A missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was attacked by two masked thugs outside his apartment in Mesa, Arizona on April 4th, 2008, and police are considering hate crimes charges because the victim reported he was targeted because of his religion. Full stories published in the East Valley (AZ) Tribune, the Arizona Republic, and aired by KPHO Channel 5 Phoenix and KSL Channel 5 Salt Lake.
The missionary, who has not been identified, woke up at about 4 A.M. Friday April 4th to sounds of tapping on his window. He walked around his apartment building just north of Brown Road on Recker Road, adjacent to the church's Granite Reef Ward chapel to investigate but found nothing. When he came back, he was confronted by a man dressed in dark clothes and wearing a ski mask. The man knocked him to the ground, began punching him and was joined by another man, also in dark clothes and ski mask, according to police. During the attack, one of the attackers cursed at him and specifically referred to him as a Mormon.
Police responded, but could not find the assailants. The missionary received medical treatment at the scene and required no hospitalization. On Saturday, he said he was recovering well and ready to resume his duties.
Don Evans, spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Arizona, said Saturday he was unaware of the attack and had never heard of anything like it in the United States, although he stated that verbal abuse of missionaries is not unusual. He also explained that about 500 Mormon missionaries work in the Valley and northern Arizona at any given time. Most of them are young men who pay their own way through two-year missions for the church.
According to some public comments posted to the KSL story, physical attacks upon LDS missionaries are not unheard of either. Mesa Police ask that anyone having knowledge of this attack call them at 480-644-2211.
Central Arizona has been a hotbed of anti-Mormon activism, primarily spawned by a group of mostly ex-Mormon apostates called "Concerned Christians", headed up by Jim and Judy Robertson. The Robertsons apostasized years ago and left the Church, but couldn't leave the Church alone. Instead, they wrote a poison-pen book, which I think was called "No Regrets" (the updated version may be HERE) and launched an apostate ministry. These creeps were so fanatic about leaving the church that they took all their church materials out into the desert, including a special-edition Book of Mormon given to them by a friend, and BURNED them. What a couple of major-league assholes! They could have given the material to someone else instead. Only Talibans burn books.
In researching information for this post, I discovered a most unusual blog, MormonTruth. While the editor is an anti-Mormon, he has listed the names of all LDS missionaries who have given their lives in service to the Lord while on their missions. His desire to memorialize their service overrides his attitude towards the Church, and, quite frankly, I'd like to see the Church erect a Vietnam War-type memorial on Temple Square showing the names of all these missionaries. They deserve the recognition.