An understanding of the theological framework and substance of the Book of Mormon has been frustrated over time because of the Church’s shifting doctrines concerning the Godhead. This situation has led many Latter-day Saints to interpret Book of Mormon understandings in light of current doctrine—a project that yields unsatisfying results. In December 2006, in an Irish rare book shop, I found a key to interpreting the Book of Mormon’s theology of God in Ethan Smith’s A Treatise on the Character of Jesus Christ, and on the Trinity in Unity of the Godhead (1814). The treatise offers fascinating insights for those of us who have devoted years of study to Joseph Smith’s narrative but have never found explanations for its views on the Godhead to make much sense.
LANE WOLFLEY and MAXINE HANKS