New books details David O. McKay’s missionary journey

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David O. McKay died in 1970, when Reid Neilson was just a boy. But yet Nielson says he knows David O. McKay, feels like he is his friend.

In Nielson’s new book, “To the Peripheries of Mormondom: The Apostolic Around-the-World Journey of David O. McKay,” he writes of President McKay’s year-long mission from 1920-1921, what he says is a great event of this dispensation.

“It’s a combination of my two favorite things: travel and the Church,” Nielson said.

The LDS Church today has become an international presence, largely because of missionary work and humanitarian work in other countries. However, this hasn’t always been so. “The Peripheries of Mormondom” is about the early decades of the Church, when members were few and missionaries struggled to find converts abroad.

The book is an annotation of Hugh J. Cannon’s personal journals and accounts of his mission alongside David O. McKay.

“Keeping a journal is so important, even today,” Nielson said. “The scriptures haven’t always been scriptures, they started out as personal record. Our journals we keep could become the record of our dispensation.”

Nielson said he is especially thankful for Hugh J. Cannon’s record keeping, which not only tells the story of their apostolic mission around the world, but helps members today know the deceased prophet.

“I look forward to meeting David O. McKay someday,” Nielson said. “I have a long list of questions I am going to ask him.”

As “Mormonism” has become more popular in the media this past year, “To the Peripheries of Mormondom” is sure to attract readers who are interested in how the LDS Church came to be.

Linda Manning, the marketing manager of the University of Utah press, wrote in an email about the nation’s attention on Mormon culture.

“I think as more attention is brought to Mormon culture and more Americans are curious and want to learn more about it, there will definitely be more interest in books that deal with Mormon culture,” Manning said.

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