How faith and trust in the Lord has defined Elder Sean Douglas’ life and journey

As a young husband and professional working consistently long hours, Sean Douglas turned to the patriarchal blessing he received when he was 16.

He had been preoccupied with a feeling of whether he was putting God first; he questioned where the Lord needed him to be. His blessing offered a beautiful promise about his “righteous desires.” This gave him confidence one late evening to take the matter to the Lord and try to align his desires to the Lord’s will.  

The next day, he and his wife, Ann, had a previously scheduled appointment with their University of Utah married student ward bishop. Unaware of this personal quest, their bishop shared that he had felt impressed to ask if Sean would be interested in applying for employment that could take them to England. The couple immediately knew this direction was the answer to his prayers.

Living in the Salt Lake Valley near their families, they quickly sold what few belongings they had and moved to England.

“We nestled into the most beautiful place in the world with some of the choicest people we have known,” he said. “We immediately felt more clarity, more purpose, more needed, began our little family and went to work in the ward.”  

Soon he was called as bishop.  “It was a complete life-altering shift for our family,” he said.

Sustained as a General Authority Seventy during April general conference, Elder Douglas reflected on the faith in putting the Lord first that had defined so much of his life.

As a young missionary serving in the Chile Concepción Mission, Elder Douglas began his service in the rural backcountry, very different from where he grew up. His “wonderful first Chilean companion and trainer spoke Spanish at lighting speed.” After three months in the mission field, Elder Douglas still struggled speaking and understanding the Spanish language.

Elder Sean Douglas of the Seventy
Elder Sean Douglas of the Seventy Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

A package from home, including a cassette tape from his father, plunged him into a moment of doubt and drove him to his knees. “I am not doing any good,” he prayed. “I do not seem to be impacting anyone.”  

His heart filled with a burning question. “Are you here for Me or are you here for you?”

It was at this moment he resolved with God to forget about himself and keep trying. This determination made all the difference. “That very night, I dreamt in Spanish.”

The following day, everything was a little easier. “I could speak a little better. I could understand a little more. …  

“The mission catalyzed my testimony of the power of prayer and that when you go and do what the Lord commands, He always provides a way for you to do it.” It was a pattern and truthful principle that would guide the rest of his life and direct a career that would later lead him from England to St. Louis, Missouri, to Houston, Texas, to Salt Lake City and eventually back to Houston. Grateful for each and every move, he pointed out, “It has been an incredible journey and means to allow us to serve with and build treasured relationships with so many special people.”

Raised on the foothills of Salt Lake City, Elder Douglas recounts spending hours sitting on his back porch with his “angel mother” and looking across the Salt Lake Valley. Sometimes they would watch the storms roll in as they would speak about gospel principles. His mother instilled within him “faith in Christ and a love for the scriptures.”  

His father was “a man of duty” who taught him the importance of hard work, service and measured recreation — including tennis, skiing, boating, hunting and fishing.

One day in high school, Sean was walking down a hall when he noticed a young woman, Patricia Ann Dickson, whom he had never seen before. From that time forward, he made a point to be in that hall at that time each and every day.

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The pair became best friends and then sweethearts. After his mission, the couple were married in the Salt Lake Temple in June 1985. On that day they received marriage counsel they have long taken to heart: “You have chosen your love, now love your choice.”  

Elder Douglas said the faith in Jesus Christ, cemented during his youth and on his mission, guided him during an “enjoyable three-decade career” with Huntsman Corp. — which included a personal mentorship from company founder Jon Huntsman Sr.

From 2012 to 2015, Elder and Sister Douglas led the work of the Perú Lima South Mission. They instantly loved and learned from the local Latter-day Saints, saw miracles and gained an even deeper appreciation for the power of the Lord and how He is in the intricate details of the lives of His children. Elder Douglas shared how remarkable it was to be serving on the front line when the wave of powerful missionaries hit as the Lord saw fit to lower the age of service in “hastening His work in its time.”

The Douglases moved their family to Houston when they returned from Peru. Sister Douglas thoroughly enjoyed living and serving within the strong interfaith community readily found in Texas.

Frequently hit with hurricanes and storms, Houston became a place where the family could consistently reflect on what matters most. They were instantly part of “a big city that acted like a small town,” said Sister Douglas.

Now, Elder Douglas — who served as an Area Seventy prior to his call as a General Authority — is looking forward to the opportunity to “open his heart and share the light of the gospel full time.”

His message will be reflective of the Savior in his own life and experiences. “The doctrine of Christ will always bring power and hope to God’s children everywhere,” he said.

Biographical information

Family: Born on May 1, 1964, in Salt Lake City to Barbara and Leo Douglas. Married Patricia Ann Dickson (Ann) in the Salt Lake Temple on June 11, 1985; they are the parents of four children. 

Education: Received a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the University of Utah in 1988.

Employment: Worked as a certified public accountant for Pricewaterhouse. Since 1990, he has worked for Huntsman Corp. in various capacities, including division controller, treasurer, vice president of administration, vice president of corporate development and, most recently, executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Church service: Former Area Seventy, area executive secretary, bishop, ward Young Men president, president of the Perú Lima South Mission from 2012 to 2015, and full-time missionary in the Chile Concepción Mission.