I was searching for the press release about General Conference from the church website this morning. General Conference is the semiannual gathering of members and leaders of the LDS church in Salt Lake City. It happens the first weekend of each April and October. I never did find the press release (Update: it was posted latter in the day) but I did find this interesting focus article: “Core Beliefs: Why and how are Mormons different?” It is linked from the main Newsroom page as ‘Restored Christianity”. The lead-in paragraph points out that journalists often ask how Mormonism compares to ‘Traditional Christianity.”
I like the phrase ‘Restored Christianity.’ Having been a member of the Mormon church all my life I am very familiar with the idea of an apostasy and restoration. The use of that phrase may not be new but it is a succinct summary of what I believe. In the same breath I can explain how I am the same and yet how I am different from the rest of the Christian world. I believe in Christ and I believe in a restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I like focusing on what I have in common with my friends and associates who are good Christian people. But I also like having something unique to offer in my beliefs.
The article points out several unique distinctions that make it worthwhile reading. Restoration of priesthood authority is listed as the first key point. A comparison of the Trinity and the LDS concept of the Godhead is offered next. Modern prophets, continuing revelation and new scriptures make the list. Yep, very few other Christian churches claim the Book of Mormon as scripture. The Plan of Salvation, Temples and their purpose, a missionary program, a lay ministry and health practice such as the Word of Wisdom round out the list. I highly recommend a reading of the article if you want to know what makes Mormons different.
By the way, the Desert News has a great page on General Conference previews that include an article about the upcoming change in the First Presidency and the announcement of a new apostle. We are looking forward to an enjoyable weekend of spiritual nourishment. Update: Elder Henry B Eyring was sustained as a counselor in the First Presidency and Elder Quentin L Cook was sustained as the new apostle. I have a bit of a personal connection there. My sister was Elder Cook’s secretary at Church headquarters for awhile a few years back. She is currently Elder Perry’s secretary.