Elder Nelson Party Attacked

KSL is reporting that Elder Nelson, his wife and two other couples were attacked and robbed in Mozambique. The wife of one of the Mission Presidents present suffered a broken arm; the others superficial cuts and bruises. You can see the video of the report here.

The gist of the story is as follows:

Armed assailants attack and rob a Latter-day Saint Apostle, his wife and two other couples in the African nation of Mozambique. Elder Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Wendy, were on a Church assignment when the incident happened.

According to Church spokesman Scott Trotter, the wife of the mission President Blair Packard suffered a broken arm. She and others also have cuts and bruises.

Elder and Sister Nelson traveled to Mozambique for these weekend meetings with Church leaders there; Elder William and Sister Shanna Parmley of the Africa Southeast Area Presidency, and Pres. Blair and Sister Cindy Packard; he is the President of the Mozambique Maputo Mission.

The Church Statement says: “On Friday evening they were having dinner together in the mission president’s home when armed assailants entered the home and robbed them. We don’t have complete information yet, but we understand that Sister Packard’s arm was broken. In addition, she and others suffered some superficial injuries, mainly cuts and bruises. Elder and Sister Nelson will continue their assignment over the weekend as planned.”

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  1. Kevin Barney says:

    Query: will this episode make it even more difficult to attract senior couples to missionary service in Africa?

  2. Kevin–What can you tell ignorant folks like myself about the already-existing difficulties in attracting senior couples to Africa? I have understood that there is a relative shortage of senior couples generally, but didn’t know that Africa in particular was suffering in this regard.

  3. Kevin Barney says:

    I have no personal knowledge, Scott, but a friend tells me that Elder Holland has been beating the bushes to find couples willing to go to Africa.

  4. Kevin,

    Africa, while an exotic world location, is a very, very difficult place to live for U.S. couples used to a more plentiful life style. A senior couple from our ward went to West Africa. Their adventures were incredible; but, the lifestyle was definitely a sacrifice: http://messengerandadvocate.wordpress.com/category/west-africa-ghana/

  5. Matt W. says:

    Wow, that’s horrible. I am glad they are ok.

  6. Something like that can have many more emotional effects than the physical wounds. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Nelsons and the Packards.

  7. Am glad that it didn’t turn out worse than it did. Hope for a speedy recovery.

    As for couples going to Africa, the cost may also be an issue. A couple in our stake were ready to serve a mission recently, and worked with a mission president over in Africa to be able to get a call there. Things were progressing nicely until they found out from the Missionary Department the huge cost and, frankly, they couldn’t afford it. They ended up in a much cheaper part of the world, instead.

  8. What a sad story.

    A senior couple was transferred to our mission after they got robbed and beat up pretty bad while serving in Nigeria. They were in the mission home at night when a couple of guys broke in and robbed them at gunpoint. They were so traumatized (understandably) that they demanded to be mission-transferred.

  9. First, I pray that all will recover swiftly from this attack.

    Second, I’ve never heard from any of my friends or even my own parents, who are currently serving a mission, of couples being begged/entreated to serve in Africa. So if Elder Holland is “beating the bushes,” then he’s being somewhat selective about it. If there is a greater shortage in Africa than other continents, could it be due to consideration of medical needs that many senior couples have? i.e., most of the senior couples I know have medical concerns that restrict where they can serve.

  10. Latter-day Guy says:

    This just in…

    Fire from heaven consumes entire continent. AIDS crisis solved!


  11. LdG: ugh. seriously.

  12. My parents went to Nigeria. My dad was car jacked (As in at a stop sign a couple guys with machetes broke windows to open the doors, pulled my dad and his body guard out and took the car.) My dad got away with cuts from the glass.

    Two Elders were car jacked in my mission (South Africa). Neither was injured.

    another couple there at the time were robbed at gun point on their first day.

    Nigeria isn’t financially an expensive mission, but it’s scary enough that they don’t accept younger missionaries from America .

    I’m glad those in this situation are alright.

  13. This just in, fire from heaven consumed Latter Day Guy for making such an awful joke

  14. The term “failed state” has been used to denote nations that effectively exist without any semblance of law and order.

    Africa is probably the first example in history of a “failed continent.”

  15. The attackers are lucky that Elder Nelson didn’t use his kung-fu on them.

  16. Peter LLC says:

    I was assaulted once bad enough to make a trip to the hospital a good idea. On another occasion I was threatened with a firearm for objecting to being spit on by its owner.

    Both of these took place in the banana republic known as Austria.

    I hope that people who wish to serve will be cautious, weigh the risks and not be unduly deterred by random acts of violence.

  17. Couldn’t he have at least called out some bears to kill his assailants? Precedent is on his side.

    I’m glad no one was killed. I wonder if first-hand experience will in some way change how the church operates in Mozambique.

  18. We’ve lived in, attended Church in, sent our kids to school in, been pregnant in, and traveled extensively in sub-Saharan Africa. It can be expensive to live, drive and eat in western style, but it is doable. IMO, the influence senior couples could have on the growing Church cannot be understated.

    While there are challenges that are common to any third world area, sub-Sahara Africa’s is unlike any other place we have traveled or lived (one can argue that South Africa doesn’t count as ‘real’ Africa, most Africans do, I would). Maybe only Haiti is comparable

  19. powerintruth says:

    Please visit.

    I need your help.


  20. Does Latter-day Guy have a license plate “LDS Guy”?

    By the way, there are many things much worse than losing your life while in the service of the Lord. I will pray for the armed assailants – they need our prayers more than the others involved. I am so grateful for our Apostles and others willing to serve wherever the Lord calls them. There are few better examples of the power of personal faith and courage.

  21. Jennifer says:

    My father’s aunt was killed while on a mission in Africa a few years ago. It’s one place I hope I never have to go.

  22. Vincent Comrie says:

    Take a moment to reflect that in Africa you have an approximate 80% chance of being killed just for being white during a robbery. Crime is directly related to the economic and moral bankruptcy of African Nations in general but I know firsthand that the Lord does protect those in need of protection when required. And our American Brothers and Sisters need to realize that there are more African Members capable of serving on own continent than ever before – So we do not need American Couple Missionaries like we used to. The Church is growing in Africa and will continue to do so as promised in prohetic declarations by Prophets and Apostles. We are after all on the Lords errand so its in His hands if we stay or go.

  23. My wife’s folks served in Ghana, in fact they were gone whilst we met/dated/got married. They absolutely loved it.

    And every mission in the world has horror stories. I was mugged in Brazil, I have a friend who was beaten in France, other friends had guns thrust in their face on stateside missions.

    If you look hard enough, there will always be excuses not to go.

    I suppose it just depends on how dedicated you are to the Lord’s work.

  24. I served half my mission in western Europe and the other half in western Africa (in a sister nation to Mozambique). I was never mugged in either, but I was challenged to several fist-fights in western Europe and at one point, someone demanded my watch, which I refused to give. I baptized exactly two people there in a year. We knocked a lot of doors. A lot of doors.

    Conversely, in west Africa, no one ever threatened me nor demanded for my watch. Also, I baptized about two-dozen people there in a year, largely without ever knocking any doors.

    Given the choice to vacation in one of these two, I’d pick Europe. Given the choice of serving another mission in one of these two, I’d pick Africa everyday of the week and twice on Sundays.

  25. s. rich says:

    It wears a little thin on ones faith to see an Apostle get attacked and not protected . The Lords people seem to get hurt and abused regardless of how righteousness they are. Brigham Young’s child got eaten by wolves and so on and on and on. Hell planet

  26. Latter-day Guy says:

    That’s what they’re gonna call the documentary about earth life that they show at the big BYU International Cinema in the sky: HELL PLANET.

  27. Lesieli Tuipulotu says:

    Feel sorry for the couples. Ka ko emau lotu ke nofo’ia ‘ia naua pea ke na ma’u ha mo’ui lelei pea na foki lelei ki ‘api.

  28. Brigham Young’s child got eaten by wolves


  29. Maybe they were metaphorical wolves?

  30. If Ardis says, “Huh?” . . . but not just about the wolves.

  31. in sheep’s clothing

  32. Latter-day Guy says:

    28, Shh shh, Ardis. Let’s not interrupt a great thing. I can see this turning into one of those emails that gullible EQ presidents send to everyone in the ward, which will then find its way into SM talks. (That is, if we can ever in the GC meta talk nonsense.) Think of it like a sociological message in a bottle experiment––let’s see where it washes up.

  33. Latter-day Guy says:

    Crap. “ever in the GC meta talk nonsense” should read “ever end the GC meta talk nonsense.”

  34. Oh, I remember now. That was Mordecai, son of Brigham and Marian Quyte Young. They even wrote a song about it — the first verse goes:

    The Mormons were camped
    Down by the green grove
    Where the clear waters flow
    From the mountains above.
    The hunters just returned
    From chasing the bull,
    As we listened to the howling
    Of the loooooonesome roving wolves.

    They were chasing a lot of bull that night, as I recall.

  35. s. rich says:

    If a question isn’t faith building it will be dismissed as too controversial. If an individual assumes to suggest an improvement in church policy it may cause a disciplinary hearing. The issue becomes ‘humility’ or ‘subservience’ or anything but the issue. If your family gets devastated, your faith is just being tested. If your family gets robbed and beat up, and you’re an Apostle, then, your righteousness is not your shield. Then who is safe? The rain falls on the just and the unjust? So, no one is safe? When we bless a cancer patient and they don’t get well, is the power of the priesthood lacking? Is faith lacking? “Who sinned, this person or their parents?” They asked Jesus. Neither said Jesus. Then he demonstrated his power to heal. Well, we all sin and we all die so why do we bless people if it is only occasionally effective? I have witnessed no formula that keeps us physically safe. I am really disappointed in what appears to be a failed process that follows no distinct cause and effect formula. I hear excuses and escape clauses and blind faith. Perhaps God is so selective that he chooses only the choicest of spirits and the rest get leftovers. All the “kingdoms” are better than life here according to Joseph Smith. Hell Planet? Hmmmm?

  36. s. rich, I’m more interested in learning about the child of Brigham Young who was eaten by wolves. Would you elaborate, please?

  37. “I am really disappointed in what appears to be a failed process that follows no distinct cause and effect formula.”

    and therein lies the problem. Faith really is the first principle of the Gospel, and what you want would destroy it completely.

    Having said that, I also want to hear about the wolves – without Ardis’ bull.

  38. Ardis-

    It’s sad to think that a family–even that of a prophet like Brigham Young–can be torn apart by something as meaningless as a pack of wolves.

  39. Yes, Scott, it’s sad. Perhaps, too, God is so selective that he chooses only the choicest of morsels to feed to some of his creatures, leaving no leftovers for the others. I’ll bet little Mordecai was exceedingly tender.

  40. As a side note, this is pure comic gold.

  41. It’s rich, isn’t it, J.?

  42. I am curious about the wolf story too, because as far as I know there have been no documented cases of humans being killed by wolves in North America (unless of course BY’s son was in Europe at the the time). Ever.


  43. #41 gets my vote for a Niblet.

  44. Steve Evans says:

    SteveP, no man knows my wolf history. Trust me, that kid got eaten.

  45. Hell planet.

  46. Actually, my spirit table confirms to me that poor young Mordecai was indeed eaten by wolves. Mordecai says that his tragic fate disproves Mormonism. He also commands me to kill, kill.

  47. Well, there is the cougar who was wandering about in BY’s basement.

  48. John — you mean Eliza R. Snow??

  49. LeVell Edwards as a child?

  50. Scott B says:

    @ 48. The Work is now done.

  51. No, just the lion of the Lion House.

  52. weak sauce, ray. You gotta eat your wheaties if you intend to run with this crowd.

  53. John, good, because disparaging Eliza R S S just because she liked younger men is NOT CRICKET here at BCC. Like, really liked em.

  54. Thank you for the roar-out to the lion of the Lion House, john f.

  55. It’s where I learn my history!

  56. Peter LLC says:

    If this is Hell Planet, then Welcome to Hell.

  57. Scott B says:
  58. Peter LLC says:


  59. Burl Looney says:

    The Apostle Paul was stoned during his ministry. He counted it a blessing to be stoned for the sake of Christ. Maybe some good can come of the incident with Elder Nelson that we cannot presently foresee.

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