David O. McKay guided the post-World War II Mormon Church through a critical period of transition--one characterized not just by numerical growth but also by a new international outlook. Church membership tripled during his presidency, from 1.1 million to 2.8 million. In fulfillment of his earlier promise to the European Saints, stakes were organized in England, Germany, the Netherlands, Scotland, and Switzerland, as well as in nine countries in other parts of the world, and temples were erected in England, Switzerland, and New Zealand. President McKay also made some innovative and important decisions affecting church administration, such as ordaining members of the First Council of the Seventy to the office of high priest in order to provide more help to the Quorum of the Twelve in supervising the ever-growing number of stakes. He also instituted the position of Regional Representative of the Twelve.
Throughout his life President McKay was active in civic affairs, and he headed a number of civic committees, one of which was the Utah Centennial Commission that planned the 1947 pioneer centennial celebration. For most of his church presidency he held weekly breakfast meetings with the head of the Salt Lake area Chamber of Commerce and the publisher of the Salt Lake Tribune, providing an opportunity for church and civic leaders to maintain effective communication on topics of mutual interest. He kept the church non-partisan with respect to political parties, but he also took a definite stand if he believed that a political issue was also clearly a moral issue. In the 1960s, for example, he strongly denounced racism and urged church members to do everything possible to promote civil rights for all races.