Since 1981, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has experienced a dramatic increase in membership outside of the United States and Canada (vii–xii). As a result, in March 2014, Brigham Young University and the Church History Department sponsored a Church history symposium titled The Worldwide Church: The Global Reach of Mormonism. The symposium invited scholars to address subjects related to the increasingly global nature of the Church.
After the symposium, Michael A. Goodman and Mauro Properzi, associate professors of Church history at Brigham Young Unversity, edited nineteen of the presentations and published them in the compilation The Worldwide Church: Mormonism as a Global Religion. The compilation is bookended by the keynote addresses of Apostle Dieter F. Uchtdorf and Terryl L. Givens, and in between are papers by several prominent scholars. The editors conveniently organized the articles into five sections, each dedicated to a specific region in the world: Africa, Asia, Eurasia, Europe, and South and Central America. Another article, along with Givens’s speech, appears in a sixth section titled “Worldwide.”
The included articles address a wide range of topics related to the global Church, from the development of Latter-day Saint humanitarian aid to country-specific studies. Some articles provide a history of the establishment and growth of the Church in a specific area (such as Afghanistan, Taiwan, and Latin America), while others discuss significant moments in Church history (such as the era of “the freeze” in Ghana). And others analyze some of the cultural problems Church members have faced (such as cultural challenges in Europe and language obstacles in Russia). All of the articles work together to provide a greater understanding of global Latter-day Saint topics.
Anyone who is interested in Church history and the growing global nature of the Church will enjoy reading this compilation. Scholarship such as this will only become more relevant and important as the Church continues to expand throughout the world.