Two articles published recently in separate issues of This People magazine feature two men central to F.A.R.M.S.' success as a scholarly research foundation. The first, "Taking the Stand," by James Bell, focuses on John W. Welch, the organization's creator and president. The article reveals how Welch first encountered studies of chiasmus in the New Testament and then discovered the same literary form in the Book of Mormon, both while serving a mission in Germany twenty years ago. It goes on to tell how F.A.R.M.S. originated.
The second article, "The Timelessness of Hugh Nibley," features F.A.R.M.S. leading contributor. Here you will get firsthand impressions about three recent projects designed to record Dr. Nibley's contributions to gospel erudition and make them accessible to the greatest number of people in the present and future generations. The first project consists of a 63-minute film, The Faith of an Observer—Conversations with Hugh Nibley, giving powerful autobiographical insights into the man and scholar. The film spans Nibley's life from his wealthy roots through the loss of his family's fortune during the Great Depression, and his experiences as a World War II military intelligence sergeant, to his more recent studies of ancient temples in the Near East. Indicative of what kind of man he is, Dr. Nibley complained heartily about hotel accomonnodations during a film session in Cairo. He didn't complain that the hotel wasn't good enough, rather that it was "too good." Later he and the film crew moved to hs preferred location, an outdated hotel with a bare lightbulb in the foyer and a broken elevator. Here, scholars, archeologists, and journalists buzzed about, and here Dr. Nibley and the crew remained for the rest of their stay. After viewing the film, the self-effacing scholar commented, "I must say I was very much surprised at what I saw—very much surprised." Viewing this film is undoubtedly one of the best ways to get to know "the man behind the books."
The second project embraces a multivolume collection of Dr. Nibley's more than 200 books and articles, several of which have never before been published. Dr. Nibley, commenting on the process of gathering and publishing many of his old works, said, "The arguments don't get outdated. The value of the ancient sources will not deteriorate."
If you have been waiting to enroll in Dr. Nibley's classic Pearl of Great Price course, then the third project spotlighted in This People will come as a welcome treat. In 1986, cameramen and soundcrews videotaped twenty-eight hours of Nibley in the act—capturing the "lectures, blackboard drawings, the classroom questions and clatter." This homestudy program, nearing completion, will offer videotapes of these actual classroom lectures, as well as course outlines, transcripts, and materials. For example, the venerable teacher examines in minute detail the Shabako Stone, a cornerstone of an early Egyptian temple in Memphis whose inscription relates closely to creation scriptures in the Book of Moses.