“We Multiplied Exceedingly”

Brant Gardner

Jarom’s evidence of Nephite prosperity is their accumulation of valuable items and their “fine workmanship of wood, in buildings.… ” Mesoamerican climate precludes the possibility that “fine workmanship of wood” would be preserved very often, but it is certain that any wealthy city in Mesoamerica would display its wealth in its public architecture, just as Jarom indicates.

His weapons catalog includes those most common in Mesoamerica but does not mention swords, scimitars, or bows. (See commentary accompanying Enos 1:20.) Since those items do show up later in the Book of Mormon, we cannot presume that they were not present here but simply that Jarom, for some unknown reason, did not think them important enough to list. Possibly, though speculatively, Jarom’s list of the Nephite wealth-items focuses on items of value to other Mesoamericans. Therefore, he mentions the more typical armaments as evidence of their acculturation, even in warfare.

This is the last reference to metallurgy involving “iron, copper, brass, and steel,… scarcely 200 years after Nephi arrived in the New World. About 250 years later, however, King Noah taxed all people who possessed these metals (Mosiah 11:3).”

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 3