Countdown to Birthday of the Book of Mormon Story #6: Jack Welch and the Book of Mormon

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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.)

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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.”

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2022 Countdown to the Birthday of the Book of Mormon Story #5: The Back Story of the Book in Speech Given at the Library of Congress

I took this picture of the Library of Congress while on my “National Treasure” trip with homeschool friends. Go here to learn more about that.

I’m counting down the days to the birthday of the Book of Mormon, on Sat. March 26. Did you know that Elder D. Todd Christofferson gave a speech telling the back story of the book, at the Library of Congress? Watch it below.

The Book of Mormon came forth the way Joseph Smith said it did. It is a true book, the most correct book on earth, as Joseph said. I paraphrase the words of Clayton Christensen, by saying, I urge you to read from the Book of Mormon every day. Everyone can spare at least 5 minutes a day to read it. Doing so with an honest heart will bring you peace, joy, and comfort, and closer to God, like no other book will do. It is another testament of Jesus Christ. As Elder Christofferson says in the speech above, it refers to Jesus Christ more than 4000 times with more than 100 titles.

The following verse comes from the Book of Mormon:

“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.”
2 Nephi 25:26

If you would like stories about the power of the Book of Mormon, go here to see some I’ve shared here on my blog.

If you’d like even more stories, go to the “March” section of stories in my Celestial Family Devotionals ebook, found for free here.

If you’d like a free copy of the Book of Mormon, go here.

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2022 Countdown to the Birthday of the Book of Mormon Story #4: “One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure”

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The Book of Mormon’s birthday is this Saturday March 26! To celebrate its birthday, I’m sharing stories about its truthfulness. I’ve shared some stories over here, and today I’m sharing two stories that relate to each other.

The first story is called “One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure” by Andrej Bozhenov. He served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in St. Petersburg Russia. After working to find people and teach the gospel on a hot summer day, he and his companion returned home. Imagine their surprise when they got a phone call the next day from someone they had never met. The person on the other end asked if they wanted their book returned. Someone had found the copy of the Book of Mormon they had given to someone else the day before. They had written their testimonies on the inside cover with their contact information. That someone was a man named Ilya. Ilya told them words every missionary wants to hear, “I would like to learn more about this book and your church,” he said. “May I meet with you?” They gladly taught Ilya, then Ilya decided to get baptized.

The day before, the missionaries had given the copy of the Book of Mormon to an elderly man, who then discarded it to the ground. Ilya found it and was ready to receive its truth. As the author of the story says, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

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It reminds me of the true story that was turned into a short movie, “How Rare a Possession.” The main character, Vincenzo di Francesca, found a copy of the Book of Mormon without a cover or a title page, on top of a barrel full of ashes, in an alleyway in NYC. As a minister in a Christian church, he eagerly digested the words in the Book of Mormon without knowing the name of the book.

He decided to pray to know if this book came from God. This is the answer he got:

“I felt my body become cold as the wind from the sea. Then my heart began to palpitate, and a feeling of gladness, as of finding something precious and extraordinary, bore consolation to my soul and left me with a joy that human language cannot find words to describe. I had received the assurance that God had answered my prayer and that the book was of greatest benefit to me and to all who would listen to its words.” (from “I Will Not Burn the Book!” found here.)

He taught his congregation from it, mixing its words with the words of the four gospels. Eventually, he found the Church and was baptized. Watch it below and read the full story here. It’s so wonderful!

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Countdown to Birthday of the Book of Mormon Story #3: The Most Useful Piece of Knowledge by Clayton M. Christensen

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Today’s story as I countdown to the birthday of the Book of Mormon on March 26 is called “The Most Useful Piece of Knowledge” by Clayton M. Christensen. He’s the featured speaker in the TEDxBoston talk pictured above. The full TED talk is below.

Clayton M. Christensen was a highly successful man. As a business professor at Harvard Business School, he came up with the idea of disruptive innovation. He’s been called the #1 management thinker in the world. His website is here.

What most people don’t know is that he made a commitment to God as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University to study the Book of Mormon diligently. He promised to study it for an hour every day, despite his overwhelming study load, because he desperately wanted to know if it is true. He shared this story at a speech he gave at BYU-Idaho. Here is part of his story below:

“Some of you who have seen pictures of Oxford may know that it’s the world’s oldest university. The building that I lived in was built in 1410-beautiful to look at, horrible to live in. It just had a little heater that they had dug out of the stone wall and had inserted there. I decided that I would commit every evening from 11 to 12 o’clock to reading the Book of Mormon to find out if it was true. I wondered if I dared spend that much time, because I was in a very demanding academic program, studying applied econometrics, and I was going to try to finish the program in two years, whereas most of the people in the program finished it in three, and I just didn’t know if I could afford allocating an hour a day to this effort. But nonetheless I did, and I began at 11:00 by kneeling in prayer by the chair by that heater, and I prayed out loud. I told God how desperate I was to find out if this was a true book, and I told Him that if He would reveal to me that it was true, that I then intended to dedicate my life to building this kingdom. And I told Him if it wasn’t true that I needed to know that for certain, too, because then I would dedicate my life to finding out what was true. Then I would sit in the chair, and I read the first page of the Book of Mormon, and when I got down to the bottom of the page, I stopped, and I thought about what I had read on that page, and I asked myself, ‘Could this have been written by a Charlatan who was trying to deceive people, or was this really written by a prophet of God? And what did it mean for me in my life?’ And then I put the book down and knelt in prayer and verbally asked God again, ‘Please tell me if this is a true book.’ Then I would sit in the chair and pick up the book and turn the page and read another page, pause at the bottom, and do the same thing. I did this for an hour every night, night after night in that cold, damp room, at the Queen’s College Oxford.

“By the time I got to the chapters at the end of 2nd Nephi, one evening when I said my prayer and sat in my chair and opened the book, all of a sudden there came into that room a beautiful, warm, loving spirit that just surrounded me and permeated my soul, and enveloped me in a feeling of love that I just had not imagined I could feel. And I began to cry, and I didn’t want to stop crying because as I looked through my tears at the words in the Book of Mormon, I could see truth in those words that I never imagined I could comprehend before. And I could see the glories of eternity and I could see what God had in store for me as one of His sons. And I didn’t want to stop crying. That spirit stayed with me the whole hour, and then every evening as I prayed and sat with the Book of Mormon by the fireplace in my room, that same spirit returned and it changed my heart and my life forever.”

“I look back in the conflict that I experienced, wondering whether I could afford to spend an hour everyday apart from the study of applied econometrics to find if the Book of Mormon was true, and you know, I use applied econometrics maybe once a year, but I use my knowledge that the Book of Mormon is the word of God many times every day of my life. In all of the education that I have pursued, that is the single most useful piece of knowledge that I ever gained.”

Did you catch that? As a world-renowned economist and scholar, this man said that his knowledge that the Book of Mormon is true is “the most useful piece of knowledge” he’s ever gained. Wow! You can read the full text of the talk, called, “Decisions for Which I’m Grateful For” here and watch it over here at BYU-I’s website.

Photo Credit: BYU-I

As he said in the talk, (see a condensed version of his talk over here) “I invite you to set aside an hour every day and find out for yourself if the Book of Mormon is true, because it will change your heart.

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Another Fan of Homeopathy: the author of Angelina Ballerina

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If you’ve been reading my blog you know how much I love homeopathy. I’m loving this webinar series from Americans for Homeopathy Choice (AHC) going on this week, every day live at 6 PM ET! Paola Brown, president of AHC is putting on this pledge drive webinar every weekday this week. Yesterday she interviewed some amazing people:

-Katharine Holabird, the author of the Angelina Ballerina series. She says she’s an avid fan of homeopathy, having used it for all of her three grown children, herself, her husband, and even her dog! Yes you can use homeopathy on animals! (on plants too!)

-Paige Pulliam, a mom of an autistic child helped by homeopathy

-Dr. Ron Whitmont, MD and homeopath

-Peter Gold

Dr. Whitmont and Peter Gold summarize the latest research showing that homeopathy works, citing several clinical trials, including one involving diarrhea in pigs!

Watch the video below and enjoy learning about the magic of homeopathy from Paola and these guests. Please consider donating to AHC, over here! AHC fights to keep homeopathy legal in the U.S.

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Amazing Insights from the Story of Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors

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Wow! I absolutely loved studying the story of Joseph in Genesis 37-41 this past week, featured in the Come, Follow Me study guide. I also had fun finding clips of the story put in musical form featuring Donny Osmond.

Have you ever felt neglected? Falsely accused? Forgotten and alone? That life is unfair? Do you feel like your family is dysfunctional because of abuse? Joseph of Genesis 37-41 had reason to feel all these things. He could have easily sunk into despair, depression, and soothing those feelings with bad habits, because of all those issues. Yet he rose above all these issues to prosper in prison, and become second in command to Pharaoh. Even then, he didn’t rest on his laurels. He allowed God to let him be an instrument in God’s hands to save Egypt, and Joseph’s family.

Because Joseph overcame all these negative things, we can too. Here are the videos I enjoyed this past week about Joseph. This first one with David Butler and Emily Belle Freeman talks a bit about Tamar’s story in Genesis 38. I liked it, but when I listened to it, I hadn’t read the part yet and was confused because they didn’t explain the whole story. They do give a kind perspective on Tamar.

I love Heather Farrell’s detailed and kind explanation of Tamar’s story in the book Walking with the Women of the Old Testament. Don’t miss that book, and Heather’s other books! They are amazing! I’ve loved her blog here for years, but not all the stories in the book are on the blog. So if you want to read what she says about Tamar, you are going to have to get her book.

Time stamps for the above video:

00:00 See the Board

00:03 Welcome and Introduction

00:41 Old Testament Timeline Review and Timeline Piece of the Week

04:32 Intro to Tamar and the 12 Sons of Jacob

05:44 The Genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1

07:41 The Grandmothers of Jesus (Matthew 1 verses 3, 5, and 6)

09:45 Intro to Genesis 37-41 and the story of Tamar

11:43 Genesis 38 verse 26

12:04 Additional background on historical laws and customs of Tamar’s time

14:06 What we know about Tamar + Unconventional Loyalty

16:33 Quote from book “Matriarchs of the Messiah” by Jo Ann Skousen

17:56 Cross reference Deuteronomy 25 verses 5-6 + Discussion on Judah

19:00 Overview of Tamar’s story in Genesis 38

20:44 Genesis 38 verses 21-22

23:34 Quotes from Alfred Edersheim and commentary in The Torah

26:24 Intro to Joseph and Genesis 37 and 39

29:15 Genesis 37 verses 26-27

30:18 Geneses 39 verses 1-5

34:22 Genesis 39 verses 21 and 23

35:58 Overview of Genesis 40-41

37:04 Genesis 41 verses 15-16

38:22 Genesis 41 verses 25 and 28, then 32

39:57 Genesis 41 verses 38-39

41:05 Emily’s story of serving as Relief Society President

45:17 Reference to quote from Elder Faust

46:10 Conclusion: God of the Middle Moments

The above and below videos with Dr. Lili Anderson are so absolutely wonderful! She speaks such truth. The stories and insights she shares about why life is unfair actually helped me feel that in the end life if the fairest it can be.

Then this video below, by Rhonda and Ferrell Pickering, blows my mind! It is full of so many connections to things I never even considered, including astronomy and the Jewish festivals. They explain hidden gems in the story of Tamar and Judah in Genesis 38. By listening to them you will also see how Tamar’s story relates to Joseph’s. They go deeply in to the dreams Joseph interprets, those of the butler, the baker, and pharaoh, and explain how they give us a timeline of prophecy. It’s amazing! I hope you enjoy all these videos, including the clips of Donny Osmond playing Joseph in the musical. We’re going to watch it as a family one of these Sunday nights soon! You can buy or rent it in YouTube.

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2022 Countdown to the Birthday of the Book of Mormon: Story #2 “Teaching My Teacher”

The Book of Mormon’s birthday is March 26, 1830. So we are coming up on its 192th birthday! So I’m sharing stories a lot this month of March to celebrate. Today’s story is called “Teaching My Teacher” by Diana Graham. I read this story years ago when I lived in AZ. Imagine my surprise when I moved back to UT and met the writer! Basically, the story involves Sister Graham as a young graduate student at Columbia University in the 1960s. (Notice I didn’t say “co-ed,” a word that is so sexist, I despise it and do not use it, only when I’m saying I don’t like it and don’t use it. The fact that I even mention it shows my age. Do any Millennials even know what that word means? I’m going to quiz my own Millennial children to see…I will be grateful to find out they don’t even know what it means.)

OK, so Sister Graham witnessed her professor disparage the Book of Mormon in one of her classes. (This professor, coincidentally, held the Charles C. Anthon Chair at Columbia. More than 100 years earlier, Martin Harris had shown a copy of characters copied from the Golden Plates, which the Book of Mormon was translated from, to Charles Anthon. If you don’t know the rest of the story about that, go here.)

As a young student, Sister Graham had the courage to defend what she knows to be true. She wrote, “I could not disappoint my ancestors, whose testimonies of the Book of Mormon had led them to sacrifice everything.” She stood up to this professor by telling him that she believed the book to be scripture. She asked him to read a research paper she wrote about the book. Her story has a beautiful ending, I can’t wait for you to read it. Go here to read the whole thing, it’s heartwarming!

Here’s another story of the Book of Mormon, a story about how a copy of it did not burn in a house fire. It’s miraculous! Read about “The Book That Would Not Burn” over here.

Find more stories about the power of the Book of Mormon in the March section of my Celestial Family Devotionals Ebook, over here.

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2022 Countdown to the Book of Mormon’s Birthday: Story #1 “The Book that Would Not Burn”

Did you know that the Book of Mormon’s birthday is March 26, 1830? I’m having a party for it! This year I’ll make a birthday cake out of a yellow/golden cake for the golden plates, then I’m going to “bury” it with some “berries” and whipped cream. I’m going to count down the days to it by telling a story a day about the Book of Mormon from my Celestial Family Devotionals Ebook. Download your free PDF of it here.

Today’s story is called “The Book That Would Not Burn,” by Ervin Lynn. You can read the story of it in his own words over here. Or read my summary of it in these next sentences. Brother Lynn served a mission in New Mexico. While serving this mission, he left a copy of the Book of Mormon with a family who lived in a large white home in a mining camp. The woman who received a copy of the book said she couldn’t read, but she was happy to receive the book because she wanted to build a large library of good books for her children. Brother Lynn returned to the site a year later, with a different companion. He was surprised to find a pile of ashes and charred objects where the home used to be. Later he received a letter from a friend who told a story about the book. He said that when the firefighters came to fight the fire, the mother had told the firefighters to see if they could save her books. They made the attempt but felt it was in vain and gave up. Days later the family went back to the ashes, dug through the ashes where the books had been, and found the copy of the Book of Mormon. It was intact and unharmed.

Brother Lynn wrote a letter to the woman and told her that the book being saved evidenced the power of God and the book’s truthfulness. She decided to believe the good news of the gospel and be baptized.

Brother Lynn concludes the story by saying the following:

“Years later I visited New Mexico and called on this sister. She told me the story of the fire and showed me the undamaged copy of the Book of Mormon.

“Through this single event many lives have been blessed. The members of this family have remained active, and they and many descendants have filled missions for the Church.”

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RootsTech 2022 Final Thoughts

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RootsTech 2022 was so wonderful! I didn’t get to watch all the classes or go to all the virtual booths, what with all my other stuff going on, but what I did engage with was all so good! I love learning that FamilySearch has this new feature in, the “Get Involved” tab, and a corresponding app called “FamilySearch Get Involved.” I love the idea that you can hop in there for even just 5 minutes and do something helpful to move along family history and temple work. Watch the video below to learn more.

Here’s a shorter video about it below!

I loved the dancing from different cultures and the food shown! In this video below, this young woman tlaks about different traditional foods of Peru, including entrails. Sally Fallon would be pleased!

I totally wanted to explore all the vendors in the virtual booth hall but other priorities emerged. I started watching this one below, it looks like a great way to preserve photos.

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Roots Tech 2022 Day 2: What I’m Learning!

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Yesterday was wonderful watching RootsTech Day 1. I had a lunch with girlfriends, tore myself away at 4:15 after some deep meaningful conversation, then came home to take a daughter to an afternoon class, then got to come home. I had attempted to listen (not watch, because I was driving) to some of the videos on my phone while driving but it didn’t work for whatever reason, so I was happy to be home home to finally watch some of RootsTech. I got to see Session 2 with the comedian Maysoon Zayid. She is amazing! I feel blessed to have been able to hear her speak.

I found out one of my girlfriends at the lunch had 2 of her children participating in the Youth Panel scheduled for this morning. So I logged in at 8 AM before filling up my car with gas and enjoyed listening as I drove. It was a live Zoom meeting, with adults and youth sharing their experiences on how to get youth fired up about family history. The picture above comes from that site. If you click here, then click on “ward and stake activities” you’ll find a wonderful Google Doc, by clicking ” Help light the temple and family history fire (the Spirit of Elijah) in your ward.” that summarizes the activities shared. They all sound so fun!

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It’s been fun watching the Innovators Portal. There’s one software that displays your family tree as a 3-D image filling the room. I’m excited to see that in real life! Wow!

It’s cool to see what Ancestry’s news, including the records from the Freedmen’s Bureau to help the descendants of slaves find their roots. See below.

If you need help navigating RootsTech, go to RootsTech’s site and click on “website tutorial.” The video below also gives some orientation to the event.

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