Ariel Roger Merrill first learned of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s leadership philosophy to “teach [people] correct principles and [let them] govern themselves” as a young missionary. “That became one of the defining moments of my life,” Brother Merrill says. It became the theme of the teaching, learning, and leadership at the center of his personal and professional life for the past 40 years.
“Much of what happens in the world, good and bad, comes from the influence of leaders,” observes Brother Merrill. “The Savior and His righteous influence are at the center of the battle for the souls of men. And among our greatest weapons are the teaching of true principles and the power of choice.” For Brother Merrill, these ideas play out most importantly in the family unit. He sees the family as providing the greatest opportunity for teaching, learning, and leading.
“Great families create great societies, and great societies nurture great families,” says Brother Merrill. “And one of the most important factors in a successful family is the leadership exercised by the parents. In that sense, family is the defining activity of the human experience.”
He points to his wife, Rebecca, as a good example. “One of the most important things about me is that I have an incredible wife,” he says. “We are very unified in our faith and our love of each other, the Lord, and our family.”
Brother Merrill, 59, was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Ariel Carden and Edith Horsley Merrill on 2 May 1945. He grew up in Carmel, California, served in the Texas Mission, and graduated from Brigham Young University. He is a senior consultant for a leadership training company and a partner in his own consulting firm.
Brother Merrill married Rebecca Rippy in the Salt Lake Temple on 7 June 1967. They have seven children and 16 grandchildren.