Date of Award

Spring 2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Interdisciplinary Ph.D.

First Advisor

Carey, Patrick

Second Advisor

Avella, Steven

Third Advisor

Hills, Julian


The dissertation is an historical–critical examination of Joseph Smith’s (1805–1844) sermons and writings from 1830 to 1844 to determine the scope of his doctrine on the Holy Ghost. Many biographers dismiss Joseph Smith as a product of his environment. Superficially, his thoughts on the Holy Ghost appear to fall within the mainstream of the enthusiastic outbursts of the Second Great Awakening, but a closer look shows that they are an abrupt and radical departure from the pneumatology of his day. To clarify the unique parameters of Smith’s pneumatology, it is necessary to place Smith’s views in a historical context by examining the ideas circulating on the Holy Spirit in the early nineteenth century American Protestant thought. Smith’s views are compared to those of four of his contemporaries: Peter Cartwright (1785–1872) Alexander Campbell (1788–1866), Charles Finney (1792–1875), and Charles Hodge (1797–1878). We examine these four men’s use of the Holy Spirit from their sermons and other writings, and then compare them to Smith’s interpretation.