The Expanding Church
by Francis M. Gibbons
Elder Francis M. Gibbons, having recently concluded his service as an LDS General Authority, has carefully chronicled the amazing growth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during the last 30 years of the twentieth century. In his first chapter, Presidents of the Church, he traces the Church’s progress during the administrations of six LDS prophets: Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B. Lee, Spencer W. Kimball, Ezra Taft Benson, Howard W. Hunter, and Gordon B. Hinckley, providing biographical sketches of each of them and summarizing the significant changes which occured during their tenures.
The second chapter focuses on the expanding global organization of the Church and notes the change in policy to encourage members to remain in their own countries and build up the kingdom there.
Subsequent chapters discuss the general public acceptance which the Church now enjoys, the interaction of our authorities with governmental figures and agencies, and they review many of the stands the Church has taken on various significant moral issues. Also discussed are the remarkable growth in membership and the projected future growth which non-member professionals are forecasting, along with how Church organizatios and councils have been restructured in preparation for the international role of the Church.
Other chapters deal with the financing of the Church’s broad program; significant edifices which have been constructed; historic buildings and sites which have been preserved; the Church’s computerized structure; corriculum matters; missionary and military relations; genealogy work; and Church education.
The final chapter, Into the Twenty-First Century, comments on projects which will come to fruition in the years to come.
The book has pictures of all the First Presidencies, the Twelve, and the Seventies, so it provides a pictoral record as well as a written summation of the rapid growth which the Church has undergone. It is a unique gathering of hundreds of historical facts, concisely presented for rapid reading and broad coverage. It truly is a landmark book!