Sad for all involved.Unlike others, I don't blame God for
this.I think God mainly stays out of our lives and lets things
happen according to our decisions AND the decisions of others.Similarly, if all had survived with no injuries it would not have been due to
God, but simply how the actions of those involved played out.
what in the world is going on with missionary safety? Every week we read about
some new tragedy. If he is on life support it looks grim ...but miracles do
happen. Hope for a miracle here.
I have heard about way too many missionaries being injured lately. It used to be
that you'd hear maybe one a year, now it's like 2 a week.
From the photo, it looks like the passenger side of the car was hit by the
truck, rather than the car hitting the side of the truck. In other words, the
car entered the intersection slightly first, and the front of the truck hit it.
This would explain why the passenger in the car was so much more injured than
the driver. Having said that, it is a terrible thing as have been several
missionary deaths recently. I can't remember how many there have been in
say the last 6 months, but maybe the DN could remind us.
Three reasons you're hearing more about missionary injuries:1.
They're being more widely reported. When I was a missionary my comp was
shot in the back by a stray bullet from a nearby gang battle - it wasn't in
the Deseret News.2. More missionaries drive cars than before. As you
know, cars are by far the most dangerous form of transportation around.3.
There are more missionaries in general. When you double the number of
missionaries, you can expect to double the number of injuries.
Parents have felt very good in the past about sending their children on a
mission for the LDS Church.Personally, seeing families loose sons on
Mormon missions......Will this change now? Doubt, fear?
Others have noted that there seems to be more missionaries hurt or killed. This
is entirely unsurprising given the reduction in age and accompanying increase in
service rate. If a given missionary will die on his mission with
probability P, then increasing the number of missionaries will inevitably
increase the number who die. Further, 18-20 year olds are perhaps more likely to
die in accidents than 19-21 year olds, increasing P. In the case of this
missionary, an extra year of driving experience (meaning a 25-33% increase in
total) *might* have made some type of difference, but we obviously don't
know who was at fault or if the accident was avoidable in any way.Others (not on this comment thread) have observed that historically, the P for
missionaries seems to be lower than the P for the comparable general population.
This may indeed remain true, but there is likely to be some sort of regression
to the mean, with the low P|missionary being somewhat a factor of randomness.
*Engineer Done*As Sister Todd said, any missionary lost is felt by
the Church, and my prayers are with the families.
The early saints of the church made great sacrifice to bring the church forward,
and their lives were part of that sacrifice. We are seeing many more
missionaries serving, but the increase of death far exceeds the increase. I so
admire these young men and women who are willing to serve and their parents for
their support. I also admire them for being willing to even sacrifice their
life or limb to serve. I can't answer for these young missionaries, but I
would not be surprised that for all those who have had their lives cut short,
each one of them would say they would still be willing to serve. I do hope and
pray for the comfort of their loved ones and as with our military, I thank them
for their spiritual soldiers that are serving.
Well, we do hear about them more, I think, however if you think about it, with
such a larger number of missionaries serving, the numbers of tragedies is bound
to climb as well. Let's just hope it's a fluke that so many have died
this year, and the numbers of deaths will drop. And I trust my son
who is currently serving will be safe--I pray for it everyday. However, if
something were to happen, I'd have to trust in the Lord, and know perhaps
it was my son's time to go-we never know. I'm just hoping to not have
to test that theory! But my heart goes out to these families.
@patriotMore missionaries in the field unfortunately means more
missionaries in danger. This is very unfortunate. However, statistically,
missionaries are much more safer than those in the same age group.
Maybe 18 is too young for these kids to be out making decisions without
supervision...Isn't this like 3 or 4 killed in the last 7
days??I truly feel sorry for the parents of these kids.
Brave Sir Robin: It doesn't happen very happen, but I agree with your
assessment. It is unfortunate, but having so many more missionaries -- and
having them being even younger then before (thus, the frontal lobe -- the seat
of judgement -- even less developed) is likely to result in increased risk of
accident.My prayers for the injured missionary and his family.
@owlmaster2 18 is still an adult. And many 18 year old aged men and women
are out driving without supervision.
He wasn't 18...Either way, our days are all numbered. The Lord
knows what he is doing. It will take a lifetime and then some to catch up and
understand His ways.
While the loss of life is a sad event, if God is calling more of these young
Missionaries home while they are in their prime, I like to believe he has a much
bigger plan for them. They have a mighty path to walk. 18 is not too young to
do ANYTHING unsupervised, we send 18yr olds to fight and die for our causes
everyday. The only answer would be to stop fighting for causes. Though in this
case, better drivers training would have helped, the article said the driver ran
a stop sign. But again we don't get to choose the time, or how, when we are
Unfortunately, more missionaries will mean more accidents. If we are
experiencing a spike in missionary deaths right now, it will average out over
time.Unlike Christopher B, I don't believe that God "stays
out of our lives". Miracles happen, but that does not mean that He will
always intervene and prevent tragedies from happening.I feel sad
when anyone dies prematurely, whether from sickness, accident, or as the victim
of a crime or war. You never know what life will bring you next. You just try to
be as careful as you can and thank God for every day that you, your family, and
friends make it through safely.
ThornBirds,With my 18-year-old son on a mission, these reports
certainly cause me concern. However, they do not cause me to doubt his service.
For us as parents, it has been very much like Hannah delivering Samuel to God
by leaving him at the temple with Eli. I still, in your words, feel very good
about sending my son on a mission.
I actually think that there are some valid points being made here regarding the
new age reduction to 18. Add to this the adding of many of these young 18 year
olds into new and exotic places in the world ...like China soon... or Russia
etc... there is going to have to be some re-evaluation of the rules of
proselyting. Car accidents can happen anywhere to anyone so those tragedies are
with all of us unfortunately but things like stray bullets and biking accidents
need to be addressed ...and perhaps result in some significant changes to some
parts of the world. My son reported after his mission to Miami some really close
calls he experienced. His mission president and wife were great people who did
their best but overseeing 200+ missionaries spread out over very large urban
areas is difficult at best. It comes down to maturity and 18 years old is pretty
green. Many kids haven't even been outside their state at that age.
I bet if you take the statistics of the deaths of young men who have accidents
and compare them to young men in the mission field they are comparable and maybe
even less on the side of the missionaries. Brave Sir Robin thinks it might make
parents think twice about sending their kids out. Not me. In fact, if you look
at the activities of young men between the ages of 18 and 21 you hear a lot
about binge drinking on college campuses that kill, or goofy stunts that go
wrong. My son in law's good friend was the young man who was killed in the
accident down at the arch. Young men love to thrill seek. Missionaries are not
thrill seeking and they have strict mission rules they have to abide by. Most of
the accidents in the mission field are transportation accidents that can just as
easily have happened with them in a vehicle or bicycle in their own home town.
My friend's 20 year old son was shot walking around in Salt Lake City. It
made me feel ungrateful for being fearful for my missionary son in Mexico who
was where I wanted him to be.
with two sons out in the mission field. my heart breaks every time I read a
story like this. doing good and a young life with dreams hopes and aspirations
snuffed out like a lit match in a wind storm. My prayers to this Elders Family
may they have the arms of the savior around them. On a side note I would
be more then happy to pay a little extra for the church to set up a defensive
driving class for each mission and only the elders and sisters who go through it
can drive. It might save a few lives . Just a thought.
Blackfoot's Morning News correctly reported the accident - the missionaries
were traveling on 100 South and failed to stop at the stop sign at the
intersection with Highway 39. Highway 39 has no stop sign at that intersection.
They were broadsided by the southbound truck. Condolences to all involved.
Einar, The reporter was reporting what the police had reported. Police
had also told reporters that the young man was already dead when he had not yet
died. So it might not be a new reporter who is needed but more accurate police
reports. Many of the comments here said that there are more
accidents because of lowering the age, and therefore they have not had enough
driving experience. Thing is most of those who have been injured or killed are
in the past few weeks are in the older age group. The missionary driving in this
car accident was 20. One of the missionaries killed a few weeks ago was 23. I do
agree that with the higher # of missionaries there is the potential for higher
percentage of accidents, but right now the accidents are not caused by younger
drivers. Also as has been pointed out, a young man 18 to 26 (top age
for male missionaries) is still safer on a mission than in the general
population of 18 to 26 year olds.
I'm sensitive to an Elder's life lost in a car accident on his mission
because on my mission in the late 60's, I was transferred to replace an
Elder killed in an accident in North Dakota, some 46 years ago. I still to this
day remember his name and often think about the work he is doing now. May the
Lord bless his family with knowledge to somehow mitigate the loss of their son.
I am one of those parents whose missionary was critically injured while serving.
She has never been the same since and will require constant care the rest of
her life. I can say that the church has a daunting task of taking care of the
missionaries and dealing with these awful incidents. They do their best I am
sure. In my case I was pretty bitter for a while, and was very reluctant to
encourage my other children to serve missions (I served a mission)... It is
tough to deal with, and my heart goes out to those parents. No matter how many
hearts go out and prayers are offered, it really hurts for a long, long time..
Lets take a personal challenge to over train our young ones at home about car
safety. Lets be apart of the answer instead of the complaint.
Einar has a good point. My wife was killed in a car accident, I spent about
twenty minutes with a reporter from DesNews answering background questions.
Read the article and the reporter totally mis-reported basic facts given to her.
From this experience I have concluded newspapers cannot be relied upon for
totally accurate information.I used to have confidence in what I
read in the paper, sort of like Will Rogers, and now I regard what I read as
interesting and maybe true or factual but nothing to bet the farm on.
Too bad there is no story on the number of deaths averted as Missionaries are
miraculously spared every day. I can think of a number of times myself, when I
was unharmed in dangerous situations. One Elder told me of having been shot at,
point blank, from an ally-way, and the gun did not discharge...I asked why it
did not discharge, and he replied that he didn't hang around to find out.
We lament those who lose their lives in God's service, for missing them,
but at the same time admire their commitment, and do not doubt their missionary
work will continue in the Spirit World.
I agree with the person reminding all of us we have men and women serving who
are 18 in the military. If they are 18 and home or 18 serving a
mission they are just as likely to be in a car accident or bike accident. There
was a senior couple a few years and one of them died in a fire. Same numbers of
fires per year. Statistically they could have had a fire in their own home as
easily as their mission lodgings. I do have one small issue. The
rules missionaries live by are not exactly ones adults live by. In many ways
their movements and experiences are micromanaged as if they are children and not
the adults they are supposed to be.
Several zone conferences had segments were they discussed driver safety in cars.
Many were missionaries were tragically killed by those breaking rules. Most
instances though are accidents. Tragic anything like this happens. That is why
it is important to pray for Lords protection If it is his will and do all we can
in our power to drive safe. Even in those incidents however tragedy will still
strike us. Hope all goes well there.
I have no fear of my children serving missions wherever in the world they may
be. I know that my children and even their parents can accidentally run a stop
sign a block from home just as easily as in Idaho or New York or anywhere else.
Accidents happen. I do believe the Lord watches over his missionaries and many
accidents are averted. There is no other group of people that have more people
praying for them than our missionaries. I preferred my mission 30 years ago
when we only had our feet and public transportation. No cars, no bikes. That
was in Italy. Prayers and thoughts with the families and friends of those
missionaries recently injured and killed.
@Coug93 and Strider303I am sorry to hear of the situations you both
have had happen. I can't imagine how hard it would be. I hope there has
been, and will continue to be healing from what's happened and many
blessings in your lives. I'm also always so sad to hear about both
missionaries and service men and women that make the ultimate sacrifice while
serving God and country. These men and women are all heroes to me and I hope God
will bless the families left behind.
Why all the debate about whether 18-year-olds are old enough or smart enough or
wise enough or developed enough to serve a mission? The missionary driving the
car was 20 years old!
The Church should be held morally, legally, and financially responsible for the
safety of these missionaries and the effects their deaths or harm has on their
Since the driver of the missionary car in Idaho was 20 years old, the new
younger age of departing missionaries had nothing to do with this accident. The
other recent deaths were all widely varied in circumstances and can't be
assigned to any single cause, except as numbers increase there will be more
events.I pray that the families of these good young men who have
recently been taken from us will be comforted by all who know them, and by their
We surely didn't think that Satan was going to take the huge increase in
missionary work in the church with no reaction. This work is vital, this work
will roll on. I have the missionaries in my prayers all the time, as I'm
sure all the parents and families do. Our church is truly unique in our young
missionary force. They make the stripling warriors proud.
The number of missionaries injured or killed pales compared to the number of
unborn babies killed, which numbers in the millions every year.
I do not understand all this debate about 18-year-olds. The 18-year-old was the
passenger. According to the article, the driver was 20 years old. The other
tragic deaths of missionaries except for one, I believe, were those of older
I agree with the comment about inaccurate new reporting. My daughter was
involved in a serious accident just over a year ago. She was at my home, in my
care, for two days while both the newspapers and TV were reporting that she was
in the hospital in critical condition. We sat and laughed but then had to answer
all of the worried phone calls from family and friends checking in on her
My wife grew up in Mesa, Arizona. Sometime in the late 60's or early
70's there was a shooting death of a missionary. The companions were
driving by an elementary school across the street from an LDS church. The car in
the next lane had gang members who saw the young men in the car next to them and
opened fire. One of the missionaries was killed. There has always been danger in
any place and at any time. One of many good reasons to pray for the missionaries
and our military.
Patriot,Not sure why you think that China will soon be seeing
missionaries. They said that when I served a Chinese-speaking mission back over
25 years ago that the church would be in China...soon.On another
matter...the article quotes that the mortality rate of LDS missionaries is 1/20
of their age across the globe. A more accurate measure would be the mortality
rate of LDS 18-24 year olds who DO NOT go on missions versus those who are serve
LDS missions in their age group.
Nice to see that Deseret News corrected all the many mistakes I pointed out in
the original article. The update to the article corrected them.
Thorn Bird of St. George....Doubt and fear generally do not enter
into the mission factor with dedicated LDS missionary families. It is more often
the spirit of sacrifice and obedience to the Lord's work that see the
missionary work move forward.
If this truly is the Lord's work, which it is, we have no reason to doubt.
It doesn't mean our hearts don't break, but who are we to second guess
the Lord?If He is calling 18 year olds to all parts of the world,
then that is the way it needs to be. My heart goes out to the families involved.
Has there been an update since this article was published?
It is interesting that people attack the lower missionary age in an article
about an accident that involved a 20-year-old missionary driving and his
19-year-old companion being injured. These are people who would be on a mission
no matter what the age is.We need to focus more on driving safety
for missionaries, but I do not think the answer is primarily in the hands of
church leaders. Like other good practices, it needs to start at home. Parents
need to teach their children better to be good drivers, not expect this skill to
be inculcated in their child's mind on the mission.
My heart goes out to Elder Floyd and Joshua Morris. This is going to be very
hard for both of them.Concerning safety for
missionaries--considering the countries, neighborhoods, and homes that
missionaries serve in, I can only conclude that the Lord spends a great deal of
time watching over our missionaries. Frankly, were it not so, we would be
seeing vastly more fatalities. I served places no woman, especially as a
Caucasian American, should have been safe. I was robbed and mugged on my
mission, but never physically injured. One of my children served in an area
where he frequently saw dead bodies, the results of crime. Another served in an
area where drug deals went down in broad daylight. Missionaries do get hurt and
injured and beat up on missions, but not in anywhere near the frequency that
should be expected for their ages, or where they serve.It is the
Lord's work. Most he sends home to their families. Some return home to
him. That's never easy, no matter when it happens.