Utah County Dream Mine still attracts LDS apocalyptic faithful

To see Cal Grondahl’s cartoon that goes with this post, click here

One of the more fascinating nuggets in Utah Mormon history sits at the foot of a mountain in southern Utah County. Its official name is the Relief Mine, but most know of it as the “Dream Mine.” A long-used white mill building sits next to the mine, mostly inactive for decades. Nevertheless, the Relief Mine is a public company with assets of about $3.5 million. Stock in the mine is traded and there’s a waiting list to buy shares.

As Payson, Utah, writer/historian Kevin Cantera writes in the most recent Sunstone, “investors seeking to purchase a stake in the mine happily place their names on a waiting list for the chance to pay $30 to $35 for a single share — shares with a real value, by the most generous accounting, of less than $10 each.”

Cantera’s piece, “Fully Invested: Taking Stock in Utah County’s Dream Mine,” is as much a history lesson as it is a glimpse into the first 80 or so years of the LDS Church, where visions and prophecies from higher, celestial powers, whether from dad, your bishop or a general authority, were common. That’s a lost era. If a ward member gets up today and claims to have seen Christ or the Angel Moroni, we’re apt to trade concerned glances with our seat neighbors and look embarrassed. The bishop might call a regional rep if the claim is repeated. Can anyone imagine one of today’s apostles recounting experiences that early apostle Parley P. Pratt records in his diary?

The shareholders in the Dream Mine are a throwback to the 19th century. They believe that deep into the Utah County mine there are piles and piles of gold and other precious artifacts, collected by the Nephites of Book of Mormon times. As Cantera recounts, some believe that perhaps the Sword of Laban, or even The Golden Plates, are hidden deep in the earth. The Relief Mine stockholders of the early 21st century aren’t looking for a return that will prompt a hefty capital gains tax. They expect their mine to pay off when the United States is on the brink of collapse and the dollar and other secular monetary systems have fallen.

The precious metals from the mine, and its relation to the Gospel, they believe, will save our nation from destruction in the last days. It’s an apocalyptic desire, one that was much more common 100-plus years ago, when a healthy percentage of blessings and priesthood ordinances promised the recipient that he or she would see the second coming of the Savior.

The prophet who launched the dream mine was Mormon bishop John Hyrum Koyle, who in 1894 claimed a nightime visit from the Angel Moroni, who showed him inside a mountain where there was a rich vein of gold. Lower down were nine caverns filled with Book of Mormon treasures, including the Urim and Thummim.

Koyle spent a long life preaching the doctrine of the Dream Mine and receiving revelations. He had some prominent LDS shareholders, including general authority J. Golden Kimball. The fact that there are still more than 1,000 faithful Latter-day Saints who believe Koyle’s claims underscores faithful Mormons’ strong belief of personal revelation from God. What was shouted from the pulpit long ago is regarded as best kept as a secret today, but there are enough apocalyptic Latter-day Saints out there to follow Koyle’s dream 117 years later.

And, although Koyle — after taking his spiritual mine public — was eventually repudiated by church leaders in 1913, and finally excommunicated in 1947, there are still mine stockholders, including Ogden’s Fred Naisbitt, who is quoted by Cantera as saying, “Koyle is second only to Joseph Smith in the number and accuracy of his prophecies.”

The white mill, which only gleaned 100 dollars worth of ore one year, still sits by the mountain near Spanish Fork, which draws more subdivision neighbors each year it seems. As Cantera reports, the Internet has strengthened the faith of the Dream Mine believers. The Web site is http://www.reliefmine.com and features a glowing testimony of Koyle and links to other primitive LDS beliefs such as the White Horse Prophecy as well as notices that “the dollar will be utterly destroyed.”

Who knows? Maybe the dollar will be destroyed. But to most Mormons, even in Utah County, the longer odds are on the Dream Mine one day paying off.

This post was published in Currents, the Standard’s digital-only section on politics and culture. For more information on Currents, call 801-625-4400.

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28 Responses to Utah County Dream Mine still attracts LDS apocalyptic faithful

  1. Ben Pales says:

    Wow! Could I get a list of these shareholders, and the others waiting to buy shares? I have just aquired some ocean front property here in Utah and need some development investors.

    • SwordInTheStone says:

      Something to research is Joseph Smith’s alleged criminal history as fraudulently selling directions of where to dig for gold. He would tell people where to dig, and while they dug he would leave and keep their money. “Gold Digging” was the crime back in those days and many woman now do this to their husbands ha ha. It is said Smith was arrested for “Gold Digging” before forming the Mormon church. So this mine would not be far off from the role models and associates robbing the poor through deception. It is also said Smith became a Mason after his Gold Digging years and so the profit from deception seems quite similar to others in secret societies who are played off each other by the hierarchy. Oh the hierarchy sure love the GOLD FEVER aka materialism one of Satan’s favorite temptations that so many have fallen into once again. Most organized religions followers including Mormons have really dove deep into the materialism trap in recent times. It seems every Mormon church on Sunday is more of a place to play dress up, show off your nice cars, and show off your status! This rather than finding a place in nature that is peaceful to talk to God as instructed in the Bible. Oh how the blind lead the blind repeatedly throughout history. If you want a list of the top sell outs in the world currently start with the leaders of organized religions, politicians, political movements, war and other profiteers, lawyers, bookkeepers, and their loyal followers and enforcers. It says right in the bible these people are the first into the fire aka to cease to exist. We live in backwards world where evil is good and good is evil. Those who point this out are attacked. No need to worry? If you study history every time the majority of people become mislead and participate in evil as if its good then a massive clean up occurs. Did you really think all those ancient cultures disappeared and were destroyed for no reason? Get on the side of truth, goodness, and selflessness now as the cycle is repeating right now as you read this!

  2. Interesting stuff. As a non-Mormon living among them in Utah, I find these things fascinating. Now I want to know what the White Horse Prophecy is about, too — another blog topic, Mr. Gibson?

  3. Matthew says:

    Is this the same Kevin Cantera that was fired from the Tribune after selling false information about Elizabeth Smart’s family to the National Enquirer for $10,000? I’d be skeptical.

  4. Bob Becker says:

    Sounds like the blueprint for modern affinity fraud, beta version.

    Nothing particularly Mormon about this sort of thing, though. There’s a company [I forget the name] that sells shares to fundie believers by claiming it’s found clues in the bible giving the location of undiscovered oil fields in Israel.

  5. Doug Gibson says:

    Matt, my friend, even though I subscribe to the Ensign, and use it for home teaching First Presidency and GA messages, I’d be more apt to trust anything on Mormon history written by Kevin Cantera in Sunstone than any similar historical subject published in the Ensign. Cheers, Doug.

  6. Doug Gibson says:

    Bob, a key difference from larceny is that I doubt anyone, even the “owners/backers,” of the mine are trying or want to get rich. They’re Last Days seekers, who count on the “riches” to be shared to keep civilization going. It’s related to the White Horse “prophecy,” in a way.

  7. Erick Kuhni says:

    It should also be noted that sometime around 1910, when Koyle was appointed Bishop in the surrounding area, the Church sent Apostle and Geologist, James E. Talmage, to the site to investigate. His professional opinion was that there were no substantial gold deposits located at or near the site.

  8. Mark Shenefelt says:

    The dream mine and its apocalyptic theme would fit right in with Glenn Beck’s “buy-gold-everyone-we’re-all-gonna-die-and-make-sure-you-buy-the-gold-from-my-sponsors” scam. Seems like something he’d latch onto if he knew about it.

  9. Guy Gordon Young says:

    When Utah was first settled most people were told to farm and not worry about mining. It was a hard life with little money. The old men dreamed of making it big time by a mine that was on there property. There are a lot of \dream mines\ in Utah. One is west of Ephraim on the Sanpitch mountains. Nothing was ever found there. It is sealed now.

  10. Kara says:

    I’m currently looking to buy shares in the Relief Mine. I appreciate the history and stories of that time. I would like to acquire some shares to have a piece of history. I don’t know if the shares will ever be worth anything in my lifetime. However, it would be nice to own a small part of history.

  11. Heather says:

    For those that are interested in buying some of the shares what are you willing to pay. Or does any of you know what they are worth? I own 150 shares and just curious as to what they are worth. They was given to me over 16yrs ago by my Grandmother.

  12. M Richard says:

    If you are interested in selling any portion, let me know. I have been fascinated by the mine since childhood. And find myself gazing daily while driving home.

  13. Doc says:

    Please contact me. I will buy your Relief Mine stock.

  14. bobby says:

    I am trying to reserch more on this topic. I own 8 documented stocks of 500 and up shares of stock signed by Joseph F Smith. The documents call the mine “deseret mining and milling” dated 1894 signed by the founder of the church. I am not at all interested in donating them to the church. I know they are worth more than the average stocks of the time. Anyone have any ideas?

  15. Brent Bird says:

    I have 50 to 100 shares in the Relief Mine for sale. Please contact me if interested. Thank you

  16. B says:

    Brent Bird: How much and how are you contacted?

  17. Mike says:

    I would like to get one share of dream mine – as I would like to frame it.

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