This work traces the development of the global educational system of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After a long period of providing schools for its membership in the Intermountain West of the United States, the Latter-day Saints ultimately settled on a system of supplementary religious education, designed to work in concert with public education systems. During the 1950s as the Church began to gain an international following, Church leaders moved to establish an international system of schools to meet their needs. These schools were largely supervised and directed by Americans personnel. Under the leadership of Church president David O. McKay, large school systems were constructed throughout the Pacific, Mexico, and Chile. As the costs and complexities of these systems multiplied, Church leaders began to take a more structured and systematic approach towards their educational system. Under the direction of Harold B. Lee and other leaders, the Church chose once again to emphasize religious education among its membership, and a large system of supplemental programs were launched across the globe. These new programs were staffed primarily by indigenous personnel, providing strong local leadership. Eventually the majority of the international schools closed in favor of these supplemental programs. By 1980 the basic policies governing the Church Educational System were in place and for the most part these policies continue to govern the system today.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Educational Leadership and Foundations



Date Submitted


Document Type





Church Educational System, Latter-day Saint Education, Global Mormonism, Internationalization, Globalization