Douglas J. Davies is one of the most insightful and prolific scholars of Mormonism working today. He is a professor in the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Durham, UK. Two of his earlier studies—The Mormon Culture of Salvation (2000) and An Introduction to Mormonism (2003)—analyze foundational aspects of Mormonism from an engaging academic synthesis of history, religious studies, cultural studies, literary studies, theology, and philosophy. The breadth and depth of his scholarly background enable him to address new and crucial questions, yielding remarkable insights. For example, The Mormon Culture of Salvation proposes that the plan of salvation is Mormonism's "doctrine of doctrines," its most far-reaching theological innovation.
Davies's most recent study on Mormonism develops this thesis to a greater degree. It claims that the doctrine of the plan of salvation is as fundamental and distinctive to Mormonism as the Trinity is to the rest of Christianity. Furthermore, the plan of salvation anchors a comprehensive Mormon worldview, influences Mormon religious thought and life more than any other single doctrine, and defines the essential identities of Jesus, Satan, and Joseph Smith.