Monday, September 16, 2013

Slanted Land of Promise Book Reviews – Part VI

Continuing with the last post on the FARMS review of Art Kocherhans’ book, “Lehi’s Isle of Promise,” showing the self-serving nature of such reviews and their tendency toward self-absorbed and self-advancing results. Earlier points and comments were discussed in the first five posts, more of Fleugel’s ill-advised review comments are covered below:
10) “Kocherhans best source for the Chilean area that provides the best confirmation of 1 Nephi 18:25 ("we did find all manner of ore, both of gold and of silver, and of copper") is a map from the World Book Encyclopedia. Although Kocherhans's title for the map is "Minerals of Chile" (p. 114), the encyclopedia itself clearly labeled the map as showing modern (Kocherhans uses the 1969 edition) industrial sites.”
Maps like these were not available in 1989. Today, comparisons can easily be made—Peru outproduced Mexico 3 to 1; Chile produced nearly as much as Mexico. Half of Mexico--the highly producing half-- is not in Mesoamerica, and the rest of Mesoamerica (Guatemala, Honduras, Belize) are not even listed since their production is nil
When Kocherhans wrote his book in 1989, the information on world production of precious metals, etc., were not as available as they are today. Encyclopedias were the best source of this information then. However, today, the information is easily obtained and the figures have been stated in recent posts numerous times. As readers of this blog should now know, Peru and Chile are among the world’s main producers of copper, gold and silver. Mexico is far behind in two of these, and behind Chile in the third. But Andean South America (Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Bolivia) taken as a whole, are far more productive than all of Central America combined. In fact, Guatemala and Honduras are generally so low in production and sites that they are not even listed in the top 25 nations, or in some cases, in the top 50. And if we eliminate the northern half of Mexico (what is not part of Mesoamerica), the figures become even more despairingly different. This type of information, i.e., natural resources in the earth, do not change over time, or over centuries unless heavily exploited; and since Mesoamerica and South America have not been exploited until the past century or so, these figures, though modern, are consistent with what has been in these areas from the beginning.
11) “[The fact that] Kocherhans could not find corresponding information (supposedly from the World Book Encyclopedia as well) for Mesoamerica is proof enough for him that that region could not be the Lehite landfall. Needless to say, maps of modern industrial sites in a popular encyclopedia do not confirm or deny the existence of Book of Mormon ores in Mesoamerica.”
It would seem that engineers and metallurgists as well as prospectors and metal producing companies would totally disagree with that last statement. Where metal ores exist today, is where the producers go, invest, dig and process the ores. In 600 B.C. and for many years, the existence of gold, silver and copper was what could be found on or very near the surface. Mining techniques were not well known, so for Nephi to talk about precious ores and copper being abundant in the land, along with other prophets saying the same thing, there must have been a lot of surface ore. Obviously, there is a lot in the ground today.
In gold production today, Peru out-produces Mexico 2 to 1, with Peru 6th in the world and Mexico 11th, and Chile 13th, for a 4 to 1 advantage overall. In silver production, Peru is 1st in the world and Mexico 2nd, with Chile 5th, and Bolivia 11th for a 2 to 1 margin overall. In copper production, Chile is 1st and Peru 3rd, with Mexico 18th, with Chile having an astronomical lead over Mexico of 5.36 million tons annually to Mexico’s 129,000, and Peru with a 10 to 1 advantage. The point is, today, the Andean countries out-produce Mexico by a huge margin, with the rest of Mesoamerica almost non-productive. In Kocherhans defense, this information was not available in 1989. In addition, in Peru about the time of conquistadors and early Spanish occupation, there were 144,000 mines in Peru alone.
Top: In copper production, Chile leads by far the rest of the world, and Peru is next; Bottom: Note that Mexico’s production is not even in Mesoamerica, which is the case with most of the ores in that country.
12) “Kocherhans also goes to great length to differentiate between the Gentiles described in the same chapter. He insists that those Europeans who established the United States came not to smite the seed of Nephi's brethren, but solely to establish a republic for the inheritance of the descendants of Ephraim. This distinguishes the Gentiles described in verse 13 from those in verse 14 (the ones who smote and scattered the Lamanites). This may be all well and good, but it does raise the issue of how the Indians of North America fit into the Book of Mormon scheme. Does Kocherhans believe that these people were descended from Book of Mormon peoples? He never says. The early Latter-day Saints certainly did, and this is an issue for some in the Church today, since books proposing both the South and Mesoamerican models tend to ignore the special status given to North American Indians by the first generations of Mormons. Kocherhans doesn't even mention North American Indians.”
We have already posted in this blog about the difference of treatment of the Indians between the Europeans in North America, and the Spanish in Central and especially South America. There simply is no comparison, a fact that has been known for quite some time, which Fleugel should well know.
As for the Indians in North America being of Lamanite descent, Fleugel should also know that according to Joseph Smith, he uncovered the bones in southern Illinois, near Griggsville, of Zelph, a righteous white Lamanite warrior, who lived at the time of the prophet Onandagus who was known from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. It is kind of humorous for Fleugel to mention that Kocherhans never mentioned the North American Indians while at the same time ignoring the fact that Sorenson never mentioned Zelf, Onendagus, or the North American Indians in his work, either.
13) “But Kocherhans brings to his writing his own sense of how the Book of Mormon narrative should accurately portray such concepts as compass direction, climate, and natural resources, as well as the usage of certain words, primarily "isle." Sadly, I find that Kocherhans's opinions in these matters are formulated from a very limited range of source material (mentioned parenthetically, since there is no index) and a limited personal familiarity with the subject matter.”
If anyone uses his own concept of compass direction, it is Sorenson and the entire Mesoamerican Theorist community. And Fleugel’s familiarity with this subject is far below that of Kocherhans. In all, Fleugel’s comment here is so ridiculous it would be laughable if this were not such a serious matter of a scriptural issue. It is unbelievable that Mesoamericanists continually ridicule or downgrade comments made by authors who do not agree with their Central American model, yet at the same time ignore the exact same writing technique found in Sorenson’s writing to which they continually compare everyone else’s model. As an example, Fleugel states: “Kocherhans brings to his writing his own sense of how the Book of Mormon narrative should accurately portray such concepts as compass direction, climate, and natural resources, as well as the usage of certain words, primarily "isle." So let’s take these one at a time:
Sorenson, Fleugel, and all Mesoamerican Theorists skew the Land of Promise some 90º off the north and south orientation of the scriptural record with their model, yet they claim anyone who actually uses a model that is oriented north and south to be using “their own sense of how the Book of Mormon narrative should accurately portray such concepts as compass directions
1. Compass direction. The scripture record tells us that the Land of Promise was oriented in a north-south direction, with the terms northward and southward also used to describe direction as well as north and south (Alma 22:27-33). The question here is not about a compass, but about an understanding of direction. Since Nephi earlier mentioned the cardinal direction points of south southeast, and nearly east, when crossing an unknown land to him, in which he had never before been, we must assume that he knew his directions—whether by the Liahona or by another means, he understood not only the cardinal points of a compass, but the secondary and the 32-points. Obviously, when he arrived in the Land of Promise, he did not lose his sense of direction so much so that Sorenson can claim (as do all Mesoamericanists) that he and the following generations of Nephites thought west was north and east was south, which is the directions of Mesoamerica! When you read Sorenson’s lengthy and convoluted rationale for this, it is beyond belief a professional man could even consider such thinking—but when your model is 90º off from true north and south, what else can you do but cloud the issue and misdirect attention away from that fact. If anyone is playing footloose within the scriptural record, it is the Mesoamericanists, not Kocherhans.(See the next post, “Slanted Land of Promise Book Reviews – Part VII,” for the final points of Fleugel’s comments, and more information on the FARMS review that is far from accurate, and quite self-serving)

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