the Mormon Claim
Overview of Mormon Church Structure
The LDS have a very formal internal church structure. From the First Presidency to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to the First Seventy to the Second Seventy to the Missions right down to the local congregation, or ward. In addition, there are very specific procedures for almost everything. For example, the prayers for the bread and the wine are written out word-for-word. A couple of months ago I was able to attend part of a local Mormon Sunday meeting, and when it came time for the prayer for the bread the "priest" (a boy about 15 or 16 years old) nobody said amen when he finished. So he started over, and again no one said amen. The "ward bishop" came over to him, whispered something, and finally he have a prayer that everyone could say amen too. The Mormon next to me whispered to me what was going on because I was obviously confused.
At the very top is the First Presidency, which consists of the President of the Church (currently Gordon B. Hinckley), and the First and Second Councillors to the President. The President of the Church is considered to be a "Prophet, Seer, and Revelator". He is akin to the Pope (although Mormons would not like to admit this) in that what he states is not always infallible but can be at certain times. Revelations have been very rare, however, since the death of Joseph Smith. If you ask a Mormon today to "bear their testimony", they will affirm their faith in two basic things: their faith in Eternal Father (the preferred term for God, notice it is not "the" Eternal Father) and their faith in Gordon B. Hinckley (or whoever the current President is), who is Eternal's Father's mouthpiece to the world today.
The "management style" is what I would call a "conservative dictatorial" approach. By "dictatorial" I mean that decisions are always made at a higher level and then rubber-stamped by a vote taken at a lower level. Decisions are always approved, it is almost completly unheard-of for there to be even a single dissenting vote about any decision. By "conservative" I mean that the highest levels of leaders are elderly, and got to were they are by totally supporting their higher-ups for decades. They are not about to make radical changes, and the forecast from now until Christ comes is for the LDS to "stay the course".
On a related note it is worth taking a behind-the-scenes look at how much the Church is worth. As most of you probably know, faithful Mormons pay a 10 percent tithe on gross earnings to the Church, and the Church frankly doesn't spend all that much on its internal and external preaching. Suprisingly few Mormons receive a salary, and as ornate as their temples are they consume only a small fraction of Church income. The Church has invested much of its income in a variety of business interests, which have paid handsomely. The Church does not publish reports of its finances, but studies have concluded that the Church's net worth is somewhere around $30 billion today. Also significant is the Church's ownership of various media outlets.
Avon, Indiana, USA