Sunday, December 11, 2011

James E. Talmage investigation of the Dream Mine

John Koyle said he was shown the
"Dream Mine" (or Relief Mine)
by a heavenly messenger

In the 1880s, John Koyle started having dreams about lost cattle.  Later, his fellow missionaries felt he had the ability to prophesy.  He continued to have dreams about world affairs.  Many Latter-day Saints believed his predictive dreams were being fulfilled, and his reputation as a visionary spread.

Koyle said a heavenly messenger told him of an ancient Nephite gold mine near Spanish Fork, Utah in 1894.  He was given detailed instructions how to mine the site, and was told the mine would aid in the relief of his people during a time of world-wide crisis. In 1910, Koyle was appointed bishop of a ward in Spanish Fork.

Trained geologist and apostle James E. Talmage visited the Relief Mine in 1913 and  reported his is findings to the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. Some in the church heirarchy believed in Koyle's abilities, while others felt he was deluded. 
He was eventually excommunicated in 1948.  Today, many Mormons still believe Koyle was inspired, and that the mine will one day produce gold and Nephite artifacts. Below are =entries from the James E. Talmage diary, and minutes from the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve regarding Talmage's investigation of the mine:

-- July 16, 1913; Wednesday

By a very strong impression to do today what I have long contemplated doing, I left by early train, went to Spanish Fork [Utah], there procured a horse and buggy and drove to the foot of the mountain east of Salem. The purpose of my visit is to examine the "Relief Mine," commonly known as the "Dream Mine." Many rumors of this alleged mine have reached me and much has been said concerning supposed inspiration by which the work has been undertaken and prosecuted. I had previously some correspondence with Bishop John H. Koyle of Leland ward, Nebo stake, at whose instance the work has been done. I rode horseback up the steep mountain to the mining property and was glad to find Brother Koyle present, together with my old student and colleague, Dr. Robert H. Bradford, of the University of Utah, who was present with his cousin on a visit. I found thirty men engaged in the work, each of whom is working for stock in the company, all having faith in the divine direction by which they say the mine was located. Brother Bradford and I accompanied by Brother Koyle and others inspected the workings from top to bottom. These workings consist of an irregular shaft, in places vertical, in others running on inclines, changing direction frequently, and extending to a present depth of over 1100 feet. The shaft penetrates the limestone of the region and is absolutely devoid of any evidence of mineralization in the mining sense of the term. The "leader" which Brother Koyle professes to have been following appears at the surface as one of the innumerable fault slips which appear on the western face of the Wasatch, incident to the profound fault by which that noble range has been elevated. After returning to the surface I met Brother Koyle and all the brethren here engaged and told them that from the standpoint of geological structure and all the known laws of mineral occurrence their effort is absolutely without promise of success. I listened to their statements as to the coincidences by which Brother Koyle's action seems to them to have been justified on the basis of direction by a power above the wisdom of man, and to many testimonies of the brethren that they have received manifestations and inspiration directing them to continue this work. I told them I had made the subject a matter of prayer and had asked to be free from all prejudice or bias and to be able to recognize the facts and the truth, and testified to them that while their free agency was, of course, their own and not to be interfered with by me, that I considered it would be well for them to abandon this work and to take themselves to useful and profitable labor.

        It is astounding to see the great effort they have made in what I believe to be an undertaking directed by the spirit of misguided zeal, which I believe to be the spirit of evil. Work has been in progress here for about 18 years, and on the statement made by the men themselves, the expenditure in labor and money is largely in excess of $100,000.00. I showed the men how utterly contrary to wisdom it is to go to the top of a mountain and there commence to sink a shaft in order seemingly to reach the bottom. The slopes are such that, by tunneling in a short distance from the canyon side, the present bottom of the shaft could be reached with comparatively little expense or trouble; moreover, such a tunnel would have provided for the out-flow of water which at the present time has to be pumped from the level of the present bottom. The whole undertaking appeals to me to be lacking in the ordinary elements of common sense; and I felt I would not be doing my duty did I fail to set forth plainly the utter recklessness and uselessness of such work. As to any divine direction in the matter, I had upon the ground and so testified to the men, an impression not to be disregarded, that the source of the inspiration which they claim is the very opposite of divine.

        This is but one of many such instances of alleged supernatural manifestations that work among our people, most of them tending to show that those who follow the course indicated will find great wealth in the hills. Truly the spirit of discernment is needed amongst the saints today. The predictions of old, that in the last days evil spirits, and even the spirits of devils will be working miracles among the people, are fulfilled. In this particular case stock in the company is now selling at $1.50 per share, and, as I saw for myself, thirty men are wasteing their brawn and muscle in utterly profitless labor, each receiving two shares of stock per day for his services.

        I remained with the brethren until after 7 p.m. then descended the mountain and drove to Spanish Fork, thence onward to Springville where I caught the night train, leaving the horse and buggy to be returned by one of the brethren who had volunteered for the service. I reached home shortly before midnight. [James E. Talmage diary]

-- July 17, 1913; Thursday

The following is the report of the regular meeting of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles held this morning in the Temple at 10:30.

        There were present: Pres[iden]ts. [Joseph F.] Smith, [Anthon H.] Lund, [Charles W.] Penrose and [Francis M.] Lyman, Elders Heber J. Grant, Rudger Clawson, Hyrum M. Smith, George Albert Smith, George F. Richards, Orson F. Whitney, David O. McKay, James E. Talmage and the Patriarch. ...

        Bro[ther]. Talmage reported a visit made by him to the Dream Mine near Spanish Fork [Utah]. He found conditions most lamentable. The shaft has been sunk between 1100 and 1200 feet at a cost of over $100,000. He went clear to the bottom and examined the work being done. It was suggested that he express his findings to Bishop [John H.] Koyle, which he did in the presence of thirty workmen, telling them that if he were making a professional report he would advise those engaging his services not to put a penny into the mine, that from a geological standpoint there was no more promise of finding ore in that mine than there could be in a clay bank. Bro[ther]. Talmage said he got the Bishop to tell his story as to how he came to open up the mine. He said that eighteen years ago he had a dream, and in his dream he found himself on that hillside, when it was made plain to him that there was a body of ore in that ground. He dreamed it a second time, also a third time, and then he said he was carried in the spirit into the mountain, and went on to describe the different stratas of material that he would strike before striking the ore, and the Bishop thinks now he is very near ore. Thirty workmen were engaged working for capital stock, and applications are being made from all parts of the State for stock at $1.50 share, and they were selling, he was told, about 300 shares a week, and about 60,000 shares in the treasury unsold. In order to show the absurd way in which the mine is being worked Bro[ther]. Talmage said that at the bottom of the shaft only two men can work at a time, and it took eight to eighteen men to wait on them, that is, to receive and send to the top of the mine when the two men dig, and to pump water. He showed them that by going to the hillside and tunnelling in, they could easily have accomplished at an expenditure of $10,000 what had cost them over $100,000. But the Bishop explained that the shaft was sunk exactly where it had been shown him in his dream. The Bishop also remarked that it was made plain to him that they would have to work for a long period, and that only the faithful and those who remained true to the mine, would reap the benefits.

        President Smith now drew attention of the Council to what is called the Majestic Gold Mine near Brigham City [Utah], and suggested that Bro[ther]. Talmage and Bro[ther]. Fred J. Pack make it their business to examine that property, as he had reason to believe it was another such thing as the Dream Mine. ...  [First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve minutes]

-- August 7, 1913; Thursday

The following is the report of the regular meeting of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles held this morning in the Temple at 10:30.

        There were present: Pres[iden]ts. [Joseph F.] Smith, [Anthon H.] Lund, [Charles W.] Penrose and [Francis M.] Lyman, Elders Rudger Clawson, Hyrum M. Smith, George Albert Smith, George F. Richards, Orson F. Whitney, David O. McKay, Anthony W. Ivins, Joseph F[ielding]. Smith Jr., James E. Talmage and the Patriarch. ...

        Letter read from Pres[iden]t. J. S. Page and Counselors, dated 4th inst., in answer to letters of the Presidency, dated April 22nd and July 19th, in regard to Bishop [John H.] Koyle and his connection with the Dream Mine.

        After considerable discussion it was decided, on the suggestion of President Smith that Pres[iden]t. Lyman take this matter in hand and see that the Stake Presidency were prompted to do their duty by way of releasing Bishop Koyle as Bishop of Leland Ward, this on account of his connection with the Dream Mine. ...  [First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve minutes]

-- August 12, 1913; Tuesday

Forenoon was occupied in committee meeting of the Twelve called by President [Francis M.] Lyman, particularly to consult with the Presidency of the Nebo [Utah] stake relative to the activity of Bishop John H. Koyle, of Leland ward. Brother Koyle is the instigator of the excitement and agitation relating to his so-called "Dream Mine." It appears to me necessary that he be relieved of his bishopric.  [James E. Talmage diary]

-- June 30, 1914; Tuesday

Attended quarterly meeting of the Twelve in the Temple. The meeting beg[a]n at 10 a.m. and closed shortly after 6 p.m. It was a gathering of great interest and importance.

        This evening's papers announce the closing down of the "Dream Mine", near Salem, Utah. I regard this as a good occurrence in view of the conditions under which so many people have been deceived in connection with this ill-directed enterprise.  [James E. Talmage diary]