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Posted 21 Sep 2001   For week ended September 21, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 20Sep01

By Kent Larsen

Missionaries at World Trade Center Rumor Not True

NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- A widely-circulated email message claiming that a group of missionaries were scheduled to meet in New York City's World Trade Center on Tuesday, September 11th is incorrect, according to local missionaries, and is likely a hoax. The message, entitled "Testimony Builder" claims that three or four zones of missionaries were supposed to meet in the complex, but that all of the missionaries and the mission president were unable to make the meeting. So many details in the message are erroneous that it is more likely a hoax than a misunderstanding, unlike another message concerning BYU student interns.

The message about New York missionaries claims that the three or four zones of missionaries were supposed to meet in the World Trade Center for a multi-zone conference at 9:00 am Tuesday, September 11th. But, according to the message, "every single missionary had problems that morning getting to the meeting, either not waking up on time, or with transportation. No one made it to the towers."

But to New York area church members the message seemed implausible at best. In fact, so many details in the message are wrong that it is likely that the message was written as a hoax. The LDS Church doesn't own any property or rent space in the World Trade Center or anywhere near it, so holding a zone conference there is unlikely. Also, New York City is split between two missions, North and South, and the World Trade Center isn't centrally located in either. The center is at the southern-most tip of Manhattan, which is also the southern-most point in the New York NY North mission.

In fact, neither mission held a zone conference on that day, nor did the missionaries meet. None of the missionaries reported any more difficulty getting up and traveling on September 11th, before the attacks, than on any other day. "It is a nice story, but unfortunately it is not true," says Sister Money of the New York NY South mission.

Another email message circulated following the attack is also wrong, but has enough similar details to what actually happened that it may be based on a misunderstanding. According to that message, 40 BYU interns who worked in the World Trade Center all contracted food poisoning and couldn't get to work on Tuesday, September 11th.

But BYU's Washington Seminar director, Scott Dunaway, says, "The rumors are all false." But Charlotte Monson, one of the seminar's administrators, does confirm that 17 interns in Washington, DC program, who work in a building across the street from the Pentagon, did have the flu on Tuesday, "The flu was going around the program earlier in the week and several woke up sick Tuesday morning," Monson said. "It made it easier for us to reach them and they did not have to worry about fighting the traffic downtown." The program has 36 interns in Washington D.C.


September 11th urban legends debunked
BYU NewsNet 18Sep01 N1
By Stephanie Richards: NewsNet Staff Writer

New York area sources


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