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Posted 09 Apr 2001   For week ended April 06, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 04Apr01

By Mark Wright

Mountain Meadows Massacre Artifacts to Remain in Arkansas

BERRYVILLE, ARKANSAS -- They say that time heals all wounds. Perhaps "they" never heard of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. In the latest chapter of the on-going saga of perhaps the most infamous incident in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Church and its primary opponent have reached an uneasy conclusion.

As reported in previous editions of Mormon News, the Church of Jesus Christ decided to rebuild the Mountain Meadows Massacre monument in 1999, trying to bring some closure to the painful memories of all involved. Unfortunately, the effort to put the issue to rest opened new wounds. During the preliminary excavation for the new monument, human remains of some of the victims were inadvertently unearthed. In addition to the skeletal remains of approximately 29 people, the accidental discovery also brought to light a few related artifacts, including some buttons and some small pieces of metal.

Once the remains had been reburied, the fight over the disposition of the artifacts remained. Scott Fancher, president of the Mountain Meadows Monument Foundation in Arkansas, wanted the items returned to the site of the massacre and reburied with the remains of the victims. The Church, which owned the land where the artifacts were discovered, decided instead to donate the artifacts to a museum in Berryville, Ark., near the point of departure for many of the victims. Apparently, after several years of sometimes contentious disagreement, Fancher has now capitulated, citing the unacceptably high costs of litigating his way to the desired conclusion. "I don't have deep enough pockets," Fancher said. Fancher has fought the decision for more than a year and has appealed to all who would listen. While he still believes the artifacts should be reburied in Utah, his attorney has convinced him that a protracted legal battle would simply cost too much. President Hinckley, at the September 11, 1999 dedication of the rebuilt Mountain Meadows Massacre monument, declared, "Let the book of the past be closed." In spite of this heartfelt plea and after almost 150 years, this tragic event is still shrouded in mystery and pain. One thing, however, remains certain. It is doubtful that the whole truth regarding the Mountain Meadows Massacre will ever be known. Perhaps with the disagreement regarding the artifacts completed, the figurative dust can settle. Then, maybe then, the artifacts and the sad tale of the Mountain Meadows Massacre can all rest in peace.


Battle over artifacts ends
Deseret News 31Mar01 N6
By Lynn Arave: Deseret News staff writer
Critic ceases fighting plan for massacre objects


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