A. R. Mortensen
UTAH STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Salt Lake City, Utah
August 25, 1955
Mr. J. K. Fancher,
Dear Mr. Fancher:
I am thrilled beyond measure at your letter of August 16th, which tells of your family reunion and unveiling ceremonies to be held on September 4th, at Harrison, Arkansas. Your most cordial invitation to participate with you people on that day is particularly appreciated.
All my adult life I have been concerned with the history of the Mountain Meadows, the most tragic, vent that took place there, and the unhappy aftermath that has existed in many quarters down to our time. For a variety of reasons, one of which is paramount above all the rest, I am personally affected just as much as you by the great tragedy of September, 1857. My great grandfather died there also -- but twenty years after the massacre. His name was John D. Lee.
There is never an excuse for murder, and I have never sought one, but in the case of the Mountain Meadows Massacre there is at least an explanation which partially accounts for the actions of the fifty-three white participants. A careful reading of the book by Juanita Brooks will supply the explanation I have indicated.
The spirit of your letter to me, and the spirit in which you are holding your affair, is indeed the epitome of Christianity. May I extend sincere greetings to you and your family and all those who participate with you on September 4th next, and hope that the Guardian of us all favors you with a happy and successful day.
Sincerely yours, /s A. R. Mortensen.