Carbon monoxide leak suspected in death of 2 Mormon missionaries in Taiwan

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  • sunnyrainy bellevue, wa
    Oct. 9, 2014 6:18 a.m.

    The Church requires missionaries to wear bike helmets. It also requires all missionaries to stand behind their cars while being backed out. Heaven only knows why -- after SEVERALS CO2 missionary deaths -- why the Church does not require missionaries to have CO2 detectors in their apartments. Blatant, shameful negligence.

  • BroPhil Australia, 00
    Sept. 3, 2014 10:57 p.m.

    Always a tragedy when young people die so needlessly. We are comforted in knowing they died in the service of God and that they are serving now on the other side, and no doubt their exaltation is assured.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Aug. 27, 2014 11:03 p.m.


    It isn't church doctrine, so it is only speculation. How would that help when a loved one dies anyways? To me it would add insult to injury, knowing that instead of letting them live long and full lives god took them early to serve on the other side of the veil. There is nothing comforting in that.

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 9:40 a.m.

    Absolutely yes, a smoke detector and CO2 detector in every house, flat, apartment, tent, ect. that missionaries occupy. Missionaries after a day of work are likely in very deep sleep. That loud high pitch alarm may be the only thing that could wake them up.


    That belief that missions continue on the other side of the veil, is part of how grief is handled by their friends and families. I'm surprised you don't see that.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Aug. 26, 2014 8:04 a.m.

    Leo Clear

    "Their mission continues on the other side of the veil." - How would you or anybody else know that? These families just lost members of their families, I'm not sure they want to hear speculate on where their soul is... especially because it is just a random and wild guess. Let them grieve.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Aug. 26, 2014 8:01 a.m.

    brent d

    So you are saying that god allowed them to be taken early from their families to the other side so that they could be missionaries there? What a ridiculous notion. No loving god would ever do that to a family on purpose.

  • Mark321 Eagle Mountain, UT
    Aug. 25, 2014 9:43 p.m.

    All missionary quarters should be required to have a $25 CO detector. Another pair of missionaries in Reno Nevada almost died from CO poisoning. The scary thing is it's odorless and you fall asleep and die.

  • Dixon1000 Phoenix, AZ
    Aug. 25, 2014 9:25 p.m.

    The only acceptable number of missionary deaths is zero. That should be the response and view of any organization asking it's employees to engage in its business/purpose. It's the organizations responsibility to train and inculcate safety until it becomes second nature. It's the organizations responsibility to develop best practices for safety and implement them. This isn't an initiative that can be handled loosely by each president; there must be worldwide safety protocols that ensure these young men and women are safe. Please do more; I'm seriously worried that we aren't learning from these deaths and making the changes needed to prevent future deaths.

  • Zabet Spanish Fork, UT
    Aug. 25, 2014 4:21 p.m.

    I have been told it is important to have CO alarms near where one sleeps - on the level of your head. CO is heavier than air, but if it comes with the warm air it can go up. If it came from a hot water heater the chances are that it will stay near the floor. Perhaps it would be wise to have an alarm near the bed as well as on the ceiling?

  • kiwi111 Auckland, New Zealand, 00
    Aug. 25, 2014 3:11 p.m.

    (cont'd) I know the majority of our sons have no idea how to keep a place clean, respect property, or even how to change a battery or bulb. We have missionaries as tenants in property we own, and we are grateful the Church allows us to check our properties as often as we feel it is necessary. In our case, we check often, for cleanliness & anything else the missionaries report needs attending to. Some of these (mainly) young men walk into their apartments without removing their muddy shoes, play basketball inside the apartment (result: holes in walls, broken light fittings, etc), don't seem to know that kitchen & shower areas need to be cleaned, ever! My final word to those who blame the church: teach our children how to clean, sew, cook, wash the shower/bath/toilet, personal hygiene, do laundry, do simple things around the home, etc before they go on their missions. (cont'd)

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Aug. 25, 2014 2:11 p.m.

    This nearly happened to me in the mission field 40 years ago. One of our members detected it in time.
    I'm so sorry for these families.

  • brent d Lehi, UT
    Aug. 25, 2014 1:53 p.m.

    On the practical side of things, I agree that CO detectors should be distributed by the Church. Or, in the spirit of the Law of Consecration, whenever a new missionary apartment is obtained, the local ward mission leader should find a way to buy a CO detector, and ensure that the missionaries keep the battery active.

    On the eternal side of this, these young men, in the foreknowledge of God, were supposed to be take to the other side of the Veil. There are billions of spirits there to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When one is keeping the commandments, their time on Earth is not shortened, so I believe, as others have said, that it was their time to pass through the Veil. I grieve with their families, too, but they are hopefully sealed to their parents, and all the blessings of the Lord can still be theirs.

  • Commenter88 Salt Lake City, Utah
    Aug. 25, 2014 12:34 p.m.

    It was only a few years ago that we read of two missionaries dying in Romania for the very same cause: carbon monoxide poisoning. Every bedroom of every missionary in the world should have a a detector. Time to make safety the #1 priority of mission presidents. No president should have any one of his missionaries in a location without smoke/CO detectors. Give them portable ones if necessary.

  • gittalopctbi Glendale, AZ
    Aug. 25, 2014 12:30 p.m.

    I get tired of members who use any excuse to criticize--veiled or outright--the church. I am not referring to those who have sincere suggestions, but to those with that tone of voice in their comments. You act as though the brethren and sisters of the church have no regard for our missionaries or any member of the church for that matter. We are all human and we learn through experiences in life. When was the last time a missionary died of CO2 poisoning? That's what I thought.

  • bbj United Kingdom, 00
    Aug. 25, 2014 11:18 a.m.

    This is beyond sad.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 25, 2014 10:49 a.m.

    Having been involved in the safety business one way or another for almost 40 years, there are accidents that can be preventable if the appropriate procedures had been taken, in most. Some but very few are not preventable for missionaries. Acts of violence can impact on missionaries but sometimes they may have waundered into an area that wasn't part of their responsibility or to travel through. Having served in the military and on missions in 8 different countries and extensive travelling in Asia, what we are used to i the United States is not typical around the world. We are a world wide Church and governments haven't always kept their codes and standards for every domicile or public buildings. In the United States and several other countries, their laws, regulations, building and safety codes are pretty strict and counties and cities apply them by permits, not true for all countries. There are a lot of missionaries out there from a lot of other countries who may not have been exposed to a safety culture of what is permitted or acceptable or not. Not all mission presidents have the same background, either. Parents can provide $2.50 vest and $25.00 monoxide tester and 20 batteries.

  • Schizachyrium scoparium Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 25, 2014 10:17 a.m.

    I am the parent of a missionary who will soon be serving in Taipei. I am sending him a carbon monoxide detector today. There are missionary deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning every few years. CO detectors are cheap, small, and readily available. It is time, and past time, for the church to add this essential item to the list of required missionary supplies. It would be easier than writing condolence letters to the grieving families. Let's hope these elders are the last to die from such a preventable cause. My heart goes out to their families.

  • UT Brit London, England
    Aug. 25, 2014 10:07 a.m.

    To all those saying apartments are inspected regularly, that is not true of every mission. I remember 1 apartment inspection during my 2 year mission. It consisted of them making sure it was clean and that we had not put any holes in the walls. 0 safety checks were done.

  • Robb C Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 25, 2014 9:48 a.m.

    An awful lot of assumptions are being made in these comments. A water heater could go on the blink at any time. Apartment inspections would not have necessarily prevented this. And we don't know from the evidence presented so far that the apartment was substandard in any way.

    But I do agree that this incident should prompt the Church to make sure all missionary apartments are equipped with CO2 and smoke detectors. With the Church's purchasing power they should be able to obtain them cheaply. Then it's just a matter of making sure the batteries get changed on schedule.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 25, 2014 9:27 a.m.

    With 5-10 LDS missionaries dying/killed every year, the odds of your missionary dying on a mission are roughly 1/10,000. If you serve your mission for two years, the probability of losing your child is 1/5,000. I'm sure the Church is concerned about these incidents and will spend money, thought and time to ensure (as much as possible because none of us are guaranteed another day) the safety of the missionaries. Frankly, given where many missionaries serve and drawing on my own experiences 20 years ago, it's a miracle more missionaries aren't harmed.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 25, 2014 9:17 a.m.

    Vests for missionaries on bicycles,, day and night, depending on location, keeps them more visible. Combination carbon monoxide and smoke detectors can allow missionaries an alert, if batteries are changed out every six months. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer and does not discriminate. It causes malaise and one doesn't realize it is happening to them. An alarm can help as it doesn't suffer malaise and can be an advance warning there is a problem. A vest costs a couple of dollars and weighs next to nothing and can be put in a backpack or even stored on the bike. We have seen missionaries riding bikes in their dark suits at night on a narrow heavily trafficked road with multiple trailers in-tow. Having rode with a man who would ride to downtown SLC on his bicycle who got hit by a truck with multiple-trailers in daylight on Beck street and survived due to his protective clothing and helmet. I seen others not so lucky. These elders had helmets but no vests and in dark suits and no reflectors. There are ways to highlight these elders. Carbon monoxide/smoke detectors are worth their costs .

  • Match44 Salt Lake City, ut
    Aug. 25, 2014 9:04 a.m.

    Horrible, horrible story. My prayers go out to these two young gentlemen and their families.

    @Big Bubba, excellent advice. Thanks.

  • BalancedFulfilledLife MISSOURI CITY, TX
    Aug. 25, 2014 8:51 a.m.

    God protects the faithful Saints until their journey in mortal life is through. Consider Paul, Abinadi, and Joseph Smith, Jr. Consider William Tyndale, Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln and more. While the passing of a loved one is surely treacherous, at least the deaths of these two fine young men came without violence from others or in rebellion to God. Peace comes from doing our best to live God's commandments and trusting His timetable for ourselves and our loved ones.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 25, 2014 8:33 a.m.

    Thanks for this format of social network that Elder Bednar spoke about last week. This can be a time to evaluate what mission presidents can and should do for their missionaries. Not all have the same type of background to think of safety from their work experiences and cultural backgrounds or country experiences. Safety and welfare are important factors as expressed in Section 134. There are not always codes but there can be a person to look at safety, especially overseas in housing, transportation, etc.

  • marmajean Bedminster, PA
    Aug. 25, 2014 8:14 a.m.

    We are all forgetting one very important thing here. Each and every one of our lives have an "expiration date" stamped on it. We all pass through the veil when that time on earth is up. None of us can escape it or negotiate for more time with Heavenly Father. Unfortunately it was just these missionaries time to die. My heart breaks for those left behind but thanks to the sealing power given to us by Elijah, they will be together for ever.

  • Martin Handcart Descendant Azusa, CA
    Aug. 25, 2014 8:04 a.m.

    We are presently serving a mission as a senior couple and one of our assignments is to inspect all the living quarters of our very loved missionaries. My sister is also serving in another country and is doing the same thing. By direction of church authorities, we have purchased and installed CO detectors in the bedrooms of all our missionaries. Those who ridicule the church and the missionary program are very mistaken. We love our missionaries and very much appreciate their love and sacrifice for their fellow man in preaching the gospel of peace throughout the world. We do everything we can to keep the missionaries safe and healthy. We love them as much as our own children. Our hearts are broken because of this tragic accident. Our love and prayers are extended to their families and friends.

  • Dixon1000 Phoenix, AZ
    Aug. 25, 2014 7:21 a.m.

    Many lives could be saved if a comprehensive safety and safety training program were put in place. Professional inspection of each living quarter would only be a part of it; young missionaries would also be trained to identify and avoid potential hazards. There would be full time employees with professional backgrounds in safety watching out for the missionaries. We are asking families to sacrifice a lot to send their children on missions; at a minimum they should be able to expect to see their child return safely home.

  • sassyandi Fort Collins, Colorado
    Aug. 25, 2014 6:31 a.m.

    My heart is broken for the families of these missionaries. I am absolutely sick to hear this! As a mother of a missionary I agree that it should be standard procedure for the church to MAKE SURE that our missionaries apartments be inspected for safety by professionals when at all possible. For all the horrible stories we hear, there are many that we don't, since there were only injuries and not deaths involved. My niece saved her companion's life with CPR after she was electrocuted by a clothes washer (in Chile) There was water on the floor of the laundry room, and there were no GFCI's in the wiring! I understand that we can't prevent every bad thing that could possibly go wrong, and that many countries have sketchy, NON-updated wiring for instance. However, I'm curious to know if any safety procedures are ever discussed with missionaries in the MTC for possible eventualities that they might face (esp. in countries that are not "up to code") or for regional dangers that they should be aware of. I truly hope that we will learn lessons from these tragic experiences, especially those which have caused fatalities.

  • Aggie5 Kuna, ID
    Aug. 25, 2014 6:03 a.m.

    Apartments have always been inspected by a person in the mission. This sort of thing is avoidable, and I would be upset as a parent. The church needs to tighten up the safety issues now. Thanks

  • Leo Clear Las Cruces, NM
    Aug. 25, 2014 5:54 a.m.

    Patriot... I live in the Albuquerque New Mexico Mission and yes there is a High Council member who is charge of procuring and inspecting missionary apartments. This is a tragedy too loose two young missionaries. Their mission continues on the other side of the veil. I have to think that prayers for the families will be the only solace to this tragic ending of two young lives.

  • UT Brit London, England
    Aug. 25, 2014 5:40 a.m.

    I stayed in some pretty rough apartments, some were out right dangerous. The church needs to make sure that apartments are of a decent standard and that they have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Peoples lives should not be put at risk so that the church can save a few dollars.

  • Jared NotInMiami, FL
    Aug. 25, 2014 5:15 a.m.

    @patriot Our apartments were inspected every month or two (this was within the past 20 years). It was mostly for cleanliness but was also done to make sure things in the apartment were working correctly. The problem is that leaks like this can develop rapidly and are not easy to find without CO monitors.

  • Malihini Northern, UT
    Aug. 24, 2014 11:28 p.m.

    I know the church wants these missionaries living in the local communities, among the local people (I did that in a big eastern US city as a missionary and lived in some very questionable apartments) but if they want to send out 80,000 missionaries then they should be able to cover the cost of putting them in cars, not bicycles or even reliant on public transportation, and should put them in nicer, middle class apartments with security and more modern safety features.

    I traveled to Africa on a business trip, into a remote area, and stayed in nicer, secure locations. It doesn't have to be first class, luxury apartment living, but they can be better, more secure and safe accommodations than what missionaries currently have.

    I think the church needs to seriously look at this and upgrade their current standards, even if that means missionaries have to live outside their area and travel in everyday.

  • Big Bubba Herriman, UT
    Aug. 24, 2014 9:28 p.m.

    My prayers are with the families.

    Whenever I travel I take my portable, battery-powered CO detector along. CO deaths can be prevented with a $25.00 detector.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 24, 2014 8:56 p.m.

    I have to say that as a missionary we never had our appartment inspected and some of the places we lived in were pretty low budget and broken down. The one thing the Church should do is have someone from the area in the stake be assigned to inspect the apartment regularly. This is something that should never happen.

  • Provo, UT
    Aug. 24, 2014 8:13 p.m.

    My thoughts have been for the families of these two young men. Each I am sure was diligently doing their best in The Lord's service.

    Having sent out 2 sons and a daughter I know the hear-ache they must be feeling with this tragedy.

    I think if I were sending out anymore as a father I would supply each with a co2 detector to travel with them.

  • runnerguy50 Virginia Beach, Va
    Aug. 24, 2014 6:24 p.m.

    My heart breaks for these families though I don't know them. I'm praying for these families tonight.