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Weapons of War

“And I, Nephi, did take the sword of Laban, and after the manner of it did make many swords…”   (2 Nephi 5:14)  Between 588 B.C. and 570 B.C. 

 “And it came to pass in the forty and first year of the reign of the judges, that the Lamanites had gathered together an innumerable army of men, and armed them with swords, and with cimeters and with bows, and with arrows, and with head-plates, and with breastplates, and with all manner of shields of every kind.”    (Helaman 1:14)  52 B.C. 

“And again, they have brought swords, the hilts thereof have perished, and the blades thereof were cankered with rust…”  (Mosiah 8:11)  About 121 B.C.

There are four things that are very strange claims in the above scriptural statements.

These scriptures claim that the ancient ancestors of the; American Indians, Aztec, Maya, and Inca people had and used the following:

1.  “swords”.  (Swords listed as a weapon of war - 146 times.)

The Book of Mormon mentions swords being used as a military weapon more than any other weapon.
Nephi in the Book of Mormon records that the sword of Laban had a "hilt" or handle of "pure gold", this sword was stored in a "sheath" [a "sheath is a protective covering around a sword, used to store the sword in], and that "the blade thereof was of the most precious steel".    (1 Nephi 4:8-9)  Between 600 and 592 B.C.


Also as recorded in the Book of Mormon, Nephi took the sword of Labon and "did make many swords..." like or somewhat like this metal steel sword.  If Nephi was going to make a wood sword he would not need or use Labon's sword to "make many swords" (2 Nephi 5:14)  Between 588 and 570 B.C.

2.  “cimeters”.  (Cimeters listed - 8 times.)

A "cimeter" is a Middle East curved weapon known to be used in the Middle East.

Prior to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, in 1830, there was no written knowledge of cimeters being used by any ancient people in the Western Hemisphere.

3.   “head-plates” and “breastplates”.  (Head-plates or helmets -6 times)
The Book of Mormon claims that these Book of Mormon people had some kind of head protection like helmets, and also breastplate protection on their bodies.


4.  “the hilts there of have perished”
The statement that the Nephites had found some Jaredite swords that as stated, “the hilts there of have perished”, is an interesting statement. 
The hilt is the handle of the sword.  In the making of almost all swords, the medal handles are pored or made with the blade. Therefore the hilt of the sword, being made out of the same medal material, would not have age or perish differently, leaving only the  blade "cankered with rust".  

A sword made in this way would not have the blade part of the sword remaining and have the handle part  “perished” leaving just the remaining blade of the sword.  This type sword is very unusual and rare.
This caught my attention because I had also found two very unusual old swords in which their handles or "the hilts thereof" had also “perished".


Weapons of War



 << A warrior holding a Cimeter carved on Stela 10, Kaminaljuyú, Guatemala, date 400-200 B.C.







Josiah Priest published a book in 1835, called 'American Antiquities',  in which he recorded the following:  
"The pottery of the ancient nations, mentioned by Schoolcraft, found at the vast depth of eighty feet, and even at greater depths, at the great Saline in Illinois, is evidence of an antediluvian population in America.
We have examined the blade of a sword found in Philadelphia, now in Peel,s Museum, in New York, which was taken out of the ground something more than sixty feet below the surface.  The blade is about twenty inches in length, is sharp on one edge, with a thick back, a little turned up at the point, with a shank drawn out three or four inches long, on which was doubtless, inserted in the handle
, and clenched at the end."   (American Antiquities by Josiah Priest, published in 1835. page 141)  
Note:  This information was avaiable 5 years after the publication of the Book of Mormon.
The smaller sword that I have, in the above picture, is 20 inches long, the shank is 3 inches long, and the "blade is sharp on one edge, with a thick back".  My sword has the same dimensions as the sword found in Philadelphia sixty feet below the surface.
"...Moroni, had prepared his people with arm-shields, and also shields to defend their heads, and also they were dressed with thick clothing   (Alma 43:1974 B.C.
"..The native chronicler Tezozomoc reported that the Tarascans, [Mesoamerica's most noted metallurgists at the time of the Spanish conquest], wore "steel" helmets."   [Bancroft, The Native Races, vol. 2, p. 407]

5.  Thick Clothing  (Thick Clothing listed 1 time in the Book of Mormon)

"The people of Nephi, or that Moroni, had prepared his people with...thick clothing."  (Alma 43:19)

 <<  Shields & Thick Clothing






Bernal Diaz del Castillo stated the following:
"Many bands of Indians came along the coast from the town of Champoton, [Mexico], as it is called, wearing cotton armour to the knees, and carrying bows, arrows, lances...slings and stones...."  
Note: "But Ammon...cast stones at them with his sling..."  (Alma 17:36)  
Joseph Smith was familiar with the United States American Indians.  I don't recall any U.S. American Indian using slings and stones as a weapon.

"...the [Axtec], Indians were very bold warriors who had cotton armour which shilded their bodies, and were armed with bows, arrows, shields, long lances, and two-handled stone-edged swords, which cut better than our swords did."  (The True History of the Conquest of New Spain, Issur 23 by Benal Diaz Castillo, Chapter XVIII)




 << (The Scioto Hopewell and Their Neighbors: Bioarchaeological Documentation and Cultural Understanding, Page 6)

 6.  Slings (Slings listed - 12 times in the Book of Mormon)

   << Pre-Coulmbus Mesoamerica figurine 

"But Ammon stood forth and began to cast stones at them with his sling; yea, with mighty power he did sling stones amongst them; and thus he slew a certain number of them insomuch that they began to be astonished at his power..."  (Alma 17:36)

Joseph Smith lived in the United States not in Mesoamerica. 
He was familiar with the American Indians. I know of no information that the American Indians used Slings in time of war. But the ancient people down in Mesoamerica, hundreds of years after the Book of Mormon time period, still use a Sling as a weapon.

Extra Information:
Discovered in 1883 a "Giant" [Jardite?] bones with a Copper Breastplate  (The New York Times, Nov. 20, 1883)

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