Insights: The Newsletter of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship


Matthew Roper


Book of Mormon, swords, Bible, Mesoamerica


Swords are an important weapon in the Book of Mormon narrative. The prophet Ether reported that in the final battle of the Jaredites, King Coriantumr, with his sword, “smote off the head” of his relentless enemy Shiz (Ether 15:30). Swords were also used by the earliest Nephites (2 Nephi 5:14) and were among the deadly weapons with which that people were finally “hewn down” at Cumorah by their enemies (Mormon 6:9–10). While the text suggests that some Jaredites and early Nephites may have had metal weaponry (1 Nephi 4:9; 2 Nephi 5:14; Mosiah 8:10–11; Ether 7:9), references to metal weapons, including metal swords, are rare.