LDS Church says missionary who grabbed assailant's gun acted to protect his life, companion

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  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    March 20, 2017 7:28 a.m.

    Good for the missionary. Did the Bishop retrieve the gun? After all, it was tossed onto church property.

  • Bobster , 00
    March 19, 2017 11:33 p.m.

    I am glad no one was hurt. I am also glad there was but one gun. I could not help but recall a time while serving as a WML we ran into a situation with an investigator that potentially could have turned very violent. The investigator met us in a parking lot, and we then learned the investigator wanted financial assistance. He pulled a razor blade and slashed his own wrist to let us know he was desperate. We were blessed to get out of the situation unharmed. I am not sure the elders would be any safer in a lot of cities in the U.S., so I am not sure how safe a transfer would make the missionaries. Every situation needs to be evaluated based on its unique circumstances. Given the result of this incident, the missionary obviously did the right thing.

  • Serenity Manti, UT
    March 19, 2017 1:34 a.m.

    Good for the missionary!! Just because you are serving the Lord on a mission does not mean you have to let people bully you and deprive you of your belongings. I hope that nasty little thief ends up in jail some day. I am so glad the missionary defended himself - as well as his partner.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    March 18, 2017 4:46 p.m.

    I don't judge the other missionary unkindly at all. He probably had never been in a fight before and responded as I would have responded when faced with the same situation. Obviously, the larger elder had prior experience. I like Say No to BO's comment: The Supreme Court put it well in 1921: “Detached reflection cannot be demanded in the presence of an uplifted knife."

  • Gordon Dix Jr , 00
    March 17, 2017 8:36 a.m.

    That Elder can join my hockey team anytime & his companion would be a great referee. I like both of them. Brazil ey. Evidence of those 2 thieves & robbers should be found by there police and sentenced to many years in jail. Or does this country think that well this happens all the time. No big deal. Our country of Canada I would imagine should rethink of going somewhere else for a vacation if these guys are not found and time spent to find them as a warning to others who think they can rob anyone, anytime as they must be doing this daily there.

  • Miki Columbia, MO
    March 16, 2017 10:32 p.m.

    God's Army Yo!

  • lrbinfrisco Frisco, TX
    March 16, 2017 6:09 p.m.

    Church leaders did exactly what I expected, respond with prudent forethought while being guided by the spirit. I would never think to judge the missionary fighting back nor his companion who did not fight back. I don't know all the particulars of the event nor most importantly do I have a stewardship over those Elders where it is my duty to make a judgement. There are multiple examples in scripture of the Lords servants both fighting back in defense and passively turning the other cheek.

    I was taught in the MTC, many years ago, not to intervene in a domestic dispute. When one day out of the blue I found myself involved in the middle of one I acted, probably in hindsight the best that I could have, but I know that I was guided to do what I did by the spirit. My companion remained standing in shock during the whole event, but in hindsight, I do not believe that he could have done anything better. No one was hurt, the situation was diffused, and peace was restored to that household with minimal intervention. Fortunately that day I was in tune with the spirit to act and follow the guidance given without thought.

  • Sad Sack Hurricane, UT
    March 16, 2017 11:30 a.m.

    The good guys won one, for a change! Despite the naysayers here, these guys had seconds to make up their mind what to do. OTOH, people like @Frazier, have the luxury of sitting in complete safety, behind their computers, and second guessing what actually happened out there.

  • Zebra Stripe Oregon City, OR
    March 16, 2017 10:49 a.m.

    Fun to Watch? It wasn't a game for our entertainment. I can only imagine the adrenaline and fear for this brave young man. I think LDS are taught to be too passive, turn the other cheek, help out creepy people even when they want to kill you. No! that is not what Christ taught. The video made me very emotional, I know he was led and protected to act as he did.

  • nmjim SANDIA PARK, NM
    March 16, 2017 9:00 a.m.

    Heh. After all, we DO believe in the laying on of hands......

  • FelisConcolor Layton, UT
    March 16, 2017 8:23 a.m.

    This was the right decision by the church. No one should be second-guessing this missionary's actions in protecting himself and others; everyone has a right to self-defense.

    Similarly, no one should be second-guessing the actions of his companion, who followed the mission rules and did exactly as he was instructed in that situation. He's not a coward, or a wimp, or anything other than a good, obedient missionary.

    If this elder had been shot while reaching for the gun instead of successfully disarming his attacker, then this page would be full of endless comments about how the mission rules are there for the missionary's protection and if this elder had just been obedient and given up his money he'd be alive today.

    Both missionaries did the right thing in their minds, and both are alive today. Enough with the Monday-Morning Quarterbacking.

  • Harrison Lapahie Shiprock, NM
    March 16, 2017 6:36 a.m.

    These missionaries did the right thing. It's sometimes difficult to know what to do, but everyone must stand up to crime, no matter the situation. If we give in [which most do], then the bad guys will do it again. This was in Brazil, but similar situations have happened to me and mom growing up and living in downtown Los Angeles. Mom [about 71 then] was mugged and robbed [they broke her right arm] while getting off the subway and walking to the bus waiting area to go home. I have been robbed many times after leaving Berendo Jr. High and walking to the bus waiting area [but I always fought back]. And mostly it was just for a few cents [less than $2] or them trying to take my bus card. Just for their safety, these missionaries need to be transferred to a different location.

  • Tweety California, CA
    March 16, 2017 5:20 a.m.

    This missionary did the right thing. Period.

  • Whoa Nellie American Fork, UT
    March 16, 2017 4:51 a.m.

    That elder might want a new companion. His just stood on the sideline the whole time.

  • islandboy Honolulu, HI
    March 16, 2017 12:29 a.m.

    Maybe, transfer him out of the area for his safety. Otherwise, he did the best he could under the circumstances. Glad both are safe.

  • Hope & Faith give us strength Utah County, UT
    March 16, 2017 12:16 a.m.

    To those judging him:

    In almost every bill of rights on the Earth, the right to defend your life when threatened is protected. So why is it that when we see someone defending themselves, we suddenly get shifty on our moral high ground we seem to think we have? If you think you have the moral high ground, you don't. God does. Let us remember to stand on His moral ground, rather than the shifty terrain we construct for ourselves when we judge others. All of us are guilty of judging another person at some point. But we can all rise above that trend. He was in the right, whether you want to see it that way or want to see it some other way.

  • Harrison Bergeron Holladay , UT
    March 15, 2017 11:41 p.m.

    That was AWESOME! I watched it 5 times and laughed harder each time. Love how he tossed the gun over the fence and then...GAME ON!!!

    Can you imagine the discussion between those two thugs when they hooked up later? They left their gun, their scooter and their dignity and ran for their lives.

    I feel bad for the other missionary who stood there and watched though. He should have tackled that first guy to run from behind and given him a beating too!

    I'm really tired of the advice to rollover, play dead and comply with these thugs. So nice to see them get a surprise every now and then. Image how it would be if everyone always fought back and shot back.

  • Fullypresent Salt Lake City, UT
    March 15, 2017 11:38 p.m.

    Missionary had a right to defend himself and his companion should have helped him. If they had had to shoot the muggers to defend themselves that would have been terrible but understandable. There are a lot of violent criminals in our country and in others. Some of those people in other countries think they are rich Americans by the way missionaries are dressed. It makes them easy targets with their backpacks and dressed like that. The Church should also consider not sending them to dangerous neighborhoods where they are high risk for robbery or assault.

  • heavyhitter Lehi, UT
    March 15, 2017 11:33 p.m.

    May not be the long-term correct approach, but great job disarming the attacker. This elder does, however, need to improve his throw-down skills--he had the attacker outweighed by 75 pounds.

  • Misty Mountain Kent, WA
    March 15, 2017 9:10 p.m.

    @John Charity Spring, I don't really think that too many people area concerned about the condemnations [strong or otherwise] that you have proclaimed regarding their choice of positions. The Deseret News is gracious enough to give all sides a forum for respectfully stated opinions. We do have freedom of speech, and it's OK to disagree with one another.

    Now look at the video. They were robbing the missionaries because they assumed that they had at least some money or other valuables. In Manaus, anybody with nice clothes has money. The bad guys could have cared less about "religious freedom". I'm not sure why you even brought that up.

  • Errol Los Angeles, CA
    March 15, 2017 9:04 p.m.

    The church leaders did well not to criticize the missionary who fought back to protect his life. Even if some of them might think that they would have acted differently under the circumstances, they could not really know unless they actually faced the situation. Myself, I greatly admire the young man who fought back. And I am disappointed in his partner who just stood there doing absolutely nothing to help his partner who was in the prolonged struggle with the attacker.

    p.s. I am not Mormon

  • cmsense Kaysville, UT
    March 15, 2017 8:35 p.m.

    I'm thinking Captain Moroni, the Danites, and Porter Rockwell would be proud.

  • Jim Mesa, Az
    March 15, 2017 8:22 p.m.

    No one has the right to judge this young man. He was defending himself and his companion. Missionaries are not soft targets for abuse and they have the right to defend themselves. Everyone thinks they will know how they would act in a combative situation, right up to the point when that situation occurs.

  • Thinking78 Surprise, AZ
    March 15, 2017 7:51 p.m.

    I am glad he had the courage, skill and presence of mind to protect himself and his companion. I wish his companion had been able to help him. Being a servant of the good Lord does not mean one has to be a willing victim for every evil, wicked bully on the block. This case should be examined on it's own merits and not interpreted as an argument for the merits of passive victimhood. Christians are too often encouraged to retreat from the public square and not protect or defend their own lives, the lives of others or their right to even be involved in the issues of the day. In reality, the adversary scores with silencing Christian influence and action. The one sacrificial life that was required was given over 2000 years ago. I believe our job is to live, share and defend the truth unless personal revelation prompts us otherwise and only the ones involved will know when that is the case.

  • utah county utah fan Springville, UT
    March 15, 2017 7:43 p.m.

    Don't mess with the Lord's missionaries

  • omahahusker Modesto, CA
    March 15, 2017 6:50 p.m.

    Jesus was quite definite in Matthew, Chapter 5. That being said the missionary felt it was the best thing to protect himself, he was human, Jesus was above that. It would probably be best to transfer that missionary out of the mission and maybe to another country or back to the US where there will be no retribution. The mission president needs to look out for the welfare of this
    young man.

  • waikiki_dave Honolulu, HI
    March 15, 2017 6:47 p.m.

    Don't mess with Texas.

  • bamafone Salem, UT
    March 15, 2017 5:59 p.m.

    Anyone pointing a gun at someone's head deserves a beat down or worse, I don't care if it was a missionary or not.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    March 15, 2017 5:43 p.m.

    No negative judgement or arm chair second guessing here. I've never had a gun pulled on me and don't know how I'd react.

    This Elder was extreemly brave, and clear headed. To have the presence of mind to throw the gun over a fence while in that stressful of a situation was extraordinary.

    He's a true hero.

  • delasalle Sandy, UT
    March 15, 2017 5:29 p.m.

    Although I don't believe this is the best way to handle a situation like this, I am not going to judge this missionary for responding in the manner that he did. I'm amazed he had the wherewithal to throw the gun over the wall and didn't start pulling the trigger when they came back at him. Glad they are both safe.

  • goosehuntr Tooele, UT
    March 15, 2017 5:09 p.m.

    Yes, we can all act as armchair bystanders. I think the statement by the church is spot on.

    We do what we do in the heat of the moment. Sometimes it is just a go. No time to evaluate all the ramifications of actions and process what may or may not be prudent. Sometimes it ends tragically and sometimes it ends like this. I just hope it is the end of any more trouble for this Elder and his companion.

  • jroberto Eden, UT
    March 15, 2017 4:58 p.m.

    Brasil Area Presidency asked ... Do Not share this video with anyone ... but apparently many members are gloating with the success of this unfortunate incident .... it will not help other missionaries in the area ... very sad situation indeed !

  • John Charity Spring Back Home in Davis County, UT
    March 15, 2017 4:13 p.m.

    I issue my strongest possible condemnation to those who are criticizing this brave missionary for defending himself and his companion. Freedom of religion must be preserved.

  • Frazier North Salt Lake, UT
    March 15, 2017 4:05 p.m.

    Fun to watch the missionary fight back, but acting that way makes proselytizing more dangerous for all missionaries. Notice how calmly the natives hand over their wallets?

    In my BYU portuguese class for returned-missionaries, I met an Elder whose companion resisted the mugging by grappling with the mugger. While grappling with the companion, the mugger shot this Elder in the arm and through his shirt alongside his torso (very close call). The second mugger hit the grappling elder on the head, then they left on their motorcycle.

    The elder showed us his white shirt with bullet entry/exit hole, and had a big exposed apparatus on his arm for somehow fixing his arm.

    It's much better for missionaries to carry low amounts of cash, and not have a reputation of resistance. And not endanger themselves or their companions.