Sunday, September 21, 2014

Faith without Welsh Is nearly Dead

Dan Jones, Amazing Missionary to the Welsh
On my quest to learn Cymraeg (Welsh), one of the first things I did was to go to the LDS Distribution store just a few blocks from our house and purchase a copy of the Book of Mormon in Welsh. Reading it in Portuguese helped me learn that language. And I still have scriptures memorized in Portuguese from my mission that bounce around in my head that will apparently be there forever.

The main challenge was, the Welsh edition of 1853 has not been updated except for the cover. So, the word Arall is pretty easy as "Another" because "Testament" and Iesu Crist are obvious along with Llyfr Mormon which etymologically isn't that far off from O Livro de Mórmon in Portuguese. I see a Latin root in there -- or Indo-European?

But then I looked inside, In 1853, the book hadn't even been divided into chapters and verses as we are now familiar. That was a process that culminated in English in 1920 with Elder James E. Talmage -- even if the "most correct book" still gets occasional corrections back to the original transcript from Joseph Smith's prophetic translation.

I really wanted to find the scripture that I think is the center point of the whole thing. It does come right about the middle too, in Alma 32:21, the best explanation of Faith I've ever heard. Not that it makes it all easy, but this is it. The rest of the chapter helps too. And, of course, it's one of those scriptures in Portuguese that I can't get out of my head.

Knowing the Book well enough that I can orient myself in whatever language I can read the alphabet, there are certain names that don't translate well and remain in the original - like Zoramites, or Zoramiaid, whatever, in Welsh. And using a little logic and knowing where the verse was in English--with only 30 chapters in Welsh Alma, I went for the middle as 32 is about the middle of 63 chapters in the English. I found it in Pennod 16. 

It's right there in the picture, left side, first indented paragraph:
Ac yn awr, megys y dywedais ynghylch ffydd: Nid ffydd yw cael gwybodaeth berffaith am bethau; am hyny os oes genydd ffydd, yr ydych yn gobeithio am bethau anweledig, y rhai ydynt wir. 
Ffydd, should be obvious to all now as "faith." Just try pronouncing it. And good luck, because that's one of my biggest challenges with this language of strange, poetic sounds of mutating letters. It's interesting that the word "perfect" or perffaith, before it mutates to begin with b, has the English word "Faith" in it.

And Ffydd or Faith is the key to everything. Everything that is true, that is. And how do we know what is true? We ask of God. He'll let us know. Sometimes we need to experiment on the word. Sometimes He helps guide us to get there without us even knowing. But then again, it's not to have a perfect knowledge. That's the whole point -- at least for the time being.

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