In her attempt to find a strictly human origin for certain doctrines contained in the Book of Abraham, and the later teachings of Joseph Smith, Mrs. Fawn M. Brodie relies upon the writings of one Thomas Dick. Dick was a nineteenth century Scottish scientist-theologian who wrote several volumes on religious and scientific subjects. It is known that at least two volumes were known to at least some of the early Latter-day Saints, for passages from them were quoted in the Messenger and Advocate. The purpose of this thesis has been to research the entire ten volumes of Dick's writings in order to determine the entirety of his theology. The paper first relates the life and general philosophy of Thomas Dick, and then investigates specifics of his theology under the general chapter headings of "God," "Man," and "Salvation." The final two chapters of the thesis deal with those specific aspects of Joseph Smith's theology which Mrs. Brodie claims were influenced by Dick's writings. The conclusion reached as a result of this study is: while it cannot be demonstrated that any of the Prophet's theology has any direct foundation in Thomas Dick's, there may have been impetus gained from Dick's writings in the direction Joseph Smith's theology took, but only if it could be demonstrated that Joseph Smith had read them, and this has not been done, by Mrs. Brodie, nor anyone else.
College and Department
Religious Education; Church History and Doctrine
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Jones, Edward T., "The Theology of Thomas Dick and its Possible Relationship to that of Joseph Smith" (1969). Theses and Dissertations. 4839.
Thomas Dick, 1774-1857, Joseph Smith, 1805-1844, Philosophy, Fawn McKay Brodie, 1915-, No man knows my history, Book of Abraham