In 1907, in an effort to put in place a picture of Mormonism for a 20th century audience, the Church, by common consent, approved a list of beliefs as well as explanation and confirmation of a transitioning Mormonism. That effort may have had some impact within the Church, but its lasting effect as a new public direction in doctrine was minor in terms of its traction outside the Church and especially in the collective memory of the media, such as it was. However, since it was approved by the body of the Church as a description of the high points, the key points, of Mormonism, I want you to have a look at those “canonical” -binding- statements. So here they are in brief:
1. We believe in the Godhead, comprising the three individual personages, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Now that one is merely a repeat of “old” article of faith no. 1.
2. We hold that man is verily the child of God, formed in His image, endowed with divine attributes, and possessing power to rise from the gross desires of earth to the ennobling aspirations of heaven.
“verily” here could be read as “literally,” right? But the “child of God” trope isn’t quite as explicit as earlier statements which I won’t go into here.
3. We believe in the pre-existence of man as a spirit, and in a future state of individual existence, in which every soul shall find its place, as determined by justice and mercy, with opportunities of endless progression, in the varied conditions of eternity.
Now this appeals to everyone who had a stake in the “nature” of eternal progression. Whether the Brigham Young view or the Orson Pratt view. Preexistence is fundamental to Mormonism and perhaps plays a larger role in folk Mormon beliefs than any other. Given the brewing conflict over the King Follett discourse inside Church councils, this is a purposefully non-specific statement in some ways.
4. We believe in the free agency of man, and therefore in his individual responsibility.
How interesting is this? “Free agency.” (grin) And a clear knock on exhaustive foreknowledge! (wider grin – but see below)
5. We believe that salvation is for no select few, but that all men may he saved through obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
Not a universalist view perhaps, but definitely in the anti-Calvinist camp and recalls original AoF
6. We affirm that to administer in the ordinances of the Gospel, authority must be given of God; and that this authority is the power of the Holy Priesthood.
A repeat of “old” article of faith 5 but in terms that reflect the 60 year difference.
7. We affirm that through the ministration of immortal personages, the Holy Priesthood has been conferred upon men in the present age, and that under this divine authority the Church of Christ has been organized.
While the original articles make clear the necessity of Divine authority in the sacraments, this one makes explicit reference to angelic conferral of authority. The emphasis here is interesting in light of the charges of various groups that Mormonism had begun as an ego trip by its earthly founder.
8. We proclaim the objects of this organization to be, the preaching of the gospel in all the world, the gathering of scattered Israel, and the preparation of a people for the coming of the Lord.
Here we have the original version of the three-fold mission. Gathering is a loaded word of course.
9. We declare that from principle and policy, we favor:
The absolute separation of church and state;
No domination of the state by the church;
No church interference with the functions of the state;
No state interference with the functions of the church, or with the free exercise of religion;
The absolute freedom of the individual from the domination of ecclesiastical authority in political affairs;
The equality of all churches before the law.
The original had carried a load of explanation and history, but I won’t give that here. It boiled down to explaining the origin, persistence and then gradual cessation of polygamy and the termination of Church involvement in state government.
This one is quite interesting in light of various public positions and actions the Church has taken on prohibition, equal rights for women, prop 8, etc.
Finally, the presidency (Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, Anthon H. Lund) makes this interesting declaration:
We refuse to be bound by the interpretations which others place upon our beliefs, or by what they allege must be the practical consequences of our doctrines. Men have no right to impute to us what they think may be the logical deduction from our beliefs, but which we ourselves do not accept. We are to be judged by our own interpretations and by our own actions, not by the logic of others, as to what is, or may be, the result of our faith. We deny that our belief in divine revelation, or our anticipation of the coming kingdom of God weakens in any degree the genuineness of our allegiance to our country. When the divine empire will be established, we may not know any more than other Christians who pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven;” but we do know that our allegiance and loyalty to our country are strengthened by the fact that while awaiting the advent of the Messiah’s kingdom, we are under a commandment from God to be subject to the powers that be, until He comes “whose right it is to reign.”
So, my question is this: what about a new list of articles, now? The publicity arm of the Church has made it clear that doctrines, while not necessarily repudiated, may recede into the background of Church discussion while others swing to the front. Considering the big 13 in the Pearl of Great Price, which ones have or should recede and what others might take their place in prominence? Should we add to them? Do the original articles define Mormonism now?
 See for example, Conference Report April 1907, or The Improvement Era 10:481-495 (May, 1907), or James R. Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, Vol.4, p.143-155. I’m approaching this from a different angle here and since I won’t be touching on these new AoF statements there, this seemed the ideal place.