Chris Smith is not LDS but has been fascinated with the tradition since he dated the local Mormon bishop’s daughter in high school. His research as a religious historian has lead him to the conclusion that Joseph Smith sought to resolve 19th Century America’s political conundrums allegorically through the Book of Mormon. He argues that Joseph’s hope was that one day the church he established would redeem the USA and become the Kingdom of God on Earth.
The Book of Mormon is not, he argues, a literal history of an extinct Native American civilization. Unless of course the Nephites and Lamanites were experiencing exactly the same political, social, economic, racial and cultural issues that characterized antebellum USA.