Response: The interesting thing about Sorenson is that when it suits him to deny anything not mentioned in the scriptural record, like claiming the statement of “precious things” eliminates anything utilitarian being accomplished with their metallurgy, he does—but when it comes to claiming thousands upon thousands of other people in the Land of Promise interacting with Lamanites when no other people are ever mentioned or implied, or Jaredites surviving the final war of annihilation that Ether tells us took place to claim that Jaredites interacted with Mulekites and Nephites, he adds these without a qualm.
So let us look at his claim about metallurgy and overall building mediums Nephi taught his people disappearing between Nephi’s time and that of his brother Jacob’s time, by considering his references.
Jacob 1:16: “Yea, and they also began to search much gold and silver, and began to be lifted up somewhat in pride.” Obviously, this has to do with Jacob’s overall attitude at the time of the second king after the death of Nephi, that the Nephites “began to grow hard in their hearts, and indulge themselves somewhat in wicked practices, such as like unto David of old desiring many wives and concubines, and also Solomon, his son.”
Jacob then goes on to claim that the wicked Nephites began to “search for much gold and silver” and that they began “to be lifted up somewhat in pride.” This is not about the use of metals or metallurgy, but about people augmenting their level ways with searches for those things that made them become prideful.
Does anyone think that Sorenson does not understand that? After all the reading is quite simple at this point. And it is made even clearer in the next verse, which states: “Wherefore I, Jacob, gave unto them these words as I taught them in the temple, having first obtained mine errand from the Lord” (Jacob 1:17). He then goes on to preach to the people, as it states: “The words which Jacob, the brother of Nephi, spake unto the people of Nephi, after the death of Nephi:” (Jacob 2:1).
The second verse Sorenson referenced is:
Jacob 2:12): “And now behold, my brethren, this is the word which I declare unto you, that many of you have begun to search for gold, and for silver, and for all manner of precious ores, in the which this land, which is a land of promise unto you and to your seed, doth abound most plentifully.”
Again, still preaching to the Nephites, Jacob is calling attention to the fact that the more wicked part of the people are spending too much of their time searching for wealth that, as he said earlier, lifts them up with pride. In fact, in the next verse, he makes the problem quite clear: “and because some of you have obtained more abundantly than that of your brethren ye are lifted up in the pride of your hearts, and wear stiff necks and high heads because of the costliness of your apparel, and persecute your brethren because ye suppose that ye are better than they” (Jacob 1:13).
Now does anyone think that Sorenson really believes that these two passages have anything to do with the lack of utilitarian use of metals or other building mediums taught them by Nephi?
Sorenson’s third reference is:
Jarom, Nephi’s grand-nephew, and Jacob’s grandson, who states: “And we multiplied exceedingly, and spread upon the face of the land, and became exceedingly rich in gold, and in silver, and in precious things, and in fine workmanship of wood, in buildings, and in machinery, and also in iron and copper, and brass and steel, making all manner of tools of every kind to till the ground, and weapons of war -- yea, the sharp pointed arrow, and the quiver, and the dart, and the javelin, and all preparations for war” (Jarom 1:8).
Sorenson, in his earlier statement above, said: “utilitarian metalworking suggested [by Jarom] where tillage tools and weapons are mentioned,” but he forget to mention that the Nephites were involved “in fine workmanship of wood, in buildings, and in machinery” which is a utilitarian statement.
Food, Shelter and Clothing would have been the first items of importance
Yet, he still tries to lessen those normal and natural efforts in order to support his thesis that the Nephites might not have been so heavily involved in such metallurgy since none has been found in Mesoamerican before 900 A.D.
He adds: “From that point on [Jarom] in the Nephite history, every reference to metals states or implies that they were strictly previous—a source of wealth. In fact, during the final400 years of the Nephite account even gold and silver , the only metals mentioned at all, are noted but four times” (p281-281).
Well, let’s consider what is and is not mentioned.
In addition, there are 20 uses of the word “bow” referring to a weapon. One is described made of steel, one of wood (when Nephi has to make one on the trail). In the other 18 uses, we have no idea whether these are wood, metal, or some other material. Is this an omission? Can we claim some of those bows were made of metal? Fine steel? Bamboo? Laminated wood? Compound (which date to 2200 BC)? Animal horn? Bone? Or was it made of Elm? Maple? Cedar? Bubinga?
The point is, we don’t know, the scriptural record does not say, and we cannot speculate or offer an opinion unless so stated. Yet, Sorenson wants to tell us because the scriptural record doesn’t specifically tell us something, that we can use that to determine a meaning that is not otherwise implied or suggested.
The point is, no metal artifacts have been found of any kind in Mesoamerica before 900 A.D., but numerous metal artifacts have been found in Andean Peru/Ecuador dating to as early as 1900 B.C.
(See the next post, “Metallurgy Did Not Exist in Mesoamerica Prior to 600 B.C. – Part V,“ to see how far theorists go to try and bend the facts presented in the scriptural record to maintain their erroneous beliefs, paradigms and models)