The Rhetoric of David O. McKay

Book Notice

The Rhetoric of David O. McKay, by Richard N. Armstrong (Peter Lang, 1993)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints experienced exceptional worldwide growth and public recognition during the presidency of David O. McKay. This book, by an assistant professor at Wichita State University, is a study of President McKay’s rhetorical appeal to both members and nonmembers and a look at the role he played in creating a positive public image of the Church.

The author suggests that President McKay’s timely messages, such as “no other success can compensate for failure in the home,” filled the needs of many people—members and nonmembers alike. His clarion call, “every member a missionary,” not only inspired the LDS community to accelerate their missionary effort, but also motivated nonmembers to learn more about the Church. Consequently, Church membership rose dramatically during his presidency (1950–71). Because the book is written for a non-LDS academic audience, it also includes chapters explaining the importance of general conference to Church membership and how Latter-day Saints fit into the Christian community.

All readers will appreciate the positive effect President McKay’s exceptional rhetorical skills had on the Church’s public image and growing Church membership, but Latter-day Saints will also finish the book with the conviction that the Lord calls his leaders when their talents are most needed.


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Print ISSN: 2837-0031
Online ISSN: 2837-004X