SALT LAKE CITY — Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the LDS Church's Quorum of the Twelves Apostles visited Mason Wells at the University of Utah burn center on Wednesday and thanked him for professing his faith in difficult circumstances.
The 19-year-old Sandy man was one of four Mormon missionaries wounded by two bombs during the March 22 terrorist attack at the Brussels airport. The next day, Wells repeatedly expressed his belief in God during numerous interviews with international and U.S. media outlets from his hospital bed.
Elder Oaks thanked him for his example and noted the way his expressions were accepted by people of other faiths or no faith.
Elder Oaks visited Wells with Elder Brent H. Nielson, the executive director of the Missionary Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, family spokeswoman Jeanette Bennett said.
The men also visited with Joseph Empey, who was Wells' mission companion at the time of the attack. Empey also was wounded and is receiving treatment at the same hospital.
"Mason was really excited," Bennet said. "The family was pleased and honored Elder Oaks would come visit and lift Mason's spirits."
Wells' parents, Chad and Kymberly, were present for the visit, and his mother reported that Elder Oaks was personable and funny. Elder Oaks teased Wells by suggesting he not start dating until he's released from the hospital, Bennett said.
Wells, who had five months remaining in his mission service, has been given an honorable release from his mission.
Elder Oaks told Mason that the Lord is pleased with his service, and he said Mason may never know all the ways his experiences and testimony impacted others for good.
Doctors discovered more shrapnel in Wells' leg on Tuesday. They have decided to leave it there for now, barring infection, Bennett said. Wells continues to receive treatment for his broken heel, which wasn't discovered until he arrived back in Utah on Monday, as well as for burns on his head, face, hands and leg.
The Wells and Empey families are expected to hold a press conference at the hospital on Thursday.