Charting the Book of Mormon  

Posted by ReelTym

The Book of Mormon is full of facts, ranging from eternal truths to mundane details. This collection charts many of those facts in clear and convenient graphs and visuals.

This collection of visual aids aims to serve multiple purposes. Students and teachers will find here helpful guides for personal study, as well as images for classroom use.

The idea for this book began to take shape almost two decades ago. One of my responsibilities on the board for Macmillan’s Encyclopedia of Mormonism was to gather or create the maps, charts, and photographs that accompany its thirteen hundred articles. Personal experiences in working with several people in collecting and selecting those graphic images and, similarly, in using such visuals in many contexts confirmed for me of the value of charts in communicating important gospel precepts and interesting information.

In 1996, I turned attention specifically to Book of Mormon visuals. Morgan A. Ashton, serving as a BYU intern under my supervision, worked to locate as many previously circulated Book of Mormon charts, graphs, and maps as possible. From his findings, certain recurring themes were identified and composite charts were created. In addition, many new charts were conceived. All of these schematics were then refined and shaped on the computer by my son, Gregory Welch, who devoted the summers of 1997 and 1998 to the initial graphic development of this project.

A preliminary packet containing samples of about half of these charts was distributed by the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies in 1997. Feedback and additions from many people have improved this publication, and they are acknowledged with much appreciation.

In order to enhance understandability, a brief narrative explanation is added to each chart. Because each chart is by nature an incomplete abstraction of much more complicated data, these brief explanatory notes quickly orient the viewer to the contents and purposes of each chart. A fuller discussion of each topic can be found in the bibliographic sources given. Amy K. Bingham, Don L. Brugger, and Eden N. Rasmussen have superbly shared much of the load in generating those comments, checking sources, and preparing the electronic version of these charts.

This collection is by no means complete. Many more charts could easily be added, and other excellent schematics can be found in other publications. Readers may want to make new charts on their own, as well as add further details to the charts created so far.

I am deeply grateful to all who have helped transform the initial vision of this project into a concrete reality. We hope that these visuals will open new vistas of insight for Book of Mormon students everywhere.

John W. Welch
Provo, Utah

This entry was posted on Thursday, October 28, 2010 and is filed under . You can leave a response and follow any responses to this entry through the Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom) .