Tomorrow is the birthday of the Book of Mormon! March 26th! I’ve been counting down the days by sharing stories, you can read them over here.
One evidence of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon is that it uses chiasmus, an ancient Hebraic literary pattern. John/Jack Welch discovered it as a 20 year-old missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while serving in Germany. (If someone can tell me why Jack is a nickname for John, be my guest :-), I’d love to know, once and for all! It’s truly one of life’s great imponderables.)
Watch the short version of the story of the discovery, as told by John’s son Greg below. As a missionary, John learned about chiasmus in the Bible during lectures at a Catholic University on his preparation day. Then he discovered chiasmus by himself on August 16, 1967. God led him to discover it by waking him up at 4 AM that morning, by putting these words in his mind through the Holy Spirit: “If it is evidence of Hebrew style in the New Testament, it’s evidence of Hebrew style in the Book of Mormon.”
He opened up his copy of the Book of Mormon in German. He saw this page below, in Mosiah 5, with the same word repeated in a stack. Thus led him to see other repeated words, in chiastic style. Eureka! He’s been writing and talking about this ever since.
The longer story is told by John/Jack himself below.
I have blogged about this before over here, where I have the above videos plus two more, including a speech given by John at the 50th anniversary celebration of his discovery.
John also wrote an interesting article about other literary evidences of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon here in an article called, “A Book You Can Respect.” Joseph Smith did not invent the book, he translated it from an ancient language.
As John says in the article:
“In a word, I have never seen the Book of Mormon to be found wanting. The book has raised many questions in the minds of some readers, to be sure. But I find myself continually rewarded—not disappointed—by the answers to which these questions lead. Finding such answers leads to conviction, and being convinced leads to respect. With the coming of respect, the way is sometimes cleared for testimony.
“I know that it is important to develop and to help others develop respect for the Book of Mormon. It is God’s word, and the people who possess it will be judged by it. It is holy scripture given for profitable doctrine, reproof, and instruction in righteousness. It would be ideal if all could accept a copy of the Book of Mormon without suspicion and then, upon humble prayer, receive the witness of the Holy Ghost that it is true, but in these less than ideal circumstances, it is good that the book itself is so abundantly respectable.”