Mormon missionary electrocuted by live wire in Guatemala

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  • BYU Papa Cedar Hills, ut
    Aug. 9, 2017 6:05 a.m.

    My grandson serving in Peru was electrocuted when entering a new baptismal font. Fortunately he was not killed as he knew not to ground himself. He did suffer injury as a result of the incident.

    Wiring in some 3rd world countries can be very dangerous as the do not properly install it. It would be very good if this problem could be resolved. Also, Missionaries should be warned about the situation to avoid further problems.

  • KevinSim Springville, UT
    Aug. 8, 2017 8:53 p.m.

    Carman posted:

    =I wish the Missionary Dept would stop using this statistic - it probably isn't
    =applicable to many/most missionaries. A missionary going from a relatively safe
    =place (e.g. Utah, Chile, etc.), to a poorer, more dangerous location somewhere
    =else in the world is likely less safe in the mission field than at home.

    So, Carman, you suggest the LDS Church is using that statistic to exaggerate the safety of one such missionary, but you expect us to believe that you're not using your own reasoning to exaggerate the danger of one such missionary? Do you have anything to back up your theory that some missionaries are going into a lifestyle in a foreign country where they're actually more likely to die than they would be if they stayed home?

  • KevinSim Springville, UT
    Aug. 8, 2017 8:47 p.m.

    Malihini posted:

    =Quit frankly, the church should put their missionaries in better, safer, modern
    =housing, get them off of bikes and public transportation, and teach them much
    =more about third world countries and customs.
    =If that becomes too much of an expense, then they shouldn't be sending the

    So you're saying that in the case where the LDS Church sends out 10,000 missionaries and one of them dies, the Church should improve those odds, and if it can't, then it "shouldn't be sending the missionaries," which would mean they would stay home where TWENTY of them would likely die? What kind of sense does THAT make?

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 8, 2017 11:02 a.m.


    you are correct. I know the Church does all it can to keep missionaries safe and sometimes life just happens regardless.

  • bass679 Novi, MI
    Aug. 8, 2017 7:12 a.m.

    mostly it's just a numbers game. With the number of missionaries out in the field today, based on the statistics given in the article we would expect for 62,000 missionaries to have approximately 6.3 deaths per year on average which is about 0.01%. In the general population for the same number you'd expect about 127 deaths per year or 0.2%.

    It really just works out to awful math. There's no way to make the world perfectly safe and as you increase the number of missionaries those small percentages turn into regular occurrences. The math is small comfort to those who have lost a missionary, but honestly it's statistically very safe.

  • Nijmegen Nijmegen, 00
    Aug. 8, 2017 1:16 a.m.

    My heart goes out to her parents, siblings and more extended family and friends.I cannot imagine how you must feel as a parent, brother/sister that your child and sibling has died on her mission.
    We are so blessed to know that death is not a farewell but a till later. that death is a pause and not a period.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 7, 2017 8:55 p.m.

    Having sent missionaries into the field I know how you wait for every email -- not just to hear about their week but to hear that they are ok. It is a terrible tragedy about this sister missonary and her parents and family are having to deal with this loss. It seems that over the past 6 or 7 years hearing about the death of a missionary is not like it once was -- disbelief. Sadly -- for whatever the reason -- we hear of 4 or 5 of these every year it seems. It was never heard of in 1980 when I was out. Not sure what has changed other than more countries and more missionaries although not that many more.

  • Caddis Terry, MT
    Aug. 7, 2017 6:11 p.m.

    It seems a poor time to try and paint a picture that the church is not heavily involved in missionary safety. Having recently returned as a senior missionary working with housing, I can assure you that is very far from truth and reality.

  • geekusprimus Little Elm, TX
    Aug. 7, 2017 2:05 p.m.


    Speaking as a fairly recent former missionary, the Church does a great deal to protect missionaries and give them the tools to be safe. The missionary handbook has an entire section on safety, including information on how to handle thieves, areas and events to avoid, how to avoid looking like a target, and so forth. As if that wasn't enough, every missionary in the MTC received a health and safety guide. We received regular training on bicycle and vehicle safety ad nauseam. When I served in a dangerous city, my apartment was located a mile and half outside my area in a safe suburb (it was a similar story across the mission). In said city, I learned very quickly without much assistance exactly which areas were safe and which ones were dangerous. When the temperatures dropped dangerously low, every missionary serving in affected areas was informed not to go out unless we had a set appointment and a vehicle to get us there. They installed GPS-enabled driving monitors in our vehicles to encourage safe driving.

    To keep missionaries any safer than they were in my mission, the Church would have been required to assign paid security or 24/7 babysitters to every companionship.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 7, 2017 12:05 p.m.

    @NeilT "A boy scout recently died while camping in the high Uinta mountains. Should we ban the boy scouts from going on camping trips. "

    No, we shouldn't. But parents have a right to reject some such activities for their own kids. When my son was in scouting I would not allow him to go on these more hazardous trips. That was my right as a parent. Parents have rights!

  • 1994 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 7, 2017 9:19 a.m.

    Most of the comments so far have emphasized the missionary dept's responsibilty (or lack thereof) for the safety of this missionary. While that may have some bearing, we must also keep in mind that the Lord knows our days and they "shall not be numbered less." What we are unable to see with our mortal eyes is what miracles this "sacrifice" may have (and will) caused to happen on both sides of the veil. While it may sound callous, sometimes the Lord allows a missionary to be taken so that His work can be accomplished.
    When our [extended] family suffered a loss we became aware of a book called "The Transfer" by Susan Woods (Digital Legend, 2014). She compiled dozens of stories told by families who lost a child on a mission -- a sensitive subject true, but these stories have brought great comfort to those who have had to endure this great shock. Each of the stories acknowledge the divine hand of the Lord in their child's "transfer" as a necessary or even crucial event in opening doors, turning keys and blessing thousands of lives. These stories bring incredible solace and comfort to families who receive the heartbreaking news that their child has been "transfered."

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    Aug. 7, 2017 8:45 a.m.

    In many parts of the world bicycles and public transportation are the only modes of transportation. Missionary service involves risks. So does serving in the military as I did for twenty five years. A boy scout recently died while camping in the high Uinta mountains. Should we ban the boy scouts from going on camping trips. Tragic story. Condolences to the family. The church will continue it's missionary service. How many posters have pioneer ancestry that served under dangerous and harsh conditions. Are we not up to some of the same challenges.

  • Vanceone Provo, UT
    Aug. 7, 2017 8:30 a.m.

    The purpose of a missionary is to take the Light of Christ into the darkest holes, where the need is the greatest. That's not exactly a safe thing.

    Yes, the Church tries to keep missionaries safe. But the Lord calls us to leave our comfort and go off into the wilderness looking for His sheep. And the wilderness is hazardous.

    I am grateful that this sister missionary only died a natural, accidental death. There's far, far worse things that could have happened to her. And she died for the Lord: is there anything more that can be asked?

    Frankly, the LDS church has a stunning safety record compared to previous gospel dispensations. After all, only John of the original 12 apostles was not murdered. Indeed, many early LDS missionaries were tarred and feathered or murdered, like Parley P. Pratt.

    Our current missionaries are protected very well compared to days of yore. I am exceedingly grateful for them, and for the Lord's protective care. And may peace fall on this faithful Sister's loved ones.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Aug. 7, 2017 8:07 a.m.

    To Malihini, reasonableUte, et al,

    I absolutely think we should send our missionaries to less safe places in the world, even is riskier environments. The Gospel of Jesus Christ will do incredible good for people who live in these places, and, in my opinion, will be the best chance many places have of improving their quality of life (and happiness) in the long run.

    I am ok with bucket showers and dirt roads. I am even ok with higher levels of street crime, with less safe building codes, and with less safe food and water supplies. I know from close acquaintances and personal experience that most mission presidents are very careful which neighborhoods missionaries are placed in, and that rules are put in place to help keep the missionaries safe.

    But, from my personal experience and perspective, we are not consistent enough in our identification of key risks, or in training our missionaries (and even youth leaders) in how to identify and mitigate key risks. We sometimes slip into the attitude of "sometimes bad things happen" too easily, and don't always carefully analyze how we can to better next time. The church is more focused on the issue than ever. We can do even better.

  • AZ grandma Sierra Vista, AZ
    Aug. 7, 2017 8:06 a.m.

    Oh this makes me so sad. I too am sending my heartfelt condolences and prayers for the family of this dear missionary. This was a horrible accident. I too agree that Mormon missionaries are generally very safe in their areas that they are sent to. My grandson recently got back from his mission in Conception, Chile and the people were so friendly and nice. He made some wonderful friends there who still keep in touch.

  • goosehuntr Tooele, UT
    Aug. 7, 2017 7:50 a.m.

    As a father of missionaries, my whole heart goes out to the family, companions and friends of this super sister missionary. I cannot imagine the grief this loss brings. I missed my boys terribly and having any of them not come home alive pierces my heart. May the Lord bless this young sisters family with "that peace that surpasses all understanding."

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Aug. 7, 2017 7:45 a.m.

    To AZRods:

    Re: "...unsafe experiences and poor quality plumbing etc etc? They might traumatize our little 19 year old adults?"

    You didn't read my post very carefully. Nowhere did I say that we shouldn't send our missionaries to some of these less safe places. I am all-in, died in the wool LDS, and have sent multiple missionaries to very unsafe parts of the world.

    My comment reflects my belief that we should be forthright about the risks, do appropriate training, and should wisely mitigate the risks as much as is reasonably possible. As for being safer on a mission than similar aged youth around the world, worthy, temple recommend holding LDS young adults are not "average" young adults. Most don't go to average universities. They don't drink or engage in other high risk behaviors. A large percentage of them live in parts of the world where crime is relatively low, building standards are relatively high, and where the food and water supplies are relatively safe.

    Sometimes our culture (not doctrine!) is a little too dismissive of risk. We can do better at identifying key risks, training and then being wise and vigilant in addressing and mitigating these risks.

  • esodije ALBUQUERQUE, NM
    Aug. 6, 2017 10:36 p.m.

    So many poor people "steal" electricity in these Latin American countries by hooking live wires over nearby power lines that the danger of electrocution is common when going in their homes. I guess you can train missionaries to recognize hazards, but it's hard to avoid them totally.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Aug. 6, 2017 10:28 p.m.


    "They (the LDS Church) should also carefully train the missionaries how to avoid key risks as many missionaries will have limited experience in these settings."

    The church already does a lot of training teaching missionaries to avoid risk, but that doesn't mean missionaries are guaranteed to be safe in all circumstances. I was a missionary in Canada and I remember one time almost getting hit by a car that was traveling fast through a parking lot. Had I been hit, would it be the church's fault more than the driver of the car?

    AZRods' remark is correct in that critics of the LDS Church continually flood message boards like this attacking the church for pretty much everything.

    One rule that critics of the church, especially Internet trollers stick to is that the LDS Church is always wrong, and even if the critic must twist their arguments in pretzels, continually making contradictory remarks, in their view the LDS Church will still always be wrong. Had the church made a different statement regarding the death of this missionary, critics would still find a way to attack the church.

  • John Brown 1000 Laketown, UT
    Aug. 6, 2017 10:27 p.m.

    My sympathies go out to the family. What an unfortunate accident.

  • reasonableUTE Provo, UT
    Aug. 6, 2017 10:02 p.m.


    No, the church should not do those things. Safer housing maybe, but getting them off bikes and away from public transportation would completely ruin half the point of a mission. The point isn't to view another culture from a distance. That would make for terrible missionary work, and superficial experiences. If you want to be a good missionary, you have to immerse yourself in the culture of the people whom you are serving. That includes getting around like they get around, eating what they eat, living where they live (so long as it is reasonably safe).

    I also don't agree that this statistic is misleading. It most certainly is not. The point of the statistic is to say that serving a mission is more safe than living a regular young adult life. Serving a mission keeps one out of the way of things typical young adults do, therefore, this statistic is completely relevant.

    We hear of a few every year that die out of TENS OF THOUSANDS. The mortality rate of missionaries is ridiculously low. I know that doesn't make the deaths any less saddening, but the idea that missionaries aren't kept safe for the most part is ridiculous.

  • Malihini Northern, UT
    Aug. 6, 2017 9:03 p.m.

    @carmen I agree

    This statistic, "Young Mormons serving missions generally are safer than other young adults their age, ". Should really not be used. As pointed out, generally speaking, missionaries are going to areas that are very much less safe than their home environment. Plus, when you compare mortality rates like this then it should also be compared across the same demographic, i.e., a mortality rate for a 18 year old male growing up in the western US who doesn't smoke, drink or do drugs is certainly different than a mortality rate for ALL 18 year olds across the world or even in the US. Not only is this statistic mis leading but it doesn't do anything to comfort the family who is suffering the loss.

    Quit frankly, the church should put their missionaries in better, safer, modern housing, get them off of bikes and public transportation, and teach them much more about third world countries and customs.

    If that becomes too much of an expense, then they shouldn't be sending the missionaries. The church must have minimum standards to ensure their safety. One Missionary not returning home is too many. And no study or statistic is going to help.

  • AZRods Maricopa, AZ
    Aug. 6, 2017 8:29 p.m.

    I realized that this sister would have been going home soon. So sad and painful.
    Prayers for peace and comfort for her companion and family back home.

    Carmen, unsafe experiences and poor quality plumbing etc etc? They might traumatize our little 19 year old adults?
    The problem with many new missionaries is that they have been sheltered from every scary risky exposure in life. Such!
    The conditions you are describing are prevalent around the world and you can't nor shouldn't try to hover over young adults to control their every stimuli.
    At some point you have to let them govern themselves.
    Also, the reason the missionary department uses these statistics is because of the numerous critics who come on these stories with criticism. Kinda like the majority of your comment.

  • RoberttheAlpaca EL DORADO HILLS, CA
    Aug. 6, 2017 6:51 p.m.

    Carman makes a lot of sense. Even if the stat is correct it is of little solace to those who have lost a loved one or had one injured.

  • Hope & Faith give us strength Utah County, UT
    Aug. 6, 2017 5:30 p.m.


    I offer a friendly thought about how the church handles safety.

    Missionaries are given info about the area, laws, the people, etc. The MTC is probably even one of the best examples of striving to do better within the church. So the ways missionaries are prepped and taught are continually improved on. In a way, I suppose the good news for your point of view might be that if sister Huber's tragedy should necessitate such an improvement, it will surely be noted. Not everything can be avoided of course. The nature of an accidents is that they are unexpected.

    Heavenly Father is watching out for us and guides us where we need to go. Loving God and serving Him is what comes first. Personally, I wouldn't want the hymn to read "I'll go where you want me to go... as long as it has a low crime rate". lol

    The very gospel shared tells of Alma and many others who taught truth at great risk. It also reminds us that with faith in God, we will prosper in our efforts and if afflicted by others we'll still be blessed. Knowing that she is even now blessed is a blessing to ourselves, a comfort worth focusing on.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Aug. 6, 2017 2:07 p.m.

    Words cannot express my heartfelt sympathy for this missionary's family.

    re: "Young Mormons serving missions generally are safer than other young adults their age, according to international and church statistics."

    I wish the Missionary Dept would stop using this statistic - it probably isn't applicable to many/most missionaries. A missionary going from a relatively safe place (e.g. Utah, Chile, etc.), to a poorer, more dangerous location somewhere else in the world is likely less safe in the mission field than at home. Additionally, we should be careful using the term "safer" based solely on mortality rates. There are many unsafe experiences/events that may result in psychological or physical harm that do not result in death. A street robbery, food-born illness, parasites, witnessing a robbery/murder, being exposed to poor quality plumbing, electrical systems, etc. can all have negative effects on someone without resulting in their death. The church should simply acknowledge that some of these places are dangerous. They should also carefully train the missionaries how to avoid key risks as many missionaries will have limited experience in these settings.

  • Hope & Faith give us strength Utah County, UT
    Aug. 6, 2017 11:31 a.m.

    Hope and prayers with Sister Huber's family.

    I'm grateful for the care Elder Evans expressed for her passing and that the church is looking at safety trends and educating safety and self-reliance both with missionaries and members. We live in a time where many organizational features of the church truly bless our lives. The world may have a historical and media-fed distaste for organized religion, as some religions have taken advantage of people. But clearly the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Savior's church and we can easily see how cared for all of us are.

    I have no doubt she is continuing to serve now, with an even greater capacity and understanding of the gospel!