Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Truth of the Matter – Part II

Continuing from the last post in which we discussed the lack of truth in people (theorists) who write and support views of the Land of Promise location and descriptions that are not consistent with Mormon’s simple and clear descriptions of that land he knew so well, but rather support their own views of their pre-determined location. 
Another example of ignoring the scriptural record is our discussion over the last two posts regarding metal ores listed throughout the Book of Mormon—in order to work ore as stated, you first have to find it. From the earliest time the Nephites found all manner of ore, including gold, silver and copper (1 Nephi 18:25), as well as iron and other precious ores (2 Nephi 5:15); and down through the centuries (Jarom 1:8; Mosiah 8:10; 11:3,8,10; Alma 1:29; 4:6; 17:14; 31:24,28; Helaman 7:21; 12:2; 13:28), including precious ores in great abundance (2 Nephi 5:15), as well as an ore called ziff (Mosiah 11:3), as well as “an exceeding plenty of gold, silver and precious metals in the land south and the land north (Helaman 6:9,11,31). Alma even describes the Nephite money of gold and silver coins (Alma 11:3-19). Such ore was equally found in the Land Northward by the Jaredites, who dug up great heaps of earth to get ore of gold, silver, iron and copper (Ether 10:23).
    The point is, if one is going to place the Book of Mormon Land of Promise in an area, it should be an area where gold, silver and copper were plentiful over a 2600 year period—that is, not just a site here or there, but an entire land of ore deposits of gold, silver and copper, as the Book of Mormon so clearly describes.
    Yet, the Great Lakes, Heartland, and eastern United States locations are not lands of plentiful ores of gold, silver and copper. Sure there is some, but it is not plentiful, with the vast majority of the U.S. natural resources in such things found in the Western states and Alaska.
    Most of the gold mining districts in the West were located by pioneers, many of whom were experienced gold miners from the southern Appalachian region, but even in colonial times only a small proportion of the gold seekers were successful. We sometimes think of our technology today that allows us to dig deep into rock formations discovered through highly technical and intensive metallurgical techniques, that finding gold was a simple factor in Book of Mormon times; however, such was not the case. Geologists and engineers who systematically investigate remote parts of the country find small placer diggings and old prospect pits whose number and wide distribution imply few, if any, recognizable surface indications of metal-bearing deposits were overlooked by the earlier miners and prospectors.
Of course, you can still find gold even today in locations, mainly in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. But note that none is considered in areas of the eastern U.S., especially in the Great Lakes, Heartland, or Mississip basin areas commonly considered by some as the Book of Mormon lands.
    Still, the development of new, highly sensitive, and relatively inexpensive methods of detecting gold, which has greatly increased the possibility of discovering gold deposits which are too low grade to have been recognized earlier by the prospector using only a gold pan, would not have been that which the Jaredites or Nephites found, even though the Jaredites were known to have dug deep into the ground for their ore (Ether 10:23). But Nephi indicates that what he found was readily available and certainly visible from the surface (1 Nephi 18:25).
    All of this suggests that most of the precious ores found in the U.S. to-date have been located in the west, far from the lands many consider to have been where the Jaredites and Nephites occupied. These western states still show much gold, silver and copper to be mined.
Left: Just in the state of Oregon, according to the Oregon Historical Mining and Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, there are over a thousand such mines; Right: The hundreds of mines in Arizona
    So we look elsewhere to find matching gold, silver and copper deposits that show plentiful precious and highly usable ore. In doing so, many think of Mexico, because of the Spanish conquest and all the gold that was discovered and shipped back to Spain.
    However, the earliest evidence for metallurgy in the New World, dating from before 1500 BC, consists of bits of thin worked gold foil found in the hands of a man in a grave in the southern highlands of Peru. Nearby lay what was a tool-worker’s kit. The oldest extant elegant gold work is of the Chavin style, dating from about 800 BC. In the ensuing centuries metalworking slowly spread, southward to northwest Argentina and northward to Colombia, toward the end of the last millennium BC, and to Central America in the early centuries AD. Although tools and weapons were made, metal was used principally for objects that symbolized power, and, by identification with this power, lordly status. Mythological motifs and beings were often depicted as intermediaries between man and the forces of nature.
    In the Land Northward, home of the Jaredites, the principle metals exploited in pre-Hispanic times was gold and copper. Of these, gold was readily available, and silver and platinum were also mined there anciently, especially from the rivers of Colombia and Ecuador—the silver found in most archaeological specimens was not specifically added, but was present naturally in the gold. The favorite material was tumbaga (a gold-copper alloy with some accidental silver), which, under the names guanin gold or caricoli, was in use all round the Spanish Main at the time of the first European visits. According to Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés, the Spanish historian and writer, wrote of the indigenous natives “worked this gold, and have the custom of mixing it with copper and silver, and they adulterated it as much as they wish, and so it is of various purities and values.”
The first gold was discovered at El Oro, now played out; the next was at Guanajuato, still producing—both of these are at the extreme northern end of the Mesoamerican Land Northward, a great distance from their Land Southward, and also quite some distance north of the Land of Moron where the Jaredites settled
    However, in reality, there is hardly any gold or other precious ore in Mesoamerica except for Mexico, where the majority of gold mined is as a co-product of silver and of copper. Yet, most of such deposits, especially those that were easily accessible, were in the north, beyond Mesoamerica, or in the far areas of their Land Northward, such as Veta Madre at Guanajuato, found in 1540 (and produced 66% of the world’s silver for 250 years; and 30% after 1790), which would be along the area the Jaredites called Ripliancum (today inland from Puerto Vallarta), or El Oro de Hidalgo, 1521, most of the early (Spanish) mines centered in the northwestern portion of Mexico and the upper half of Baja California, in which some 30-35 mines exist—the area where most of Mexico’s mining, especially silver, has been found and which has caused them to eclipse Peru in silver production; however, this area is far from Mesoamerica, and very far north of their Jaredite lands and far north of the map above.
A chart of the 2012 (most recent) world production graph of copper, which shows clearly how Chile and Peru combined far outstrip all other producing regions, especially that of Mexico, the only area within Mesoamerica (and half of Mexico is not considered Mesoamerica) that produces any amount of copper to speak of, where, according to the Central American Mineral Industries, Guatemala (very small amount of gold, iron ore and lead, though it has oil and natural gas reserves), Belize (no precious metal ores) and Honduras (small amounts of gold, lead and zinc, and byproducts of silver) are found in insignificant amounts
    Yet, even in Mexico, the amount pales compared to the Andean area of South America, which has such gold, silver and copper-rich lands, now controlled by Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia, that this land out-produces by far any other country or region in the Western Hemisphere, in gold, silver and copper.
     Consequently, for all those who just look on a map and decide for one reason or another that a particular spot must be the Land of Promise and Lehi’s landing place, perhaps a more accurate comparison to the scriptural record might be in order. Just because Mesoamerica has ruins of an advanced society dating to sometime around the Jaredite-Nephite era, does not make that the place—after all, Hagoth sailed in ships with emigrants to other areas (to the north, and probably to the west), as well. In addition, just because someone places a hill Cumorah in New York, does not make that the Land of Promise, either. The land, and where Lehi landed, can only be determined through following the word-by-word description of Nephi’s journey to the promised land, and Mormon’s word-by-word description of that land.

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