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Mormon in America: JetBlue founder on going from missionary to entrepreneur

Rock Center

From JetBlue to Marriott to Dell, these businesses have all been led by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  JetBlue founder David Neeleman said that his Mormon faith impacts how he does business.

"I think we're just serious about life," Neeleman told Rock Center's Harry Smith in an interview airing Thursday, Aug. 23 at 10pm/9c on NBC.  "You know, we are taught that it's not bad to make money in life.  It's not bad, but it's not your  money, it's heavenly father's money and you should be good stewards over that money."

Neeleman recently started Azul Airlines, Brazil's fastest growing airline, in the country where his faith sent him to serve a two-year mission when he was 19-years-old.

"I not only learned how to deal with people, I saw extreme poverty," he said.  "I learned to love people like I had never learned before and to have compassion."

Jeff Benedict, author of 'The Mormon Way of Doing Business,' said that the mission, the two years spent away from home trying to convince a skeptical world of the value of the Mormon faith, strongly impacts how Mormon business leaders work.

"It's a life-changing experience for them," Benedict said.  "It's like a fast track to seriousness."

Editor's Note: Rock Center’s hour-long look at the Mormon faith airs Thursday, Aug. 23 at 10pm/9c on NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams.