Latter-day Saint Life

‘It’s phenomenal’: Why a prominent Brazilian entrepreneur admires the Church’s organization

Carlos Wizard Martins knows a thing or two about running an organization. Over the years, he’s become one of Brazil’s most successful entrepreneurs. And while his career has included various ventures, Carlos found his start in teaching English.

His father made a living driving trucks, and Carlos didn’t start learning to speak English until their family joined the Church when he was 12. Carlos picked up bits of English from the missionaries and continued studying the language on his own mission and then at BYU.

Latter-day Saints Carlos Martins and David Neeleman (founder of the airline companies, Morris Air, WestJet, JetBlue, and Azul) at the Brazil Brasília Temple open house in August 2023.
Carlos Martins

He later founded the Wizard Language Institute, a chain of more than 2,600 English-learning schools available in 10 countries. He sold the business in 2013, and since then the family has built businesses involving real estate, financial services, sports, education, and fast food.

Carlos has observed many leadership strategies and organizational methods throughout his career. But it is the church he joined at 12 years old that he looks to as an example.

“The Church, I believe, is the most perfect organization on the face of the earth. Period,” Carlos told LDS Living. “Any individual who is engaged in any type of organization—education, health, business, recreation—will profit if they look to the organization that the Church has and try to imitate it.”

Carlos noted the structure of leadership and training among the Church’s strengths, as well as its structure of motivation and of giving power and value to the members.

Photo provided by Carlos Martins

“So much of what I have done through the years, I have literally followed what I have observed the Church doing,” Carlos says. “It’s phenomenal.”

Carlos was recently inspired and impressed by the way the Church conducted the open house for the Brazil Brasília Temple. He was asked by the Area Presidency to help host dignitaries and government officials during their visit to the temple. “You can count on me,” was Carlos’ response.

For two weeks at the beginning of August, he put other projects on hold. He dedicated himself full-time to inviting high-profile individuals, including the former president of Brazil, to the open house. He’d often call them personally and say, “My friend, will you come? We are waiting for you,” and then arrange a date and time to personally walk through the temple with them.

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Carlos Martins speaks with Humberto Martins, former Federal Justice Court President in Brazil, at the Brazil Brasília Temple in August 2023.
Carlos Martins

As part of the preparations, Carlos and the temple committee asked the Area Presidency how they should handle inviting opposing political party leaders to the open house.

“The word from the leaders was this: we’re not talking about politics, we’re talking about children of God. Regardless of their ideology, narrative, or their beliefs, they’re all children of God. If we see them as children of God, we have everything in common,” Carlos says, adding that the leaders’ counsel had made him emotional. “We didn’t see their title, their identification, or their position in the government or society. We just saw them as children of God.”

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Temple Open House
Carlos Martins with Marcos Rossi, a Brazilian celebrity, and his wife Lucimeire Guerreiro.
Carlos Martins
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Carlos Martins with Michelle Bolsonaro, former First Lady of Brazil.
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Carlos Martins with Marcos Rossi, a Brazilian celebrity, and his wife Lucimeire Guerreiro.
Carlos Martins
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To Each a Gift

Just as he was prepared to help with the open house, Carlos believes that the Lord positions all of His children in certain places, at certain times, to help carry out His work. The Church is set up to allow every member the opportunity to make valuable contributions to the whole. One of Carlos’ favorite scriptures, Matthew 7:7–8, teaches this principle.

“I use these verses almost every week: ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.’ And verse eight, ‘For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.’ So it’s not to some or a few, but all,” he says.

Carlos is so passionate that everyone has a different talent or gift to give, that he named his language school “Wizard” after the “Wizard of Oz,” a movie all about each person possessing a unique talent waiting to be found. He later adopted “Wizard” as his legal middle name.

“At some point, you need to invest time exploring your gift,” Carlos says. “I’m not talking just about going to college or doing your master’s program. I believe very much in seeking the type of education that will make a deep change in your profession, in your career, and in your future. It is not only limited to the classes a college requires. You find the passion, you find the purpose, you find an area of inclination that you feel good about, and then you invest your time in acquiring that type of knowledge.

“It’s not something that happens overnight. But more important than speed is knowing that you are in the right direction. Because if you are sure that you’re in the right direction, sooner or later, you will find success.”

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Carlos and Vânia Martins.
Carlos Martins

Carlos gives credit for his inspiration and success to God and the influence of his wife, Vânia. Whether he is hosting dignitaries at a temple open house, helping relocate 20,000 refugees as a service missionary, or sharing his testimony online, Carlos is dedicated to using his influence to serve others and bring them to Christ. A life path he believes brings the greatest happiness, both professionally and personally.

“True happiness is having the gospel and its fullness and understanding that we have limitations, but the Lord is much more interested in our abilities and our eternal perspective than in our temporal limitations,” he says. “We understand that we are instruments in the hands of the Lord to do His will. Because this Church is not mine; it’s not anybody’s. The Church has an owner, and the owner is the Lord Jesus Christ.”

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