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Nephite Temple

But most accounts come from less religious sources who merely stumble upon sites by chance while prospecting or casually tramping the hills. One such story was given to Gale Rhoades by a man who, for obvious reasons, asked to remain anonymous.

In 1960, this man and his black friend were out in the hills hunting for Indian arrowheads when they came upon the entrance of a small cave which had very strange symbols chiseled into the rock above its portal. His first inclination was that the symbols were Egyptian hieroglyphics, but he soon discounted this as a possibility.

With some trepidation they entered the cave and made their way into an interior room where they were aghast at what they beheld. Before their eyes were statues of various sizes, in the forms of strange animals, all of solid silver and gold. The walls of the room were adorned with large gold and copper plaques with strange symbols carved on them, which reminded him of sunbursts. There were chests of unusual artifacts, made primarily of precious metals and adorned with gems, and there were numerous stacks of 10 x 12 inch stone boxes sealed with pine gum and wrapped with cedar bark. The cave also contained two mummified bodies of a man and a woman. The man appeared to have been near 7 feet tall, and the hair of each was still visible, the man having red hair and the woman's hair was blonde. The bodies reposed in stone caskets each weighing about one ton.

The men were astonished by their discovery and more than just a little frightened. Before hastily retreating, the man picked up eight small copper plates and wrapped them in a coarse cloth found nearby. They swore each other to secrecy until they could decide what to do about it.

The discoverer was a member of the Mormon Church who didn't want the Church involved, so he took the copper plates and details of his discovery to anthropologists and archaeologists at the University of Utah at Salt Lake City.

According to this man, the professors literally laughed at him and implied that he had likely fashioned the plates himself. Nevertheless, one of the professors, whom he identified as Jesse Jennings (renowned as the "Father of Utah Archaeology"), kept four of the small plates, promising to return them to him following certain tests. The plates were never seen again.

This event occurred late in 1960. Gale Rhoades discovered information which indicated that two of the plates had been spray painted with gold by the professor and sent to an eastern museum. The museum returned the plates along with a letter declaring them as fakes. Gale located Dr. Jennings, who had retired to another state, and contacted him by telephone, asking him about the plates. Jennings denied that any plates had ever been brought to the university. Moreover, he stated blatantly that anyone who thinks the American Indians had any metal records is in great error and that anyone professing to have found metal plates in Utah should be considered a fraud.

After hearing Gale Rhoades' account, I did some research of my own. I had contacts at the University of Utah Special Collections Department who permitted me to go through acquisition accounts for the year 1960. There, plainly written, under date of 12 October 1960, was the acquisition receipt of "four small plates of pounded copper bearing inscriptions of unknown origin." It was signed by none other than Dr. Jesse Jennings! More importantly, another reference indicated that two of these plates had been subsequently (1962) donated to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!

I placed my own telephone call to Dr. Jennings to confront him with my discoveries. It was obvious that he had not told the whole truth when he informed my cousin that no such plates had ever been submitted to the University. When I confronted Dr. Jennings with the existence of the signed receipt and asked him to explain, I was met with silence. I then asked if he could at least tell me why two of the plates were subsequently donated to the Mormon Church. His only reply was that "The Mormon Church exerts a tremendous amount of influence in Utah."

The story does not end here for the man who discovered the "temple" cave. He brought the plates to the elderly parents of an acquaintance of Gale Rhoades--people he trusted--and they were laid out on a table and photographed. He described the plates left behind in the cave in the stone boxes as being round in shape, six or seven inches across with a 3/4 inch round hole in the center, and of the thickness of a manila folder. The plates were inscribed on one side with strange hieroglyphics.

A week later, the man took the plates to Provo and showed them to a BYU professor, who is currently retired from the Archaeology Department. When he returned home shortly thereafter, his problems began to escalate rapidly. His black friend, who had been part of the initial discovery, was killed in an unexplained accident, and shortly thereafter his own life began to be threatened if he continued to publicize his find. When he ignored the threats, his eldest son was killed under mysterious circumstances. The man blames his incredible misfortunes on his discovery of the "Nephite" temple.

Whether or not this is true, it seems apparent that someone in high places is covering up something, and whatever the plates represent, it is sufficient to cause university officials to misrepresent institutional involvement.

While it is necessary that we should protect the identity of the man involved, we can safely reveal that the location of his discovery was in the vicinity of the head of Minnie Maud Canyon, a branch of Nine Mile Canyon northwest of Price, Utah, at a place called Sand Wash. The canyon ledges are here covered with Indian petroglyphs, and the surrounding area is renowned for Indian arrowheads, artifacts, and even mummified remains. [For more information and illustrations of metal plates connected with this topic, the authors recommend Treasures of the Ancients, by Stephen B. Shaffer, Cedar Fort, Inc., Springville, Utah (1996).]

The above account does not represent the first discovery in this area. An old timer who lived in the Uintah Basin for many years revealed the following story to Jim Nebeker of Roosevelt, Utah.

The old man reported that when he was a young boy he was taken out to the Sand Wash area by an old neighbor who had prospected that area prior to the turn of the century. The old prospector showed him where gold nuggets could be dug from the clay banks of a small ravine. More importantly, however, the old prospector showed him some old and ancient ruins which he referred to as an Indian Temple. It was just above the ravine where the gold was located. There were rooms and stairways cut through solid rock and upon the walls inside were large disk-like metal plates which all had strange pictures or symbols carved or stamped into them. But what scared me most of all was this one large room where there was this skeleton of a man, sitting and kind' a leaning back against the wall, still wearing a hat and boots.

There are obvious similarities between the two accounts. One day the old man agreed to take Nebeker to Sand Wash and show him the Indian temple. They were stopped just short of the site by a large chain-link fence with signs attached which read:



--Gold of Carre-Shinob, pg. 138

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