A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

Joseph Smith

Recently added

5 comments to Joseph Smith

  • Dear Scott,

    I am studying the likelihood that various chiastic patterns could have appeared by chance, and am interested in obtaining copies of the chiasms found in Joseph Smith’s writings that appear under the words, “To be added” at the web site

    To complete the analysis, I will need both the chiasms that have been identified and the complete texts of the works from which the chiasms are taken. Would it be possible for you to send me these documents? If so, and if I decide to publish my analysis, I would be happy to acknowledge your help and to reference your site.

    I have analyzed one such letter, Joseph’s 1838

  • Richard C. Shipp

    I did a Master’s Thesis at BYU back in 1972-5, which included my thesis on Chiasmus in Modern Revelation. The thesis is entitled, “Conceptual Patterns of Repetition in the Doctrine and Covenants ad Their Implications.”

    The Thesis analyzed many D&C revelations, as well as giving many examples of the three types of repetition found in the Scriptures: Parallel, Reverse (Chiasmus), and Combination patterns (that incorporate both parallel and chiastic together).

    You can find the thesis online in a digital collection by BYU Library:

    Conceptual Patterns of Repetition
    in the Doctrine and Covenants
    and Their Implications

    – – –

    Here is their brief explanation of this Thesis collection:

    BYU Master’s Theses on Mormonism (Digital Collection)

    How are the Theses Selected?

    The goal for this collection is inclusiveness. Master’s theses contain important research and writing in many disciplines which are often overlooked and are much less readily available than doctoral dissertations. It is basically an author selected collection, because every author, or their descendents, is routinely contacted to gain copyright permission for inclusion in this digital collection.

    A few authors have denied copyright permission because of their own desire to publish their work or because of their concern over the

  • Scott Vanatter

    Thank you for posting this. I am sorry it took so long to get to it. I plan on reading your work over the holidays. Do you have any further research, or any published writings on this? Any website? Thanks again!

  • Boyd Edwards

    In our 2004 BYU Studies article (Vol. 43, No. 2, p. 103), we analyzed chiasms identified in the Doctrine and Covenants by Shipp, Ostler, King, and Gorton. None of these chiasms is statistically significant, meaning that it is not possible to rule out the possibility that these appeared by random chance (that is, that they are artifacts of later analysis rather than the products of a deliberate application of the chiastic form on the part of their authors). Our analysis rules out this possibility for chiasms in the Book of Mormon and the Bible, leaving only one possible conclusion: that chiasms in the Book of Mormon and the Bible were designed deliberately by their authors to fit the chiastic form. Our study does not and cannot say whether the chiasms in the Doctrine and Covenants are random or deliberate, but does say that chiasms in the Bible and the Book of Mormon are deliberate, placing these chiasms on stronger footing statistically than chiasms in the Doctrine and Covenants.

    We have also analyzed chiasms in Joseph Smith’s correspondence, including his 1838 “I do not know where it will all end” letter. None of these chiasms is statistically significant.

    We summarize all of our findings to date in our most recent work on the subject, (BYU Studies, Vol. 49, No. 4, p. 131, 2010), available along with our 2004 publication at

    Cheers and best,

    Boyd Edwards

  • Scott Vanatter

    Hi Boyd,

    Thanks for checking back in. I am sorry I didn’t see your post till a over a month later. And, thanks for your analysis of chiasmus. I have read with interest your findings. Given your assumptions, I understand your conclusions. In a conference on chiasmus over a year ago (in Utah, see the home page of this very site for a book from the various presenters), I cautioned those of us writers on — and consumers of what has been written about — chiasmus.

    The question as to whether any particular writer or speaker consciously knew they were writing or speaking chiastically is not one (IMO) that can truly be known by us, no matter how we devise the test. And no matter whether we conclude they DID know, or DIDN’T know. Of course, one cannot prove a negative.

    Until we locate affirmative, overt confirmation that this or that writer states that they knew they were using chiasmus, we will be left wondering. My good friend, now deceased, Jared Demke, was convinced Joseph knew he was writing or speaking chiastically. I am not so sure.

    Also, as Jared and I posit a thematic, rather than a straight word-for-word matching, our pattern allows for a much more interesting (and difficult to test*) hypothesis.

    *BTW, I believe one COULD devise a test to evaluate whether our semi-finite list of certain related terms or phrases ARE found in a usual order or not.

    Again, thanks for checking back in. Perhaps we can check in again on another testable hypothesis.

    Best regards,


Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>