Sunday, October 11, 2009

Should The LDS Church Create A Memorial Wall Of Honor In Temple Square For Missionaries Who Have Given Their Lives During Mission Service?

After considering the memorial wall of honor we constructed for deceased Vietnam veterans in Washington, D.C., I then thought of the missionaries who are sent to all corners of the earth by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to preach the gospel to every nation, kindred, and tongue. I wondered about those missionaries who gave their lives while in the mission field - regardless of whether it was attributable to accident, illness, or an act of malice committed against them. Did they have a similar wall of honor constructed for them?

The answer, as of October 11th, 2009, is "No". There is no memorial wall of honor constructed to pay tribute to them. I'm certain it's not out of lack of concern; at every General Conference and in between, the General Authorities constantly heap effulgent praise upon our missionaries and laud their efforts. It just probably hasn't occurred to them that constructing a wall of honor would be a desirable next step. A partial list of missionaries who gave their lives during their missions is available HERE.

Unofficial efforts in this direction have foundered. On November 10th, 2008, the Mormon Mission blog reported that the Parley P. Pratt Memorial organization was founded for the purpose of memorializing missionaries who died in mission service. Their objective is to erect a memorial wall of honor inscribed with the names of those who have given their lives in mission service at the Alpine Art Center and Sculpture Park in Alpine, Utah. But efforts seem to have stalled. Mormon Mission contacted the responsible person and found out that although the organization has reserved a site for the monument, they are still in need of more funding. The organization was doing annual Firesides, but these also have seemed to have foundered.

The best proposal would be to erect such a memorial at Temple Square itself. There's plenty of room, and Temple Square in Salt Lake City is the international focal point of the Church. I recommend the Church leadership strongly consider this idea. They can solicit donations if they want, and perhaps list it separately under LDS Philanthropies. But it is time to tangibly and formally honor those missionaries who have given their lives during mission service, and Temple Square is the best place.

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