Critics who claim that references to “steel” in the Book of Mormon are anachronisms make assumptions that are not valid.

  • Steel is mentioned only five times in the Book of Mormon, once in the Book of Ether (7:9), and four times in the Nephite records (1 Ne. 4:9, 1 Ne. 16:18, 2 Ne. 5:15 and Jar. 1:8).
  • Nephite steel is not mentioned after about 400 B.C (Jarom 1:8). That it was not discovered when the Spaniards arrived is not surprising.
  • Two of the references refer to Near Eastern weapons of the early sixth century B.C. 1 Ne. 4.9 states that the blade of Laban’s sword was “of most precious steel.” Nephi’s Near Eastern bow was “made of fine steel” (1 Ne. 16.18). Such references are not anachronistic; blacksmiths in the Middle Eastern were making steel by 1000 B.C.
  • Archaeologists have discovered evidence of sophisticated iron technology from the island of Cyprus. One interesting example was a curved iron knife found in an eleventh century tomb. Metallurgist Erik Tholander analyzed the weapon and found that it was made of “quench-hardened steel.”
  • Another discovery included a carburized iron sword near the ancient site of Jericho. The one meter long sword with a bronze shaft dates to the time of king Josiah, who would have been a contemporary of Lehi. This find has been described as “spectacular” since it is apparently “the only complete sword of its size and type from this period yet discovered in Israel.”
  • The absence of the mention of "steel" after the Book of Jarom (fifth book in the Book of Mormon) supports that its use diminished or vanished. Regardless, it is impossible to prove steel did not exist simply because it has yet to be discovered. 

Additional Resources:

Out of the Dust: All That Glitters Is Not . . . Steel 

 Metals of the Book of Mormon –  by Wm. Revell Phillips

Steel in the Book of Mormon by William Hamblin

Swords and “Cimeters” in the Book of Mormon –  by Matthew Roper

Book of Mormon 7 Brass Iron and Steel 

Swords in the Book of Mormon by William J. Hamblin, A. Brent Merrill

Book of Mormon Anachronisms Part 1: Fauna (Animals) (PDF) by Michael Ash

Book of Mormon Anachronisms Part 2: Flora (Plants) and Textiles (PDF) by Michael Ash

Book of Mormon Anachronisms Part 3: Warfare (PDF) by Michael Ash

Book of Mormon Anachronisms Part 4: Metals and Metallurgy (PDF) by Michael Ash

Book of Mormon Anachronisms Part 5: Christianity in the pre-Christian Book of Mormon (PFD) by Michael Ash

Book of Mormon Anachronisms Part 6: Compass, Coins, and Other Miscellaneous (PDF) by Michael Ash

Horses in the Book of Mormon by Michael Ash

Armor in the Book of Mormon by William J. Hamblin

Out of the Dust: Steel in Early Metallurgy –  by John L. Sorenson

Possible “Silk” and “Linen” in the Book of Mormon byJohn L. Sorenson

Prophets, Kings, and Swords: The Sword of Laban and Its Possible Pre-Laban Origin –  by Daniel N. Rolph

 

The Bow and Arrow in the Book of Mormon by William J. Hamblin

A Scientist Looks at Book of Mormon Anachronisms,Neal Rappleye

Right on Target: Boomerang Hits and the Book of Mormon (2001 FAIR Conference) by Matthew Roper

Science and the Book of Mormon (2009 FAIR Conference) by Wade E. Miller

A Real People, Time, and Place: Contextualizing the Book of Mormon (2000 FAIR Conference) by Brant Gardner

A Social History of the Early Nephites (2001 FAIR Conference) by Brant Gardner

FAIR Issues 42: Dismissing Book of Mormon Geography Inaccuracies, Michael R. Ash, 0:07:22

FAIR Issues 55: Do Nephite Names find a “Home” in Middle East, Michael R. Ash, 0:07:54

Faith and Reason 11: Book of Mormon Politics Unlike Joseph Smith’s, Michael R. Ash, 0:08:52

Faith and Reason 19: Deseret and Bees, Michael R. Ash, 0:05:09

Faith and Reason 20: “Without a Cause”, Michael R. Ash, 0:04:35

Mormon FAIR-Cast 109: Response to criticisms of the Book of Mormon, Martin Tanner, 0:19:50

Ammon and the Mesoamerican Custom of Smiting off Arms

Barley and Wheat in the Ancient New World

Battles and The Book of Mormon

Book of Mormon 2 Why Anachronisms

Book of Mormon 3 Pre Columbian Horses

Book of Mormon 4 Elephants in America

Book of Mormon 8 Gold Plates

Book of Mormon 9 No Pre Columbian Wheels

Cattle and The Book of Mormon

Coins and The Book of Mormon

Don’t Experts Say There is No Evidence of Silk or Linen in Ancient America

Glass and The Book of Mormon

Horses, chariots, and elephants in the Book of Mormon

Iron Ore – Book of Mormon Evidence

Linens and The Book of Mormon

Metal and Metallurgy – The Mines of Timna – Book of Mormon Evidence

Metals and Golden Plates in Mesoamerica, Daniel Johnsons 2010 BMAF lecture

Metals and The Book of Mormon

New Evidence for Pre-Columbian Horses

pt 15, silk and archaeology in The Book of Mormon, credits

pt 2 Coins, (full-length) rebuttal of an anti-Mormon

pt 3, Metals (full-length) rebuttal of an anti-Mormon

pt 4 Grains, (full-length) rebuttal of an anti-Mormon

pt 5 Horses, (full-length) rebuttal of an anti-Mormon

Silk and The Book of Mormon

Swine and The Book of Mormon

Swords in The Book of Mormon

Wheat and Barley in The Book of Mormon

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