Sunstone Article
By Kevin Cantera


The Community of Believers

On 14 May 2007, a crowd assembled in the convention hall at the Veterans Memorial Building in Spanish Fork, Utah, for the Relief Mine Company’s annual stockholders’ meeting. An almost festive air preceded the official meeting as about 100 investors gathered to hear the company’s annual financial report about the 113-year-old mining venture. Chatter and laughter filled the hall; conversations sprang up where they had left off at last year’s meeting. The majority of stockholders were older people from the surrounding area in southern Utah County, where the Relief Mine is located. A few came from farther away, some from Salt Lake City, about fifty miles to the north, others from neighboring Idaho. Nearly all were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Many brought children and grandchildren, some of whom played tag between rows of chairs.

Since becoming available in 1909, Relief Mine stock has become something of a family heirloom, passed down from one generation to the next, and the meeting had a distinct family feel. One family had a table of books for sale, including an eschatological history of the Relief Mine. A husband and wife team moved about the crowd, striking up friendly conversation and handing out brochures describing various end-time prophecies and their imminent fulfillment. Sunburned, in well-worn jeans and dusty work boots, two old friends reclined in folding chairs and swapped prophecies about the last days.1

Despite the cheerful air preceding it, the official meeting was short and solemn. Company secretary Ray Koyle, a great-grandson of the man who founded the mine in 1894, conducted the day’s business. The process took only a few minutes because the Relief Mine Co.—known locally as the “Dream Mine”—does little business. In fact, the company has done no actual mining for more than four decades; it has few operating expenses and brings in only a scant income. According to Koyle’s review of the balance sheet and profit-and-loss statement, the total fixed assets of the Relief Mine Co. were just over $3.5 million for 2006. Total net income for the year was about $41,000, coming largely from rents collected on property and revenue from a small gravel pit the business operates. After his quick accounting, Ray Koyle called for the assembly to pray and on adjournment asked those “gathered here to take note of their feelings about this project. Let’s focus on next year, and wait.”2

Waiting is something that Dream Mine stockholders have practiced repeatedly. In the nearly 100 years since the operation went public, shareholders have never received a dividend—the mine has never produced a significant profit. The “Dream Miners” have never unearthed a single ounce of valuable ore.3

Nevertheless, stockholders remain committed. At present, at least 706 people own stock in the Relief Mine Co., and 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.4

Stockholders willing to talk about the mine typically discuss their unrealized investment with a sense of awe and reverence, often expressing the strong tie they feel to their stake in the company. L. DeLynn “Doc” Hansen, a Utah County native, bought his first piece of the Relief Mine—100 shares—in 1980 for $3 a share. “I was new in practice, and we were poor,” Hansen, a chiropractor, remembers. “I just pulled out the three hundred dollars and said, ‘Here you go.’ My wife didn’t even question it—our last three hundred dollars to our name, and she didn’t even question it.”5

Why, despite the lack of any measurable success, does Relief Mine stock remain an object of desire? Beyond any material value, what does the mine reveal about Mormon belief? How has its meaning changed over time? For Dream Mine believers, the mine’s true pot of gold exists not in a material world, but in a world yet to come.

Image by George and Kelly Brooks

Excavating Belief:
Faith, Function, and the Dream Mine

On a warm September day in 1894, John Hyrum Koyle drove a pick into the rocky soil of a cone-shaped mountain overlooking a wide swath of farmland along the southeastern shore of Utah Lake. He knew exactly where to dig. A Mormon bishop, Koyle claimed that he had received a nighttime visitation from the Angel Moroni, the same heavenly messenger who had visited Joseph Smith decades earlier in New York state, leading the boy to unearth a set of ancient gold plates that later became the Book of Mormon. Koyle said that Moroni had actually raised him into the air and brought him inside a mountain, through more than 1,000 feet of solid rock, until they came to a formation of thick, white quartz bearing an unmistakable vein of gold so accessible that it looked “like a fish ready for the frying pan.”6 A week after the vision, Koyle and a small band of Utah County Mormons began digging into the mountain in earnest, dubbing their excavation the “Dream Mine.”

Koyle left no written account of his life and claimed that he had been divinely instructed “never to make a written statement” about the mine. So the most important sources for studying the history of the Dream Mine come from two of Koyle’s most ardent followers, Norman Pierce and Ogden Kraut. In his self-published chronicle of the Dream Mine, Kraut voiced the belief of many stockholders when he declared, “John H. Koyle was a man of simple faith and education, but he had a gift from God . . . His prophecies were not given for entertainment or curiosity; they were meant to convey a message of warning.”7

As chroniclers, Pierce and Kraut reconstructed the history of the mine and its founder to echo important narratives from their Mormon faith. They crafted Koyle’s history to mirror that of Mormon founder Joseph Smith. Pierce began compiling notes in 1934 for what would become The Dream Mine Story, a narrative he constructed from stories “repeated again and again by leading stockholders with some variations.” Pierce freely admitted that “it was not always easy to pin down the true and correct version every time,” but nonetheless he fashioned a story designed to mirror the founding miracles of Mormonism and thereby engender belief in Koyle’s mine.8 Kraut knew the mine’s founder only briefly and based his re-telling of the story on Pierce’s book and tales related by fellow believers.

John Hyrum Koyle was the son of two Mormon pioneers: John Hyrum Koyle, Sr., and Adlinda Hillman. Born in Nauvoo, the two made the trek westward to Utah as children, growing up in the Mormon colony of Spanish Fork. John, the couple’s second child, was born on 14 August 1864. Within four years of that birth, LDS Church President Brigham Young called Koyle’s family to go to the so-called “Muddy Mission,” nearly 400 miles away in southern Utah, where church authorities hoped to establish a cotton colony. Life on the Muddy River was hard, and no doubt the early years of Koyle’s life saw many hardships as agricultural failures and near-starvation plagued the venture. LDS authorities in Salt Lake City eventually abandoned their plan for the Muddy Mission and allowed the colonists to return home. The Koyle family moved back to Spanish Fork in 1871 with little to show for their efforts.9

John Koyle developed a reputation as a pious boy who often reminded his elders of their duties to the Mormon faith. By age fourteen, he had abandoned formal education and was making his living as a muleskinner, traveling throughout southern Utah County by mule and cart, selling various goods to farmers. In 1884, the year he turned twenty, Koyle married Emily Arvilla Holt. The newlyweds moved onto a farm in the lush river bottoms south of Spanish Fork, in a tiny settlement then known as Riverside and later called Leland.10

Though raised in a devout LDS household and despite his reported faithfulness, Koyle could not testify to a “burning in the bosom” about the truth of the Book of Mormon and LDS theology.11 In accordance with Mormon belief, and in search of a deeper faith, the young man began to pray earnestly. He withdrew to a small grove of willow trees near the Spanish Fork River, dropped to his knees, and beseeched the Lord for the worthiness to receive, through the Holy Ghost, an unwavering testimony of faith. But when he ended his prayer, he “noticed nothing different than when he had begun to pray. No answer seemed eminent [sic], nor was any further testimony obtained.”12

But later God did answer him. That night in a dream Pierce writes about, Koyle saw a red heifer13 that he had lost about three weeks earlier. In the dream, Koyle saw the heifer clearly, standing in a place he recognized, a far-off field below the Union Pacific railroad tracks. The cow faced east, its right horn broken so that the point stuck into the creature’s eye.14

Koyle heard a voice ask him: “If you find your cow at this place tomorrow, will you believe that the Restored Gospel is true?”

“And unhesitatingly, John heard himself say ‘Yes, sir!’”15

The next morning, Koyle rode out to the field below the railroad tracks, and as he had seen in his dream, there stood his red heifer, with its broken horn, looking at him, contentedly munching its cud.

Koyle could now claim his testimony. He was now convinced not only that the LDS gospel was true but also that God worked through his dreams. Ogden Kraut concludes: “From such a simple but marvelous beginning John H. Koyle received a special spiritual gift . . . He also made a covenant with the Lord that if He would give him [such] dreams and visions, he would serve the Lord all the days of his life.”16

Koyle’s followers frequently measured their prophet against the founder of Mormonism. Norman Pierce unhesitatingly compared Koyle with Joseph Smith, and believed that both had been called to “establish the Church for the Millennium.” Ogden Kraut described Koyle as a “man who knew and talked with Joseph Smith, the Prophet.”17 Such ideas persist today among believers such as Fred Naisbitt, a stockholder from Ogden, Utah, some eighty miles north of the Dream Mine site, who declares fervently: “Koyle is second only to Joseph Smith in the number and accuracy of his prophecies.”18 

Buried Treasure:
Moroni and the Founding of the Dream Mine

A few years after the dream that confirmed his Mormon faith, Koyle served an LDS mission to the American South. We know very little about Koyle’s success as a missionary. He kept no diary, and the available sources make no mention of the converts he won. But a handful of mission-field legends help establish Koyle’s reputation as a visionary, including a story in which Koyle saved the life of J. Golden Kimball, a future General Authority.19 For Dream Mine believers, the story offers further evidence that Koyle was among God’s anointed and a vessel of divine purpose.20

In 1894, his mission service complete, Koyle returned to Utah. That same year, he reported his first revelation about the mine. On the night of 27 August 1894, he received a visitation from an “exalted personage from another world, who was attired in white and radiated intelligence,”21 and who Koyle claimed was the Angel Moroni.

Moroni rousted Koyle from his bed and led him into the chilly night and across a few miles of farmland to a mountain east of his home. With an “an eerie sort of corporeal disintegration,”22 they passed directly into the mountain, where Moroni showed Koyle a rich vein of gold within the mountain, which “would be the means of bringing much needed relief to the Lord’s people.”23 The angel led him another 175 feet down into a cluster of nine enormous caverns hollowed into the heart of the mountain. Supported by massive pillars, the caverns contained uncounted piles of gold coins minted and buried by a group of Nephites. Dream Miners believe that the Nephites buried a number of other precious items within the mountain caverns, including the Sword of Laban, the Urim and Thummim, and the gold plates themselves. Because a large portion of the ancient record remained “sealed” by God and was never translated, Dream Miners believe that when they finally cut through the quartz and reach the treasure-filled cavern, they will be able to reveal the full dimension of the LDS Gospel.24

The Angel Moroni told Koyle that God had chosen him to open the mine under the mountain, but he also warned Koyle that the gold would not “come in” and the Nephite treasure would remain buried until just before the second coming of Jesus Christ, when wars, natural disasters, and the collapse of the American economy would create widespread suffering. Dream Mine gold would not only provide relief but also finance the gathering of Israel. One week following Moroni’s visit, Koyle and a small group of believing neighbors began digging. 

Sharing the Dream:
Koyle Goes Public

For a few years after Moroni’s visit, Koyle’s project remained little more than a hole in the slope of the cone-shaped mountain. With a crew of volunteers, mostly neighbors who believed in his prophetic abilities, the excavation progressed slowly. Still, as word spread that the visionary Bishop Koyle had begun his treasure quest, people joined the movement, volunteering their time and labor to be part of a project of holy possibilities.

When Koyle incorporated the Koyle Mining Company in March 1909, a decade after digging began, shares sold swiftly. The original stock issue totaled 114,000 shares, of which all but 42,000 went to Koyle and five other company officers. According to Norman Pierce, most stockholders “represented the credulous but thrifty poor among the Mormons [who] desired to help others and be an instrument of great good among his fellowmen during a time of great distress.”25

The mine eventually drew the attention of LDS Church authorities, who worried that the faithful were being fleeced. In 1913, Apostle and trained geologist James E. Talmage examined a sample from the Dream Mine and declared the ore worthless. The First Presidency issued a statement in the Deseret News titled “A Warning Voice” that, while mentioning neither Koyle nor the Dream Mine, advised all Latter-day Saints against investing “in ventures of any kind on the specious claim of divine revelation or vision or dream . . . [and] against mining schemes which have no warrant for success beyond the professed spiritual manifestations of their projectors, and the influence gained over the excited minds of their victims.”26 Five days after publication of the “Warning,” Koyle was released as bishop of the Utah County congregation he had served for more than five years. Ironically, Lars Olsen, who succeeded him as bishop, was Koyle’s dedicated follower and a laborer at the mine. In 2007, Olsen’s descendants still owned stock in the Dream Mine.27

To the mine’s faithful, the Mormon Church’s opposition reflected both its fear and envy of Koyle’s power. They felt the authorities could sanction no revelation at the grassroots that had the potential to challenge their power or spark heresy. “Bishop Koyle’s prophecies and his dreams began to stir up new commotion and excitement, while faith in the spiritual powers of the Church president began to wane. This kind of embarrassment usually causes jealousy and anger,” wrote Ogden Kraut.28 Though Church leadership appeared united in public, there was some division in their ranks. J. Golden Kimball was a stockholder, an LDS General Authority, and a member of the First Council of the Seventy. Carter E. Grant, nephew of Church President Heber J. Grant, also owned stock in Koyle’s enterprise.29

During this same period, motivated by the promise of acceptance into America’s religious mainstream, the LDS Church abandoned polygamy and began deemphasizing Joseph Smith’s mystical world of miracles, magic, buried gold, holy messengers, demonic apparitions, visions, and dreams. As the Church made this pragmatic shift, Dream Miners felt marginalized, denied a role in the divine drama. However, as Kraut put it, “This opposition only proved to give new strength to the Bishop. It was clear that the Lord was sustaining him and his mission at the mine.”30

Church opposition and the threat of excommunication led Koyle to cease mining between 1914 and 1920. However, due to a vision Koyle claimed to have received from two of the Three Nephites, his followers and investors remained dedicated to the cause. The Nephites offered Koyle startling visions of an economic catastrophe awaiting the nation: a deflated dollar, rampant unemployment, and hunger—all harbingers of The End.31

During the shutdown, Koyle’s believers preached his prophecies of the end times, and when the mine reopened in September 1920, work recommenced immediately. Workers pressed forward on the main shaft “as fast as miners with hand drills and powder could drive a tunnel into solid mountain rock.”32As the excavation encountered the geologic formations that Koyle had reportedly predicted, his prophetic reputation grew. Hundreds of people visited the mine to see firsthand the confirmation of prophecy, and many stayed to work in the mine, content to receive their pay in stock. Soon the main shaft descended 2,200 feet.

Image by George and Kelly Brooks

A Change in Focus:
The Dream Mine and Economic Crisis

Koyle awoke one morning in June 1929 and predicted that in precisely four months, “Wall Street will crash . . . Thousands of people on every side will be going busted.”33 When the market plunged in October, the story quickly spread that Koyle had foretold the catastrophe. Again people gathered at the Koyle farmstead not far from the mine to hear his predictions of the coming peril. He regularly updated his prophecies with new details from revelations he received while asleep.

In 1932, invigorated by the prophecies, Koyle’s followers supplied money and labor to build a state-of-the-art mill, sometimes called the “White Sentinel,” near the mouth of the Dream Mine tunnel to process Koyle’s predicted outpouring of gold. “The money came in almost miraculously,”34 remembered Pierce, who was at the Dream Mine when laborers began building the mill. With all indications seeming to point to the immediate fulfillment of Koyle’s prophecies, stockholders “scraped the bottom of their Depression-worn pockets to raise the money needed to buy the equipment” that would refine the ore that would finance the gathering of Israel.35 This time marked the zenith of the Dream Mine.

However, the giant mill never fulfilled the promise. Since becoming operational in 1936, it has processed only one load of ore, netting the company $103.03. One year later, the mill shut down, and as of this printing, it stands on the mountain empty and quiet. But true believers are unshaken. In the words of Ogden Kraut: “When the Lord releases these riches, then the White Sentinel will become like an ensign to the nations for a place of relief.”36

Koyle, who turned 80 in 1944, kept followers’ faith alive with a long list of prophecies. “Hardly a year passed without several new [dreams] being related, many of which saw rapid fulfillment,”37 remembered Norman Pierce, who spent more and more time with Koyle as he grew older. Some of Koyle’s prophecies failed, such as his prediction that Russian soldiers would soon overrun America. But believers drew sustenance from other revelations, such as Koyle’s forecast of Japanese surrender in 1945.

In 1947, Koyle was brought before a Mormon ecclesiastical court, where he was given a choice: issue a statement denying his revelations of the Dream Mine, or face excommunication. On 8 January of the same year, the Church-owned Deseret News reported Koyle’s decision under the headline: “John H. Koyle Repudiates All Claims Regarding the Dream Mine.” The news report reproduced a notarized statement bearing Koyle’s signature in which the former bishop sustained the LDS president and “appeal[ed] to all my followers to join with me in this repudiation of claims to divine guidance in connection with this mine.” But within days, Koyle had repudiated the statement. He claimed that he had been forced to sign the declaration and swore that all his prophecies were true.

Koyle was finally excommunicated on 15 April 1948. He died just over a year later, at age 84. Ogden Kraut eulogized the man he considered a prophet: “Christ never saw the triumph of His Church while He lived; the Prophet Joseph Smith never saw the redemption of Zion while he was alive; and Bishop Koyle never realized the materialization of the ore deposited in that mountain. But in the Last Days, they all shall see the fulfillment of their vision.”39 If LDS authorities believed that Koyle’s death would end the mine dream, they were disappointed. Even though no mining has occurred in decades, the dream endures. 

Vindication Deferred:

Modern Belief in the Dream Mine

As Koyle’s contemporaries died, they passed their stock to a new generation of believers who could remember the Bishop only in his later years, if at all. Today’s stockholders know of the Dream Mine secondhand through the yellowed stock certificates they inherited and the stories swapped among the old-timers of Utah County. Recently, the Internet has tightened the community of believers by fostering more frequent communication and interaction. Just as it always has, the Dream Mine attracts believers as an investment in the magical origins of their Mormon faith—and in a destiny that awaits ultimate fulfillment. In the six decades since Koyle’s death, his followers have continued to read the signs around them, convinced that prophecy is about to be fulfilled.

Though the LDS Church deemphasized eschatology during the years after Koyle’s death, Dream Mine believers found encouragement in the religious great awakening that  followed World War II when Christians, both fundamentalist and evangelical, saw signs that God had reentered history. The recreation of the state of Israel in 1948, exactly one month after Koyle’s excommunication, suggested that the eschatological clock had begun to tick again. “When are the times of the gentiles [non-Mormons] to be over?” asks one Dream Mine believer in the online group devoted to Koyle and the mine. “The scriptures tell us that we can recognize it by the sign that the Jews will begin to gather in Israel. Is it just coincidence that 1948 brought about Koyle’s ex[communication] at the same time that the Jews began to gather?”40

At the center of the network of true believers is Doc Hansen, currently the Dream Mine’s chief promoter. In his mid-fifties, Hansen is a devout member of the LDS Church who was raised in Utah County. As a boy, Hansen says, he was “fascinated” by the Dream Mine although he knew very little about it. “I saw the zig zag [of the road] going up the hill, and the big, white mill, and it always attracted me,” he remembers. As a high school senior, Hansen finally decided to investigate. He found Norman Pierce’s book in the public library and was convinced of the “truthfulness” of the narrative and Koyle’s calling as a prophet. Although it would still be many years before he bought his first shares in the mine, Hansen was converted. “If you’re meant to be connected with the project, the Spirit just grabs you and yanks you into the project,” he says.41 Hansen has a bookshelf in his Utah County office holding dozens of titles by evangelical writers about the Last Days.

In the twenty-first century, devout Dream Miners connect in cyberspace, exchanging prophecies and opinions via a Yahoo group titled “The Dream Mine: We Are Keeping the Dream Alive.” Hansen founded the e-group on 10 September 2001. In its first seven years, the group attracted close to 1,000 members and received more than 12,900 different posts. “I had about twenty people join right away, and it kept growing faster,” Hansen remembers. “I have people e-mail me privately to say, ‘I was led to this.’ People have dreams that lead them to this group.”42

Although posters to the group are often anonymous, their messages offer insight into the perspectives of current Dream Mine movement members. Many posts scrutinize Koyle’s prophecies in the light of current world events—wars, famines, earthquakes, and other disasters. Eager for the end of time, a 2007 poster to the group declared in reference to Koyle’s prophecy of a conflict between Russia and Turkey: “Keep an eye on Turkey. Some interesting things are going on over there now . . . Climate Changes, Volcanoes, Current Events . . . Preparedness is a lot like Insurance; you have to have it before it is needed.”43 Koyle had predicted that war will rage on the coastline of America, and an army of 100,000 Russians will invade North America through Canada. In the Middle East, America’s armies will falter. A worldwide famine will send prices skyrocketing for basic staples like rice and wheat.44

Postings on the Dream Mine e-group tempt believers with the recurring certainty that the end is at hand. “The mine will open up in the fall season,” wrote one poster confidently in October 2001. “Will it be this fall after an economic collapse? Who knows? It has been a long hot summer. 

 Who has a farmer’s almanac? What is this winter supposed to be like?”45 That post was challenged by another core believer, who wrote simply: “The mine can’t open yet. Not for 2–4 years. The parameters don’t fit yet.”46

The Dream Mine prophecies, though paralleling the eschatological scenario of evangelical Christians, bear Koyle’s and Mormonism’s distinct imprint. Dream Mine believers predict that before the mine re-opens, the American dollar will become “worthless,” and the federal government will collapse. The LDS Church will be “set in order,” an enigmatic phrase about which believers regularly deliberate. An especially difficult winter will afflict Utah County the year the mine comes in, followed by spring flooding and a dry, scorching summer. With the area’s weather remarkably consistent with this pattern, Dream Miners are always ready to predict that the mine is about to come in. As one poster asked in an April 2008 message to the group: 

Is this the year? We are very close to the mine becoming active, and I think that Utah will be where the New Economy begins, and that the Dream Mine will help to bring back America from the brink of absolute economic devastation . . . Thank God I live in Utah, and near the mine.47 

The Persistence of Belief

Today, housing subdivisions sprout like wild mushrooms beneath the Dream Mine, in tracts of land which were farms in John Koyle’s day. Newcomers look up at the cone-shaped mountain to the east and wonder about the odd-looking derelict building that sprawls in a cleft of the rocky mountainside. But for Dream Miners, the building is a beacon of hope. They recall that in the days just before John Koyle died, the old bishop made one final hike up Dream Mountain. On the site of the mine, squinting out over the fields where he had spent most of his life, he experienced a last vision.

He saw a “small rift in the dark clouds revealing a little spot of blue.” The spot expanded, the skies opened, and “the mine and its surroundings were restored to the brilliant sunshine of a fine glorious day with all oppressiveness having vanished away.”48 True believers are certain that this final vision was God’s promise to Koyle that his life had not been in vain, an assurance extended to their own lives. They remain, as Koyle’s faithful follower Norman Pierce declared, “prepared, mentally and spiritually, to be steadfast in watching and waiting for a glorious vindication that they know will come.”49 


1. The 14 May 2007 meeting was open to the public and attended by the author, who took notes and conducted several spontaneous, casual conversations and interviews with attendees. The stock first sold in 1909 under the name Koyle Mining Co.; the company reorganized in 1961 as Relief Mine Co., allowing existing shareholders to transfer their stock.

2.  Relief Mine Co. annual stockholder meeting, 14 May 2007, Spanish Fork, Utah.

3.  Officers in the company as well as a number of stockholders would dispute this point. At various times in its history, the company has published assays showing moderately valuable deposits of gold and platinum ore. However, several independent analyses of samples from the mines have uniformly contradicted those tests, showing negligible amounts of valuable minerals. To examine the assay tests done of Dream Mine samples, see James P. Christianson, “An Historical Study of the Koyle Relief Mine” (M.A. thesis, Brigham Young University, 1962), 124–127.

4.  Because the stock that has not been registered with the company is typically not counted in the official tally, it’s difficult to determine the exact number of stockholders who have bought and sold shares since the company went public in 1909. The above number of stockholders in 2007 comes from figures that Ray Koyle, company secretary, cited at the May 2007 stockholder meeting. The actual number of people who possess shares is thought to be considerably higher, perhaps closer to 2,000. According to company records, 463,000 “active” Relief Mine shares are outstanding. With a net worth of $3.5 million, the one-to-one “real” value of each share is $7.56. In fact, according to numerous sources, including Christianson, “Historical Study of the Relief Mine,” ix, the total number of shares in circulation is likely closer to 700,000.

5.  L. DeLynn “Doc” Hansen, interview by author, 26 October 2007, Orem, Utah, tape recording.

6.  Norman C. Pierce, The Dream Mine Story (Salt Lake City: Privately printed, 1972), 12. This is Pierce re-telling the story “as [Koyle] told it to hundreds of us so many times,” 8. Though referred to as “dreams,” Koyle’s nighttime visitations and experiences are taken as literal events by believers. Over the years, a joke developed among some of Koyle’s detractors, who said that on nights Koyle’s wife served liver and onions, he would have a new “dream” or revelation; see Christianson, “Historical Study of the Relief Mine,” 31.

7.  Ogden Kraut, John H. Koyle’s Relief Mine (Dugway, Utah: Kraut’s Pioneer Press, 1978), 186.

8.  Pierce, Dream Mine Story, i–ii.

9.  Pearson Starr Corbett, “A History of the Muddy Mission,” (M.A. Thesis, Brigham Young University, 1968). See also W. Paul Reeve, Making Space on the Western Frontier: Mormons, Miners and Southern Paiutes (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2006), 86–90, and Henry B. Eyring, “Remembrance and Gratitude,” Ensign (Nov 1989): 11. See also Jack Worlton, “The Muddy: A Mission Too Far?” 2001 Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium Session, SL01314.

10.      Information about Koyle’s youth comes from a Christianson interview with Ellen Rose Fillmore, younger sister of John Koyle, conducted in 1957, as well as his personal correspondence with Eveline K. Stout, of Burley, Idaho, Koyle’s daughter. See Christianson “Historical Study of the Relief Mine,” 16–18.

11.      A testimony of the truth of the Mormon gospel, through the Holy Ghost, is an experience often called a “burning in the bosom.” This phrase is from a passage in Doctrine and Covenants (D&C), a book of Joseph Smith’s collected revelations and part of the Mormon canon: “Study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore you shall feel that it is right.” D&C 9:8. See also Luke 24:32; and Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2d Ed. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966), 785.

12.      Kraut, Relief Mine, 27. This story also appears in Pierce, Dream Mine Story, 5, and Christianson, “Historical Study of the Relief Mine,” 47, who cites the personal memoir of C.F. Weight, a laborer at the mine.

13.      The “red heifer” carries Biblical significance as part of a Judaic purification ritual in which a special cow is sacrificed and reduced to ashes, then used to cleanse anyone who has had contact with a corpse; Numbers 19: 1–13. Certain modern millennialists believe that the discovery of a red heifer will precede the building of the third temple in Jerusalem; see, for example, Rivka Gonen, Contested Holiness: Jewish, Muslim, and Christian Perspectives on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (Jersey City, N.J.: KATV Publishing House, 2003), 160. However, neither the Dream Mine chronicles nor the oral traditions mention any Biblical connection.

14.      Some believers say that Koyle had shown glimpses of his “dreaming” ability as a child: see Pierce, Dream Mine Story, 3, but most seem to agree that the “red heifer dream” is the first example of Koyle’s gift of prophecy.

15.      Pierce, Dream Mine Story, 2; despite his use of quotation marks, this is a re-creation Pierce first recorded in the 1930s, later included in his self-published history.

16.      Kraut, Relief Mine, 28. Stockholder Mary H. Frandsen, also recounted the story of the “Red Heifer Dream” in Mary H. Frandsen, interview by Janet W. Hales, Winter 1974, Springville, Utah, interview No. BYU-110, transcript, Fife Folklore Archives, Special Collections and Archives, Utah State University Libraries, Logan, Utah.

17.      Pierce, Dream Mine Story, 69, and Kraut, Relief Mine, 178–179.

18.      Fred Naisbitt, letter to author, 7 June 2007.

19.      Kraut, Relief Mine, 33. The story about Koyle’s saving the life of the beloved J. Golden Kimball does not appear in any of the common sources on Kimball. For a version of the story, see also Graham, “The Dream Mine,” 234.

20.      In addition to Pierce and Kraut, this view is expressed in various internet newsgroup postings at “The-Dream-Mine: We Are Keeping the Dream Alive,” See, for instance, message 12484.

21.      Pierce, Dream Mine Story, 6.

22.      Zeese Papanikolas,Trickster in the Land of Dreams (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995): 63.

23.      Kraut, Relief Mine, 36.

24.      Christianson cites a personal interview with Dr. Allen Brooksby in 1960, in which Brooksby, a mine assayer, offered his “firm belief” that one of the nine caverns beneath the Dream Mine contained the original gold plates, “Historical Study of the Relief Mine,” 16.

25.      Pierce, Dream Mine Story, 14–15.

26.      “A Warning Voice,” Deseret News, 2 August 1913. The original printing of this First Presidency message was signed by LDS President Joseph F. Smith. It was reprinted as: “A Renewed Warning to Members of the Church,” Deseret News, 29 December 1945, signed by President David O. McKay. For a thorough examination of the Church’s opposition to the mine between 1913 and Koyle’s death in 1949, see Christianson, “Historical Study of the Relief Mine,” 21–30.

27.      See Kraut, Relief Mine, 60; Christianson, “Historical Study of the Relief Mine,” 35; also, a personal interview by the author with a descendant of Lars Olsen who asked to remain anonymous, 17 December 2007.

28.      Kraut, Relief Mine, 59. Both Kraut and Pierce discuss the specific visions, as do various personal interviews in Graham, “The Dream Mine.” The vision given the most weight is one in which Koyle predicted that a proposed LDS Temple in Mexico would never open, contrary to a public statement by President Joseph F. Smith. Koyle claimed he had been right when the Saints fled Mexico in 1912, and he pointed to this fulfilled prophecy as a source of “jealousy” on the part of the First Presidency. See Fife, Saints of Sage and Saddle, 282, and Christianson, “Historical Study of the Relief Mine.”

29.      Thomas G. Alexander, Mormonism in Transition: A History of the Latter-day Saints, 1890–1930 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986), 296, describes the General Authorities’ investments in the Dream Mine.

30.      Kraut, Relief Mine, 77.

31.      Christianson, “Historical Study of the Relief Mine,” 42.

32.      Pierce, Dream Mine Story, 33.

33.      Christianson, “Historical Study of the Relief Mine,” 11, quoting the recollection of Carter Grant, from an interview in 1959.

34.      Pierce, Dream Mine Story, 70.

35.      Ibid., 66.

36.      Kraut, Relief Mine, 141. Later, some stockholders alleged that an engineer eager to sell his equipment to the mine had “spiked” the sample to show artificially elevated levels of selenium in the ore: see Pierce, Dream Mine Story, 73, and Christianson, “Historical Study of the Relief Mine,” 35.

37.      Pierce, Dream Mine Story, 88.

38.      “John H. Koyle Repudiates All Claims Regarding Dream Mine,” Deseret News, 8 January 1948, 1. Pierce calls this episode the “most difficult test of [Koyle’s] lifetime, for he had often sincerely said that he valued his membership in the Church more than all the gold in the world.” Dream Mine Story, 93.

39.      Kraut, Relief Mine, 179.


41.      L. DeLynn “Doc” Hansen, interview by author, 26 October 2007, Orem, Utah.

42.      Ibid.


44.      Kraut, Relief Mine, 190–191.




48.      Pierce, Dream Mine Story, 52.

49.      Ibid., 102.