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Hundreds bid farewell to Elder Young

Pres. Hinckley says Young has joined ‘select group who stand so very high’

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BOUNTIFUL — A missionary who was gunned down while proselyting in Virginia can be counted among early Mormon martyrs, the LDS Church's president said Tuesday at the funeral of Elder Morgan W. Young.

"I'm impressed with the thought that Elder Young has joined the ranks of a very select group who stand so very, very high in the estimate of God," said President Gordon B. Hinckley. "There is some special place and some special work for them to do under our Father's plan."

Hundreds of mourners packed the Bountiful 31st Ward chapel for the services, which took place more than week after Young and his companion were shot while going door-to-door in a Chesapeake, Va., neighborhood. Young was shot in the head. Elder Joshua Heidbrink, 19, from Greeley, Colo., was shot in the neck and survived. He also spoke at the funeral.

President Hinckley first addressed Young's parents, Mark and Kathy, expressing his and the church's appreciation and sympathy for them. Then, expanding on the realities of life and death, he said the wisdom of God is greater than the wisdom of man.

Morgan Young was to return home from his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in March.

"May heaven's blessings rest upon you," President Hinckley said. "Let not your heart be troubled."

Elder Heidbrink, on leave from his missionary service while he recovers, reflected on Young's willingness to talk to anybody about the gospel message missionaries are trained to share.

Sometimes it took them 30 minutes to an hour to leave parking lots, Elder Heidbrink said.

"He talked to everybody," he said.

Elder M. Russell Ballard, of the church's Quorum of the Twelve, asked Heidbrink to let him know when he is ready to return to missionary service.

"We will find some exciting place for you to go serve," Elder Ballard said.

Elder Ballard read from Morgan Young's most recent letter to his mission president, Spencer Kirk.

"My testimony is growing daily," Young wrote. "To always remember Jesus Christ, that's a hard thing to do, but it's worth it. . . . I love him and I want to serve him the best that I can."

Elder Ballard reaffirmed what he told members of the media late last week, that missions are the safest place in the world for 19- to 21-year-old men.

James Rickey Boughton Jr., 19, was arrested Jan. 4, two days after the missionaries were shot. He is charged with first-degree murder, malicious wounding, attempted malicious wounding and three counts of using a gun during the commission of those felonies. He is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 20, according to The Virginian-Pilot newspaper based in Norfolk, Va.

Chesapeake police believe the missionaries witnessed a crime shortly before they were shot.

Boughton also recently appeared in court during a preliminary hearing on a cocaine possession charge from May, The Virginian-Pilot reported.

Brennan Young, brother of Morgan Young and the only family member to speak at the service, said his brother didn't always prepare for a mission. He delayed going while watching movies, working out and planning for a career.

"When Morgan became converted," Brennan Young said, "he walked taller. . . . He started to spiritually run."

"I could tell when he became converted," reflected his local bishop, Larry Kocherhans. "He wanted to proclaim the gospel to everyone."

Brennan Young described Morgan as someone who loved movies, had Batman slippers and would sometimes answer the phone, "Batcave."

Morgan had a pet turtle named Killer and grew his hair out long just so girls would play with it. He loved techno music and always had a top-of-the-line computer.

"I'm so proud to have had such an amazing brother," Brennan Young said.

Morgan Young was buried at the Salt Lake City Cemetery.


E-mail: jdougherty@desnews.com