This verse and three others just like it (I Nephi 11:21; 11:32; & 13:40) reflect an interesting change in a foundational theology of Mormonism. I think a special insight into Mormonism is found in these verses.
      Joseph Smith really had no formalized theology when he began his new religion. He had had a smattering of Protestant experience in his childhood. The Book of Mormon is a compilation of his own thinking and a lot of plagiarized passages from several other sources including the King James Bible, Ethan Smith's View of the Hebrews, probably the writings of Solomon Spalding, and several others.
      Today, Mormon theology is polytheistic. It's central teaching is that men may become gods. It is summarized in the Lorenzo Snow couplet all active Latter-day Saints recite: "As man now is, God once was; As God now is, man may become."
      However, this theology developed long after the Book of Mormon was published in 1830. The doctrine of plurality of godswhich Joseph Smith taught and boasted about teachingis not found in the Book of Mormon. It wasn't found in 1830 and it isn't found now (except in these four changed verses).
      The Book of Mormonnowborders on teaching tritheism, the unbiblical doctrine that there are three separate and distinct beings who we call Gods: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. You also find traces of a form of Unitarianism. The Book of Mormon, of course has no consistent theology about the nature of God, because Joseph Smith had not thought any of these things through. It is beyond the scope of this note to discuss the doctrine of the Trinity. If you are interested in that discussion you can order my two audio tapes on that subject via my order page.
      What is interesting to note is that while Joseph Smith's theology was ill-formed in 1830 when he published the Book of Mormon, by the time he was killed in 1844 he had developed and articulated the theology you find in the Mormon Church today. In 1830, Joseph hurriedly pasted and penned his book. At that time when he referred to the Christian Father and Son, he used terminology he had heard in his limited experience. As you read the 1830 passages you hear something vaguely Trinitarian, something almost with a Roman Catholic ring.
      As Joseph's theology congealed, those passages were very out of place. Soon they were edited to avoid all Trinitarian hint. And they stand as edited to this day.