It’s a Good Story

I know that the story told in this Youtube video is true. My talented brother-in-law, Gregory Welch, prepared this video and released it today.

For me, the story of John W. Welch’s discovery of the ancient poetic or literary style of textual composition known as “Chiasmus” in The Book of Mormon exemplifies, above all, one of the most basic of Christian scriptural principles, a principle with Grace at its heart:

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)

I hope you find Grace in this story as well. May it uplift and strengthen you today.

Comments

  1. I love me some Book of Mormon word play. Good stuff, despite all the stuff that sometimes drives me crazy about the church in current practice, I love the Book of Mormon, it’s a touchstone of my spiritual life. If I get back to that I find reassurance that it’s gonna be okay.

  2. I like the video. It’s also good stuff, but the background music is a little distracting.

  3. Very cool story.

  4. That IS a good story, and I have often wondered about this discovery. I was first introduced to the concept of Chiasmus in the Book of Mormon by my seminary teacher, and while it is not the basis for my testimony of the book, it enhances it.

  5. I remember the New Era article from its first publication. It was electrifying — it seemed like such a giant leap beyond anything I had ever known in scripture study (I was only 13, after all) — which was, frankly, limited to memorizing short verses that teachers told me were important, and being able to shout out the citations faster than others at Seminary — and yet for all its “advanced” form it was so easily understood.

    I passed through a phase of cynicism, which may still linger, when I was unable to recognize chiasmus in long, complicated passages people claimed were chiastic, which seemed to defy the rhetorical purpise of drawing attention to a central point because they were stetched so long and so thinly over a lot of intervening text, but I’m still moved by the simpler, more recognizable passages.

    Nice historical background. Thanks.

  6. wreddyornot says:

    This video is striking to me for not just its significance relative to ancient text. I became a missionary in the same mission in Southern Germany in September 1967 and of course met John Welch and knew about his discoveries during my time on a mission.

  7. Kevin Barney says:

    That was a lot of fun (although I too found the background music distracting and it made the voiceover kind of hard to hear for me).

    For those interested in this topic, you also might like this:

    https://bycommonconsent.com/2008/05/17/the-discovery-of-chiasmus-in-the-bom/

  8. You lost me at the Radio Lab open.

  9. My only question is why isn’t there a similar article on another style of prose used in the Book of Mormon that is taken from the book “The Late War”?

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Late_War_between_the_United_States_and_Great_Britain

    This adaptation certainly raises questions as to the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, I still believe, giving The Brethren the benefit of the doubt.

  10. I enjoyed it and thought it was well done. The music didn’t bother me. I do think he is talking very fast, his words almost tumbling over each other, which drew attention to the narrator and away from the story. I think this could be tweaked in software.

    I wonder whether the 21st century John Welchs of the church on missions right now will ever be in his position to discover new things like he did. I sense that the mission experience today is much more systematized and codified than it was in the 60s and more inward directed. I think an intelligent and faithful missionary like John today would probably stay far away from the kind of books and opportunities that he used to trigger his discovery because he would see them as inappropriate or even detrimental to the purpose of his mission.

  11. I think an intelligent and faithful missionary like John today would probably stay far away from the kind of books and opportunities that he used to trigger his discovery because he would see them as inappropriate or even detrimental to the purpose of his mission.

    I think that’s probably — and very unfortunately — true, KLC. We’ve created a bowdlerized culture that very much discourages missionaries to stretch their minds and understanding while on a mission. I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t against the rules in the 60s in German missions to read the newspaper (thus helping a missionary connect with the locality and bond with the locals) or literature, etc. Perhaps a return to the general mission ethos of that era would be beneficial?