Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, gave the closing remarks for the Book of Mormon Chiasmus Conference, on August 16.
The Book of Mormon Chiasmus Conference was held at the BYU campus. John Welch, a law professor at the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU, was the first member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to find chiasmi in the Book of Mormon.
According to LDS.org, chiasmus is one aspect of the ancient Israelite’s way of writing.
“The words (of a scripture passage) occur in a peculiar sequence,” according to LDS.org. “Everything gets said twice, and in the repetition everything gets said backwards, back to front, or in a reverse order.”
Chiasmi were found in the Bible and, most recently, in the Book of Mormon. Psalms 3:7-8 and Mosiah 3:18-19 are examples of chiasmus used in the scriptures, LDS.org informed.
“Before chiasmus, we all tended to read the Book of Mormon, and the Bible for that matter, as plain texts, not seeing scriptural words connected with their context and style,” Welch said to Mormon Newsroom. “After chiasmus, we become more attentive readers, seeing every word as intriguing and meaningful. It helps us appreciate the beauty and goodness of the scriptures.”
Mormon Newsroom reported that Welch first identified the Chiasmus writing style in the Book of Mormon while he was a full-time missionary in 1967. This kind of writing suggests that the Book of Mormon was written anciently and not authored in the 1800’s.
“In making our case for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, I believe God intends us to find and use the evidence He has given — reasons, if you will — which affirm the truthfulness of His work,” Holland said to Mormon Newsroom.
Holland said that testimonies are not dependent on evidence, but on spiritual confirmation, according to Mormon Newsroom.
“But not to seek for and not to acknowledge intellectual, documentable support for our belief when it is available is to needlessly limit an otherwise incomparably strong theological position and deny us a unique, persuasive vocabulary in the latter-day arena of religious investigation and sectarian debate,” Holland said to Mormon Newsroom.