Comments about ‘LDS missionary from Utah dies in Micronesia’

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Published: Thursday, March 13 2014 1:05 a.m. MDT

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Christopher B
Ogden, UT

So sad. This seems to be happening so much more the last few years. Does anyone have the actual statistics of missionary deaths the past few decades? I know some people say its just increased social media that makes these more prominent, but I thought I read not too long ago there actually has been an increase in missionary deaths lately.

I don't blame God for these things. I think 99.9% of the time he just lets things play out according to our actions and the actions of others. I don't think he interferes in many things. He lets them play out, good or bad. Sometimes people survive accidents they shouldn't. Sometimes people die in accidents that shouldn't have happened. In most cases, my belief if God does not get involved.

I'm sorry for his family and those members of his church who mourn his death.

Danbury, CT

In most organizations, with a death rate of this level in the past 12 months, there would be alarm bells going off and a huge change afoot to ensure the safety of all employees. And changes would be widely published so all members would know about it. How many more will die before we change our approach? I've written people I know in the Missionary Department and what I've heard is "we're working on it" and assurances they know what they are doing. For parents who have lost missionaries, the grief is just as palpable even though "they are doing the Lord's work".

Do we wait until someone sues the Church? What is the new safety policy with regard to:

-Driving and bike riding (we're sending 18 year olds out to drive in foreign countries who just got their license)
-Pedestrian safety (e.g. reflector vests at night)
-Apartment safety (dealing with gas heaters, electrical repairs)
-Recreation (climbing)

These are the 4 areas where we've lost Elders and Sisters in the past few months. The Church needs to be more pro-active and address this before we lose another missionary.

newhall, CA

"a fall". What kind of fall? What he climbing on his preparation day? Did he trip and fall? This is a very vague article. Heart goes out to family; but the peace that he is serving elsewhere will soften the loss.

Brave Sir Robin
San Diego, CA

I don't feel like dredging up the numbers again, but for a past comment I did research and found that, even today, a 20-year-old is 5 times less likely to die on a mission than his peers in the U.S. who are not on missions. The proliferation of newspaper articles on this subject does not change the data.

It's just like how these articles on the missing 777 don't mean that air travel is suddenly less safe.

Danny Chipman
Lehi, UT


I don't know what the policies are, since I haven't served a mission, but I would not be surprised if there are some forms prospective missionaries have to sign that free the Church from being sued in the case of an accident.

More missionaries in the field and more social media no doubt contribute to the death rate, but I also believe that Satan and those that support him are also ramping up their efforts to prevent the spread of the gospel to those who are ready to hear it.

Christopher B
Ogden, UT


No, social media does not contribute to the death rate.

As for Satan, I admittedly don't know Mormon doctrine perfectly. But are you saying that Satan and those who support him have the ability to cause missionary deaths?

Lisa Holbrook
Nampa , ID

My heart goes out to the Toa Family. We knew Elder Toa when he was in primary with our kids many years ago. I am saddened by the news but thankful for the blessing of Heavenly Father's plan. Heavenly Father will have a valiant young missionary to serve on the other side.

Sending prayers at this difficult time.


For "EastCoastCoug" and others interested, last year the church reported the mortality rate for young people worldwide in the missionary age group is about 205 deaths per 100,000 population. For missionaries, "that figure is less than one-twentieth of that number." The Church added that every death is tragic, and I agree with that.

My wife and I have two children serving - one in Carlsbad, California, and the other in Berlin, Germany. We pray for their safety everyday, but at the same time realize that each of us are mortal and tragedy can still strike any of us, including those serving our Father in Heaven and Savior Jesus Christ.

Danny Chipman
Lehi, UT

Sorry, I should have clarified that social media contributes to the prominence of missionary deaths in the news. At least here, locally. And while I don't know what the extent of Satan's influence is, in any denomination's theology, I think it's pretty understood that he can influence people to act in wickedness, such as when missionaries are shot or accosted.

New Zealand , 00

I agree with ElJefeOcho, I think we can over react without realising that a mission is one of the safest places for an 18-27yr old to be. Every life is precious, but there is always going be the chance of accidents no matter where they are. We don't live in a world were there are guarantees of safety no matter what. Mortality is fragile and as we work to make things safer we can avoid some tragedies, but others are just what the word suggests....accidents.

Gilbert, AZ

Obviously one death of an LDS missionary is too many. I am glad the DeseretNews reports the passing of young people who are willing to give up years of their lives to serve others and then end up giving up their lives.

I don't think the answer is to make more rules for LDS missionaries. The missionaries are bogged down with enough rules.

The answer I think is to convince others that these missionaries are special people and that their needs to be extreme caution and respect when they are around. Instead of tearing down religion, we should build it up and the youth that serve therein.

Honolulu, HI

Our condolences and prayers go out to the missionary's family. May you all be comforted by the sweet memories of this young man and the Lord's Plan of Salvation.




For "EastCoastCoug" and others interested, last year the church reported the mortality rate for young people worldwide in the missionary age group is about 205 deaths per 100,000 population


Every time a missionary dies someone comes on here and tries to ensure everyone that going on a mission is safe relative to not being a missionary for the same age group. The big flaw, they always compare the death rate with the WORLD. Most missionaries come from the US and more specifically Utah. Lets compare the 18-21 year old mortality rate in at least the United States but to be more accurate we should compare the missionary mortality rate to the Utah 18-21 year old mortality rate. The death rate per 100,000 in 18 year olds in the US = 84.3, age 19 = 97.7 age 20 = 111.8 age 21 = 125.0. As you can see all these numbers are less than the missionary death rate by about half. This is according to SSA.gov. I couldn't find a good source for the Utah mortality rate by age. I have a Heavy heart for this mans family.

Cedar Hills, UT

I have never seen so many missionary deaths. Holy cow this is terrible and tragic. How many is that now over the past year? From bike and car accidents to missionaries walking on roofs to missionaries falling out of trees. Some of these are just freak accidents that are so unlikely. I did alot more dangerous stuff on my mission in Alaska with no problems - maybe dumb luck. In any event - the pain this poor family is suffering right now is beyond me.



To say 205 per 100,000 is one twentieth of the worlwide mortality rate for this age group is a little hard to believe. That would mean roughly 4,100 deaths per 100000 for this young age group. That is on par with most 61-65 age mortality rates that I have seen.

Idaho Falls, ID

You guys are all reading Eljefe's data wrong. World wide death rate for missionary age (not missionaries, just that age group) group is 205/100,000. The actual missionary death rate as reported by the Church is less than 1/20 of 205, which is about 10/100,000, which is much less than the U.S. statistics reported by niners in his post--about 100/100,000.

Centerville, VA

Maybe this has been addressed, but if I am reading it correctly, ElJefe's statement was that "the church reported the mortality rate for

young people worldwide in the missionary age group

is about 205 deaths per 100,000 population. For missionaries, "that figure is less than one-twentieth of that number."

Which would mean that the (annual?) death rate of the missionaries is only about 10/100,000. Which is even a lot lower than the 84-to-111 rate that niners cited for young Americans generally.

Utah, UT

For "EastCoastCoug" and others interested, last year the church reported the mortality rate for young people worldwide in the missionary age group is about 205 deaths per 100,000 population. For missionaries, "that figure is less than one-twentieth of that number."

Glendale, AZ

I take offense at those like eastcoastcoug and niners who uses this story as yet another way to be critical of the church. Aside the fact that niners totally misinterpreted the world stat and the church's stat on deaths per 100,000, to think that the General Authorities do not consider the missionaries' safety is ludicrous. And their care for the missionaries is not merely to avoid legal ramifications, it is because they love them!

It is not just social media that is driving increased news on this subject, but it is the digital world in which we live in generally that is making news like this more instant and heard of. Also, we need to consider that we now have over 80,000 (!) missionaries serving in the world and in more parts of the world. With these kinds of increasing numbers, statistics of all kind increase.

President Monson was inspired to lower the age limit for Elders and Sister missionaries. It is the Lord's will. If you have a complaint about that, take it up with Him. Good luck.



I completely misread that. I apologize.

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