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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Church leaders must be held accountable.
to those advocating more carsThat 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.
Terrible tragedy. Prayers and support for the family. This makes 12 missionaries
killed this year. This is alarming to say the least.
@ Ben Franklin and ScientistNot 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
@Brave Sir Robin"This year, the missionary mortality rate of 0.17 per
thousand. "Is that extrapolated for the year? (if not then
technically it's 0.21 per thousand) Not that it changes your point of
course. I'm just being nitpicky. @Brother Benjamin FranklinWhile statistics can seem heartless at times, the reality is you can't
eliminate all risk. Much like say... we can't expand the security state to
a point where every terrorist is stopped.
@ bikeboy and others concerned about bicycle safety:Only 3 of the 12
missionary deaths this year involved bicycles. Four were due to medical
conditions, 2 were passengers in a vehicle, 2 came in contact with live
electrical wires and 1 was hit by a stray bullet.We need to be aware
of our surroundings in every situation and ride bicycles safely, but only
focusing on bicycle safety wouldn't have prevented most of these deaths.
One reason fatality is lower on missions is because if you have poor health or
something life threatening like cancer than of course you can't go on a
mission. Contrary to the Movie Gods Army. But Missionaries are
taught safety in MTC Mission Home and every zone conference. Some video's
were morbid they showed us in Zone Conference. Were missionaries lost there
lives breaking rules. If a sibling served thought I wonder how they would feel
seeing those video's. Though names are not mentioned. That said many
accidents are ones that cannot be prevented are freak or do to bad things other
people do. The Lord can prevent them but chooses not too in many instances.
Our thoughts are not his thoughts are ways are not his said the Prophet Isiah.
@ ScientistWhat do you mean? Accountable for what?It
seems your comments are more anti this and anti that when it comes to religion.
Perhaps there are better way to use your energy? Volunteer for something.
re:Brave Sir RobinSave us with all the meaningless stats. The fact
is 12 missionaries killed in one year is more than alarming and more than heart
wrenching. I don't remember a year when so many young men were killed while
serving a mission - never. You might hear of one or two every four or five years
and that is far too many .... but 12 IN ONE YEAR?? We now have 18 year old kids
literally going from the halls of their high school to some of the most exotic
and in some cases dangerous places on the planet and that should cause some
policy changes I would think within the church. An 18 year old is not a mature
adult yet ...not even close...and expecting a overly stretched mission president
and his wife to somehow bridge that maturity gap and give this young man common
sense is asking too much. I think it would be wise for the church to have some
additional training at the MTC beyond just language training. Perhaps more
training on things such as bike safety and automobile safety etc...
"Death isn't sad. The sad thing is most people don't live at
all" - Soc
Do people out there really expect nobody to ever die? Yes it's sad for the
family and others, but it happens. I had a close friend pass away unexpectedly
at age 34 a few years ago, leaving behind a wife and five kids. People die. We
are mortal. Anybody who believes LDS theology believes that being back in the
presence of God is actually a much better station than being here on earth,
especially if a person is prepared to meet God. I'm wondering if those who
are so upset that people die want everybody just to live in a bubble and never
do anything risky. Don't breathe, you might get lung cancer. Don't
eat, you might choke. Don't exercise, you might have a heart attack.
Don't go outside, you might get struck by lightning. I had a few close
calls with death or serious injury on my mission, but I'm still functioning
today and I would do it again.
My heart, condolences, support, and prayers go to these families. I am not
lashing out or being hateful, as some misrepresent. I am trying to
save the LDS Church from potential legal action, not to mention the lives of
missionaries. If we can prevent accidents and save lives through proper action,
why not do it?Missionaries are inherently safe, and statistics
reflect that. But we must always do more to protect them. That is how we honor
the legacy of those who passed on. Some of the potential things the
LDS Church would do well to consider are orange vests, reflective clothing,
pepper spray, increasing public awareness of missionaries presence in the
community, increasing time spent and frequency of trainings, and so forth. How to do those things is not easy. It never is. But we must always do
more to look at how we can improve. Giving feedback is not hate.
It is how we improve. But if encouraging and suggesting a means of improvement
to better protect young men and women sacrificing to share a message to help
others makes me an insensitive hater, then by all means call me a hater.
Bikes are dangerous and inefficient and goofy in many areas of the world
(U.S.A.). Walking, public transportation or a car wherever possible would be
best in my opinion. Only use bikes where there is no other option. Of course car
accidents will happen, but riding a bike is one of the least effective ways to
travel, I've thought this for years.)
I read how righteous men they were, and i just thought that they were needed
'up there'. Their time of life wasn't cut, they passed the
probation state and are still living there.In the Book of Mormon we
read that death is part of the mercy of a Heavenly Father, and it is received
with joy by spirits who kept righteous lives... incomprehension and pain is only
for us, 'mortals'.... yes, they are still living and
surely still preaching 'up there' (probably companions, they surely
met in the same MTC).
Too many deaths. Time to take a close look at safety for these young people.
I served in manila, pi and cars had the right of way. There was only one area
that the mission president would allow bikes. And you would be taking your life
in your hands if you had a car. The only one that had a car was the mission
president. I felt safe on my mission. But with life comes things that will
happen. My heart goes out to the missionaries that have lost there lives and
especially there family and friends.
Too many bike stories this past year. I always pick up our missionaries when
they come to my home, do the same for yours. About a month ago I happened to
catch up to them on their bikes, and watched them not look in all directions,
and almost got ran over by a car. I let them know about it the next time I saw
"I read how righteous men they were, and i just thought that they were
needed 'up there'."This implies that God caused these
deaths.Do we really want to go there? What kind of faith can we have
in a God who would "kill" innocent, faithful young missionaries just so
he could put them to work "on the other side"? And how are the mothers
of these missionaries supposed to feel? I think they feel very strongly that
these missionaries are "needed" right here, right now!Such
speculative theological statements have no basis in scripture or doctrine, and
are more hurtful to the loved ones than they are helpful.
I have no objective evidence for believing this, but sometimes I think certain
souls are just too gentle, too pure, to be on this fallen planet very long. The
young men died doing what they wanted to do. This of course doesn't lessen
the tragedy, but how many of us will be able to say that? God bless these boys,
and may He be with the families.
MapleDonYou think fasting is going to help missionaries be safer? I
am quite sure they are prayed for millions of times a day, including in the
temple. If he was going to listen then wouldn't he have already heard us?
Why would fasting change the outcome of these rare and tragic occurances?
first thing my heart is heavy and my prayers go out to the families of these
young men. The church needs to get the elders off the bikes for safety reasons,
second they need to not put the elders is squalor conditions. People should see
the nice five star resorts that the senior missionaries live in like the hilton
or better. The church can spend a bit more on the elders and a lot less on the
seniors and both will have fine acomadations.
It isn't for us to pass judgment, to place blame on Church leaders.
Don't think for a minute that the safety of missionaries isn't a high
priority. Given the number of missionaries currently serving, accidents do
happen. Many of us believe that when your time on earth is done and you are
called home what better time when you are in the service of God. Their missions
just took them to the other side where they are needed. We are reminded from
the Billy Joel song: "Only The Good Die Young". Rest in peace elders,
you have returned to Him who you were serving to continue such service in the
Spirit World among family and friends.
Perhaps people could spend some time with a mother, who's heart is broken,
who is trying to rationalize the death of her missionary......a mother who has
younger children who are expected to serve a mission in the near future as
well.Then....let's have this discussion.
Simply, I feel the church should remove that statistic from the statement. It
makes us look so cold no matter what you say after that. Come on, guys.
sgWhat better time to be called home then when you are 19-21?? Are
you serious? How about when you are old, have lived a good long life and have
children and grandchildren... I don't get why people glorify those taken
while serving a mission as if it is somehow better then living out their lives
and dying of old age. I don't get it. There is nothing right about dying
Re: Patriot " We now have 18 year old kids literally going from the halls
of their high school to some of the most exotic and in some cases dangerous
places on the planet and that should cause some policy changes I would think
within the church." I think 18 is too young.
I grew up, literally, 1 1/2 blocks north of where this accident in Azusa, Ca.
occurred, since 1962. And I can tell you, this accident, that transpired was
adjacent to Cerritos Ave. It is VERY busy, and always has been. ANYBODY can get
into trouble with a car, at any time, if you don't look out for cars. I
can't possibly see how the church can be held "accountable" for
this most unfortunate tragedy. My condolences to the family of this fine young
Deepest condolences to those who knew and loved Elder Kunz. I do
worry when I see our missionaries riding bikes along our busy streets,
especially as darkness falls. I believe our cell phone texting and talking
practices has added an increased risk for suto-bicyclist accidents even here in
CA where there are laws prohibiting these activities. I continue to see many
people text/talking while driving. I believe the answer needs to come from
technology--some type of device that would make texting features unworkable
while driving. In the meantime perhaps church members could more
frequently offer the missionaries transportation to their appts?
It would appear that as the age for missionary service has become younger, the
LDS Church is now seeing the result of less experienced missionaries navigating
life in the big city. If anything, the age for missioinary work should be
increased to 21 years to provide these young people more life experiences before
they tackle life head-on. Just an opinion to consider. When there are so many
other ways to communicate the message in this day, walking the streets seems to
be the least effective and most dangerous. It's time to reconsider the
My SINCERE condolences and heartfelt compassion to the family and friends of
Elder Page and Elder Kunz. These deaths are agonizing tragedies.Never the less, other than again saying, "Be careful out there", there
was NOTHING the LDS Church could have done to prevent these deaths. They were
both accidents caused by poor judgement and carelessness. Wearing an orange vest
and helmet will not help if you do a u-turn on a bicycle in front of an
approaching vehicle. As a cyclist who commutes 25 miles nearly every work day, I
am keenly aware that lapses in attention or poor decisions by cyclists (or
pedestrians) may result in serious injury or death, regardless of whether or not
the person is a full time missionary.Balancing along a 2nd story
ledge is not a wise decision, even if you don't know there is a live
electrical wire in your way. Sometimes not fully developed judgement skills get
young adults into trouble. This could happen whether or not they are serving a
You guys really need to get out of the "Opinion Boars" business...
Y'all are so concerned about Political Correctness that any defense of the
Religion or the Mormon faith y'all simply shoot down with your censors...
In many ways you are worse than the people that shoot at our
beliefs... At least it is clear what side that they are on... I
place comments on probably 5 different boards with different genre and different
sponsorships... It is safe to say that the DN Opinion Boards are the worst out
there... The Editors really need to reel in the censors... Or like I said, get
out of the opinion business altogether.
@bikeboy:"If I were in charge, I'd mandate that bicycling
missionaries brighten themselves up!"If I were in charge,
I'd mandate that all missionaries have vehicles. The Church has plenty-a
money to afford them. I know, I know... vehicles have accidents as well.
"If I were in charge, I'd mandate that all missionaries have vehicles.
The Church has plenty-a money to afford them." Amen to that! I don't
dare ride a bike in traffic. Why should we expect these young men to?
Hmm, more missionaries serving. If the mortality rate remains the same, the
number of deaths increases. I'm I missing something.Young men
on bicycles, walking, driving, or standing on the street sometimes get hit by
cars. This is true whether or not the young man is a missionary. Actually, much
more likely for non-missionaries.Young men some times do things like
walk along ledges of two story buildings. Sometimes they fall and are injured or
die. This is true whether the young man is a missionary or not. Again much more
likely for non-missionaries.If you think something more should be
done about missionary safety, start where you are. Pray more for the safety of
missionaries. This would be much more productive than ranting on the internet.
This is happening far too often. Is this the fruit of the new missionary push?
I served in the Chilean Mission from 1973-1975. I have hung out of buses
weaving through Santiago, questioned at gun point for "clandestine"
activities (spying) by the national police, held my companion up on a 3rd class
train with an acute appendicitis for over three hours because there was not a
safe way to get the mission car to the small town where we were serving days
before Pinochet took power, was so sick with a respiratory infection that I
sincerely thought I was going to die, was in a 6.7 earthquake and, spent way too
much time on the wrong end of machineguns held by soldiers and the national
police. I still do not see how all of us who served during that time came home
alive and walking on our own power. Was it the best to years of my life?
Honestly, I cannot say it was. Would I do it over again? Yes, without
@ BrahmaBullSo...you are saying that God
wouldn't/shouldn't take young people to heaven when they are this
young. That they should be able to live out their life on earth to some longer
period of time before they die. Why? It seems to me
that if you believe in God and in heaven, then you when it's all said and
done, what's so bad about them being in heaven? We miss those who are gone
from us now... but they are in a better place now. What is so terrible about
that?If you don't believe in God, then your point seems... well
pointless.If you do believe in God, but not in heaven, then perhaps
I can see why you might feel that way.
HamathSimple: I don't think god took them at all. I don't
think god causes or prevents people from dying. The god I believe in
doesn't take children away from their parents. They are all things that
happen due to chance, not due to god. We don't know if they are in heaven
or not - it is all speculation. Either way it isn't fair that some get to
live long, full lives and others get taken young.
In any organization, to have this many deaths in one year would bring about a
big push for safety procedures and training. Correct me if I'm wrong, but
there is no safety training and no safety procedures being put in place
worldwide. It's time to make this happen and make safety a primary concern
of mission presidents and the MTC's.
Not to get off topic but I'm surprised the death rate isn't higher
actually given all the missionaries out on bicycles and the average ages of
those missionaries. I served in Japan and my companions and I were often
reckless on our bicycles, basically terrors through some of the neighborhoods,
racing and occasionally crashing, both into each other and into other cars.
Yes, it was irresponsible and I wish we hadn't done it, we're just
fortunate nobody was hurt seriously, but it's hard to stop 19-21 (now 18
year olds) from trying to have fun, even if it's just good clean aggressive
bicycle riding or perhaps trying to repair an old apartment roof. Perhaps there
needs to be a little more emphasis on safety training if they haven't done