The globalization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has received a great deal of attention recently by news outlets, scholars, and the Church itself. The collection of essays in Lengthening Our Stride manages to survey this broad topic in a way that both familiarizes readers with the impact globalization has had on the Church and gives readers glimpses into exciting new areas of exploration within this burgeoning field of study. The book is edited by Reid L. Neilson, Assistant Church Historian, and Wayne D. Crosby, Director of Global Support and Acquisitions in the Church History Department, and features twenty-one addresses delivered between 2006 and 2015 as part of the annual conferences of the LDS International Society—a collaboration of several organizations at Brigham Young University that was founded in 1989. This book will appeal broadly to Church members who are eager to situate themselves within the global Church.
The book is organized into five thematic sections. The essays in “Poverty and Humanitarian Work” focus on the Church’s responses to poverty and its associated challenges for those around the world. “Public Perceptions and Relations” examines the Church’s efforts to position itself in the public eye and how the Church is understood by others in different countries. The essays in “Peacemaking and Diplomacy” detail ways in which the Church has promoted peace while establishing itself globally. The section “Religious Freedom and Oppression” documents challenges to religious freedom from both within and without the United States. The final section of essays, “Growth and Globalization,” takes a more personal tone, as the authors draw from their own experiences in a variety of countries and tell stories of Church members from around the world.
While a good part of the section on “Religious Freedom and Oppression” focuses on issues within the United States, the essays contained in the other sections are almost entirely oriented toward the Church in other countries. The final section, “Growth and Globalization,” will be of particular interest to those who would like an honest appraisal from Church leaders of the challenges the Church faces in other countries and cultures. As a whole, this book provides a fascinating insider’s view of a truly global Church.