionaries”.

  7. Jordan Jones says:

    One name that should be on the list is Shaycarl. He served in Buenos Aires (I think…I really can’t remember and it’s wicked late and I’m not checking right now, sorry), once home he married Katilette (Colette) and together have had 5 kids. In 2009 Shay moved his family out to L.A.from Pocatello to start a company for professional YouTubers called Maker Studios. Maker has some of the most notable channels on YouTube, Shay’s own channel (well, one of about 6 he operates) called The @shaytards has reached over 2 million subscribers! Anyways getting back to maker studios it self Shay along with the rest of the executives and those who helped start Maker sold it to the Walt Disney Company in February for $500 million and a guarantee of an additional $450 million if maker achieved certain goals…yes that’s right, a dude from Idaho, Arizona, Utah and who knows where else, who’s worked as a DJ, granite countertops guy, security guard, driver and heaven knows what else sold his company for the better half of a BILLION DOLLARS! Now I do understand that Shaycarl won’t get $500M, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think he’s walked away with $10M or so…just my speculation of course….anyway, I have watched his daily vlogs for about 3 years now and his family(like many viewers out there) is now apart of my family, I’ve watch some of his kids be born (they did not record the graphic business end of that) and many other personal moments that most would not want to share with the world…

    • Jordan, that’s a great addition! I love Shaytards! I was unaware of his millionaire-ness. I was just part of a huge YouTube video that he was in a few weeks ago where we broke the world record for largest live Nativity with living people. The video featured many popular YouTubers. Possibly one of the largest YouTube collab videos ever. I didn’t meet him personally, but he was dressed up as a wiseman. I love this suggestion because as a YouTuber, he has been extremely influential. I know the Shaytards channel has over a billion views on all the videos. I watched some of his vlogs and it blows my mind how there are so many views on things like jumping on the bed with his kids. Thanks for the suggestion!

  8. Nellie Jäkkö says:

    Would be also nice to have a list of RM, who ARE Influential LDS Returned Missionaries outside the U.S.

  9. Rommel Palay says:

    This is a nice page, thanks for the great information about the stand out RM. I’m from the Philippines.

  10. dv tshabalala says:

    I agree with Nellie on putting a similar list for outside US. Inspiration is so needed among RMs in the rapidly growing parts of the world- and it is here that RMs often feel that they are all alone and NO ONE gets them (which is often not far from the truth when you are the first person to serve a mission in your home/village/branch ). Thanks for posting this list though.

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