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Question

 

Hello Gramps,

How do you explain the use of “steel” as quoted in the Book of Mormon, when steel was supposedly invented many centuries later. Looking forward to your response.

Bob

 

Answer

 

Dear Bob,

The definitive word in your question is the word “supposedly.” I assume that the modern invention of steel is what you suppose. Have you not heard of the “iron age?” The iron age was begun in western Asia and Egypt sometime before 1000 B.C. Steel is merely iron with the addition of carbon. It would be difficult in the early smelting processes to keep carbon from becoming mixed the with molten steel, since undoubtedly wood or possibly coal was used for fuel and was heated to high temperatures with some sort of forge.

Although the iron age is well established, little steel or iron is found in ancient ruins simply because it tends to rust away. The subject of steel in the Book of Mormon was addressed in a paper in BYU Studies, volume 6, as follows:

“It is standard ritual in non-L.D.S. treatments of the Book of Mormon… to assert knowingly that steel in the age of the Book of Mormon is impossible. But the fact is that iron was less useful than the copper alloys of the Bronze Age until heating and tempering imparted some amount of carbon to the metal. In this sense ancient technology produced steel squarely within the period of the Book of Mormon, as a check of the studies of R. J. Forbes and others will show:

 

“. . . we are sure that steel was produced in antiquity.” As a matter of fact, the Book of Mormon references to steel intimately reflect its ancient use in that it is always listed as semi-precious and utilized mainly in the manufacture of weapons.” (Book Review, BYU Studies, Vol. 6, No. 1, p.59)

 

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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