In 1894, John H. Koyle claimed he had been visited by a heavenly being who told him there was a vast deposit of Nephite gold in a hill in Salem, Utah. The messenger said the gold in this hill was to provide relief to the Church and the U.S. government after a severe economic collapse. As Koyle’s revelatory experiences and flair for prophecy became more dramatic, LDS authorities pressured Koyle and his followers to abandon the Relief Mine, as it was known. In 1913, at the Church’s request, noted geologist/ Apostle James E. Talmage investigated the Relief Mine, ultimately declaring that no gold would ever be found there. For years, a battle ensued between supporters of Talmage and Koyle regarding the mine’s efficacy. The 1913 First Presidency statement “A Warning Voice” was an outgrowth of this controversy, the document comprising a quasi-scriptural refutation of mining ventures and revelations coming from other than authorized sources. This paper will examine the history behind the conflict, accounts of Bishop Koyles’ various prophecies, and some lesser-known writings from Talmage’s journals.
James P. Harris, Kevin Wilde