Missions in dangerous areas

knotheadusc Aug 2012

The ladies on BBC are debating this right now.


I have to agree, if I had a son or daughter and they wanted to do a mission in a "dangerous" place. I'd be pretty nervous too. I think it's naive to rely only on faith.

Re: Missions in dangerous areas...
"The church is very very security conscious. Your dh need not fear that the missionaries are being sent to dangerous places: they will not be."

Bullshit. I went to dangerous areas, and the concern for security was nearly nonexistent. Missionaries have been killed because the church cluelessly sends them into places they never should go.

Read my book and then tell me missionaries aren't sent to dangerous areas.

Sorry, that just pisses me off.

Re: Missions in dangerous areas...
I did read your book. That's partly why I posted this.

I remember a few years ago when a couple of mishies were killed/injured by a gun man in Chesapeake, VA, not too far from where I grew up. I remember the parents of the killed mishie were all proud that their son "died with his boots on" and would be going straight to Heaven. It was a totally preventable death and so sad.

This is the case I'm referring to...


CA girl
Re: Missions in dangerous areas...
A couple of sisters in my mission got raped. NO ONE told the other sisters in the mission, although they did close the area. We were simply told the area wasn't producing baptisms and the missionaries were needed elsewhere. I didn't find out about this until the very, very end of my mission. I also found out that there were some people who felt it would not have happened if the sisters weren't out almost an hour after their curfew, the implication being sisters breaking rules were the reason God didn't protect them.

My point in this story is that no one warned the other sisters to be careful, stay out of certain situations, or that this sort of thing had occurred and to be on their guard. There is NO excuse for leaving sisters in the dark like that. There are ways they could have protected the privacy of the two sisters in question while warning the other sisters in the mission. But the church hushed it up and the sisters got little or no counseling and were told not to talk about it and to stay on their missions rather than face the shame of returning home early. My mission was a lot safer than most missions but the decisions made by those running the mission made it more dangerous. So you can't tell me that missionaries aren't allowed in dangerous areas when those in charge make areas more dangerous by their image-conscious, secret keeping, God-will-protect-the-faithful bullshit.

I remember that incident
What really got to me was learning that the MP in Bolivia *knew ahead of time* that the two elders had been targeted specifically and did nothing except to tell them to follow the rules and say their prayers.

It's been more than 20 years and it still makes me really angry.

We were very safe in Belfast, N.Ireland in the 1980s.
When the sun went down at 3:30pm and we still had to be out knocking doors until 9:30pm, there was no danger involved. That's why the locals stayed inside their homes and wouldn't answer their doors. It's also why we weren't allowed to take pictures of the gigantic wall murals of hooded assassins holding assault rifles. The mission just didn't want our families to become worried, because it was so secure. When car bombs went off and tit-for-tat shootings happened in nearby neighborhoods, it was fine because it didn't happen to us. Also, there were Ulster Defense Regiment tanks and black military helicopters patrolling the area.

See? The Church only sends missionaries to very safe, secure areas.

Oh, and the elder who was murdered -- that happened in Dublin.

Re: We were very safe in Belfast, N.Ireland in the 1980s.
I can't believe they even HAD missionaries in Belfast in the 80s. They don't think AT ALL, do they?

What was the line of reasoning? "Oh, hey, there's all this tension between Catholics and Protestants would go away if they all became mormons! We should totes get in on that!"

Re: Missions in dangerous areas...
Seriously, why doesn't the church teach missionaries how to recognize warning signs of a dangerous place, like if a house is being used for manufacturing meth, or as a drug flop house? What they told us in the MTC was to just listen to the spirit. Oh wait, I just answered my own question. Mormons think their imaginary Casper friend will keep them safe from harm.

Samantha Baker
Re: Missions in dangerous areas...
***won't be sent to dangerous places...

BULL F'in $HIT!!!!!

Re: Missions in dangerous areas...
Wait a sec...the sisters who were raped were told not to talk about it, given little to no counseling and told to stay on their missions?

I want to make sure I'm reading your post correctly before I start screaming.

Re: Missions in dangerous areas...

The MTC doesn't teach mishies how to recognize a drug house, a drop, gang signs, etc. because they know that said mishies will learn these skills out in the field. If they don't learn, then...well...they must not have been reading their scriptures.

It builds character to ride your bike (in a skirt) past a drug deal at dusk--that's how I gained my courage and integrity.

CA girl
Re: Missions in dangerous areas...
Start screaming. I was in the MTC with two other sisters - we came over on the same plane. One of the sisters (Hermana A) was the junior companion in the companionship this happened to and the other sister (Hermana B) was in the next town over when it happened. I was on the other side of the mission at the time and Hermana B was my comp toward the end of our mission. She told me what happened to Hermana A and what the MP told Hermana A and her senior comp. Hermana B heard the story straight from Hermana A, because she was right nearby at the time.

Hermana B HATED our mission president for a number of reasons and pressuring those girls to stay on their mission, without warning the rest of us to be careful, was one of the reasons.

Re: Missions in dangerous areas...
I'm in tears. My heart breaks for those girls. That MP deserves to be on the lowest rung in hell. Any leader with half a brain, or anything resembling compassion, would have taken them to a doctor STAT, then contacted their families and flown their mothers or another female relative out to the field. From there, the girls could have made their decisions. MPs take off-the-record actions quietly all the time (at least mine did), and they could have gotten the girls out of the environment and warned the rest of you with a minimum of fanfare. Instead, they hid the truth under a barrage of lies and blaming the victim.

Son of a bitch.

Mr. Happy
Re: Missions in dangerous areas...
Here is an article about a gal who was murdered on her mission. She was my mother's visiting teacher for years. Her husband was later Bishop in our ward. They were friends of the family for a long time -


What the article doesn't state is that the husband worked in the Mission Home as an accountant. He discovered that some funds were missing and traced them to another missionary, a native African. When the native missionary was released from his mission he took revenge out on the couple. He waited until the husband left the apartment, went in and slit the wife's throat from ear to ear, then stole a computer. The husband came home to his dead wife in a pool of blood.

My son currently serves in one of the "better", more affluent missions in Mexico City. I feel a little better about him serving further down in Mexico than along the border. If he would have been called to a border mission I would have advised him not to go. Still, anything can happen. We discussed this in length before he left. I told him to be aware of where he was as the sun started to go down and to trust his own common sense over ANY "spiritual" feelings. We'll see what happens. Only 22 months to go.

Words cannot convey how incredibly sad, horrible, disgusted and awful I feel about this story.
How did those women even continue? Oh my heart aches.

CA girl
Re: Words cannot convey how incredibly sad, horrible, disgusted and awful I feel about this story.
Sister A is still TBM - we are FB friends so I know this for sure. I've lost track of her senior companion though. I also lost track of Sister B, who swore she'd leave the church if our MP ever became a GA because that would be all the proof she needed that God wasn't running the Mormon church.

My MP was made a GA a number of years ago. He gave a particularly awful talk in Gen. Conf. not too long ago. He seemed very programmed and flat, compared to the man I knew in the mission field. Maybe it was just nerves. I really liked him, until I was told the above story.

I keep looking for Sister B on boards like this and on FB. I hope she kept her promise to leave.

Re: Missions in dangerous areas...
I worked for two years in Ivory Coast with a petroleum development company. We weren't allowed to go outside the compound at night.

On the ground, I always wore a ballistic vest with a metal trauma plate covering my heart.

I, also, worked in Central Asia - Tajikistan.

The companies I worked for made us sign agreements that they would not pay ransom if we got kidnapped. There was a much greater chance we would be kidnapped for ransom than shot...

I don't think most people realize how dangerous these places are, If you get hurt, sick or shot, the first thing you are looking for is a helo to get you out of there. (You can buy insurance for that, too.)

Dangerous place? I wouldn't go without a ballistic vest...

Re: Words cannot convey how incredibly sad, horrible, disgusted and awful I feel about this story.
What an awful situation for those sisters. I can't believe no one gave those poor women the care they needed after such an ordeal.

When I was in the Peace Corps, I had a friend who was raped while walking home one night. I remember all the volunteers were called in for a meeting and we were given some details about what happened. We were not told she was raped; instead, they told us she had been assaulted. I later got the whole story from my friend.

A group of us visited this volunteer in the hospital. Besides raping her, the guy had beaten the hell out of her, so her face was black and blue. He'd knocked out a couple of her teeth and broke her nose. She eventually was sent to Washington, DC for medical treatment. When she was better, she wanted to come back and prosecute her attacker. The Peace Corps didn't want to allow her to go back because she was near the end of her service. But somehow she convinced them to allow it and she came back.

The guy was eventually caught and, after some convincing, the Peace Corps provided my friend with a translator and a lawyer. At the trial, the rapist's own mother testified against him. He got nine years, which is not insignificant, since in Armenian prisons (at least in the 1990s), it was up to the prisoners' families to take care of them.

As badly as I thought the Peace Corps handled my friend's situation, at least they got her some care. It sounds like the LDS church didn't do nearly enough for those poor women who were raped.

Re: Missions in dangerous areas...
Wow, it seems that the church doesn't care about its members at all: they are replaceable.

European View
Re: Missions in dangerous areas...
My son and his comp used to decide where to tract by where the gunfire wasn't coming from.

They still saw one of their investigators shot dead right in front of them though.

MP had them off the island in hours. Not in the interest of safety, but to not involve the name of tscc in a crime, even as an innocent witness. My son was also told not to talk about it or tell his parents.

Re: We were very safe in Belfast, N.Ireland in the 1980s.
I spent 17 mos. in N. Ireland. In fact, I arrived in country during the "marching season" and spent the first week holed up in our flat. The town looked like a police state (in fact, the entire province did). It was especially bad at that time because a local kid--16 or 17 years of age--had just been killed by a rubber bullet to the head during a riot.

Looking back, I'm amazed at the false sense of security I derived from a belief in divine protection.

Re: Missions in dangerous areas...
Theses stories disgust me. What in the name of God is the church doing-taking even one chance with a person's life. Inexcusable......

Demon of Kolob

European View
Re: We were very safe in Belfast, N.Ireland in the 1980s.
I, too, am amazed tscc had missionaries in Belfast at that time. Or that anyone would agree to go into what was basically a war zone. How was your family with that call, Mak? Crow?

We had a guy visit our UK ward who was from Belfast and he told a FPR about how the Ulster missionaries were warned by a member that if they didn't leave town that very day, they would probably be killed, as they were making certain people nervous. So they were immediately moved on and all was well. That was told as proof that the elders were being protected by god, rather than that they were living in a very dangerous area.

Even at my most tbm time I asked the guy what on earth missionaries were doing in Belfast? He had no reassuring answer, just looked mighty uncomfortable.

Aaron Hines
Re: Words cannot convey how incredibly sad, horrible, disgusted and awful I feel about this story.
I am so sorry for those sisters and SO ANGRY right now. That mother$&%^er doesn't deserve to be a janitor in the church for that @*#%! I have ZERO tolerance for people who cover up crimes against others just to save face.

Re: We were very safe in Belfast, N.Ireland in the 1980s.
My parents had the same false sense of security and never seemed to worry. I could tell a few stories . . . . Maybe I'll start a thread.

Re: Missions in dangerous areas...
What? You don't need that stuff when you have magic underwear and a strong testimony.
I have an exmo friend who was raped on her mission
She was in England and they started talking to a guy who seemed very interested in "the gospel." She was the junior companion and quite new and her senior comp told her that they couldn't teach him, they'd have to get the Elders to do it. My friend was VERY naieve. I mean, obviously her comp was right. But the guy called them one day and told my friend that he had some questions that he had to have answered because he was ready to be baptized and he couldn't get ahold of the Elders and he really needed to know. He asked my friend if she could just come over for a few minutes by herself so he could ask her and set a date for baptism.

Yes, she broke the rules. Yes, it was dumb. Yes, she was raped. They called the MP, he told them to get to the mission home immediately--never once asked if she was ok, never once told them to call the police, never once told them to go to the hospital. No one counseled her or helped her deal with her pregnancy fear. They got to the mission home and told him what had happened. He told her she would be disfellowshipped and sent home immediately, which she was. I think they'd even convinced her that whatever happened was her own fault so it wasn't really a rape. A year or so after she was sent home, she was engaged and had a date set for her temple wedding and her Bishop and SP were still dragging their feet on letting her get a temple recommend. They felt they needed input from her MP. She was sweating it, wondering what to do about her wedding. Everyone in her ward made the assumptions that people would make when a sister mishie is sent home and disfellowshipped.

It is many years later now and she's divorced and out of the church and I met her becuase of this board, although she's been long gone from here too. We still remain very good friends.

Re: I have an exmo friend who was raped on her mission
NormaRae Wrote:
never once
> asked if she was ok, never once told them to call
> the police, never once told them to go to the
> hospital. No one counseled her or helped her deal
> with her pregnancy fear.

I just cannot comprehend the Mission President's total absence of a duty of care let alone some basic kindness or human compassion.

This not only had devastating psychological consequences for your friend but also shows a total disregard for the safety of the wider public. If this incident was not referred to the police there is a real risk this guy raped again.

Death of Morgan Young in Virginia 2006
My son was serving in the Richmond mission when this happened. I had a habit of reading the Richmond news online early every morning while he was there. The murder happened on a Monday night. It was the headline the next morning and I was beyond shocked and frantic when I read it! Tuesday was P-day for that mission so I hurriedly wrote my son my regular weekly email---specifically asking him about the disaster. He wrote me back a few hours later and said he had heard about it but that THE WORK was moving forward and everything was normal for them that day. I was very confused that he was so calm about it. We got a form letter from the mission prez in the mail about a week later with bare bones info about it. I had been following the story in the Richmond news so I knew that the mission was severely downplaying what had happened. But, brainwashed TBM idiot that I was at the time, I just accepted the situation and didn't make waves. My son was transfered into the area where Morgan was killed a few weeks later and lived in the same townhouse he was living in at the time of the murder. My son seemed OK with that, too. It was creepy how calm they all were. I was a tad bit more unnerved, to say the least.

My son survived the rest of his mission uneventfully and today he is a wonderful son and still very TBM. I think now that I should have gone and gotten him and brought him home!!! Then he might have safely exited the morg with me a few years later. Can I have a do-over?

Re: I have an exmo friend who was raped on her mission
I honestly think he just didn't believe her. His take was that she met up with some guy without her companion and when it went too far and she felt guilty, she had to come up with a story to cover it. Why would she have immediately told her comp? Why would they have called the MP? Why would she have been so freaked? Yes, the story is sickening. And she has become an advocate for women to speak up and make sure they get the care they need if it happens to them. But then you have Mother F-ers like Richard Snott who tell girls that they should talk to their bishop so he can help them assess their culpability. Because, you know, God won't let a girl get raped unless she does something to egg it on. And a missionary who was breaking the rules certainly was responsible. God's punishment? And anyone would want to live with such a being for eternity?

Re: I have an exmo friend who was raped on her mission
Since some bishops, SPs, and MPs are so clueless when it comes to dealing with women who have been raped, the church needs to spell it out for them in the CHI. Those instructions should include: a) with the permission of the victim, contact local police, b) arrange for a medical examination, c) arrange for counseling, and d) in the case of a missionary, arrange for transportation home at the victim's request.

Another thing that should be in the CHI, in capital letters: DO NOT BLAME THE VICTIM. SUPPORT THE VICTIM.

Re: We were very safe in Belfast, N.Ireland in the 1980s.
I was being sarcastic above, obviously, but my family and I didn't know much about the troubles in N.Ireland before I went out there. There's a feeling that the Church will take care of you, and your real job is to prepare to teach the gospel not entertain doubts that the Lord will keep you safe. When I learned about the troubles, I comforted myself that there are likely only a few hot spots and we probably won't be sent there. Then my first area was a neighborhood of Belfast where there were wall murals, curbs painted Unionist colors, armored cars and black helicopters, and we were out tracting six hours after sunset.

But like you said, there is a false sense of security that the Lord is protecting you. Also, I think I got used to the conditions there, and only occasionally was I reminded of the dangers. One time I was on splits with an elder in Portadown, I think, and some soldiers were doing an operation in the neighborhood, hiding behind buildings and trees and advancing their position. That was a moment when I realized we were in immediate danger.

President started pulling all the missionaries out of N.Ireland during the July 12 Orange Day parades for the "mission olympics" in Dublin, but I think the Church should have pulled the missionaries out of there altogether. They were just asking for a tragedy, and they were lucky nothing happened other than Elders Smith and Sonzini being beaten, and Elder Critchfield's murder in Dublin which of course was unrelated to the troubles.

Critchfield was an example of elders being sent to a high crime area and playing the numbers. If I'm not mistaken that was Clondalkin. I served in that area. There shouldn't have been elders there at all, but there had been a high baptizing group there and a dynamic member family. I suppose it's hard to know where to draw the line, but cars burning out in the nearby field every night ought to be a sign for those supposedly blessed with inspiration, I would think.

Don't get me wrong. I loved the country and the people. There are just places where missionaries shouldn't be, and no amount of spiritual protection or American bravado is going to change that.

"Recovery from Mormonism - www.exmormon.org"