Book of Mormon Atonement Doctrine Examined in Context of Atonement Theology in the Environment of its Publication
All Theses and Dissertations
Brigham Young University
Alexander Campbell, a contemporary of Joseph Smith, was the first to publish a critique of the Book of Mormon after actually having read it. Among other allegations, he arraigned that Joseph Smith wrote the book to resolve, with a voice of prophecy, theological issues contemporary to its publication. This study undertakes to examine Campbell's charge with regard to atonement doctrine. To assess the statement, this study first identifies the controversies about atonement doctrine in the years prior to the publication of the Book of Mormon, in the Northeastern region of the United States. It then compares the teachings inherent to those controversies to Book of Mormon atonement doctrine. This study concludes that the doctrine in the Book of Mormon does appear to resolve some of the controversies surrounding the doctrine of the atonement in the time and place relative to its publication. However, on other important points of controversy, it does not resolve the issues. Furthermore, as it expounds atonement doctrine, it combines concepts in ways not germane to its environment. It does not fit any model of soteriology that was prevalent in the time period and place of its original publication.