Remove the book jacket, and "Mormon Beliefs and Doctrines Made Easier" resembles a lighter version of "Mormon Doctrine."
But this reference volume written by David J. Ridges has plenty that distinguishes it from Elder Bruce R. McConkie's classic work.
Ridges, who spent 35 years teaching in the Church Educational System and is currently the executive secretary for the Sunday School general presidency, has packed this reference book with a variety of gospel topics, terms, phrases and perspectives.
The news release for Ridge's work calls it a "quick reference for hundreds of topics." Rather than delving too in-depth, the book presents a diversity of topics with clear and brief explanations, many of which reference the scriptures or church publications.
The expected topics are certainly covered, such as prayer, resurrection and sacrament. But there are also unexpected entries, such as the Adamic language, the Dead Sea Scrolls and the location of Eden.
One unique aspect of the book is the inclusion of several gospel terms and phrases often overheard but not always understood. Examples include: the children of Abraham, bearing false witness, calling and election made sure, enduring to the end, fire and the Holy Ghost, ministering of angels, one eternal round, and restoration of all things.
Several entries provide context for scriptural symbols, such as the bridegroom, brimstone, dove, morning star, refiner's fire, sackcloth and ashes, and watchmen.
Ridges, who also has written curriculum for the church's Sunday School, institute and seminary programs, does go into depth when needed. For example, the "Gifts of the Spirit" entry takes up more than three pages.
Also included are a number of historical topics, such as the Haun's Mill Massacre, King Follet Discourse, Mormon Battalion and Mountain Meadows Massacre.
And for the curious, there's clarification and perspective on a variety of topics such as aliens, autopsy, caffeine drinks, card playing, cave man, fortune telling, hypnotism, magic and organ donation.