Gold! The word seems to ring with excitement! The lure of this precious metal has changed the course of men and nations. Elder John Jaques wrote:

What will men do for gold? They will toil for it, lie for it, swear for it, steal for it, murder for it, live for it, and die for it. They will do more, and suffer more, then times over, for gold, than they will suffer for eternal life and happiness (Mill. Star 14:369)

Sadly, history has proved that man is willing to vote for anything or anybody, cross the oceans, or swelter in deserts--or even sell themselves body and soul--all in the pursuit of that precious metal!

Gold is mentioned in the Bible as early as the second chapter of Genesis; yet seldom has it been used in the manner that God intended. The children of Israel once worshipped a cow made of gold. Today, the shape of that golden image has changed, but it is still the subject of worship.

As a brief prelude to the story of the Relief Mine, John H. Koyle's grandfather joined the LDS church in 1839. Both he and his son participated in the exodus west, and it was in these valleys, in August of 1864, that John Hyrum Koyle was born. The family lived in humble circumstances, and John became a man without pride or vanity, greatly respected and loved in his community. He served as bishop of the Leland Ward for over 12 years, was blessed with many spiritual gifts, and eventually received the church's highest blessing--the Second Anointing.

Bishop Koyle's Spiritual Gifts

Similar to the story of Jesse Knight, John Koyle became involved in mining because of his gift of dreams. His "Dream Mine" is very different from nearly every other mine--not only in its inception and operation, but especially in its final destiny and purpose.

The story of the mine, located in the hills above Salem, Utah, really begins shortly after his marriage to Emily Holt in 1884. The young couple purchased a small farm in the Salem area, and started to raise a few cattle. The loss of one of their heifers was a rather serious economic setback for the family, so after several days of unsuccessfully searching for the animal, John asked the Lord in prayer to help him find it. The answer came in a very unusual dream showing his cow down by a railroad tressel. One horn had been knocked down and was interfering with her eye. The next morning John told his wife that he knew where the cow was and he set off to get it.

Being very familiar with the area, he went directly to the location shown in the dream and found the cow exactly as he had seen her. As he was leading the injured animal back home, he thanked the Lord for this unusual answer to his prayer and told Him that if he could be blessed with that spiritual gift, he would use it in serving Him all his life.

Three years passed and John received a call to go on a mission for the church. One of his first significant missionary experiences in the Southern States was a warning dream about a threatening mob. Once again the gift of dreams came to his rescue, and by following the instructions in the dream, he avoided a serious conflict with a mob.

On another occasion he dreamed that a mob would form at a missionary conference, but this time it was the mission president, J. Golden Kimball, who would be in danger. Elder Koyle warned President Kimball of the dream, so he did not attend the conference. As shown in Koyle's dream, a mob interrupted the meeting and the leader demanded to know where the "long lanky red-headed Elder" was. Upon learning he was not there, the mob departed without further trouble. When J. Golden heard of the incident, he said to Elder Koyle, "If you ever have any more of those dreams, be sure to let me know." Because of this and other experiences, John H. Koyle and J. Golden Kimball remained lifelong friends.

Called to a Special Work

Although his mission for the LDS church came to an end, Koyle's spiritual gifts did not. He resumed his business as a farmer, and one night in August of 1894, John had a most unusual experience. A heavenly messenger appeared to him with instructions that he had been chosen to perform a very special work for the Lord. He was reminded of the ancient Nephite civilization that had once flourished on this continent--how they rose to great power and wealth, but eventually became wicked, corrupt and were finally destroyed. He was told that this present generation was about to take a similar course; however, this time some of the people would be spared.

The messenger took John to a mountain just east of Salem and showed him a rich Nephite gold mine. He was instructed that he was to drill tunnels in that mountain in order to reach the gold and that he would be directed by dreams to do this work which would require many years and much money. He was told not to enter into the mountain through the old existing Nephite tunnel located on the south side of the mountain, but rather to blast new tunnels. One was to run nearly a mile horizontally into the mountain, and then be drilled down through a three-foot capstone into nine large rooms once mined by the Nephites. The ore at this place would be so rich that there seemed to be more gold than rock.

John was very reluctant to accept this calling, and explained to the messenger that he was only a farmer and knew nothing about mining; furthermore, he didn't have the money or influence to undertake such a project. However, he was reminded of his promise to the Lord; and if he would accept the task, he was told that the necessary men and money would always be available.

As proof that this heavenly messenger was speaking the truth, John was told that his neighbor, who had been unsuccessfully drilling a water well, would strike water the next day at 12 noon. This would be a sign that John should accept this mining mission.

The next morning John related this strange manifestation to his wife, Emily. He instructed her to watch the neighbors' activities to see if they would strike water at exactly noon. He then left for work in the fields. During the day Emily heard shouting and yelling nearby, and when she went to the door, the saw water flowing up through the water-rig at the well. The time was 12 noon!

Work began on the mine September 3, 1894. For many years they followed a "cream colored leader", often discovering peculiar markings or formations described by John before they were actually reached. The Bishop was shown that three men would be killed on that mountain, and as time passed, all three eventually died by some kind of accident.

Stockholders were told that 100 shares of stock would be enough for any man's family; also the day would come when men would go to court for one share of stock because of its value. Through the years there have been about 50,000 people directly or indirectly involved in this unusual project.

LDS Church Involvement

For many years the church took no special interest in Bishop Koyle's Dream Mine. Some members had stock; others were not concerned about it. But in the early 1900's a strange thing happened. The three-year Senate Investigation during the Smoot hearings had just finished, and the church was especially sensitive about the issue of plural marriage. Joseph F. Smith went to Mexico in 1911, telling the saints there that they should give up plural marriage, and he promised them that the next temple would be built in Mexico. However, when Bishop Koyle heard that announcement, he said, "President Smith wouldn't make a promise like that if he had seen what I saw in a dream." He continued with the prophecy that Mexican soldiers would drive the saints out of Mexico, allowing them to take only a little luggage.

Word soon spread of Bishop Koyle's prophecy that the next temple would NOT be built in Mexico, but the church president had announced that it would. Both claimed divine instruction. Church members and stockholders became apprehensive as to which prophecy would be fulfilled. Then in 1912 the revolutionary forces of Francisco Madero and Panco Villa began a revolution by attacks on the border towns. When they learned of the Mormons' neutrality, they drove them out of Mexico, allowing them only "one piece of baggage each"--all according to Bishop Koyle's dream.

Such a catastrophe was certainly regrettable, and failure to build the promised temple at that time was disheartening for both Mexican saints and church leaders.

Bishop Koyle's dreams and prophecies began to stir up disfavor among the church leaders. In August 1913 the church issued a formal statement called, "A Warning Voice"--especially for those who listened to "visions, dreams, prophecies" that were "contrary to the constituted authorities" of the church. The members were NOT to "take stock in ventures" based on "visions or dreams" (Deseret News, Aug 2, 1913). Two weeks later they repeated their warning and said, "The First Presidency warns the saints against investing in worthless stock, even if promoters allege that they are guided by dreams and revelations." (Deseret News, Aug 16, 1913)

These announcements began to create a strange division among lay leaders and alike. Some church leaders owned stock in the mine, such as President Anthony W. Ivins, Apostle Matthias F. Cowley, Apostle George Teasdale, and, of course, J. Golden Kimball.

Because of false rumors, in August 1913, Apostle Francis Lyman released John Koyle from his position as Bishop, even though the ward members voted 100% to retain him.

On January 10, 1914, nearly 20 years after mining activities had begun, Bishop Koyle awoke to see two men standing beside his bed. One was taller than the other; both had white hair and beards. They announced themselves as two of the three ancient Nephites who were translated to perform their special mission here on earth.

The informed him that because of misunderstanding, church opposition would continue until the mine would be shut down for a short period of time. However, he was to remain patient and in time the mine would be reopened. They also warned him never to write or sign anything pertaining to the mine. For two hours they outlined the future of the mine and of this country. The first half-hour of their conversation he was permitted to relate to others, but the last 1.5 hours he was to keep secret.

Later that year, the church leaders threatened John with excommunication if he didn't stop work at the mine. Accordingly, as the two Nephite messengers had predicted, the mine was closed for six years.

The rift between the church and the mine continued to grow. Then in 1942 when Mark E. Petersen was made an Apostle, Bishop Koyle said, "That man will be the worst enemy the mine will ever have." As editor of the Deseret News, Elder Petersen began a series of articles against the mine. Under his direction, a hearing for John Koyle was held 1947 where he was presented with a prepared statement to sign or else be excommunicated from the church. In poor health at the time and under duress, he signed it saying it was the worst thing he ever did in his life.

However, a year later in 1948, by instruction from Elder Petersen, Bishop Koyle was called to a trial and cut off the church anyway. Another year later, in 1949, when John Koyle heard they were tearing down the Second Ward Chapel where he had last been a member, he predicted that he, too, would soon pass away. His death occurred on May 17, 1949.

Then came a strange twist of fate. Before Koyle's death, the mine and its stockholders were suspects as insubordinate to the church and its leaders, and some, like the Bishop, had been excommunicated from the LDS church. However, after his death, the new board of directors became active members of the church and held such positions as mission president, high councilmen, stake and ward officers. A new policy was enforced that the excommunicated members could not purchase any more stock.

Notwithstanding the long controversy that still exists regarding people and activities at the Dream Mine, Bishop Koyle's prophecy still stands--that at the appropriate time its treasures would be found. But he predicted that before this happened, mining would stop and the mine would become very dark--"like a dark cloud that covered the whole sky..then a small patch of blue sky would show, gradually growing until the whole sky was blue again." About this time, according to Koyle, there would have to be only a round or two set off to start bringing in the ore, since all the preliminary work had been done. The first shipment of ore would not cause much of a stir, but news of the second shipment would cause a traffic jam of both big and little cars at the mountain. People would come with money in hand to buy stock, but it would be too late and none was available.

This text has come from the writings of Ogden Kraut. To see a listing of all his published works, please visit