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Mormons & Media: LDS missionaries

Published: Tuesday, July 12 2011 6:30 a.m. MDT

The missionaries in "The Book of Mormon" musical, the Tony-winning Broadway show which parodies the doctrines within scripture of the LDS Church, aren't the only ones making headlines.

There are some real missionaries — including prospective missionaries, those serving and some recently released — qho are getting noticed by news organizations.

This article and video from two On Faith writers of the Washington Post speaks about two missionaries, Elder Karren from Alberta, Canada, and Elder Lieu, a convert from Malaysia, and their experience thus far in their service proselyting in the greater D.C. area. It includes a 7-minute, 40-second video that documents their experience in speaking with a Villanova student who said he didn't see himself as "too religious," despite Elder Karren's efforts to share something that he said has helped him and Elder Lieu.

The video also records the missionaries' experience with Christine Guastello in discussing the need for a modern gospel that revives the need to attend Sunday services, one of many meetings that the Post reported led to the baptism of Guastello into the church May 17.

Multiple reports about both returned and prospective missionaries have surfaced as well.

The West Australian, among other Australian publications, reported about the Western Force, a professional rugby team in New Zealand, signing a one-year contract with returned missionary Jordan Rapana, who served in England and Wales. The signing came after Rapana had previously opted out of the second year of a two-year contract with the Gold Coast Titans in order to serve his mission, Perth Now reported.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge of moving back into rugby and I’m confident that if I put in the hard work during the off-season that it’ll be the right move for me," Rapana told Sports News First. “I’ve set myself to do everything I can in local rugby and pre-season games to earn a place in the Western Force side next season."

Mormon Times has previously reported about Rapana and fellow rugby player Will Hopoate, who turned down a million-dollar contract and is awaiting his mission call.

In a special to the Oregonian, Oregon Live ran a story last week about Zak Browning, a recently graduated high school football player who played in one of the state's all-star games and who has signed to play with Southern Utah University, after his missionary service.

"It's going to be a little weird," Browning said about his next focus in life being missionary service. "For me, as soon as a football season ends, there's always another year coming, but after this game, there's going to be nothing to prepare for. Football is definitely a big part of my life."

Earlier this month, The Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune featured returned missionary Garrett Nash, focusing much on his recent selection in the MLB draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks organization last year, but also how Nash's missionary service impacted his life.

"My faith was definitely strengthened," Nash said. "You see more of the world and the reality of it on your mission. I saw how tough life can be. It was a great growing experience for me as a person and Mormon."

Email: rwilkinson@desnews.com

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