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What experience would Joseph Smith have had with steel bows and wooden arrows?

In the Book of Mormon when Nephi’s bow breaks, he does not mention breaking any arrows. However 1 Nephi 16:23 says:

And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make out of wood a bow, and out of a straight stick, an arrow; wherefore, I did arm myself with a bow and an arrow, with a sling and with stones. And I said unto my father: Whither shall I go to obtain food?

Wouldn’t Joseph Smith with his limited knowledge of bows think that Nephi could simply continue to use the arrows he used before? How would he know that “the arrows from the steel bow when shot from the wooden bow would be like shooting telephone poles”?

William J. Hamblin notes:

One doubts that such information was known to Joseph Smith or to many, if any, of his contemporaries. Archery, as a means of self-defense or as a serious method of hunting or warfare, went out of vogue among Europeans many years before the time of Joseph Smith. On the other hand, archery as a sport did not emerge until the latter half of the nineteenth century.

David Fox [an experienced archer] concludes: “Nephi’s statement that he made an arrow out of a straight stick is an additional subtle but significant example of internal consistency within the Book of Mormon. Anyone unfamiliar with the field of archery would have almost certainly omitted such a statement.” Another bull’s-eye for the Book of Mormon.

William J. Hamblin – Nephi’s Bows and Arrows

Where would Joseph Smith have gotten detailed information about specific subjects like this?


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