By the time David O. McKay was sustained as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the recovery from World War II was well under way, the Church was prospering, and missionary work was in full force. President McKay was lucky enough to be able to focus on expanding the Church and meeting the spiritual needs of the Saints.
The organization of the Relief Society Social Service Department, created in 1919, grew into the Unified Social Services in 1969. It has since been renamed LDS Family Services, and is a non-profit corporation, owned and operated by the Church, which offers adoption services, marriage and family counseling, addiction counseling, and counseling and other services for unwed, pregnant women and girls. The Church strives to help its members in all facets of their lives, wherever they are struggling. Each person is a child of God and each deserves help and understanding.
In addition to the wonderful programs instituted under President McKay, there was also a strong focus placed on the growing international character of the Church. No prophet before President McKay had travelled so much outside of the United States. President McKay visited South Africa, most of the islands of the South Pacific, New Zealand, Australia, and many countries in Europe. He announced sites for five temples, including the first to be in Europe: Bern, Switzerland; Los Angeles, California; Hamilton, New Zealand; London, England; and Oakland, California.
Another significant occurrence during President McKay’s administration was his command to the Saints to remain where they were and to build Zion there. No longer were the Saints commanded to gather to Utah; rather, they were instructed to spread and live the gospel wherever they were. Temples built outside of the United States were a huge incentive for people to remain where they were, since before they could only receive temple blessings by travelling to the United States. Larger meetings began to be held outside the United States as well, with Church leaders presiding at them. People were able to see and meet the Prophet and the other leaders of the Church. Realizing they could have the gospel where they already lived encouraged the Saints to remain in their home countries and to share the gospel where they were. The erection of more temples nearly every year since 1972 has also given Saints encouragement wherever they are.