“The Power Is in Them”: How Church History Helps Latter-day Saints in Developing Countries

Presented by Brett Macdonald

Throughout the developing world, Latter-day Saints face challenges in finding basic health care, housing, education, and employment. These experiences are comparable to those faced by early Saints in Kirtland, Far West, Nauvoo, and the Intermountain West. Their stories often provide comfort and models for problem solving. Macdonald observes, “In developing areas of the world where The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is emerging, the stories of early Mormon pioneers can help create a sense of belonging and offer encouragement to people confronting these pioneer-like challenges.

“But there are also stories of modern Mormon pioneers flowing from the emerging Church into its long-established centers,” says Macdonald. “They bring with them new vitality and compelling perspectives into the global Church.” Pioneer stories—both old and new—are relevant in making personal and Church-wide progress in a modern world. They also create a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood that bridges time, ethnicity, and culture.

Brett Macdonald has spent most of the past 20 years living and working in Africa, Latin America, and Oceania. He earned graduate degrees in comparative education and law with an emphasis on international development. He currently works for the Welfare Services Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and consults on grassroots community projects focusing on health, food, security, and primary and secondary education. Brett; his wife, Tufaina; and their three children recently returned to live in the United States after five years in the South Pacific.

This free lecture is part of the 2015 Pioneers in Every Land lecture series sponsored by the Church History Library.