Thursday, June 25, 2015

Both of Gold, and of Silver, and of Copper

While this is not a new subject, it is of such importance that it deserves more “print time,” in our blog. And this is, just after landing in the Land of Promise, Nephi tells us in walking around their settlement area adjacent to their landing site, among other things, “we did find all manner of ore, both of gold, and of silver, and of copper” (1 Nephi 18:25). Few people have paid much attention to this, and when they have, they have taken the statement apart and used only parts of it.
As an example, when Phyllis Carol Olive talks about ore in her chosen area for the Land of Promise, i.e., the Great Lakes, she mentions copper, while acknowledging that gold is not found in the area, or that what might have been at one time became depleted. John L. Sorenson spends 7 ½ pages on ore, but mentions gold and copper little, and silver but once and that in merely repeating the seven ores mentioned in scripture.
    It is interesting that Nephi’s comment has gone so much unnoticed with its important and far-reaching significance: “both of gold, and of silver, and of copper.” That is what he found at first near where they landed. Not until he traveled “many days” away from their first settlement and pitched their tents in the area they called Nephi (2 Nephi 5:8), does he mention the various ores he taught his people to work with: iron, copper, gold, silver and “precious ores.”
Of course, “brass,” and “steel” that Sorenson mentions are not pure ores, but alloys (copper and zinc make brass; steel is made from iron and carbon; actually there are four types of steel: carbon steel, alloy steel, tool steel and stainless steel. However, it is most likely that Nephi made what is called today “low-carbon steel,” with less than 1% carbon. Although, he could have alloyed it with copper, which he had, or possibly nickel, if niccolite was available, to him).
    That Nephi found more than gold, silver and copper is suggested by his statement “all manner of ore.” The word “manner” in this sentence means “sort, kind,” and “manner has the sense of a plural word; all sorts or kinds.” Thus, there were all kinds or all sorts of ore, including gold, silver and copper—a form of statement that has a particular significance. That is, the three ores he mentions are listed in a way that suggests all three were found together, or what is called “in single ore.”
That is, in the statement “both,” he mentioned three ores. Obviously, it can be construed that the statement meant both “gold and silver,” and “copper,” which splits the three into two groups, i.e., two precious ores (gold and silver) and one non-precious ore (copper). However, by combining the three also means that these three ores were together and not separately found.
    Take, as an example, in the statement where Nephi lists several ores and materials that he taught his people to work with, he did not include a qualifying word, such as “both,” as when describing the three ores earlier he found. After all, “wood, iron, copper, brass, steel, gold, silver, and precious ores,” have no qualifying combinations, though they are all material to be reshaped and reused in various ways, as are gold, silver and copper. In the earlier statement, the qualifying word “both” is necessary since all three were found together, but not of the same worth or value (two previous ores and one not a precious ore). Wood, iron and steel are used in one manner, though of different value; and copper, brass, gold, silver and precious ores are, again, similar, but because they were not found in the same ore, need no qualifying word.
    Now gold, silver and copper are found in the same ore, but not everywhere. None are found in the eastern United States, and none found in Mesoamerica except one mine located in Honduras. But in Chile, gold, silver and copper are found in single ore right in the vicinity of where Lehi landed, and throughout that area of Chile and also can be found in Peru.
Pascua-Lama mine in Chile. Top: Yellow Arrows: shows strips of veins of gold, silver and copper ore deposits throughout the mountains faces; Bottom: Locations of the various mines and principal functions
    As an example, the Pascua-Lama mine, an open pit mining project of gold, silver, copper and other minerals, is located in the Andes mountains in the southern reaches of the Atacama Desert, now being mined by the Toronto-based Barrick Gold, the world’s largest gold mining company, who plans to spend 1.5 billion on the project, however, delays and environmental difficulties has already cost 3.7 to 5 billion.
A wall of rock containing gold, silver, copper and other minerals is clearly seen in this photo (above) compared to a horse and rider in the mountains near the town of El Corral. It is easier to see how Nephi could have remarked that “as we journeyed in the wilderness…we did find all manner of ore, both of gold, and of silver, and of copper” (1 Nephi 18:25). There is also no doubt that Nephi, who had been tutored by the Lord regarding finding ore (1 Nephi 17:10). As for this mine, which has been halted for a dozen years because of environmental groups and rulings, is estimated to produce 800,000 to 850,000 ounces of gold in the first full five years of production, of an estimated 26 million ounces of gold, 635 million ounces of silver, and a likely a million tons of copper.
    All of this is meant to show that when Nephi said he found these ores while journeying around his settlement area after landing, that the amount of gold, silver and copper in single ore, and the appearance of it when exposed by nature, is readily available to be seen, as Nephi states.
Mining at Pascua-Lama, once began, has been stopped by court orders over environmental issues; but if ever approved is slated to be one of the world’s largest gold, silver and copper resources
    And so it is with the entire scriptural record—there is much to understand, much to learn, much to comprehend. We see where there was a hill Cumorah in the scriptural record, understand there is a hill Cumorah in upstate New York, and try to put two and two together to come up with four, however, our understanding is so limited as to the things of God, his Word, and meaning, that we lack a perspective in recognizing that we have far more to learn and understand about his workings than just such a simple two plus two equation as that. When Mormon tells us that there was a “small” or “narrow” neck of land, he meant just that. When he tells us that it was the connection between the two major land masses (Land Southward and Land Northward) he meant just that. And when he tells us that Nephite defectors and Lamamite captains wanted to gain that land, and that it was a narrow neck that could be defended as the only egress into the north lands, he meant just that—our job in understanding is to put it all together for that it was Mormon had in mind—a single location that served these different purposes and was critically important to the Nephites. It doesn’t mean we can put a narrow neck here, a narrow passage there, a choke point over there, and some other means of movement somewhere else.
    Our job in learning and deciding is to recognizer the purpose of why Mormon tells us these things and how they are meant to help us understand an overall picture of the Land of Promise, not to glibly place these items willy nilly on the land so they are closer to what w think--but that they show us the land as Mormon and the others knew it.

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