Comments about ‘2 Mormon missionaries killed in 2 days’

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Published: Friday, Oct. 11 2013 9:25 a.m. MDT

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SoCal Roger
Costa Mesa, CA

Since I live in SoCal, I know how much traffic there is. Should the church be looking at safety procedures to see how such accidents can be avoided in the future? Considering all of the factors, does it make sense to have missionaries on bikes in this area?

I have to admit that hearing of the deaths of these full time missionaries who dedicate their time and LIVES to do this work is somewhat disturbing.

Cedar City, UT

I rode a bike through the streets of Brooklyn. I wonder today that I wasn't killed swerving in and out of traffic. Missions are challenging and sometimes risky. My thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and family of this young man.


I rode my bike up and down the streets of Riverside CA for well over a year (we had a car for the rest) and never even had a close call. If you obey the rules, you'll be quite safe. The problem (and this applies equally to missionaries and non-missionaries alike) is accidents happen.
A sad story to say the least, but these things happen.

Boise, ID

As a veteran transportation cyclist (and returned missionary)... I have this theory. Very few motorists will deliberately run into a cyclist, if they SEE a cyclist. If they don't notice you, all bets are off.

For that reason, I habitually wear an ugly hi-viz mesh vest with bright orange and reflective stripes, over whatever else I might be wearing. There's no way to prove that it works, but I've accumulated many, many accident-free miles, riding in traffic. (I also follow the laws, am well-lit at night, and ride with "situational awareness.")

If I were in charge, I'd mandate that bicycling missionaries brighten themselves up! Typically they are wearing a dark suit or dark overcoat, and often toting a dark-colored backpack. I'd issue each one a hi-viz vest like the one I wear, and supply them with hi-viz / reflective backpacks. (Along with making sure they are helmeted and educated on bicycle laws and safety practices.)

Despite the tragic fatalities recently, being a missionary is still statistically FAR safer than just being a 20-something doing anything else.

Condolences to family and friends of the decedents.

Florissant, MO

I am sorry for this families loss and hope that they will be comforted in this time of sorrow. I know that the Lords work is rolling forth in this world, but it is also rolling forth in the world beyond and that these young missionaries are serving and preparing on the other side of the veil. They are in a good place.

Uncle Rico
Sandy, UT

Too many missionaries getting killed. The first 4 posts are indicative to the fact that we are getting used to this. I'm really sorry to hear about this young missionary. His family will not take comfort in all of our own "Close calls".

BYU Track Star
Los Angeles, CA

I am surprised that Local SoCal Media have not reported this tragic accident yet. It has not been reported in the L.A. Times nor any of the local TV stattions.

Brave Sir Robin
San Diego, CA

Uncle Rico, too many missionaries getting killed? This year, the missionary mortality rate of 0.17 per thousand. In the United States for that age group, it's 1.1 per thousand (according to the latest numbers published by the Social Security administration). In other words, an 20-year-old who's not a missionary is 647% more likely to die than an 20-year-old who is a missionary. And it's even more striking when you consider how many of these missionaries are living/working in some of the most dangerous places in the world. It's not like they're all proselyting in Clearfield.

Would everybody please chill out about how many missionaries are dying? Just because every missionary death is getting splashed all over the front page of the Deseret News doesn't mean missionaries are getting mowed down by the thousands. Short of encasing them in bubble wrap, there's pretty much nothing safer for a young person than being a missionary.

Cedar City, UT

It is unfortunate that these missionaries get killed while in the service of others. This is no way comforting to those who knew these young men and women but overall they are much safer than others in the same age cohort. Safety is paramount in the mission field. But despite precautions that the Church, the mission president, and the missionaries may take, there will be tragedy. And we will see more now that there are more in the field.

Northern, UT

It is well past time for the church to step up it's missionary safety program. If they want to have 80,000 missionaries all across the world then they need to be able to afford it, i.e., more cars, less (or no bikes), less public transportation & provide more safety guidelines around their service assignments. They are working in undeveloped areas of the world where the US safety codes are irrelevant. The church needs to see this and provide in a better way for them.

To say that the mortality rate for missionaries is less than the national, or world average, is totally mis-leading. The mortality rate for missionaries should be compared to the mortality rate for 18-25 YM who don't drink, are average to above average students, and with a high percentage living in the western US. Compare the missionary demographics and lifestyle to what they would be doing if they were not in the mission field.

Furthermore, for the church to issue the same blanket statement, "...our hearts are with the family..." not only gets old, but seems a bit veneer. I love the church, but we can do better than this.

Brother Benjamin Franklin
Orem, UT

Brave Sir Robin, I would like to see you explain statistics to a grieving family. Are statistics going to bring this young man back, give this family comfort, or hold the LDS Church accountable for not mandating greater safety measures for cycling and driving missionaries?

When one missionary dies, it is one too many. No amount of theology, statistics, comforting, or anything else will bring those missionaries back.

How many more missionaries have to die before the LDS Church does what it should have been doing a long time ago, and require orange vests and other safety measures to help protect missionaries?

It is true more missionaries are serving, but should that not be the very reason behind greater safety emphasis for these young men and women? How many more of these young people have to die before the leaders in Salt Lake City actually do something besides express condolences and prayers?

The LDS Church better take substantive and decisive action on this. If they don't, I am concerned they could wind up with legal action being taken against them one day for neglecting what they should have been doing to begin with.

The Scientist
Provo, UT

Church leaders must be held accountable.

Casey See

to those advocating more cars

That might work in the US and Canada, but less likely in other countries. I have a daughter serving right now in Taiwan. We worry about her daily. She tells us that the average bike accident is 4 per missionary in Taiwan.

Still we couldn't be more proud of her. We pray that she will be smart and safe and ask her with each email that she take the proper precautions.

But there is no other choice than bikes, buses, or walking in most countries. i have traveled extensively to Europe, Mexico and served in Brazil. I would never want to drive in many of these countries. Car accidents have worse implications.

in Brazil, only in the small cities would you even consider bikes. Unfortunately, in the major cities, cars have the right away, so even pedestrians are risk even on the sidewalks.

I would rather have my daughter out serving with all of its inherant risks, where she can grow and mature, then at home during these 18 months of her life. i think most parents would agree.

Cedar Hills, UT

Terrible tragedy. Prayers and support for the family. This makes 12 missionaries killed this year. This is alarming to say the least.

Provo, UT

@ Ben Franklin and Scientist

Not to sound heartless because my heart breaks when I hear of these deaths, but...... Missionaires choose to serve, they know the risks, their family knows the risks. In their eyes they are serving God. If this truly is the Lord's work, which many of us believe, these missionaries are in a better place. Again,they chose to serve, nobody forced them. God bless the families involved in these sad stories.

David in Georgia
Norcross, GA

I love the Church, but more needs to be done to train these missionaries and to protect them. That makes twelve deaths this year -- and two more deaths since the head of the missionary department last month called missionary work "inherently safe."

Zona Zone
Mesa, AZ

How much do you have to hate the church to use a missionary's death to lash out at church leaders? Yeah, they're really at fault for an ACCIDENT that happens every day in America. The accident is unfortunate, the callous lashing out at church leaders is in poor taste. What a bunch of withered hearts are writing on here.

sandy, ut

First off this is a tragedy and my thoughts are with the family.

Why do people keep saying that missionaries that die while serving a mission are now serving a mission beyond the veil, or that god had a greater assignment for them so he took them early. Not only are comments like that confusing, as nobody could know that, but it is very sad to me that they are justifying the fact that he was taken so young. I don't believe that god would allow or cause that to happen to somebody just because he needed them on the other side. That is a very sickening and disturbing thought to me that god would do that.

Either way I am very sad over this, and my thoughts are with the family.

Provo, UT

As a former missionary in one of the more dangerous missions out there (Haiti) and the parent of two current missionaries I can honestly say that I am absolutely: (1) confident in the efforts of missionaries to do what they can to protect themselves; (2) confident in the church to do what they can to protect missionaries; (3) grateful that we appropriately acknowledge and praise these young men and women who die in the service of the Lord; and (4) confident that people will always call for more protections. Missionaries are not immune to death, but rather they are generally far more immune to death than other kids when serving missions. But, they are special and when one dies, we know about it as we should. People die. It is hard on us who live, but ask yourself, how did you live? Missionaries are truly alive. There is no other experience that teaches you like a mission. I know that God blesses these missionaries and I hope he succors their families.

Springville, UT

I think a special fast is needed by the entire Church for the safety of our missionaries. These "accidental" deaths are getting out of control. I know they're all in better places now, but I for one want missionaries to finish their service and live long lives.

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