Friday, November 7, 2008

Bishop John H. Koyle: The Dream Mine Lives On

On August 27, 1894, John Hyrum Koyle of Spanish Fork, Utah, was visited by a personage attired in white and radiating intelligence. The angel told Koyle that the Lord had called him to open up a gold mine for the benefit of Zion and the world in a future time of trouble. John Koyle spent his life establishing what he called the "Relief Mine" near Salem, Utah, and though it never produced gold, he and his followers had faith that in the last days the gold would come in and provide for the Saints when they most needed it. [1] The mine is still maintained today on the west slopes of the Wasatch mountains in Utah County. It is the world's largest non-producing gold mine on the face of the earth!




John H. Koyle and family


Bishop Koyle was a very interesting character. Ever since his mission in 1888 he was known as having prophetic abilities. Beginning in 1914 he made many prophecies concerning the last days. He gained many followers when some of his prophecies came to pass. When the Church announced that its next temple would be built in Mexico, the Bishop said "President Smith wouldn't have made that promise if he had seen what I saw in a dream. I saw Mexican soldiers driving these Saints out of Mexico, and they were allowed to take only one piece of baggage each with them. There won't be enough of our people in Mexico to support a temple if this happens." [2]

When the revolutionary forces of Pancho Villa began their attacks on border towns in 1912, members in the Mormon settlements were driven from Mexico, and plans for a temple were scrapped, just as Bishop Koyle had prophesied. The Bishop also predicted events of World War I. Word spread, and John Koyle's followers soon included some well-known names in the Mormon Church.

Apostle George Teasdale was interested in the story Koyle told of the detailed instructions he received in digging the mine shafts. He later said he knew it was of God and gave it his official blessing, and commended Bishop Koyle for his work on the mine. [3]

Apostle Matthais F. Cowley, although very pressed for money, was another who bought stock in the mine and gave it his favor and approval, declaring that it was inspired of God. [4]

J. Golden Kimball, one of the seven presidents of the Seventy as well as President Ivins of the First Presidency of the Church in the 1920's were also strong believers in the mine. [5]

The Koyle Dream Mine caused so much controversy that Church leaders decided to investigate further. James E. Talmage, a geologist, was sent to Salem to take a look at the mine. He could find no evidence that precious metals would ever be found in the strata being explored. [6] “I say to you that the misrepresentations that have been made in selling stock of the Koyle Mine are of the Evil One,” proclaimed Talmage in a 1928 issue of the Spanish Fork Press.

Some time after Elder Talmage died, Bishop Koyle reported to some of his friends, that Elder Talmage had come to him in spirit, and begged forgiveness. Apparently, until Bishop Koyle forgave him, Elder Talmage was unable to progress any further. [7]

My next post will continue the story of the Dream Mine and bring you updates to the present time.

But for now I would like to stop and consider a few questions. Since we live in a day when the General Authorities present a united front to the world on all issues, we don't have the same quandry earlier members did when faced with an issue upon which the Authorities of the Church disagreed. Please leave your thoughts on how you would have solved such a problem. Would you have been confident to use your common sense to choose whichever side looked more logical? Would you have made these things a matter of prayer? How would you have explained the situation where equally faithful members of the Church received different inspiration on the same issue?

Lastly, do you feel it is better that the General Authorities decline to make their differences of opinion public, or do you think an open discussion of their disagreements might be healthy?



______________________________________________

[1] The Relief Mine web site
[2] Ogden Kraut, The Relief Mine, chapter 7
[3, 4, 5] L. De Lynn "DOC" Hansen, Bishop John H. Koyle: The Dream Mine Story
[6] Bet you didn't know... Deseret News (Salt Lake City), Jun 16, 2003
[7] Journal History, August 7, 1913, p. 3.

13 comments:

Dr. B said...

I think Koyle was one interesting character that hundreds of people including Abraham Gileadi have been involved with his project. I consider this the first Mormon ponzi scheme and it has done quite well. I would like to have one share signed by Bishop Koyle himself. It would be worth $25 bucks as a novelty.

Kiskilili said...

Hilarious! Thanks for posting this--I'd heard of the mine but didn't know the details. Talmage appeared to him after death to apologize for his skepticism--that had me laughing out loud. :)

Mormon Heretic said...

BiV,

I love these conundrums, and I can't wait to hear "the rest of the story." Thanks for bringing these unusual stories.

(I don't have any good answers to the questions you posed.)

the narrator said...

I always get a chuckle when I see this mine.

I think it does a huge disservice to all of us when Church leaders propagate a myth that they are always in agreement.

I'd love to see who the opposing voices were in the Prop 8 business.

SteveP said...

Very interesting! Thank you for this.

I of course would have believed that the mine was inspired and a fraud. My ability to hold contradictory truths is astonishing.

What to do with differing general authorities is still a problem today. In the evolution debates you can still play my general authority can beat up yours all day long by who you choose.

Personally, seeing disagreements would be a a good thing. We need to know that they are fallible.

Jared said...

In 2008 we have the advantage of many decades to know if the mine produced anything. Has it? If it hasn't then what does that say?

I can hardly wait for the next installment.

Jared said...

Opps--I didn't read above the picture when I made my last post. Now that I have I find that my question was answered.

Jared Koyle said...

Remember, there are two forces in the world, One that is good and one that tries to appear as good. Unfortunately, my great-great-grandfather was a false prophet. He went against the living prophet of his time. Remember also, you will know them by their fruits!
Follow the living prophet! Do whatever you need to study it out and come to your own conclusion and then, I promise, if you follow the living prophet, you will never go wrong. That may sound naive, but, you'll just have to trust me on this one. John Hyrum Koyle, no matter how right, was wrong.
Do the General Authorities disagree? In my opinion, I believe they do. I seriously doubt they are a bunch of ‘Yes’ men. If I may, I would suggest that in their meetings, they play hardball. My opinion is also that, in the process of their debates, they take the issue to the Lord. Once the Lord has spoken, however long that takes, that is then, perhaps, when a consensus occurs. Should those thoughts, ideas, and debates be made public? I think, No! To me, there are presently more important things in life to spend my time listening to/reading.

Anonymous said...

Grandpa Koyle NEVER proclaimed to be a prophet....so in a sense you can't say he was a false prophet. He loved the church.....And before he died his membership was given back to him. There is such thing as personal revelation. He wasn't receiving any revelation that was change the church in any way.

IRAQ said...

I do not have quite enough info to judge the man, however, I do understand enough of the gift of prophecy and revelation (which is the testimony of Jesus) to tell you that he was an inspired man. I can tell a charlatan and he was not one. I would like to have read his actual words - too bad he did not keep a diary.

Doc Hansen said...

I've been a stockholder of the Relief Mine since the early 70's. Having compiled written material on John Koyle and the mine, moderating the-dream-mine yahoo group (my compiled comprehensive book is in the files of the eGroup), having talked to many old timers who personally knew Koyle, this man had the gift of dreams and prophecy. Read my eBook then judge.

FYI . . The mine is not suppose to produce until the economic crash takes place. Is the gold there? Yes. I've seen actual gold refined from ore taken from the Relief Mine.

In the end . . Believers in Koyle's project will have the last laugh.

LunarCanyon said...

Understanding that the Twelve will not always agree on an issue Joseph Smith gave us the key; he said that if there were disagreement to follow the majority. While my great grandfather had support of some of the apostles, he never had anywhere near a majority, and two different First Presidencies signed off that the work was of the devil, fulfilling the need for two or three witnesses. The story around the dream mine is compelling in that it seems to be plausible, but the entire intent behind the narrative is to raise one person above the Christ's leaders on earth, and it just did not, nor will it ever, happen.

LunarCanyon said...

Understanding that the Twelve will not always agree on an issue Joseph Smith gave us the key; he said that if there were disagreement to follow the majority. While my great grandfather had support of some of the apostles, he never had anywhere near a majority, and two different First Presidencies signed off that the work was of the devil, fulfilling the need for two or three witnesses. The story around the dream mine is compelling in that it seems to be plausible, but the entire intent behind the narrative is to raise one person above the Christ's leaders on earth, and it just did not, nor will it ever, happen.