Alma 4:6; “And it came to pass in the eighth year of the reign of the judges, that the people of the church began to wax proud, because of their exceeding riches, and their fine silks, and their fine-twined linen, and because of their many flocks and herds, and their gold and their silver, and all manner of precious things, which they had obtained by their industry; and in all these things were they lifted up in the pride of their eyes, for they began to wear very costly apparel.”



Surfing around on the net I found many interesting facts about silk but I think the most concise explanation of it came from the official site of the Silk Road.  With the information I was able to glean, it became painfully obvious there was no way the Nephites had the ability to have silk in their possession in 37 BC.

What also convinced me this was impossible is when I learned how arduous of a process it was to produce silk.  You have to wonder how Nephi could’ve kept this up and then passed down the traditions all the way to Alma which is where we see the first sign of the people in possession of silk.

According to reports silk was first produced in China circa 3,000 BC and could only be used for the emperor, his family and selected dignitaries.  This went on until 550 AD when two Nestorian monks smuggled some of the silkworm eggs out in hollow bamboo staves.  Once this took place China’s complete monopoly on the silk trade was done and allowed the industry to spread to the Middle East.

This website reports that silk was a very demanding process which needs very close attention and while this takes place two things must be adhered to; perfecting the diet of the moth and prevention of the hatching out of the moth.  The eggs had to be kept at 65 degrees Fahrenheit being raised gradually to 77 degrees so they could hatch.

While maintaining the same temperature once the baby worm hatches they must be fed every half hour around the clock on fresh hand-picked white mulberry leaves which are unique to China.  At this time they said the baby worms are kept on trays stacked on top of each other while it multiplies its weight 10,000 times within a month and sheds its skin several times.  (21)

On the contrary this is what the Church says in FARMS Review of Books, vol. 4 (1992): pg. 209 while denouncing the Tanners work Mormonism, Shadow or Reality.  Once again we have an explaining away of the evidentiary truth.

“The term silk is not limited to the fiber produced y the Asian moth, but can also refer generally to something silk-like.  There were a number of substances in pre-Columbian Central America that would have fit this Book of Mormon description.  Silk-like fiber was gathered from the pod of the Ceiba tree in Yucatan and spun.  The wild pineapple plant in tropical America produced a silky fiber that was greatly prized by Mesoamericans.  The Aztecs even made silk-like fabric from rabbit hair.  Some of the earl conquerors referred to these substances as “silk”.  Certainly, any number of such substances could fit the Book of Mormon designation of silk (Alma 1:23; 4:6).

If the material that the Nephites made were silk-like then why doesn’t it say so?  How difficult would it have been to include such a thing?  You really think that someone like my mother would know that it wasn’t really silk?

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