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Question: What is "brass" in the Book of Mormon?

"Brass" is an alloy of copper and zinc

"Brass" is an alloy of copper and zinc. It is a term used frequently in the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Some occurrences in the Bible have been determined by Biblical scholars to actually reflect the use of bronze (an alloy of copper and tin), rather than brass.

On the other hand, actual brass has been found in the Old World which dates to Lehi's era, and so the idea of "brass" plates is not the anachronism which was once thought. Either "brass plates" or "bronze plates" would fit.[1]

The Jaredites dug for gold, silver and iron, but they "made" brass

An interesting point concerning alloys is found in Ether 10:23 in which the Jaredites "did make...brass," (an alloy), but "did dig...to get ore of gold, and of silver, and of iron, and of copper." The Book of Mormon author has a clear understanding of those metals which are found in a raw state, and those which must be made as an alloy.


  1. John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City, Utah : Deseret Book Co. ; Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1996 [1985]), 283. ISBN 1573451576. GospeLink (requires subscrip.)