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Kenneth Mays
John W. Welch visits with a sister at a function honoring Florence Jacobsen.

On occasion, Picturing History will vary from the usual approach of focusing on a historical site and highlight an individual who has made a remarkable contribution to gospel and historical understanding in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In August 1967, John W. "Jack" Welch, a young missionary serving in Regensburg, Germany, attended a seminar on the literary structure known as chiasmus as found in the Gospel according to St. Matthew. Looking for it in the Book of Mormon, Elder Welch found some stunning examples therein. Since that time a half century ago, Brother Welch, or Jack as his friends call him, has contributed vast amounts to the body of LDS scholarship.

The website bookofmormoncentral.org posts this review of his works and writings: “John W. Welch is the Robert K. Thomas Professor of Law and editor-in-chief of BYU Studies, the premier Latter-day Saint scholarly journal. He practiced law in Los Angeles with O’Melveny & Myers, at which time he founded the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies. From 1988-91, he served as one of the editors for Macmillan’s Encyclopedia of Mormonism, and he has served as the General Editor of the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley. He organized the bicentennial conference for Joseph Smith at the Library of Congress, and has served on the executive committee of the Biblical Law Section of the Society of Biblical Literature.”

The Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship website notes that Brother Welch has written, edited or co-edited 18 books, 109 book chapters, 38 journal articles in addition to various other projects. At age 71, he is still working professionally and enthusiastically producing a continual line of scholarly projects.