In my business I have a client on the east coast. A non-member who has worked with many LDS in business. He noticed I was in Utah and asked if I was LDS and if I did a mission. After I replied in the affirmative, he said:
Yeah, I call it the Mormon Mafia. I use a lot of consultants from Utah. I think they are so successful because of their missions. You have all these tech guys that ordinarily wouldn’t have good people skills, but they learned work ethic, people skills, and a drive to achieve and succeed I think from their missions.
I loved my mission. It was a tremendous experience for me. I learned a global perspective. I learned so many lessons areas such as humility, emphathy, sacrifice, leadership, and skills development. I came home to BYU and my grades went from C’s and B’s to all A’s. I knew how to work and study, and I had a drive to succeed. I’m naturally introverted, but the two years of working on interpersonal skills has given me huge value in my career and personal relationships.
I see missionaries in my ward leave, and I see them come home. They go out as good kids with faith and desire to serve. Their farewell talks are usually “me” centered. They come home mature, confident, and secure in their place in the world. Their homecoming talks are usually centered around others.
You look at the average 19 year old kid in the world, and I just don’t think they’re getting the same experience. I can’t think of any experience that is better than a Mormon mission in helping someone grow up and prepare to be a responsible adult in this world.
I’m especially happy to see the mission age for young women lowered, and that now the mission experience is becoming similar for boys and girls alike. The percentage of girls going is increasing. I would love to see Mormon missions become the default experience for both young men and young women upon high school graduation.