2 Nephi 5:15 Metal Skills
Nephi wrote, “And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance” (2 Nephi 5:15). Yet when the Spaniards came to the New World, metallurgical skills were in short supply, with only copper and gold being worked by Native Americans.
In my 1984 article, “”Was Lehi a Caravaneer?” (Provo, UT: FARMS preliminary report TVE-84, 1984; reprinted as chapter 10 in my 1995 book The Most Correct Book: Insights from a Book of Mormon Scholar), I provided evidence that Lehi’s family were involved in metallurgy while living in the kingdom of Judah and that they brought those skills with them to the New World. In the ancient Near East, skills in working metal and other artistic endeavors were closely guarded secrets, passed down in families. If children did not learn to work metals from their fathers, those secrets could disappear over time. With the destruction of the Nephite people, it should not be surprising that the Lamanites and others did not continue metallurgical practices.
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