Photo courtesy of Newsmax
Newsmax, a conservative news organization in the United States, released their list of America’s 50 most influential Mormons this week. According to the article, LDS General Authorities were not included on the list as the editors wanted to focus “on leaders who are currently active in their respective secular fields of endeavor.” They also noted the list is fairly subjective and welcomed input for future editions. Here are the top ten:
1. Mitt Romney — A fifth-generation Mormon, the former governor of Massachusetts and the 2012 Republican presidential nominee served as a missionary in France. He and his gifted wife, Ann, are the parents of five sons. In addition to a distinguished career at Bain Capital, Romney is widely credited with rescuing the scandal-ridden Salt Lake City Olympic games.
2. Bill Marriott — The executive chairman and chairman of the board of Marriott International led the transformation of the family restaurant business into the world’s largest lodging company. Marriott is easily one of the world’s most recognizable and respected business leaders. He is also known for his tireless work within the Church and philanthropic communities.
3. Orrin Hatch – Now in his seventh term as a U.S. senator for Utah, Hatch is currently chairman of the powerful Senate Committee on Finance. He is also a member and former chairman of both the the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. Known traditionally as a conservative, Hatch is one of just a handful of senators who can and does effectively reach across the aisle on important legislation.
4. Jack Gerard – Currently president of the influential American Petroleum Institute (API), a position he has held since 2008, Gerard has been active as a leader in the Church and is a board member and past chairman of National Capital Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He and his wife, Claudette, have eight children, including twin boys they adopted from Guatemala.
5. Clayton Christensen — Clayton M. Christensen is the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. He is known as an expert on disruptive innovation. He is the author of many critically acclaimed books, including several New York Times best-sellers, such as “The Innovator’s Dilemma.” Christensen is the co-founder of Innosight, a management-consulting company; Rose Park Advisors, an investment firm; and the Innosight Institute, a non-profit think tank. Christensen is widely acclaimed as one of the world’s most influential business theorists. In 2015, he won the Edison Achievement Award — a prestigious award given to world leaders in innovation. Previous winners include Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Ted Turner, and Bill Marriott.
6. Harry Reid — The senior U.S. Democratic senator from Nevada currently serves as the Senate Minority Leader. Previously the chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission, Reid has served in the Senate since 1986. He was a high-profile and controversial U.S. Senate Majority Leader from 2006 until 2015. Reid was elected to the Gaming Hall of Fame in 2001 (joining fellow members Frank Sinatra, Donald Trump, and Wayne Newton). The Searchlight, Nevada, native married his high school sweetheart, Landra, and together they have five children.
7. Mike Lee — Having clearly stepped out of the long shadow cast by his famous late father, Rex Lee, Mike Lee became Utah’s junior senator in 2011. Lee clerked for now Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito while Alito was a judge on the Third Circuit Court. Known as one of the most staunchly conservative senators, friends and associates say he is also known for his willingness to listen and learn from all sides.
8. Jason Chaffetz — The U.S. Representative from Utah’s 3rd District is currently chairman of the powerful House Oversight & Government Reform Committee. Chaffetz is also a member of the House Judiciary Committee. A popular guest on cable TV shows, Chaffetz is reportedly considering a run for Utah governor in 2020.
9. Jon Huntsman (both and either Jr. or Sr.) — Utah’s wealthiest citizen, Jon Huntsman, Sr., and eldest son, Jon, Jr., have both made their mark and each deserves to be on this list (but are hard to separate). After having built an impressive world-wide chemical company, Senior continues his influence through many channels, particularly through his philanthropy. His charitable giving now exceeds $1 billion, particularly in the fields of healthcare and education. Meanwhile, Jon, Jr., has served in several presidential administrations, including as ambassador to Singapore (1992-1993) and to China (2009-2011). In between, he took time to run for and win the governorship of Utah. In 2012, Republican Huntsman even made a run at the presidency. He currently chairs think tank Atlantic Council and is the co-leader, along with Joe Lieberman, of No Labels.
10. Thomas B. Griffith — A graduate of Brigham Young University and the University of Virginia Law School, Griffith is now a federal judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Griffith served as the Senate Legal Counsel during the Clinton impeachment trial during which he provided nonpartisan legal counsel to both parties. Griffith was once included on The New Republic’s list of Washington’s most powerful, but least known people. Griffith joined the Church as a junior at McLean, Virginia’s Langley High School.