New Book of Visual Aids Facilitates Book of Mormon Study, Teaching
Students and teachers of the Book of Mormon will find a new FARMS book by John W. and J. Gregory Welch to be a valuable resource. Charting the Book of Mormon: Visual Aids for Personal Study and Teaching is a collection of more than 175 visual aids. Designed for multiple use as study guides, handouts, and masters for creating projectable images, the charts convey a wealth of information that promotes deeper understanding and appreciation of the Book of Mormon.
Which ancient records did Nephi’s small and large plates comprise? A flowchart illustrating the evolution of the plates of Mormon provides the answer. How might we better grasp Jacob’s allegory of the olive tree? A diagram clarifies the symbolism of the tame and wild olive trees and the grafted branches. What was the origin of King Mosiah’s monetary system? A chart of Egyptian hieroglyphs provides a striking clue.
Arranged in 14 sections, these charts consist of tables, diagrams, chronologies, flowcharts, bar graphs, pie charts, maps, and other effective schematics that represent Book of Mormon data in new and thought-provoking ways. General topics range from the history, doctrine, structure, and chronology of the Book of Mormon to its literary, cultural, and geographical features. Many charts highlight evidences for the authenticity of the record. Each chart is explained in a manner that will facilitate personal study as well as guide a teacher in what might be said in displaying the chart for group instruction or discussion.
The idea for the book was conceived a decade ago while John Welch was responsible for gathering or creating the 500 maps, charts, and photographs needed for Macmillan’s Encyclopedia of Mormonism. “Several personal experiences in working with people in collecting and selecting those graphic images and, similarly, in using such visuals in illustrating many subsequent publications and lectures have convinced me of the value of charts in communicating important gospel information,” Welch writes in his preface to Charting the Book of Mormon.
In 1996 Welch focused his research on Book of Mormon visuals and, with the help of a student intern, Morgan A. Ashton, located as many previously circulated Book of Mormon visual aids as possible. Some of these were improved, and many new ones were created. All of these charts were later reformatted and refined on the computer by Welch’s son Gregory. In 1997 FARMS distributed a preliminary packet of about half of those charts. Now that first, loose-leaf collection has been further improved and expanded into a softbound book of 177 charts (more than double the number of charts in the first collection).
Moreover, to enhance their usefulness, a brief narrative explanation has been added to accompany each chart. These explanations quickly orient the viewer to the contents and purposes of the charts.
Charting the Book of Mormon is the most complete collection of its kind to date. It will appeal to students and teachers alike, but especially to those who wish to become more fully acquainted with the stunning complexity and consistency of Mormon’s inexhaustible record.