16. Gordon B. Hinckley
President Hinckley’s book Stand for Something: 10 Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes became a New York Times best seller in 2000 in the "Advice, How-to & Miscellaneous” category. It also received the 2000 Devotional Award from the Association for Mormon Letters.
President Hinckley was the 15th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His life was spent in the service of others and the Lord and his enthusiasm for the gospel was reflected in his writings such as Stand a Little Taller andWay to Be! 9 Ways to Be Happy and Make Something of Your Life.
► You'll also like:6 LDS Authors Whose Books Became Movies
17. Brandon Sanderson
A Nebraska native, Brandon Sanderson enjoyed reading as a child, but couldn’t find any books that excited him. That is until his teacher, Mrs. Reader, gave him Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly. After that, he went in search of anything similar and even began writing his own fantasy adventure stories. His first attempts, he says, were awful. He originally enrolled at BYU as a chemistry major. While serving a mission, he discovered that he didn’t miss chemistry at all, but he did miss writing. Upon returning to school after his mission, he switched to become English major and has been writing ever since.
While going to school, he worked nights as a hotel desk clerk because they allowed him to write while at work. During this time, he completed seven novels and became editor-in-chief of BYU’s science fiction/fantasy magazine, The Leading Edge. Finally, in 2005, Elantris, his first published novel, came out and was followed by the Mistborn trilogy and The Way of Kings—the first book in the projected 10-volume series, The Stormlight Archive. In 2014, the second book in The Stormlight Archive series, Words of Radiance, hit the #1 spot on the New York Times Best Seller list.
In speaking to the New York Times about his success, Sanderson said, “You just want to be able to make a living. The dream was that someday I might sell a book. But the high point now is that at the end of the day, I get to tell stories for a living. I just really, really enjoy doing this—and I am having a blast.”
In all, he has published more than 20 books, including six middle grade/young adult novels such as Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians and Steelheart.
18. Orson Scott Card
Did you know that the author of Ender’s Game is a great-great-grandson of Brigham Young?
Orson Scott Card was born in Washington state in 1951 and grew up in California, Arizona, and Utah. He spent his childhood reading and performing in plays. It was his experiences in the theatre that got him interested in writing and storytelling. His most famous novel, Ender’s Game, made the New York Times Best Seller list not once but twice—first in 1985, when the book was first published, and again in 2013 ahead of the release of the blockbuster adaptation starring Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford. Ender’s Game was just the first; Card expanded the Ender’s Game universe with 11 more novels, including Children of the Mind and Ender in Exile. He has also ventured into other genres with his horror novels Treasure Box and Lost Boys.
Card served his mission in Brazil and attended BYU, graduating with a degree in theatre. He became become a staff editor at the Ensign and eventually married Kristine Allen in 1977. They have five children. Card teaches writing and literature at Southern Virginia University and currently lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, where his primary activities include writing and feeding birds and squirrels on the patio. His latest book, Gatefather, was released on October 20, 2015.
19. Chris Stewart and Ted Stewart
Brothers Chris and Ted Stewart have had two books make it onto the New York Times Best Sellers list: Seven Miracles That Saved America and The Miracle of Freedom: 7 Tipping Points that Saved the World.
Chris Stewart, a U.S. congressman for Utah’s 2nd District, is the author of more than a dozen books, including his popular Great and Terrible fiction series. He is a former Air Force pilot who set a record for the fastest nonstop flight around the world.
One of 10 children, he was raised on a dairy farm in Cache Valley, Utah. He graduated from Utah State University and served a mission in Texas. Before being elected to Congress, he was the CEO of the Shipley Group, a nationally recognized consulting company. Stewart serves as a member of the House Appropriations Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. He and his wife, Evie, are the parents of six children.
Ted Stewart is a senior United States district judge sitting on the United States District Court for the District of Utah. A lawyer and veteran of the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, he graduated with a B.S. from Utah State University before going on to receive his law degree from the University of Utah. He worked as a lawyer in Salt Lake for six years and then worked as an assistant to Senator Orrin Hatch in 1980. He also served as a commissioner on the Public Service Commission of Utah from 1985 until 1982.
He was appointed as a federal district court judge by President Clinton in 1999 and has been serving ever since. He is also the author of The Mark of a Giant: 7 People Who Changed the World.
20. Jeff Benedict
Jeff Benedict is the author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed nonfiction books, including The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football, The Mormon Way of Doing Business, and My Name Used to Be Muhammad. He has had articles published in Sports Illustrated, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times and has made several appearances on various television shows, including 60 Minutes, Good Morning America, and the Discovery Channel.
The System is currently being developed into a television drama by Starz. He most recently wrote the biography of Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young called Ten Thousand Spirals.
Jeff Benedict is a professor at Southern Virginia University where he teaches writing and mass media. He and his wife Lydia have four children.