While doing some background research on global Mormonism, I came across two Dialogue articles: Michael J. Cleverely’s “Mormonism on the Big Mac Standard” by and James B. Allen’s “On Becoming a Universal Church: Some Historical Perspectives.” Discussing “America’s role as a catalyst in the spread of Mormonism” (Allen 19) can be tricky, but whatever conclusion you reach on that regard, it is not hard to see American terms in the transmission of the gospel. Allen describes one cultural misunderstanding, in which a “Mechizedek Priesthood manual exhorts a husband to observe the highest standard of modesty and chastity and to treat his wife with love and respect. But when the instruction is elaborated to include kissing his wife as he leaves the house or returns, it raises a serious problem, for example, in a Japanese home where the children protest, demanding to know why he is “biting” their mother” (27). Allen also describes tension in Latin America, where “Saints … are less enthralled with capitalism than the Americans, who link it with the universal values of personal freedom and work. Capital in these countries is often identified with a protected wealthy upper class and the absence of what we would call free markets” (27). He signals an underlying assumption that “”foreigners” should change culturally but that no such requirement is imposed up on those of the “central Mormon culture.”” (27); obviously a problematic construction if true.
A couple years later, Cleverley wrote an article about the same idea of diversity and similarity in the global LDS Church, stating that correlation standardized “primary materials, temple ceremonies, accounting procedures, wardhouse floorplans, even sacrament meeting format” and “measures of worthiness … whether you are in Finland or South Africa. That is a bit like McDonald’s” (69). However, he tempers that assertion by saying, “differences abound in divers corners of Mormondom. In this church of carefully orchestrated similaries and identities we see diversity” (70). His examples of diversity include old Lutheran hymns in the Finland hymn book, while a ward chorister in South Africa refused to sing “What Child is This” during Christmas because it wasn’t in the hymnal. Italian Saints might hug and kiss friends of both genders in greeting before sacrament meeting, something Cleverely’s family “never saw … in Springfield, Ohio” (72). One last example comes from a ward in Greece, where American Saints saw no problems with witch and ghost costumes appearing in a ward Halloween party yet “many Greeks and other nationalities were shocked until they caught on to the “American spirit” of the occasion” (72).
Cleverely concludes that “on the Big Mac standard when everything is planned to be the same, small differences stand out” (72). However, these articles were written in the 1990s, and I’d be curious to know if (and how) things have changed. For those of you that have some experience with a more international version of the church, either in wards abroad, on a mission, or at home, what are markers of difference when it comes to global Mormonism?
 Allen, James B. “On Becoming a Universal Church: Some Historical Perspectives.” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 25: 21 (1992), 13-16.
Cleverley, J. Michael. “Mormonism on the Big Mac standard.” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 29 (1996): 3.
 Cleverely ruefully adds that “some investigators never did grasp the “spirit” (72).
And actually, his McDonald’s analogy works surprisingly well, once you take into account that a McDonald’s menu isn’t the same the world over. In the Netherlands, a “McKroket” is served, incorporating a Dutch national snack into an Americanized consumer context. Likewise, in Germany, McDonald’s serves currywurst, along with the more traditional favorites like Big Macs, Happy Meals, and McFlurries. Condiments change as well, in case you were wondering.