Hours Never to Be Forgotten:
Timing the Translation of the Book of Mormon
In 1835, Oliver Cowdery wrote about his indelible memory of the time he worked as scribe for Joseph Smith in bringing forth the translation of the Book of Mormon in April, May, and June, 1829. He famously said, “These were days never to be forgotten.”
Welch’s lecture will develop more precisely many amazing details now known about the key events that anchor our historical understandings of those hours and days—about the pace of translation, and about witness testimonies that credibly document the impressive translation of the Book of Mormon. New materials will be presented to develop further point presented in the recently released second edition of the book Opening the Heavens: Accounts of Divine Manifestations, 1820-1844 (Provo, UT: BYU Studies).
Commencing this event, the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship and BYU Studies will also recognize the recent publication of the one-hundredth issue of BYU Studies Quarterly during Welch’s twenty-six years as the BYU journal’s editor-in-chief.
The biennial Larua F. Willes Book of Mormon Lecture is free and open to students, specialists, and the general public.
Wednesday, November 8
Brigham Young University
Gordon B. Hinckley Alumni & Visitors Center
About John W. Welch
John W. Welch is the Robert K. Thomas Professor of Law at the J. Reuben Clark Law School, where he teaches a variety of courses including Tax Exempt Organizations; Joseph Smith and Early American Law; Ancient Near Eastern Law in the Old Testament and Book of Mormon; and Jewish, Greek and Roman laws in the New Testament. He earned a B.A. and M.A. at BYU, filled a mission in South Germany (when he discovered chiasmus in the Book of Mormon), studied at Oxford University as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, and received a J.D. Duke University. He practiced law in the Los Angeles with the firm of O’Melveny & Myres, before joining the law faculty at BYU in 1980.
In addition to his continuing work at the Law School, he is well known for serving as the founding president of FARMS (the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies) in the 1980s. Since 1991 he has served as the editor-in-chief of the BYU Studies Quarterly, the latest issue being his 100th. He also has served as the general editor of the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, as a member of the Jewish Law Association, and on the executive committee of the Society of Biblical Literature section on Biblical Law. He was a member of the board of editors for Macmillan’s Encyclopedia of Mormonism. He was honored as the Karl G. Maeser Distinguished Faculty Lecturer at BYU in 2010, and since 2016 has served with the John A. Widtsoe Foundation as a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
He has authored or edited a number of books, including Chiasmus in Antiquity (1981), The Sermon on the Mount in the Light of the Temple (London: Ashgate, 2009); the Legal Cases in the Book of Mormon (Provo: FARMS, 2008), Sustaining the Law: Joseph Smith’s Legal Encounters (Provo: BYU Studies, 2014). His notable articles include works on chiasmus in biblical law, the parable of the Good Samaritan as an allegory of the plan of salvation, the legal role of miracles in the trial of Jesus, chiasmus in King Benjamin’s speech, the Book of Mormon as the keystone of Church organization and administration, and the role of evidence in the nurturing of faith.
He is married to Jeannie Sutton, who recently retired from the French Department at Brigham Young University. They have four children and seventeen grandchildren. Together they enjoy traveling, teaching, family activities, and the arts. In the church, Jeannie has served as ward and stake Relief Society president, and in the Primary; Jack as bishop, counselor in a stake presidency; they both serve in the Provo Temple.