Former missionaries rejoice in first Russian LDS stake

By Trent Toone

Mormon Times

Published: Friday, June 17 2011 6:00 a.m. MDT

Nathan Toone served in the Russia Moscow Mission under President Glenn Beus from 2005-2007. Rather than meeting in the magnificent Russian Orthodox Temple down the street, often members traveled by bus for hours to meet in a rented upstairs office space where Book of Mormon pictures lined the walls.

“That's faith,” Toone said.

Toone said President Boyko helped him learn the language, and he also associated with the new patriarch, Protopopov, who previously served as a branch president.

Toone recalls being present when the Moscow district was divided into two districts. Church leaders considered creating a stake then but decided to wait.

“How exciting that the time has finally come,” Toone said.

President Mark Rupp, recently called to preside over the Salt Lake Granger North Stake, served in the Moscow South Mission from 1997 to 1999. He recalls members talking about the day when a stake would be created in Russia almost 15 years ago. Before the Kyiv Ukraine Temple was dedicated last year, members sacrificed and made expensive trips to attend the temple in Stockholm, Sweden. Now he longs for the day when a temple can be built in Moscow.

“The members were so excited when the Kyiv temple was announced in 1998,” Rupp said. “I loved reading and watching as members all over the former Soviet Union celebrated as that temple was dedicated. I look forward to the day when there will be a temple in Russia and when I can return and serve there again.”

Email: ttoone@desnews.com

Twitter: tbtoone

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