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.
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?
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=missionaries.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?
re:bass679you are correct. I know the Church does all it can to keep
missionaries safe and sometimes life just happens regardless.
@Patriotmostly 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.
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
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.
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.
Carman,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.
@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!
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."
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
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
@carman"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
My sympathies go out to the family. What an unfortunate accident.
@malihiniNo, 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.
@carmen I agreeThis 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.
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 as.....life!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.
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.
carman,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". lolThe 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.
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 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!