Monday, November 10, 2008

Recent Thoughts on Death and LDS Missionaries

In October 2008 I posted on Two Missionaries Preserved in Accident in Spain so it got me thinking about missionaries who had died while serving in the mission field. I know that not every missionary who is hit by a car is as fortunate as these two elders in my post and that many have perished while serving a mission. Last year in 2007 these two elders on the left were beaten badly in Bolton, England with bottles and rocks and could have easily died. This year 18 October 2008 a former BYU basketball star Chris Collinsworth and his companion David Ferguson were stabbed in Sydney Australia but survived despite stab wounds.

There are several angles to consider when thinking about death and LDS missionaries. From time to time missionaries are killed due to accidents and sadly even premeditation. It is not stressed for many reasons including the fact that it might be a deterrent to the number of persons serving a mission. Most parents who have lost children when later interviewed have expressed their opinion that their child died in a good cause and they may be grieving but know their child made a noble sacrifice. Institutionally the LDS Church tries to keep them as safe as possible but no one can really control random acts. They can be minimized but not totally eliminated. Out of interest this is what I discovered when searching the internet and my own thoughts on the issue.

I remember one sister in the prime of her life dropped dead and even an autopsy couldn't determine the cause of death. In examining the deaths of missionaries over the course of the last twenty years I discovered that many died in car accidents or when hit by cars, one died from falling from a train, and one died from drowning while trying to save another person. There isn't much that can be done about the randomness of the car accidents and very few die from murders which is not true with other religions. I found three that were murder one in Virginia (shot) and two in the Ivory Coast (stabbed).

Other missionaries died in a variety of ways including, one died by electrocution trying to save a boy, four by drowning and one by falling under a train. In a drowning incident in 1999 Elder Jaarl Michael Papenfuss died a hero while trying to save his companion Elder Joshua Matthew Prymak from drowning. He and another missionary had wandered close to dangerous waves and were taking pictures. Elder Papenfuss jumped in to save him but both succumbed to the tides.

53 were in some type of car accident. In one week in January 2000 five missionaries were killed with four missionaries from the Iowa Des Moine Mission and one sister from the North Carolina Raleigh Mission. I think the number is close to seventy-four of those who have died in the missionary cause in the last twenty years when you factor in mission presidents.

After the tragic death of three missionaries in one week in January 2006 Elder M. Russell Ballard talked about missionary safety:

“This work will continue to go forward, regardless of what happens, regardless of what the future may hold,” said Elder M. Russell Ballard, a member of Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, as he discussed today the safety and well-being of the Church’s 52,000 missionaries.
Three missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints lost their lives this week: one was killed Monday in a Virginia shooting and two died Friday in a New Zealand automobile collision. A fourth missionary is expected to make a full recovery from wounds he suffered in the Virginia shooting.

Speaking with journalists, Elder Ballard explained that such tragic deaths are rare among Latter-day Saint missionaries.

“The safest place in the world for 19 to 21 year-old young men and 21 year-old young women is in the service of the Lord in the mission field, scattered out over the four corners of the earth,” said Elder Ballard.

Elder Morgan W. Young, 21, of Bountiful, Utah, was killed by a gunman who attacked him and his companion, Elder Joshua D. Heidbrink, 19, of Greeley, Colorado, while they were proselyting in Chesapeake, Virginia, part of the Virginia Richmond Mission.
Elder Jonathan R. Talmadge, 21, of Willamina, Oregon, and his companion, Elder Bradley J. Isle, 20, from Las Vegas, Nevada, died in a head-on collision near Timaru, New Zealand. Both were serving in the New Zealand Wellington Mission. The accident also killed an elderly woman and seriously injured two people in the other car.

Elder Ballard expressed condolences to those mourning the loss of these three young missionaries and to the family of the woman killed in the New Zealand accident: “The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve extend our love to you, pray the Lord will bless you and that the peace of the Lord will ultimately come to your hearts.”
He added, “It doesn’t matter how many missionaries we have, when we lose one the whole Church mourns and our hearts go out to the parents, to the siblings and to the priesthood leaders over such a tragic loss.”

Noting that the Church’s 52,000 missionaries are similar to the population of a city, Elder Ballard emphasized that the Church does “the very, very best we know how” to protect their health and safety while they serve in 343 missions covering the earth.
He reviewed several key elements of missionary organization and training that help keep missionaries safe:

• Training in personal safety and good health practices that begins in the Church’s 16 Missionary Training Centers and continues in zone conferences and district meetings throughout the time of missionary service.

• Missionaries always work in pairs and are required to stay with their companions.

• Qualified, mature, inspired mission presidents and their wives who shepherd the young people in their missions “like they were their very own children.”

• An organization of assistants to the mission president, zone leaders and district leaders “that is structured to watch over and be very careful where we place missionaries.”

• Ongoing consultation with local Church leaders and members about the safety of specific areas and neighborhoods. Missionaries are instructed to avoid unsafe areas.

• Careful instruction in automobile safety for those using cars.

• Ongoing safety training for missionaries who ride bicycles.

• When walking, missionaries are encouraged to walk swiftly and with purpose. They are instructed to minimize the objects they have with them and only carry cash sufficient for that day’s needs. If accosted by thieves, missionaries are trained not to resist, to avoid confrontation and to give up whatever money they have.

• A network of 80 physicians serve as full-time volunteer missionaries around the world “so mission presidents have access to the best medical advice they can possibly get right within the boundaries of their own areas.” Also, an additional 200 volunteer nurses and others with medical and health care backgrounds “are out there shepherding this missionary force.”

• Missionary apartments are periodically inspected for safety and cleanliness. Missionaries are moved to different apartments whenever needed.

Despite all the Church does to protect its missionaries, Elder Ballard acknowledged that violence and accidents will happen from time to time, and missionaries may be hurt or killed.
Elder Ballard observed that even though the neighborhood where Elder Young and Elder Heidbrink were working was considered a safe area, violence can happen anywhere. “The world is just a different world. It’s becoming a more violent world, as we all know,” he said.
Reflecting the love and concern of the Church for its missionaries, Elder Ballard said, “Our hearts are always heavy, regardless of what the circumstances are, when any of our missionaries have any kind of tragic experience.”
Elder Ballard concluded by emphasizing that such tragedies will not stop the Church’s work of sharing the restored gospel of the Savior: “Joseph Smith (the Church’s founding prophet) made it abundantly clear that there would be nothing that would stop this work from rolling forward until the Great Jehovah comes forward and says the work is done. And He hasn’t said that yet.”
On the same day Lee Davidson reported that LDS missionary slayings were rare. A week later on Thursday, 12 January 2006 Lee Davidson using internet searching followed up with statistical data in an effort to assure LDS parents about missionary safety.

He compiled a list of missionaries from various faiths from 1999 to 2006 and how they died. He discovered that out of 189 missionaries from other faiths who died while on missions, 158 were murdered while for the 25 LDS missionaries who died only 3, or 12%, were killed. He found only 25 deaths in a seven year period. I counted 8 out of 74 where physical violence was involved or 11%. I dispute the overall figure of 1% that is used for the all-time death count since it isn't as meticulous as mine, Davidson, or David Tuttle's analysis from the Parley P. Pratt Memorial group.

Since 1990 until 8 November 2008 I estimate that between 30-74 LDS missionaries have died depending on which list you consult. When you add the Parley P. Pratt Memorial list with the Deseret News list you get a much larger number. I have searched each missionary myself and added links and photos when possible to this post. If anyone has photos or links I missed please add them to the comment section or email me and will add them to the body of this post.

Here is the list the Deseret News (photos added when available by me) compiled of 25 LDS missionary deaths from 1999 until 5 January 2006:


Isle Bradley New Zealand 1/5/2006 Auto accident Accident

Talmadge Jonathan New Zealand 1/5/2006 Auto accident Accident

Young Morgan U.S. 1/2/2006 Shot Witnessed crime, gunman shot him

Ellsworth Benjamin Argentina 12/5/2005 Train accident Fell under train while boarding

Flores Joel Galindo U.S. 11/9/2005 Hit by car Accident

Bent Michael Joshua Samoa 11/23/2003 Drowning Accident died when swept down river

Godfrey Nathan Scott Argentina 3/10/2003 Electrocuted Accident, trying to save another (from Kaysville, Utah in Argentina Rosario Mission)

Lym Kelly U.S. 10/18/2002 Auto accident Accident (from Ft. Bridger, WY in California San Francisco Mission)

Johnson Gregory Scott Mexico 9/29/2002 Electrocuted from high-voltage power line Accident (from Fountain Green, Ut in Mexico Merida Mission)

Atchley Adele Ivory Coast 8/3/2002 Murder Robbery (from Santa Monica, CA in Ivory Coast Abidjan Mission)

Leaunae Limuula Samoa 1/30/2002 Auto accident Accident

Platt Spencer U.S. 12/17/2001 Auto accident Accident (from Murray, Utah in Montana Billings Mission)

Thomas Jonathan Reed Argentina 8/29/2001 Hit by train Accident (from Chandler, AZ in Argentina Buenos Aires West Mission)

Gleason Mark England 6/12/2001 Auto accident Accident (from Pleasant Grove, Utah serving in England Bristol Mission)

Teodorescu Mihai England 6/12/2001 Auto accident Accident (from Romania serving in England Bristol Mission)

Pixton Clark Henry Ukraine 7/14/2000 Fall Accident(from Logan, Utah in Ukraine Donetsk Mission)

Driggs Eric Robert Argentina 4/6/2000 Auto accident Accident (from Mesa, Arizona in Argentina Resistencia Mission)

Christiansen Jaysen Ray U.S. 1/28/2000 Auto accident Accident (from Harrisville, Utah in the Iowa Des Moines Mission)

Pulham Jared Mont U.S. 1/28/2000 Auto accident Accident (from Alpine, Utah in the Iowa Des Moines Mission)

Roundy Daniel Byrne U.S. 1/28/2000 Auto accident Accident (from Kaysville, Utah in the Iowa Des Moines Mission)

Savage Bradly Alan U.S. 1/28/2000 Auto accident Accident (from Lehi, Utah in the Iowa Des Moines Mission)

Peterson Melissa U.S. 1/21/2000 Auto accident Accident (from Snowflake, Arizon in the North Carolina Raleigh Mission)

Barrett Jonathan Philip Ivory Coast 4/24/1999 Stabbed Attacked by drunken man (from Morgan, Utah in the Ivory Coast Abidjan Mission)

Papenfuss Jaarl Michael Canary Islands 1/18/1999 Drowning Accident (from Fountain Green, Utah in the Spain Las Palmas Mission)

Prymak Joshua Matthew Canary Islands 1/18/1999 Drowning Accident (from Mountclair, Virginia in the Spain Las Palmas Mission)

I checked from January 2006 until the present and found six more missionaries who died:

Karen Ann Deschamps Cleveland Ohio 5/13/2008 Auto Accident (from St. George, Utah in the Ohio Cleveland Mission)

Spjute Lindsey Birmingham, England 5/10/2008 Natural Causes Undetermined (from Farmington, Utah in the England Birmingham Mission)

Koop Martin Lawrence Catu, Brasil 4/13/2008 Hit by Car Accident (from Park City, Utah in the Brasil Salvador Mission)

Joseph Carnovale
Masterton, New Zealand 12/21/2007 Hit by Car Accident (from Sydney, Australia died in New Zealand Aukland Mission)

Jason David Fry Urban, South Africa 11/9/2007 Fell from cliff (from Silverdale, Washington in the South Africa Durban Mission)

William Tenney Angilau Jr. Kent, Washington 4/26/2007 died in bike/car crash (from Salt Lake City, Utah in the Washington Seattle Mission)

In addition I found a mission president Ralph L. Dukes from Heber, Utah who died Uganda Kampala Mission 5/10/2007 Auto accident. He was killed while taking missionaries to the airport. It seems to me that mission presidents qualify as missionaries too. I don't find that compilers have taken them in account on these lists the number of mission presidents who died during this period.

In 2002 Majorie Green Chamberlain died of natural causes on her third mission in Nauvoo, Illinois. Her husband had been president of the Canada Calgary Mission and they had worked in the Los Angeles Visitor Center. I think senior missionaries who serve humanitarian missions are also overlooked when they die but they too die with their boots on in the service of the Lord.

No parent wants to lose their child to death nor does any missionary go out with the expectation that they will die but unfortunately death can occur. Somewhere in the back of every missionaries mind is the thought that behind some door might be a total whacko that might end their life. Missionaries who occasionally discuss death usually bring up Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith, David W. Patton or Parley P. Pratt as examples of those who died as martyrs.

I tend to think of David W. Patton or Joseph Smith or Hyrum Smith now in a more favorable light as real martyrs. I have learned in the last few years that Parley P. Pratt's death is clouded by the fact he was killed by an estranged husband of one of his plural wives who may have been still married to her and insisted Pratt was trying to steal his children. Pratt's death is not quite as noble as the other men.

Each year in April in the Alpine Tabernacle in American Fork, Utah missionaries who died or were injured when serving are honored at the Parley P. Pratt Memorial Fireside and in a trail ride.

The Parley P. Pratt Memorial organization was founded according to Lee Benson when

Three winters ago, a head-on collision in Iowa shattered the calm in four Utah communities.

The inhabitants of one of the cars included Mormon missionaries Bradly Savage of Lehi, Jared Pulham of Alpine, Jaysen Christiansen of Harrisville and Daniel Roundy of Kaysville. All were killed.

In the nearly unmanageable family and community grief that followed, one man, David Tuttle of Lehi, in an effort to do something to help, invited Pete Savage, Bradly's father, on a horseback ride in the nearby mountains above Alpine.
Others heard about the ride and signed on, including Larry Walker, whose missionary son Todd was killed some 12 years ago in an automobile accident while serving his Mormon mission in Michigan.

The men rode and talked and talked and rode and at the end of the day agreed something good and therapeutic had happened.

The Parley P. Pratt Memorial Ride to honor fallen missionaries was born.
There were 24 people on that first ride. Last year, 26 saddled up. This year, for the third annual ride scheduled for Saturday, May 10, in Vernon, Tooele County, Tuttle expects more than 50.

And at the Memorial Fireside service to be held tonight in the American Fork Tabernacle, an audience of more than 500 is expected.

"All we want to do is make sure these missionaries are not forgotten," says Tuttle, and from the response so far, it would appear he is accomplishing his mission.

The event helps create a support network for those who have suffered loss. Meridian Magazine also says:

When a loved one dies unexpectedly, there is shock, followed by disbelief or denial and even guilt and anger. And if that loved one is a missionary--someone on the Lord's errand--questions arise and doubt, depression and even despair may surface. Eventually, however, it seems that with acceptance and with the perspective time provides, loved ones come to see a greater plan in a seeming act of violence or in a senseless accident. When missionaries suffer trauma as a result of illness or accident, the suffering can lead to a deep sense of sadness and loss.
As a form of closure and remembrance this organization and fireside has sprung up. Some of the fireside speakers have included Hartman Rector Jr. (2004), Joe J. Christensen (2003), Ted E. Brewerton (2002), and Marion D. Hanks (2001).

Unfortunately there is a sporadic listing of the event and its addresses in the newspapers since 2004. I don't even know if they still exist. You can contact David Tuttle (801 768-3933 dtuttle@nlevel.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ) for more information about the organization. They proposed to have a memorial wall with the names of those who have given their lives in mission service at the at the Alpine Art Center and Sculpture Park in Alpine, Utah.

I checked out the website for the park but didn't see any evidence of the wall.
I called them and found out they are still in need of funding and had set apart ground on the site but so far there was not enough funding for the sculture. I asked the guy who answered the phone if they still had the fireside and he said "up until last year they did but he didn't think they had one this year." I think they should keep the fireside going even if they have to change the name of the organization. I personally think there should be a special monument that the Church has for those who died in the cause of proclaiming the gospel. As to who is on the list would depend on the monument's committee.

In 2003 Meridian Magazine lists the following dead missionaries honored at the memorial fireside:
*Severely injured on mission and still with us
Some Ex-Mo named Samuel the Utanite places the number at 75 but six did not died but are listed because of severe injuries. He hasn't updated since 2006 when you add the five I found chronologically after he last updated it takes it up to 74 for that twenty year period. He is a bit vitrolic in his dislike of LDS general authorities but speaks well of his once serving a mission when he used to be a member. He has a longer chronological list going back farther and cites the Pratt memorial listings (some missionaries with * suffered trauma but are still alive) with the Deseret News listings (all died).

Adele Atchley, 65, Ivory Coast Abidjan, Santa Monica, CA 2002 murdered

*Seth Jorry Wright, (19), Scotland Edinburgh, Springville, UT 2002 teeth bashed in

Lee Carl Nelson, 77, Washington D.C. North, Big Fork, MT 2002

Spencer Goodwin Platt, 20, Montana Billings, Murray, UT 2001 automobile accident

Jonathan Reed Thomas, 19, Argentina Buenos Aires West, Chandler, AZ 2001 struck by a train

Scott Robert Smith, 21, Washington Seattle, Clearfield, UT 2001

Mark Douglas Gleason, 20, England Bristol, Pleasant Grove, UT 2001 automobile accident

Mihai Teodorescu, 20, England Bristol, Ploiseti, Romania 2001 automobile accident

*Carl Miller, (21), Salt Lake City South, Vergennes, Vermont 2001

James Coleman Gatherum, 65, Laotian/Thai Church Service, Salt Lake City, UT 2001 heart attack (I think this is a questionable case)

*Burke Jensen, (20), Texas Dallas, Orem, UT 2001 beaten with baseball bat survived

*Nathan James, (20), Brazil, Orem, UT 2001

Sione Laulotu Veamatahau 27, Washington D.C. North, Fujin, China 2000

Thomas Dale Cram, 72, Thailand Bangkok, Salt Lake City, UT 2000

Melvin Joseph Merrell, 66, China Xi’an English Teachers, Salt Lake City,
UT 2000

*Bradley Green, (20), Brazil Rio de Janeiro North, Cedar City, UT 2000

Clark Henry Pixton, 20, Ukraine Donetsk, Logan, UT 2000

*Robert Michael Lawrence, (20), Guatemala North, Murray, UT 2000

Delbert Tolton Goates, 68, England Manchester, Salt Lake City, UT 2000

Eric Robert Driggs, 20, Argentina Resistencia, Mesa, AZ 2000

*Jordan Lee Call, (19), Argentina Resistencia, Logan, UT 2000

Melissa Peterson, 22, North Carolina Raleigh, Snowflake, AZ 2000 auto accident

Jaysen Ray Christiansen, Iowa Des Moines, Harrisville, UT 2000

Jared Mont Pulham, 20, Iowa Des Moines, Alpine, UT 2000

Bradly Alan Savage, 20, Iowa Des Moines, Lehi, UT 2000

Daniel Byrne Roundy, 19, Iowa DesMoines, Kaysville, UT 2000

Hartley, Chile Santiago South

Christian Glen Packer, 24, Salt Lake City Welfare Square, Farmington, UT 1999

Richard Keith Black, South Africa Capetown, Murray, UT 1999

Jaarl Michael Papenfuss, 20, Spain Las Palmas, Fountain Green, UT 1999

Joshua Matthew Prymak, 19, Spain Las Palmas, Montclair, VA 1999

Jonathan Philip Barrett, Ivory Coast Abidjan, Morgan, UT 1999

Rhett S. Orcutt, 19, Texas Houston, Salt Lake City, UT 1998

Charlotte Dorae Lofgreen, 67, Ivory Coast Abidjan, Orem, UT 1998

Renee Anderson, 66, Ivory Coast Abidjan, Salt Lake City, UT 1998

Sean Thomas Richardson, 21, Mexico Mexico City East, Ukiah, CA 1998

Jose Manuel Mackintosh, 20, Russia Yekaterinburg, Hiko, NV 1998 stabbed to death

*Bradley Borden, (20), Russia Yekaterinburg, Mesa, AZ 1998

Nathan Wallace Kofford, 19, Taiwan Taichung, Alpine, UT 1998

Kenton Martin, 20, Florida Tallahassee, South Jordan, UT 1998

*Andrew Wayne Peterson, (50), Mexico Area Presidency, Salt Lake City, UT 1997

*Orin A. Voorheis, (20), Argentina Buenos Aires, Pleasant Grove, UT 1997 shot in the head and brain damaged

Devin Ranald Boren, 19, Spirit World, Alpine, UT 1997

Keith Madsen, 20, Taiwan Taipei, 1997

Juan Carlos Castillo, 40, Santiago Chile Area Presidency, Santiago,
Chile, 1996

M. Lee Miller, 62, Tonga Nuku'alofa, Bountiful, UT 1996

Joshua Vaughn Berrett, 21, Arizona Tempe, __________, 1995

Jennifer Schulz, 22, Japan Fukuoka, Salt Lake City, UT 1995

Ryan Matthew Akers, 20, Spain Malaga, Gunnison, CO 1994

Max Christiansen, 66, Arizona Tucson, Newton, UT 1994 allergic reaction

Carl Hildt Wollenzien, 68, Germany Frankfurt, Provo, UT 1993

Marion Ellnor Nash Lee, England Bristol, Ephraim, UT 1993

Kent Virl Hyde, 22, Arizona Phoenix, Thayne, WY 1992

Martha Lorena Gutierrez, 23, Finland Helsinki East, Nicaragua 1991 auto accident

Oscar Zapata, 20, Peru Lima East, Piura, Peru 1991 shot and killed

Gale Stanley Critchfield, 20, Ireland Dublin, Payson, UT 1990 stabbed to death

Manuel Antonio Hidalgo, 22, Peru Lima East, Arequipa, Peru 1990 shot and killed by rebels

Christian Andreani Ugarte, 21, Peru Lima East, Trujillo, Peru 1990
shot and killed by rebels
Ronald Jamon Eastland, 20, Bolivia La Paz, Syracuse, UT 1989 automobile accident

Jeffrey Brent Ball, 20, Bolivia La Paz, Wanship, UT 1989 shot and killed

Todd Ray Wilson, 20, Bolivia La Paz, Wellington, UT 1989 shot and killed

Adam Richard Koontz, 19, Portugal Porto, Upland, CA 1988 car colliding with train

Ronald Brent Jack, 21, Portugal Porto, Kirtland, NM 1988 car colliding with train

Gayle H. Thurman, California Carlsbad, Highland, UT

Richard Keith Black, 19, South Africa Cape Town, Murray, UT

Steven Chad Fairbanks, Germany Dusseldorf, Highland, UT

Bill Rawson Hardy, 19, Michigan Lansing, Mesa, AZ 1988

Todd Larry Walker, 19, Michigan Lansing, Highland, UT 1988

Lee Roberts, 20, Michigan Lansing, South Jordan, UT 1988
I also found in a Church News article about Stephen B. Oveson that when he was mission president in August 1996 Sister Brandy Benavidez (she isn't on any list) was killed in a car accident.

It is true that many missionaries have given their lives in the cause of the gospel during the last twenty years. I know that the Lord is mindful of them. For had not the Lord said that not even a sparrow fall[s] unnoticed by the Father [see Matt. 10:29], and were they not of more value than sparrows?

The Church does everything it can to ensure the safety of its missionaries, a fact that Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles emphasized in an address he gave in May 2000.
“Of course we have fatalities among our young missionaries — about three to six per year over the last decade — all of them tragic. But the official death rates for comparable-age young men and women in the United States are eight times higher than the death rates of our missionaries. In other words, our young men and women are eight times safer in the mission field than the general population of their peers at home. In view of the hazards of missionary labor, this mortality record is nothing less than a miracle.”

When I was a missionary a member asked me and my companion to help him in dedicating the grave of his father who had passed on. According to the procedure is as follows:

The dedication of graves is performed by a Melchizedek Priesthood holder. The dedicatory prayer usually consecrates the burial plot as the resting place of the deceased, prays that the place will be hallowed and protected until the Resurrection (where appropriate), includes words of comfort for the family of the deceased, and includes other thoughts as the Spirit directs.
As I recall the body was dressed in the robes of the priesthood since he was an endowed member of the Church. The person giving the prayer faced east since the body is situated in the grave to face the direction that the Savior will come in the morning of the First Resurrection.

When I was a missionary I didn't have much experience with death since only one of my boyhood friends died in a freak accident our senior year in high school when he had been drinking and dove in to Lake Mead and broke his neck. My other experiences with death was the death of my grandmother Jennie Mauro who died from lung cancer and when I was six a family of five kids perished in a house fire a block from where we lived. I can still to this day remember the smell.

Death wasn't something I even considered while on a mission until one day I spoke with a zone leader whose brother was killed back home while he was on his mission. He took the blow real hard as he explained that he had to miss his brother's funeral. He felt his brother understood that he was serving the Lord. I know he never got as much closure as he could have by attending but when death comes in the mission field those it affect understand that life is eternal and that we have a hope that one day we will see our friends, relatives and loved ones once again.


mikeyEVANS said...

Missionary death: I am looking for information on Elder Livingston. He was killed on his bicycle in Ponce, PUERTO RICO in early 1996. He was from Cincinnati, but I heard he was buried in Salt Lake.

mikeyEVANS said...

Elder Mason McKay Livingston, 20, of Cincinnati, Ohio, and former resident of Sandy, Utah, died Tuesday, November 28, 1995, in Ponce, Puerto Rico from injuries sustained in a bicycle accident. He was serving a two year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He was an awesome missionary ! The day he passed away dozens of people were coming out of their homes to talk to us. They told us of his death and expressed condolences for that great young missionary.

Carol said...

I cannot believe another person could harm another just like that. I'm just glad that these missionaries survived their ordeal and walk through it. Keep safe everyone!

Christi said...

I was looking up the four elders killed here in Iowa (as two more elders were injured last night in an accident in the same general area) to find the year it happened and found this post. I've never seen a list before. Thank you for all your efforts in compiling it. A couple of years before I served, one or two elders died in Argentina from being gassed. Their pilot light went out on their space heater. :( I served from 1998-2000. I don't know names. It was a different mission, but affected mission policy area-wide. Also, I'm wondering if you would count the native-born Chinese elder who died in 1998 or 1999 who was killed on I-15. Do you remember that? He had been called to the DC North mission but hadn't finished up at the MTC yet.

Truly said...

I am Adam Koontz's sister! Glad to see this list to give all these missionarys respect!

Professor Miriam said...

One missing from your list is my brother, Elder Michael M. Smith, of Price, Utah, struck by a car while riding his bicycle to a member's house to arrange a ride to church for an investigator, July 4, 1970. His companion, Elder Innis, was not involved in the accident, but saw it happen (which must still be a very difficult memory).

Miriam A. Smith