by Tyler Livingston
Gold, silver and copper are mentioned several times in The Book of Mormon as being found in abundance in the land. If there are proposed Book of Mormon geographical theories that do not have all of these in
abundance, then they would fail the test of being a possible site. Dr. John Lund explains “Four separate mining areas possessing gold, silver and copper are required in order to qualify as the lands of the
primary events in The Book of Mormon. Where are those criteria met?
The answer is Mesoamerica, Southwestern United States, the Northern Rockies, and Western Canada. However, there is no single place east of the Mississippi River, including all twenty-six states, where one can
find gold, silver, and copper together in one locale in abundance, much less four separate locations.
Mesoamerica is known for its “abundance” in precious ores, which is why it was an area of such focus of the conquistadors. They raided and conquered entire civilizations in order to get gold and silver. “When Cortes reached Mexico with his army in 1519, the gold and silver he saw led him to conclude that ‘it is entirely possible that this country has everything which existed in that land from which Solomon is said to have brought gold for the Temple.'"
David, in preparing the Temple of the Lord, gathered 100,000 talents of gold, and a million talents of silver among many other valuable metals. A talent is roughly 75 lbs, which would make about 7.5 million pounds of gold and 75 million pounds of silver. I doubt that Cortes did the math, but he did know that he was finding A LOT of gold and silver.
Mesoamerican Indians also used a gold and copper (and sometimes silver) alloy called “tumbaga”. This mixture makes a strong product, but is still malleable, and is a much lighter weight than pure gold.
Some scholars believe this is what the Gold plates were made out of. This was a common metal alloy that Mesoamericans used. When the conquistadors stole gold items from the natives, they would melt them down into bars and ship them back to their homeland. One of these ships was sunk in the Bahamas, and 200, 5.66 lb. tumbaga bars were found in the sunken ship. In order to make large amounts of tumbaga, there must be an abundance of both gold and copper in the area.
Mesoamerica also fits The Book of Mormon description of having precious stones. The Maya had turquoise, emeralds, obsidian, and a quality of jade that surpassed that of the Chinese jade.