"The Mormon Gold Mine." Where Brother Brigham Got The Gold To Build Up His Zion
A picture of the actual Spanish map that lead Caleb Rhoades to the Pine Mine near Moon Lake. Click on map to see larger image
Picture courtesy of Gary Christensen.
Click here for article in Salt Lake Tribune
The history books and Church officials try to make it seem that all of the gold that was used when the Church started minting gold, came from the gold rush in California, but Utah was settled before the discovery of gold in California. It is also clear that the Church was against gold prospecting. This could be attributed to the fact that the church wanted every member to concentrate on their labors here in Salt Lake and did not want to "scatter the herd". This being said, I have been told by decendants of Caleb Rhoades, still living in the Red Creek area, that after a few years in the Salt Lake Valley, Caleb did infact go to California to mine gold. Shortly after his return, however, Brigham Young asked all members to give whatever they could to the cause. Caleb, as recorded in the "Gold Accounts," gave Brigham every penny he obtained in California. A small amount of gold was given by a few other members. The Church, on the other hand, was minting enough coins to pay all of the workers and meet all of the church's many needs. So the question still remains; Where did the gold come from? I personally have heard at least 40 gold mine stories that involve the Uintas, old and recent. I have come to the conclusion that a large portion of gold, that the Mormons aquired, was brought to the area approx. 300 years ago, with the Aztec's. The main reason why the Aztecs were forced to bring their wealth this far north was to continue to keep it out of the reach of the Spaniards. I also believe that the Aztec's may have been lead by some higher power, so that it could be used for different purposes during these times, but I won't get into that. But it is a well known fact that when the pioneers arrived in Salt Lake they were PENNILESS. Only two years later they were minting gold coins and furbishing their Temple in gold leaf. In the book, "The Gold of Carre-Shinob", Kerry Boren describes the hardships and awesome sights that he and his cousin experienced while searching for the gold of Carre-Shinob and other numerous mines in the Uinta Mountains. Wether you are inclined to believe the accounts of Mr. Boren or not is irrelavant; at least claims concerning official documents. These type of advance can be proven. Mr. Boren has pronounced to have spent many hours going through State Archives, references at the Utah State Historical Library and acquired a job with the church, overseeing the Church archives in the Vault in Big Cottonwood Canyon. He states that he has seen documents proving that Gold was taken, by Brigham young's associates as he was probably instructed to do by the lord, from the "Lost Rhoades Mine,". For example: Mr. Boren states that there are several document boxes, marked "TOA#5" and "TOA#6," that hold a number of sheets with copper and gold leaf designs. Contained with the gold leaf is a sheet of paper that has the Church letter head on it, which reads as follows: Copper and gold leaf strips used in the original design of angel Moroni. Copper obtained from Dyer smelter. Gold from Caleb B. Rhoades storage tithe. Moroni plate from same source over copper and brass framework. Samples for storage. Likeness were placed in time capsule, foundation stone of Eagle Gate. I attest to the Authenticity of my craftsmanship. -(signed) Truman O. Angel (Bro. Angel was an architect who supervised much of the construction of the S.L. Temple, including angel Moroni.)
Mr. Boren has discovered that he was a descendant of a man who was good friends with Chief Wakara, who happened to be the Chief of the Northern Ute's/Aztecs during the crucial time that the Pioneers first inhabited Salt Lake. Journals of his great grandfather (Bro. Isaac Morley) were given to him, although he does not say by whom, and found out that this descendant was the company leader of a team heading south to settle in the San Pete valley. His journals described the relationships between the Indians and the Pioneers, but mainly reflects his friendship between himself and Chief Wakara as they became very close. Their friendship would prove valuable in later years. Chief Wakara would eventually demand that he take Bro. Morley to Carre-Shinob and "The Sacred Mine." Carre-Shinob, to the Ute Indians, is a sacred place that supposedly was built by the ancestors and holds millions of dollars in gold. The Sacred Mine on the other hand, is just one of the extensive caves that contain stashed, already refined gold. Chief Wakara admitted to Bro. Morley that he had received a vision from "Towats", (the Lord,) that he should give the gold to the "tall hat's" when they arrived. That spring, with Brigham Young's permission, the Chief lead Bro. Morley to the sacred mines where bro. Morley collected about 58 pounds of refined gold and eventually sent it to B.Y. in Salt Lake City. The Church used it to decorate the temple and for funds to construct new highways from Salt Lake southward. Young decided to test out the new roads and made a trip south to the newly established colony in the San Pete valley. (During his stay, Young named the city "Manti" at Morley's' request.) Here he met with Bro. Morley and the Chief to discuss the possibility of bringing more gold down from the Uinta mountains. Young explained that the gold would be used for a sacred purpose of which "Towats" would be pleased, for the adornment of the temple, in his honor, and to make a statue which would stand atop the Temple of Towats in Salt Lake City. Chief Wakara happily agreed but told them that only one man was to know where the mine was and that the man that knew had to be equally trusted by both parties. The Chief quickly nominated Bro. Morley as his candidate and Young agreed, but soon there after Morley stated that he was too old to make any more trips. So during the next few years the search was on for a new man to make the, almost yearly trip. The problem was, was that by mid January of 1851, the church was running low on money again. Gov. Young had no choice but to ask Bro. Morley if he would make one last run, but he denied the request. Finally after almost begging on Young's part, Bro. Morley left for one last trek to the caves.
In May of 1852 Young had chosen a new man to bring the gold from the sacred mine. His name was Thomas Rhoades. He took Rhoades to Manti to meet Morley and the Chief. Moreover, Young wanted the Chiefs approval on Rhoades being the new person for the gold extractions. Wakara tentatively agreed, but wanted Young to act as a mediator to bring peace between the Ute's and the warring Shoshone Indians. Brigham also wanted further assurances that the Chief was not going to change his mind once the agreement was made and had the Chief swear on a Book of Mormon. Gov. Young held a meeting for the two tribe leaders and eventually got them to pass the peace pipe. Rhoades was subsequently sent for more gold and returned with 62 pounds of "pure gold."
Less than a year after this treaty was made Chief Wakara declared war again, but this time it was on the Mormons, for passing a law outlawing the selling of their own children, as Indian slaves to the Spaniards passing through the area. The Indians made lots of money doing this. This war was considered the "Wakara War." (An interesting note is that the Chief never once attacked the City of Manti or any of Morley's' colonies.) After a year of fighting Chief Wakara gave up to Young. He and Morley surprisingly became closer after the war, which would make Young a little suspicious of Morley. It was said that during a meeting with the apostles, Young stated that it seemed that Bro. Morley cared more for the Indians than his own Mormon affairs. Of course this is speculation, but it is clear from Morley's journals that their relationship suffered during these times.
In January of 1855, Chief Wakara died and his son, (Arapeen), succeeded him as Chief. At the same time Thomas Rhoades also became sick and could no longer make the trips into the mountains. So, Brigham was faced with a huge
dilemma. He wasn't even sure if the new chief would honor the agreement that he had made with his father and even if he did, Young would have to get permission from Arapeen to allow Caleb Rhoades (Thomas Rhoades son), to take over the gold extractions. But due to the fact that Arapeen new that his father trusted Morley to a great extent, the new Chief had no problems with this, but obviously did not trust Caleb, because for the first three trips Arapeen sent Indian escorts with him. After Caleb married an Indian girl, however, he became, in Arapeen's eyes, trustworthy enough to go alone. In the end though, Caleb would be shot with an arrow on Tabby Mountain, because he secretly went back to the mine with out Ute permission. After this the mines were sealed up and the maps, that were secretly drawn by Rhoades, along with others that were found on a dead
Mexican found in Chicken Creek, were hidden in the church archives.
Young new that if the word got out that Utah had these treasures, it would cause a gold rush bigger than that of the California Hysteria. Thus the reason why the church keeps this information so concealed even to this day. The other reason is that, as mentioned above, early church leaders including Brigham Young, threatened excommunication for saints that participated in the prospecting for gold. This is why very little information about these men and their expeditions can be found, because they were done in secret. Mr. Boren does insist though, that he has uncovered various state and church documents proving these facts/stories, found in his great grandfathers journals, to be true. The documents mainly being found in the churchs' granite vault. NOTE: This is probably the largest of Montezuma's hidden stashes. And even though the Church does not have legal "claims" on it, the Lord may be keeping it for future use. As for the Ute's, they won't go near it. They say that it is too sacred.
This Rhoades map is located at the Utah Historical Society in Salt Lake City.