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Mormon missionary killed after being hit by truck in Oklahoma

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  • wer South Jordan, UT
    Feb. 4, 2013 12:12 a.m.

    We are saddened by the news of Sister Smith, and pray for her family, companion and the truck driver.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Feb. 4, 2013 5:46 a.m.

    So, so sad. I'm surprised to read she was on a bike. What is the policy on sisters and cars in the US and elsewhere?

  • midwestldshb Tulsa, OK
    Feb. 4, 2013 8:22 a.m.

    I was honored to know Sister Alesa Smith, to watch her grow up the last few years and get sent out on her mission. I was so proud of her. I know that she is now serving an eternal mission and errand for our Heavenly Father. Thank you, Alesa for your service, your family and ward family miss you terribly. But because of what we know, we KNOW we will see you again.

  • suzyk#1 Mount Pleasant, UT
    Feb. 4, 2013 8:52 a.m.

    This story brought tears of sadness. I stand all amazed at the love these young men and women have for our Savior Jesus Christ and their desire to serve wherever they are called. She is certainly in a better place than we are and I pray the Lord's choicest blessings will be upon her family, and friends at this difficult time.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Feb. 4, 2013 8:54 a.m.

    At a minimum, there should be a policy that prohibits missionaries from riding bikes when it is dark! If the missionaries don't have a car, then members should transport them to their evening appts.

    Deep condolences to the family and friends of Sr. Smith.

  • Amber K. Calgary, Alberta, 00
    Feb. 4, 2013 9:26 a.m.

    I'm praying for all those touched by this in any possible way, that they will find the strength and comfort they need. In our temporal lives we only see the smallest possible fraction of the eternal picture, but there is comfort in remembering that these pieces WILL form a whole, and it will be more beautiful and lovely beyond our wildest imaginations. Sister Smith spent her last months on earth serving the Lord - and the blessings and joy she is surely now enveloped in cannot be comprehended in this world. D&C 42:44-46 tells that "And the (missionaries) of the church, two or more, shall be called.... and if they die they shall die unto me, and if they live they shall live unto me. Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die.... And it shall come to pass that those that die in me shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them" My heart weeps, but the scriptures speak comfort to me always and I'm embraced by the Spirit who eases all pain. May the same be true for any and for all.

  • MapleDon Springville, UT
    Feb. 4, 2013 9:38 a.m.

    The Biking Policy needs to be rethought. What a loss!

  • SoUtBoy25 Cedar City, UT
    Feb. 4, 2013 10:01 a.m.

    In Finland it is always dark in the winter, but at least they have more dedicated biking paths and equipment for headlights and reflectors. I'm surprised sisters are on bikes here in the US where cars rule and bikers are considered pests on the road.

  • Forrestc Greenway, AR
    Feb. 4, 2013 10:07 a.m.

    AS WE SAY GOODBYE

    She left with dreams of changing hearts,
    one soul at a time.
    She was following her Savior’s footsteps,
    and seeking out the blind.

    And though today we mourn her loss,
    Remember, eternity waits.
    She still is serving the God she loves,
    beyond His golden gate.

    So look to the sky for rainbows of love
    for she is waiting there;
    someday we will walk with her,
    and climb up heaven’s stairs.

    © Forrest Phelps-Cook

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Feb. 4, 2013 10:55 a.m.

    I'm sad to hear of this.
    I have both a nephew, and a Elderly couple Missionaries from my ward serving with her in that Mission.

    Some Missionaries get sent home early,
    and then again, some Missionaries get sent HOME early.

    My thoughts, prayers and condolences with everyone who knew her.

  • Jazzledazzle Provo, UT
    Feb. 4, 2013 11:21 a.m.

    Condolences to the family. This is sad.

    To all those who are bagging on the biking policy, maybe it was her time to go. She is in a better place. Leaving this life while serving a mission is an honorable way to go and she will be rewarded eternally.

    My prayers go out to her family.

  • AChapin Albany, Linn, OR
    Feb. 4, 2013 11:33 a.m.

    Aloha and Mahalo for your faithful service.

  • SLCMom Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 4, 2013 11:48 a.m.

    This is heartbreaking for all of us. It is every parent's nightmare. It is especially terrifying for me as a mother who will be sending my own daughter on a full-time LDS mission in less than 1 week! She is headed to a stateside mission that is requiring that ALL missionaries, including Sisters, purchase a bike in advance and ship it there. The church isn't budgeting more cars to compensate for the huge increase in missionaries since October's announcement of the lowered age. My daughter is a novice rider which is scary for her and us (she indicated this on her paperwork). The expense is tremendous (over $800 for a basic package). Now this tragedy occurs which confirms all our fears. It's hard not to completely panic. How many more of these young inexperienced bike riders entering unfamiliar terrain and dangerous locations will have to be severely injured or even lose their lives before the Church rethinks their policies and implement extensive training and safer options?! Having a bike stolen and being unable to afford to replace it is now the least of our worries. Please Church, Do EVERYTHING necessary to prevent another senseless tragedy!

  • Timp South Jordan, UT
    Feb. 4, 2013 11:51 a.m.

    I'm LDS and a RM also do not think it's appropriate or safe having people biking around at 8-9 at night on country roads, especially when it's dark. What a tragedy.

  • caleb in new york Glen Cove, NY
    Feb. 4, 2013 12:12 p.m.

    people die in car accidents quite frequently and some people can even die just walking down the street so although I think its fair to constantly reevaluate priorities and to make the missionaries' safety a high priority it sounds on this board like a lot of quick-response reactions. Good leadership requires reviewing the spectrum of considerations and not just a quick reaction to one or a few incidents.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Feb. 4, 2013 12:17 p.m.

    This is beyond sad. God bless her family members.

  • Calciomom Lindon, UT
    Feb. 4, 2013 12:33 p.m.

    All of my surviving children served missions on bikes in different parts of the world. Please don't panic. When you send a child on a mission, as in all other areas of life, you are placing your trust in the Lord that He knows what is best for that young man/woman. As long as he/she is faithful, she will be blessed. This doesn't always mean protection if it is that young person's time to go. We had a 13-year-old son killed in a car accident who was called to a different type of mission. Trust in the Lord means we will trust Him in all things, even if things don't always turn out the way we think they should.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    Feb. 4, 2013 12:44 p.m.

    We could use a follow-up to the case of the missionary killed at night while riding in South Texas, somewhere around Hidalgo as I recall. Maybe in 2011. Elders Strong and Walker.
    Whatever came of that case?

  • Tom in CA Vallejo, CA
    Feb. 4, 2013 12:44 p.m.

    Shame on those of you who want to use this incident as a cloak to hide behind while disparaging the LDS Church. You need to look in the mirror.

    Stuff happens. That's life. May God bless this family.

  • aspen Bellevue, WA
    Feb. 4, 2013 12:55 p.m.

    I rode a bike on my mission and was run off the road by an irresponsible driver, and that was before texting. I would not want my children riding bikes when they serve their missions. It's just not safe anymore.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Feb. 4, 2013 12:57 p.m.

    Too often I see bike riders riding where the road is narrow, forcing cars to come dangerously close to them. Or I see bike riders purposely ride out into the road, causing cars to come too close to them. I once wanted to ride a bike to work, but couldn't find what I considered to be a safe way to do this, so I didn't.

  • trentster TUSTIN, CA
    Feb. 4, 2013 2:25 p.m.

    Unfortunately, the issue of bikes in the mission field boils down to finances. Automobiles are very expensive to maintain. With the increase of missionaries worldwide, especially sister missionaries being called stateside it will become increasingly more difficult to provide them with safe transportation. The lack of public transport outside of urban areas in the U.S. is a problem for all missionaries and their safety. Rural highways and bikes do not combine for a very safe environment for safety, regardless if the riders are male or female. So sad.

  • Mariea Lethbridge, 00
    Feb. 4, 2013 3:36 p.m.

    My heart and prayers go out to the family and friends of this beautiful young Missionary....God speed Sister Smith, God speed!!

  • RoseHeart Paris, TN
    Feb. 4, 2013 3:54 p.m.

    My Sincere Heartfelt Love and Prayer's go out to All The Family and Friend's of This Sweet Young Lady, I know what a Tragedy it is to Lose Your Child and I do Hope and Pray that You will find Peace and Comfort in The Gospel and from Other's....

  • BYU Track Star Los Angeles, CA
    Feb. 4, 2013 4:07 p.m.

    Being a missionary for the Church is not a risk-free under taking. In the late-60s Mitt Romney was in an automobile accident that killed the French Mission President's wife and seriously injured the Mission President enough that Mitt as the AP was running the French Mission for awhile. There are tragic accidents like this and then there are stupid accidents like the recent case of the Missionary getting his picture taken in front of the Lion's cage - That Elder was lucky. Or the Elder's in Texas teaching the discussions to a yet unknown serial killer several years back. It didn't end well for the Elders. To all those out there or going out there. Be careful !!

  • Shimlau SAINT GEORGE, UT
    Feb. 4, 2013 7:53 p.m.

    My condolences to the Young lady's family. to SLCmom, I learned to ride a bicycle when I was 5 years old. My grandfather taught me. I also served a mission where the main mode of transportation was a bicycle, I just wonder how a child grows up to be 19 and not know how to ride a bike? btw, no criticism is intended

  • Tilka PORTLAND, OR
    Feb. 4, 2013 10:05 p.m.

    When I was on my mission we did splits in the evening with Ward missionaries and priests. The priests loved being able to drive their parents cars.

  • BYUHSeasiders Taylorsville, UT
    Feb. 4, 2013 10:39 p.m.

    My son is serving in that mission and knew her and many of her companions. I was terrified when I heard a missionary was killed.My heart goes out to Sister Smith's family and the missionaries in the Oklahoma Oklahoma City Mission. I pray for the Spirit to comfort all of them from President and Sister Taylor to the Sisters and Elders, the members and other people there that knew her.Shame to those critizisers for condeming biking. Pres & Sis Taylor has nothing but the utmost concerm and lovee for all missionaries in their mission. May the Lord comfort her family.

  • JohnJacobJingleHeimerSchmidt Beverly Hills, CA
    Feb. 5, 2013 12:08 a.m.

    It is terrible news that someone who was willing to serve has had their life cut short. We pray for the family. I hope they can find peace in the coming days and months.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    Feb. 5, 2013 4:51 a.m.

    Why do so many of you disparagingly turn this article into rant about bicycles? It just happened. Many things in life "just" happen. A young women has passed with grieving family and friends. My heart goes out to them.

  • Jazzledazzle Provo, UT
    Feb. 5, 2013 7:08 a.m.

    @ trentster

    It is not just all about finances. The area I served my mission in, you could not drive a car because the streets were so bad. Bikes were more efficient. Let's not forget too people, way more people die in car crashes than bike accidents. As I said in my earlier post, the Lord knows when it is someone's time. In the eternal perspective, this young lady is in a better place, she died in the Lord's service.

    In the Book of Mormon days, missionaries were serving people who wanted to kill them. Back in the Pioneer days, people left their family for years, traveling in not the best conditions. The Lord will have no question this young lady was on his side and she will be eternally rewarded.

    That said, again, my prayers go out to her family. We never like to see someone we love go, but one day we will all depart from this earth and face our Creator, I can't think of a more honorable way to return to the Lord.

  • Bluto Sandy, UT
    Feb. 5, 2013 7:15 a.m.

    @SLCMom

    Why would they have you purchase a bike here and pay for shipping?
    Pretty sure that is not the case.
    I purchased my bike in England when I got there.
    There are bike shops in every state and town.

    Helmet
    Lights
    Reflectors
    more..Lights and relectors.

    Zone leaders first responsibility is to the Sisters in their zone.
    Being out publically after dark needs to be mitigated for the Sisters.

  • EnglishAlan Rugeley, Staffs
    Feb. 5, 2013 7:35 a.m.

    As a convert to the Church, missionaries will always hold a special place in my heart. Whenever I hear of a missionary being killed, my heart aches, as I know what change their message brings into the lives of those who are blessed with their message. As a Return Missionary, and the parent of Return Missionaries, I know the worry that comes to those parents whose children serve. Statistically, those who serve though are less likely to lose their lives early.

    God bless you, Sister Smith, and God bless your family. My guess is that your reward is assured, and that the Lord has a higher calling for you. My prayers are also with the person who was driving the truck. This must be a difficult time for them and their family also.

  • KC Mormon Edgerton, KS
    Feb. 5, 2013 8:20 a.m.

    Jazzledazzle
    You are so right. Just last week I attended a funeral for Elder George Peter Solie who was serving in the Salt Lake City West Mission when he passed away in his sleep one year and a few days in to his mission. While it is truly sad when a missionary is lost, as with anyone, we must know that it is part of Heavenly Fathers plan for them. The most comforting words I heard came from his mother who, after so many people had called it a tragedy said "it is sad but not a tragedy. He was doing what his Heavenly Father wanted him to do."

  • The Bishop CHINQUAPIN, NC
    Feb. 5, 2013 8:22 a.m.

    I served a Mission and remember very well riding a bike. There were a few times drivers got a bit to close but for the most part it was ok. I always felt if it's my time to go, so be it. I was serving The Lord and wasn't worried. Prayers to the family of the deceased Sister Missionary. You will see her again.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Feb. 5, 2013 8:28 a.m.

    Death is a serious and somber moment in life, especially for our youth who put their life on the line everyday they are alive, and truly as missionaries of Faith. I definitely believe in safety and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has done a remarkable job in ensuring the safety and health for our Elders and Sisters throughout the years. With the very large number of missionaries and will be growing more, quickly, there is a lot of exposure daily for errors, mistakes, accidents and just sickness in many varied areas of the world. We don't want to see the loss of life of anyone.

    Missionaries can do their best to be seen and take precautions and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and mission leaders do a great job to ensure missionaries are safe and protected as much as possible.

    Hopefully, living in a world of negative news in the world, we have to be on guard of being negative even though the political world is nothing but negative, anymore. Crises happen and some are made.

    This is a sad day but with faith and God's blessings we will endure.

  • Gregg Weber SEATTLE, WA
    Feb. 5, 2013 8:38 a.m.

    "Killed" might have been the wrong word. How about "died" which doesn't have any intent connotations.

  • runnerguy50 Virginia Beach, Va
    Feb. 5, 2013 9:13 a.m.

    This is tragic news. There is nothing wrong with folks suggesting a review of bikes. My take is if the area has no bike paths then no biking.

  • gmawendy GARLAND, TX
    Feb. 5, 2013 9:37 a.m.

    My Heart goes out to the family of theis Special Missionary! Just know she was in the service of her fellow man, which means, she was in the service of the LORD! She and this special family will be Blessed always.... You will see her again and will feel her spirit with you always. She is still doing the work of the LORD! Bless you all...!
    'As Sisters in Zion!'

  • voiceofreason1234 SANDY, TX
    Feb. 5, 2013 10:52 a.m.

    My name was Hermana Smith (like the girl in the story) serving in the Dominican Republic in 88 during my last week as a missionary when a drunk motorcycle driver ran into my back tire when I was turning onto a side street from a thoroughfare. I felt nothing but a nudge on my back tire and looked back to see a man on the ground and his motorcycle a few yards away from him. I was amazed that my back tire had been bent so profoundly that my wheel could not move to spin through the forks of the bike. I was grateful for this miracle. I now have a temple marriage and 7 kids, it is so great I survived that. This story makes me remember how fortunate I am. Thanks to the Lord!

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    Feb. 5, 2013 12:39 p.m.

    This it the type of headline you never want to see. I hope the family and close friends feel an extra portion of the spirit in their lives at this moment. My family too knows the pain of losing someone in an untimely manner and we have also felt that extra portion of the spirit in our time of duress and loss.

  • Okieland Edmond, Ok
    Feb. 5, 2013 1:13 p.m.

    I live in the OKC mission, and at this time all Elders & Sisters are gathered at a memorial service for Sister Smith, so that they can mourn together and strengthen one another. She was a marvelous missionary, and she was where she was supposed to be, doing what she was supposed to be doing. Please send prayers to this mission, as they are so heartbroken to have lost such a faithful sister. Please also pray for the young companion she was training. 2 days before the accident, Sister Smith had been assigned to train a new missionary, the FIRST 19 year old sister to be sent to our mission. That poor young new sister watched her trainer die. Can you imagine? Please pray for her. That is the most painful way to start your missionary service. The authorities have not released any details of the accident, other than it was caused by a young 18 year old man driving a truck. No indications have been made that alcohol or cellphone use was a factor. Woodward is a wonderful small country town. Many places have narrow roads, and no shoulder or sidewalk available. It was an unfortunate accident. :(

  • utah cornhusker NORFOLK, NE
    Feb. 5, 2013 3:50 p.m.

    I served in manila Philippines mission. There was only one pair of missionaries that had bicycles because they drove So wild over there So We took public transportation and the only ones that had cars were the mission president and the assistants. May God bless her family and.friends and the missionaries.

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    Feb. 5, 2013 6:40 p.m.

    I was struck from behind by a car while riding a bicycle on my mission. Fortunatelely I was not injured. There were no bicylce helmets in those days. I agree with other posters. Riding a bicylce in traffic is dangerous. One suggestion could be mandatory reflective vests at night or limit travel to designated bike trails or well lit areas.

  • fwinxee Lapu-Lapu, 00
    Feb. 5, 2013 7:55 p.m.

    She died while serving a mission. I think that's very brave. She will be blessed along with her family. Still, bike policies should be changed or at least make a bicycle lane so that other vehicles can't hit people riding on them.

  • killpack Sandy, UT
    Feb. 5, 2013 8:44 p.m.

    I can't believe all of the reactionary comments. Here's a news flash. We don't make policies based on a zero fatality outcome, for ANYTHING. Because, if that is your sole motivation, to have NO FATALITIES, you will accomplish NOTHING in this life. People die biking, walking, driving, flying, taking the train, taking the bus, taking a cab, and every other possible means of conveyance. If you want to reduce fatalities on the mission, or in any other bureaucracy, lock your people in a bomb shelter with a 50 year supply of food and water and throw away the key. I'm pretty sure they won't die then. Otherwise, people die, some earlier than others. Sorry if that sounds insensitive. But I think the LDS Church should keep on doing what it is they do. Bikes are a very efficient way to spread the good word. This great woman died a glorious death doing just that. God bless her.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Feb. 6, 2013 6:15 a.m.

    My, my, we have a lot to learn about how to respond to people (even fellow church members) that don't think like we do or react the way we would like. No need to disparage those who are asking questions. Even slamming down a critic will not help anyone in the end. We are all sad and grieving for the loss of this Sister. Many of us have served a mission or have children who have served, or who are about to serve. We all love missionaries and are sad for this loss.

  • GeoMan SALEM, OR
    Feb. 6, 2013 8:10 a.m.

    My condolences to the family and friends of Sister Smith, especially her companion.
    I, probably like most posting here, don't even know what the Church's current official policy is concerning biking after dark. I do know that on my mission (a long, long time ago) we were not supposed to ride after dark. That was before the more visible LED head and tail lights for bicycles became available. A mission is still the safest place for young men (and I presume women) of that age group to be.
    I ride my bike to and from work most days and at this time of year it is in the dark both directions. With proper equipment visibility isn't going to be the reason someone hits me. Driver inattention or incompetence will be. Many of the same people clamoring for more gun control regularly use the mobile phones while driving and engage in other dangerous behaviors behind the wheel of a car.
    I hope that most families aren't spending $800 for a missionary bicycle. There are plenty of high quality, light-weight bicycles available for less than half that price even after equipping it with lights, fenders, luggage racketc.

  • benchwarmer ,
    Feb. 6, 2013 10:31 a.m.

    Wait...full time missionaries have to purchase their own bikes?? Seriously? Why are young women sent to unknown cities where they are asked to be in such a vulnerable position as on a bike? Have any of you BEEN in Oklahoma? I can't imagine these kids riding for miles of nothing but wheat, blazing sun or freezing winter winds. A car should be provided for them. Yes, car accidents happen but at least those who may be intent on harm will allow these young women some measure of safety in a locked car with a cell phone to dial police and it provides shelter from the elements. I also find it sad that a church with assets in excess of $150 Billion dollars asks their missionaries who bring more converts into the church with their tithing can't provide a vehicle for them to use to be safe from the elements and those who would do them harm. This nice young woman could certainly have met the same fate here just biking for recreation but the whole issue is a bit too risky this way.

  • killpack Sandy, UT
    Feb. 6, 2013 10:41 a.m.

    All missions already have curfews in place. There is no need to place restrictions on biking hours. I for one, would be pretty upset if I had to stop and walk my bike home as soon as the sun went down, just because my mission leadership wanted to micromanage my own safety. It was an honor for me to have served a mission. But, like any bureaucracy, there were rules, regulations and restrictions that made serving less enjoyable. Placing more barriers in the way will only discourage potential missionaries from service.

  • bikeboy Boise, ID
    Feb. 6, 2013 10:56 a.m.

    Speaking as a RM and a 27-year veteran transportation cyclist:

    You are more vulnerable on a bicycle than in a car, and riding accident-free is the only way to avoid injury or death. However, bicycle transportation isn't inherently dangerous.

    Nobody (or very few people) will deliberately run into you. The key is to be legal, predictable, and visible. Visible is particularly challenging at night, and missionaries should have bright lights at both ends. I'd also like to see hi-viz reflective vests (cheap, and can be worn outside of overcoats, suits, etc.) and reflective/hi-viz treatment for the ubiquitous backpacks, etc. (I don't think there's a rule that says missionaries have to be dressed in dark, nearly-invisible clothes. If there is, there shouldn't be!)

    Condolences to the family and loved ones of Sister Smith; I'm confident there's a place in the Kingdom for her.

  • killpack Sandy, UT
    Feb. 6, 2013 2:00 p.m.

    @bikeboy

    Now that is a sensible, non-reactionary solution. Thank you,