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For week ended September 12, 1999 Posted 19 Sep 1999

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Monument instills healing at Mountain Meadows site

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Monument instills healing at Mountain Meadows site
Deseret News 12Sep99 C7
By Carma Wadley: Deseret News senior writer

CENTRAL, UTAH -- Calling for healing and peace, President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the grave-site memorial at the Mountain Meadows Massacre site, about 35 miles north of St. George, Utah. About 100 descendents of the children that survived the massacre attended the ceremony, along with descendents of members of the Iron County militia, which participated. "All who knew firsthand about what occurred here are long since gone. Let the book of the past be closed. Let peace come into our hearts," said President Hinckley.

Ron Loving, president of the Mountain Meadows Association said that the day represented a milestone in recognizing the events that happened 142 years ago, "Never in my wildest dreams did I think we'd get to this point. It is as if a dam of pent-up emotion and interest has been released. The truth of the massacre is being talked about freely, and there has been such an outpouring of feeling."

During his remarks, President Hinckley told of his first visit to the site, nearly 50 years ago. "When my father turned 85, I brought him down to southern Utah. We visited this place. There was no one else around. My father said nothing. I said nothing. We simply stood here and thought of what occurred here in 1857. The rock cairn was here. Weeds rustled in the breeze. We walked back to our car without speaking. We knew this ground was hallowed, and we were reverent and respectful."

He also recognized that the dedication was a major accomplishment. "This is a solemn and significant occasion. This is an emotional experience for me. I come as a peacemaker. This is not a time for recrimination or the assigning of blame. No one can explain what happened in these meadows 142 years ago. We may speculate, but we do not know. We do not understand it. We cannot comprehend it. We can only say that the past is long since gone. It cannot be recalled."

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information