"Surely There is a Vein for Silver and a Place for Gold" : Mining and Religion in the Nineteenth Century Intermountain West
John Whitmer Historical Association Journal
Towards the end of the 1800s the area of the Great Basin "seemed to be split along two cultural fault lines." These cultural fault lines reflected the differences between the mining industry and the agricultural industry. Brigham Young preached against mining for precious metals, though mining for lead, iron, and coal was encouraged because these metals would help the Saints be self-sufficient. Most members of the Church obeyed Young's teachings so areas with precious metals were often mined and settled by people who did not belong to the Mormon Church. Latter-day Saints focused on agriculture, though they also made money off of prospectors heading to California and Nevada. After Brigham Young's death times begin to change as Latter-day Saints "became less self-sufficient in orientation and more corporate in action," and did, in fact, participate in mining ventures.