There are many ways to know things, Jack W. Welch said during his Thursday morning Education Week class on knowing the Book of Mormon is true.
Welch quoted from a talk on the Book of Mormon by Elder Russell M. Nelson: “The power of its message will transform the lives of all who earnestly study its precious pages. Its very reality is an inspiring fact.”
The translation of the Book of Mormon was beyond Joseph Smith’s abilities because of his lack of schooling, Welch said. “Joseph did not even go to what we may consider high school,” he noted.
The Book of Mormon wasn’t written by literary American standards, Welch said. He explained how there were Hebraisms throughout the Book of Mormon. He showed examples such as an “altar of stones” instead of “a stone altar,” and “mists of darkness” instead of “dark mist.”
Welch spoke of how Alma gave the Ammonites their own land in the Book of Mormon. He said, “Under the law of Moses you had to have lands that were designated as tribal lands.
“You can’t really live the law of Moses without having lands of inheritance.”
Alma gave the Ammonites the land of Jershon, Welch explained. He said its meaning is, “A place of a land of inheritance.”
Welch also said the Book of Mormon clarifies doctrine. One example is infant baptism. Since an infant doesn’t have accountability, he said, with infant baptism “You lose the covenantal nature of the baptismal ordinance.”
Welch said the balance of justice and mercy was another doctrine explained by the Book of Mormon, in Alma 42.
“The first few verses talk about how God will give people time: that there must be a space of time for people to repent,” he said. “That is mercy. The mercy is staying the judgment. Holding off on lowering the boom on us every time we do something wrong. God knows everything. God could instantly be perfectly just in punishing us with exactly what we deserve. And that’s how he can be merciful, but also just.”
Welch then referred to a verse in the Book of Mormon that Elder Nelson called a gem of wisdom, Mosiah 3:19. This verse refers to the natural man being an enemy to God. Welch said, “This verse happens to be the most frequently cited verse in General Conference. And it really is a gem and a central verse in the book of Mormon.”
Mosiah 3:19 is at the very center of King Benjamin’s speech, Welch explained. He related that he put all the words from the speech into his computer and found the difference between the amount of words before and after the verse was only nine. “If that’s not central, I don’t know what is,” he said.
“So not only are there many bits of evidence, there are many ways to know the book is true from a philosophical point of view,” he said. Welch explained there are many different schools of thought and theories of knowledge that can be used to know the Book of Mormon is true.
Welch showed slides of different archeological findings confirming things mentioned in the Book of Mormon. He showed that as time progressed more has been confirmed. He said, “Science can tell us a lot of things about the way our knowledge is moving.”
Welch then talked about knowing things geographically. He explained that there were 12 different characteristics of the land Bounitful where Lehi and his family lived. “There is such an area, there’s actually a couple candidates,” he said.
“Another way in which you know something is to just be familiar with it,” Welch said. He encouraged the audience to get to know qualities of the Book of Mormon.
“I begin with the assumption that every word counts,” he said.