Although Latter-day Saints were instrumental in discovering the California gold that led to the 1849 gold rush, as a people they remained in the Great Basin due to counsel from Brigham Young, who felt raising crops would ultimately bring more wealth than searching for gold. However, Young allowed several young men to be called on gold mining missions for the Church. Their journal entries describe their challenges and their success and their eventual founding of the Hawaiian Mission.
Campbell, Eugene E.
"The Mormon Gold-Mining Mission of 1849,"
BYU Studies Quarterly: Vol. 1
, Article 3.
Available at: http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/byusq/vol1/iss2/3