By John A. Tvedtnes
With Mitt Romney’s candidacy for the Presidency, much attention has been given to his affiliation with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more commonly (though incorrectly) called “the Mormon Church.” In recent months, commentators and journalists have stressed the “secretive” nature of the religion.
It seems strange to consider as “secretive” a church that has some 60,000 full-time missionaries teaching its doctrines and converting roughly a million new members every three years. The church’s major doctrines are summarized in its thirteen Articles of Faith, and these and other beliefs are explained in its scriptures, the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. These beliefs are discussed openly by church leaders in worldwide television and radio broadcasts of the semiannual general conferences held in Salt Lake City in April and October.
Hundreds of books describing Mormon beliefs have been published by the church-owned Deseret Book and other church-affiliated organizations, including a number of books that discuss temple rites in detail. The five-volume Encyclopedia of Mormonism, published by Macmillan in 1992, remains the most comprehensive explanation of the church’s history and teachings. A searchable on-line version has been posted on the internet at http://www.lib.byu.edu/Macmillan.
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