Nightmare of the Dream Mine
The e-group undoubtedly has brought new faith to work an old claim, but some doubt Koyle’s dream is being realized.
Kevin Kraut is a believer in the dream, but a doubter of his fellow dreamers. Kevin’s late father Ogden was one of few scholars to write about the mine, and the elder Kraut had no doubt that the mine was a divine mission. That’s because Ogden actually worked on the mine and “witnessed” the prophesies of Koyle come true.
But the idea of relief, Kevin Kraut believes, is a Mormon fundamental lost on most members, and even on most mine shareholders. “They don’t get it. When the mine comes in, do you think a lot of these people who got stock are gonna use it to help others, or help themselves?” Kevin asks.
Kevin refers to the United Order, an early Mormon utopian philosophy drawn from the “law of consecration” mentioned in the Bible and LDS scriptures. The order envisioned a society of common goods and property, where brethren labored together to take care of one another. But Kevin thinks this teaching often is forgotten.
“People’s hearts are so set upon the things of this world. People don’t understand the law of consecration. It’s about trying to help the other guy before helping themselves. There are a lot of stockholders who just don’t get the drift,” he says.
Kevin acknowledges the e-group has been a blessing in the way it has helped to organize volunteer work at the mine and even in raising funds for publishing some his father’s work. But still, he wonders if they get it.
“My father worked with Koyle, and he knows he was so inspired. He prophesied things on a dime, and he tried to live the old religion. These guys nowadays, LDS people living in big houses, fancy cars, paying their tithing and then just taking care of themselves, let me tell you—there will be more harlots that make it into the kingdom of heaven than some of these pompous LDS folks.”
For Kevin, this isn’t just a guess.
“Believe me, I’ve been to the other side, and those guys aren’t there.”
His trip to the “other side” was a near fatal diabetic coma. His troubles didn’t end there; he also believes he was fired from his past job because of his father’s belief in plural marriage.
Kevin bristles at the way he’s been treated by former employers but is also at peace with his beliefs. The senior Kraut argued that Koyle believed in plural marriage, and so does Kevin.
Kraut distinguishes his own understanding of plural marriage from the coercive kind practiced by fundamentalist sect leader Warren Jeffs, convicted in September 2007 in St. George on two counts of being an accomplice to rape. “That kind of polygamy turns my stomach; it turns God’s stomach,” he says.
Despite the disdain his convictions draw from society and even fellow mine believers, Kevin is confident the mine has a sacred purpose. “Look, Sodom and Gomorrah weren’t wiped out just because of sexuality. It’s because they cared too much for the things of the world and didn’t care about their fellow man. That’s why the mine is there now. To get people from Babylon to Zion, that’s all.”
According to Ogden Kraut, in the early days, the mine was referred to as the “White City.” It was to become a gathering for refugees fleeing the carnage of the last days. Today’s keeper of the mine, so to speak, is a middle-age man named Joe Lentz. He rents property next to the mine and guards against trespassers.
The mine, constructed of solid minimalist blocks, rests against the Salem hills. While some pictures depict the mine as a white beacon, the winter has tarnished the building to a mottled gun-metal gray, like the clouds overhead.
“That building there,” Lentz says, gesturing toward a tiny house adjacent to the mine the size of a small woodshed, “was built for Stan Wheeler. He was a member of the board who used to pray out there and wait for the mine to come in.”
Inside the “house” is a room with a small table, a brick stove and a tattered chair set before a dingy window that looks out to the mine. “[Wheeler] spent about 30 days straight here once,” Lentz says. “Yeah, they’re animate folks …”
My father, who is a Dream Mine stockholder himself, first told me of the mine. With his introduction, I was allowed to tour the grounds one recent frigid morning in November. We viewed old dynamite sheds, an ore-processing mill stacked with tons of raw dark earth, and the mine shaft itself—the “prophesied” gateway to the fabled treasure vaults of the ancient Nephites. Standing sentry today is only a rusted mine cart, locked to the gate and meant to keep out the curious.
From the top of the mine, the valley spreads out in all directions, a blanket of farmlands, country roads, endless sky and the towns of Salem and Spanish Fork below.
At one time Koyle and the faithful lived right below the mine, forming a tight-knit community reverently bowed against the mountain above.
Ironically, the current residents are not believers but simply tenants of the Relief Mine property, like Joe Lentz.
Lentz, a devout Mormon, may guard the mine property, but he holds no stock in it—literally or figuratively. If otherworldly messengers did visit Koyle in a dream, Lentz wouldn’t consider them to be “heavenly.”
Far from it.
“Well, let’s just say there’s only one other person besides God who can send messengers to Earth. … I think you know who that is.”