A 19-year-old California Mormon missionary was recently involved in a ghastly car crash. The missionary, Taylor Ward, of Vacaville, CA was with another missionary, John Floyd, 20, of Deep Run, NC of The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints when the two-car crash occurred. The crash, in southeastern Idaho, happened when Floyd drove through a stop sign and collided with the passenger side of a parked Ford F-350 pickup truck, according to a police report.
Ward was sent to Portneuf Medical Center in Pocatello, Idaho where he is said to be in a critical condition. At the moment he is kept on life support, but the young missionary is not expected to recover from his injuries.
This is not the first loss of a Mormon missionary this year. According to church officials, there have been 10 missionary deaths earlier in the year either due to accident or illness. Usually there are only few deaths recorded each year but this year’s toll is higher than normal.
According to a release by David F. Evans, the Executive Director of the Missionary Department of the Latter-Day Saints (the formal name for the Mormon Church), there has been “an unusual number of missionary deaths in recent months” and “the loss of even one missionary is far too many.”
The spike in recent deaths has not gone unnoticed. After the recent incident, rumors have been spreading that evil lurks in the corner for Mormon missionaries, as this is a trend. Missionaries are asked to be more careful, but some are choosing to avoid going on missions altogether. It’s also concerning that minimum age requirements for missionary work have recently been lowered. However, Evans is working to debunk the rumors that the recent spate of death is a trend and urges missionaries to focus more than ever on their calling. In his remarks, he extended faith, love and hope with prayers to the families of the missionaries who lost their lives.
Mormon missionaries embark upon missions as rites of passage intended to widen their views and perspective on the world. In essence they strengthen their faith, helping to prepare to assume leadership roles within the church in future.