Donald Gary Young

Donald Gary Young
Donald Gary Young.jpg
Young in November 2010
Born(1949-07-11)July 11, 1949
DiedMay 12, 2018(2018-05-12) (aged 68)
ResidenceLehi, Utah
OccupationFormer CEO of Young Living, writer
Spouse(s)Donna Young (divorced)
Mary Young

Donald Gary Young (July 11, 1949 – May 12, 2018) was an American businessman, and founder of Young Living, a Utah-based multi-level marketing company offering essential oils and other alternative medicine products.


In the early 1980s, Young briefly studied therapeutic massage, although he did not complete a course of study.[1] In 1982, Young opened a clinic in Spokane, Washington, which offered unlicensed medical services, including childbirth. In early 1983 when Young was 33 years old, an undercover Washington State police officer approached Young about performing an underwater birth, as part of an effort to "police all registered professions".[2] Young reportedly offered to provide prenatal services, and treat the cancer of the officer's mother,[1] and was arrested for practicing medicine without a license, leading to a misdemeanor conviction.[2][3]

In 1986 while promoting himself as a naturopathic doctor,[1] Young was operating the Rosarita Beach Clinic in Tijuana, Mexico, offering "detoxification" for cancer and lupus using treatments whose efficacy was questioned in an investigative report by the Los Angeles Times.[4] To test the veracity of Young's clinical diagnosis, a reporter submitted cat and chicken blood to a clinic employee, who failed to determine that the samples were non-human, and further diagnosed that the "patient" had an aggressive form of cancer and liver disease.[1][4]

In 1989, Young started cultivating plants in Spokane, Washington, and built two distillation units.[5] In 1993, he founded Young Living Essential Oils in Riverton, Utah.[6][5] Young later moved the company to Lehi, Utah, and focused on employing methods of harvesting and extraction, which the company marketed without evidence as "customs that were practiced during the period of Christ."[7] As of 2017, Young Living was reported to have become one of the largest vendors of essential oils in the United States with over three million customers.[8]

In 2014 while Young was chief executive officer (CEO) of Young Living, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned him and his company about illegally marketing products that had not been FDA approved as possible treatments or cures for Ebola virus,[9] and other diseases, including "Parkinson’s disease, autism, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, insomnia, heart disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, dementia, and multiple sclerosis, that are not amenable to self-diagnosis and treatment by individuals who are not medical practitioners."[10] In 2015, he stepped down as CEO with his wife assuming the role.[11]

Personal life[]

Young was born on July 11, 1949 and went to high school in Challis, Idaho.[12] In his late teens, Young moved to Canada with the intention of homesteading in British Columbia.[13] At the age of 24, he suffered a near-fatal logging accident, and had to use a wheelchair for a time.[13][5] While rehabilitating, he studied alternative medicine, which eventually led him to use essential oils in an effort to relieve his pain.[13]

In 1982, Gary and then-wife Donna Young attempted to give birth to their daughter in a whirlpool bath located in Young's "health club", but the child drowned during delivery.[14] While the death was ruled accidental, the county coroner's report stated that the child would likely have survived if a conventional delivery had been performed.[8] Young later remarried. His new wife, Mary, was both the author of his biography, published by Young Living, and succeeded her husband as CEO of the company in 2015.[11][8]

Young died on May 12, 2018, in Salt Lake City due to complications from a series of strokes.[15]


Young authored several self-published books on aromatherapy, health and superfoods. His published books are:


  1. ^ a b c d Clark, Doug (October 28, 1986). "Does he relieve people of pain or of their wallets?". Spokane Chronicle. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Prager, Mike (March 10, 1983). "Arrest result of attempt to police all professions". Spokesman-Review. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  3. ^ Prager, Mike (March 9, 1983). "Police arrest 'doctor'". The Spokane Chronicle. Retrieved September 10, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Hurst, John (October 23, 1987). "'Patient' Submits Blood (From Cat), Is Given Diagnosis". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 19, 2007.
  5. ^ a b c Pitcock, Jennifer Workman (July 1, 2013). "Young Living Essential Oils: Growing by Returning to its Roots". Direct Selling News.
  6. ^ Gorrell, Mike (December 12, 2014). "Perks Offered to Create 1,600 Jobs". the Salt Lake Tribune.
  7. ^ Hardy, Rodger L. (December 3, 1998). "Ancient oils of Nativity offered by Payson Firm". Deseret News.
  8. ^ a b c Monroe, Rachel (9 October 2017). "Something in the Air". The New Yorker. New York: Condé Nast. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  9. ^ Ohlheiser, Abby (September 24, 2014). "FDA warns three companies against marketing their products as Ebola treatments or cures". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 26, 2014.
  10. ^ Mitchell, LaTonya (September 22, 2014). "Warning Letter: Young Living". U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  11. ^ a b "Mary Young Transitions to CEO of Young Living". Direct Selling News. June 29, 2015.
  12. ^ "Obituary: D. Gary Young". St. Maries Gazette-Record. June 6, 2018.
  13. ^ a b c Gardner, Matt (August 9, 2014). "Therapeutic oils offer alternative approach to healing". Prince Albert Daily Herald. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015.
  14. ^ Mills, Judy (October 17, 1982). "Babies: Home-style birthing continues to generate controversy here". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved September 10, 2015.
  15. ^ Ritchey, Julia (May 18, 2018). "At Lavender Farm In Juab County, Mourners Gather To Remember Young Living Founder". KUER.

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