Since learning that their 19-year-old missionary son, Ben, was killed in an accident in Argentina, Cory and Amy Ellsworth of the Mesa Arizona East Stake have relied on their faith in Christ and His gospel and have found strength in the love and support of others to move forward from their tragic loss.
Just weeks before the Ellsworths expected to receive a phone call from their son on Christmas, they found their stake president, Terry Turk, at the door, bearing the news that Elder Benjamin Robert Ellsworth, less than six months into his mission, had fallen while getting onto a slow-moving train and was pulled under and killed.
"Our foundations are not rocked," said Brother Ellsworth. "The essence of what keeps us going is our deep faith and deep testimony that what we believe is true."
Brother Ellsworth spoke at his son's funeral on Dec. 9. He assured the crowd of more than 1,200 people of his family's faith. "We will miss Ben a great deal but we also know that nothing is really wrong here," he said. "No foundations are being rocked at the Ellsworth house. Far from it. God is in His heaven. We are all in His hands. While the reasons for an untimely death may escape us, we also know from an apostle that true disciples are portable. Ben was portable. We are happy to leave it at that for now, knowing that this separation is temporary, that we'll see him again, that he is happy and busy, and that he is pure and clean."
Sister Ellsworth said that her family has been strengthened by the love and support of others. Nearly two months later, they are still receiving cards and letters daily, many from missionary moms she doesn't know. "The letters are full of great advice and so much love," she said.
After graduating from Mountain View High School in 2004, Ben joined the U.S. Marine Corps and achieved the rank of Lance Corporal before obtaining a leave to serve his mission. He planned to return to the Marine Reserves with a five-year commitment after his mission.
The Ellsworths, who are parents of six children, are no strangers to trials. Their oldest son, Ethan, 23, is confined to a wheelchair as a result of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Their youngest children, six-year-old twins Cade and Colby, also inherited the rapidly-progressive, life-shortening disorder.
When the twins, as infants, were diagnosed, Ben became their "guardian angel." When Ben's personal items were returned to the family, a small photo album that he carried in his shirt pocket contained photos of his family, with the first two pages prominently displaying his twin brothers, who he referred to as "my boys."
Ben has two sisters — Atley, 17, and Emily, 15. Emily spoke at her brother's funeral and said that her brother's position as the only healthy boy in the family was not lost on him and he felt a desire to succeed, at least partially for them.