The LDS church has called for a survey to be done to determine the safety of their missionaries across the globe. Around 70,000 of the church’s missionaries find themselves placed in various corners of the world. On average, most of them spend around two years serving the church from these locations in the hope of finding people who might be interested in joining their faith.
However, the job isn’t an easy one as “preaching the word” often requires one to travel to remote and even troubled locations. Several Mormon missionaries have found themselves in the midst of wars, political instability, and natural disasters etc. Some have been victims of muggings, accidents, and even life-threatening diseases.
Unfortunately, as the world grows to become more disturbed, with terrorist incidents happening more frequently, the safety of these missionaries becomes a bigger concern than usual.
The church is now out to determine whether or not their missionaries truly face greater dangers. The information is being collected via a survey that contains detailed questions about safety.
According to Eric Hawkins, a spokesman for the LDS church, the survey will allow the church to know more about the day-to-day scenarios experienced by their workers, especially in the context of safety. He was also careful to add that the survey was not the result of a single incident, but, rather, the result of a careful observation done over time.
The questions on the survey cover threats related to physical violence, sexual assault, hygiene, daily living and even animal attacks. Hawkins said, “The data from this survey will help us identify areas or circumstances where missionary safety may be at the greatest risk. We intend to use the results to review and modify, as needed, missionary safety guidelines and instructions.”
Though the church believes in divine supervisions, they still understand the need for human involvement in such matters.
The results of the survey will also help the church develop more robust guidelines to help missionaries protect themselves and carry on their objectives.
In the recent past, the church did experience an incident where they had to issue updated guidelines to their missionaries. After news about the Zika outbreak had spread, they sent out new guidelines for female missionaries to wear long skirts or pants to prevent mosquito bites.
This was a major adjustment considering the fact the church forbids such attire for women otherwise.
There have been very few incidents where missionaries suffered a mishap or even death. This is because they are trained to respond to situations appropriately. For example, in a mugging, they are asked to cooperate with the assailant and hand over their belongings without confrontation.
Even their highest recorded number of deaths was much lower than the global average for the same age group. In comparison, the death rate among non-missionaries within the same age group is 20 times higher according to statistics from the World Health Organization.