Chapter 8: Missionary families: a case study of expatriation in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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This chapter provides a case analysis, using a multi-dimensional construct of the family, of the expatriate-related missionary and humanitarian processes of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This focus includes a historical analysis of the global missionary and humanitarian efforts involving both families and individuals, beginning with the founding of the Church in 1830, and soon afterward in its expansion to Canada, England, and other countries. This expatriate missionary evolution is categorized into three primary time periods: (1) the Sacrificial Era (1837-1945) involving missionaries and lead administrators (mission presidents) being assigned abroad individually and leaving families behind at great sacrifice; (2) the Familial Era(1945-1970), which expanded missionary expatriation to include teachers, professional administrators, and construction experts who were accompanied by family members; and (3) the Multinational Era (1970-present), which resembles current multinational corporate expatriation practices and activities. Also discussed is a more recent development of regionally-posted ecclesiastical administrative expatriates, as well as older “empty-nest” married couples serving as volunteer foreign expatriate missionaries in health, education, agricultural, and other humanitarian and religious teaching roles. The chapter concludes with a discussion as to how the Church’s operations reflect and/ or inform current research findings in the field of expatriation along with insights and considerations that can be derived from the years of experience of the Church’s expatriation practices. We further discuss streams of research that would be fruitful for advancing knowledge regarding the dynamics and processes of religious expatriation.

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