Mormon missionaries robbed in Russia

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  • gee-en Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 5:22 p.m.

    Hey Sasha Pachev...I remember you from Russia! I remember having Elder's Quorum in a little round room with a bunch of old World War 2 artifacts (German and Russian) Ha! Great times!
    I'd be fun to catch up after all these years...if only there was some way we could "link up" or become "online face to face friends" or something...I dunno some kind of media that would be social. oh well, can't think of any other way to say hi except desnews comment board :-)

  • GeoMan SALEM, OR
    Feb. 19, 2014 9:30 a.m.

    Quite the spectrum of opinion being expressed here. I found the story interesting. I also have interesting stories from my own mission. I don't see that the world is fundamentally any safer or more dangerous now than is was in 1980, 1950, 1920, 1890, or 1840. Given the necessary nature and location of missionary activity, as long as the safety record for missionaries continues to be better than for their demographically equivalent population in their respective home countries then I don't see any room for criticism of the management of the missionary program. From my perspective, I wouldn't complain even if the safety record were a little worse than what they could expect "at home." Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Foolish rush in where angels fear to tread, but it doesn't say that those fearful angels don't carefully tread where they are needed. One can carefully venture where one shouldn't just rush in.

  • None99 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 19, 2014 12:12 a.m.

    What do you expect...naive American youth being sent to a foreign land, a long-time adversary to the U.S., to walk around in solitary pairs. Of course something bad is going to happen! This isn't the 1950s in suburban Pennsylvania. Its 2014 when American political, economic, military, and cultural influence around the world is rapidly declining, and along with it what little influence the LDS church had established around the world. Wake up people. But at least those boys are out rubbing shoulders with the rif raff, meanwhile their "leaders" preach to the choir from behind cloistered walls.

  • BYU Track Star Los Angeles, CA
    Feb. 18, 2014 6:14 p.m.

    It is a dangerous world out there folks. Wasn't it last year that the Des News reported on one of the Tweleve and his wife were robbed in Africa while on Church business?

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Feb. 18, 2014 5:16 p.m.


    No it wouldn't defeat the purpose of missionary work whatsoever. There is a practical side to doing missionary work just like a faith based side. Both need to be employed. The old saying "fools go where angels fear to tread" applies here. As members of the Church we should expect every measure to be taken to first protect our young missionaries. No parent should have to send their son or daughter out in fear. My son served in Miami and did have some close calls with gangs but the mission president was alert and proactive and closed areas that were extra dangerous or restricted the areas to NO TRACTING. That action alone probably saved a few missionary lives according to my son. Laying down a life should NEVER be a preventable sacrifice for a missionary. We aren't sending these kids off to Iraq to fight...we are sending them out to preach the gospel and we live in the 21 century where civilized behavior can and should be expected in most areas not 2500 years ago among the savage Lamanites.

  • LivinLarge Bountiful, UT
    Feb. 18, 2014 12:44 p.m.

    What makes this story interesting and unique is that the perp was acquainted with the missionaries. This is far different than being robbed and threatened by strangers. Glad they are safe, God bless.

  • Filo Doughboy Bakersfield, CA
    Feb. 18, 2014 12:01 p.m.

    LDS Lib- Wow! What missionfield were you on? I'm guessing the Bible Belt, where they know the Book and suffer no replacements...

    My brother in Asia- no probs. (Polytheism, not a threat.). The one in our South- dogs, shotgun warnings. They protect their religion of 2,000 years of heritage and ward off newcomers alá usurpers, scripture make-overs or revelation reversals. They don't distinguish or prejudice against any particular denoms: Just any that mess with the original need to keep the distinctions real clear.

    At least they fired warning shots. The thieves are just out for greed.

    Proscelytizing is a dangerous game on many levels. God help them all!

  • Sequoya Stafford, VA
    Feb. 18, 2014 11:50 a.m.

    @ RustyMommy: ... Yes, what is life without a little drama??!! ;-D

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 18, 2014 8:22 a.m.

    I would like to add to the dozen or so other comments...

    I was robbed (4 times), had rocks thrown at us, dogs let loose on us, mugged, had knives pulled and waved at us, and shot at twice on my mission...

    all right here in the good 'ole U.S. of A.

    God Bless America...

  • OnlytheCross Bakersfield, CA
    Feb. 18, 2014 8:21 a.m.

    Thank you for this story, DN. It needed to be reported for many/differing reasons, much of which have been shared here. Satan is the prince of darkness and always seeks to obscure the light of truth. The bare details of the initial theft reveal a deeper level of malevolence than just pick-pocketing. These young men had a noble response to a potentially hideous outcome.

    The postings were quite enlightening also. Why the editors continue to allow the annoying, attacking hate-posts is offensive, because it violates their post rules. Valid differences can be expressed without smug haughtiness; but unchecked these sites will devolve into rude rants from intolerant people.

    IMHO: Patriot had the best defensive plan for risky areas.

    There are non-LDS and ex-LDS interested also. Many of us pray for the safety and protection of all missionaries, regardless of our theological differences. Jesus died for a lost and dying world, and His last mandate was to "make disciples". The obedient trust in the Lord's protection, knowing the risks, using prudence and heeding His warning about the one who roams the earth "looking for whom he can destroy".

    I will pray harder for my nephews...

  • Mike in Sandy Sandy, UT
    Feb. 18, 2014 8:20 a.m.

    Times have changed. I never had any money as a missionary.

  • hockeymom Highland, UT
    Feb. 18, 2014 6:51 a.m.

    @ Patriot
    Wouldn't that defeat the purpose of missionary work, to screen or refuse to go to areas that may be a little risky or teach people who we perceive to be a potential threat? Missionaries have great faith and so should we all. Don't forget Ammon the missionary in the Book of Mormon and the sons of Mosiah who wanted to go serve among the Lamanites their long time enemies. Ammon and Mosiah had a hard time letting their sons go to those areas, yet put their trust and their boys in the hands of the Lord. My son is currently serving in Honduras, a mission that is sometimes shut down and missionaries re-routed to other countries during times of political unrest and danger. I can't do anything about that but pray for his safety daily and trust that he will we wise and the Lord will protect him from serious harm. Even if he were killed, he says he'd be happy to lay his life down for the Lord. I pray it never comes to that, but I understand his desire to go and serve where he's been asked to go and serve.

  • K.Call Moab, UT
    Feb. 18, 2014 1:40 a.m.

    Much was not reported concerning this incident. Only what was deemed appropriate was shared with the public. Thank you to all who shared their concern for the many, many elders who serve.

  • Kelliebelle66 West Jordan, UT
    Feb. 17, 2014 10:42 p.m.

    My son was robbed on his mission in Mexico but not injured. Ironically in one area the local gang leader decided he really liked my son after my son's reaction to him during a chance meeting on the street. The gang leader showed him the ultimate respect, or what is considered the ultimate respect for gangsters, when he offered to assassinate anybody that bothered my son or who he didn't like. So in that area he was protected by the "bad guys." He wasn't seeking out their company, but at least he hadn't rubbed them the wrong way. There are some scary people out there all over the world but we put our missionary children and parents into the Lord's hands. My parents had some close calls in Guatemala but my father was guided on how to keep himself and my mother safe. When they were stalked by young men who saw their expensive laptop bags my father felt inspired to look into their faces and do the "I'm watching you sign." They saw my father's courage and felt his priesthood power and were warned off.

  • michaelm Louisville, KY
    Feb. 17, 2014 10:04 p.m.

    On my mission I was robbed, stoned, chased, threatened with murder. Its part of the mission experience for many that is not often discussed. It's more common than most people realize. But that's part of life in many situations and we don't talk about it. We don't talk about the abuses many Peace Corp. workers face, military, nurses, cops, even teachers. For some it just comes with the territory, serving people who are often the bottom feeders in life comes with risk. Jesus came to save the sinners not the saints. Missionaries are sent to teach the sinners, and your going to run into some bad ones sometimes.

    Regarding the person who did not understand why God did not stop the robbers. You seem to have no clue how free agency works. God has always allowed bad people to do bad things. They have a choice, stopping them would be satan's way. God can protect us from evil while allowing us to be tested by it and growing through it.

    Feb. 17, 2014 8:01 p.m.

    Old, but not stupid, your point is well taken. Anybody can cherry pick. Personally, I prefer to pick the abundance of ripe, red cherries at the top of the tree rather than those scattered half-green sour cherries from the bottom. Seems like the LDS critics like to pucker up their taste buds with the latter; they've all got a bad case of indigestion.

  • ElJefeOcho STAFFORD, VA
    Feb. 17, 2014 7:39 p.m.

    I am glad the Deseret News ran the story. It was interesting and I'm glad the missionaries involved are safe. As others have posted, other missionaries have suffered worse -- many have been robbed, a few have been kidnapped, some have been raped, a few have been murdered, others have died of natural causes or accidents, and some paralyzed in tragic incidents. However, the vast, vast majority go through their missions with none of those horrible tragedies. I have two children serving missions right now -- one in Germany and other in Southern California. I pray for their safety and the safety of others serving. Thanks again to the Desert News for running the story.

  • LadyMoon Crestucky, FL
    Feb. 17, 2014 7:37 p.m.

    Further investigation determined the robbers made off with what is considered a 'prized haul' - a Book of Mormon, 30-Rubles (86-cents), consecration oil, an appointment book and a well used pocket sized Preach My Gospel!

  • Coolio SLC, UT
    Feb. 17, 2014 5:10 p.m.

    So they were uninjured and yet this is on the front page of the the paper. If you took all the missionaries that ever served I would wager 90 percent all have a story similar to this. I was car-jacked and had to pull into a grocery store parking lot when the car-jacker told me to drive 15 miles out of town. As soon a pulled in he jumped out and ran. Never made the news.

    The funny thing about this story is that they knew the guy and he actually gave them some things back.

  • Dave Wilson Phoenix, AZ
    Feb. 17, 2014 3:08 p.m.

    Bummer. But it was only money. I'm sure they and their families are counting their blessings that they are physically unharmed. I wish them a speedy emotional recovery so they can continue working.

  • R.A.W St George, Utah
    Feb. 17, 2014 2:56 p.m.

    Hundreds of missionaries are mugged and robbed everyday. My neighbors son is in Brazil right now and has had his watch and wallet stolen 4 times. three of those were at gunpoint. One of my best friends was robbed during a transfer in Guatemala and lost all of his belongings, including precious missionary journals.

    There is no benefit in writing and posting an article like this. It causes parents and future missionaries needless anxiety and worry, and is also discrediting to the hundreds of missionaries that have similar experiences and don't have articles written about them, but just carry on with the work. I know that the Lord is with all his missionaries. Thank goodness no harm came to these young men.

  • TA1 Alexandria, VA
    Feb. 17, 2014 2:55 p.m.

    It is unfortunate, wrong but not particularly surprising, yet the work goes on.

  • J in AZ San Tan Valley, AZ
    Feb. 17, 2014 12:45 p.m.

    I can actually empathize with the people asking why this particular event is newsworthy. I ask that all the time about things that I read and watch in the news. After all, why do I care about a traffic jam in Miami or some other bit of news that gets out. But, I can also understand that an occasional human interest story catering to DN customers outside of the Salt Lake Valley is good business. That being said, this story is immensely newsworthy to my family because one of the missionaries involved is one of our nephews. We are glad that he's safe. And, it may be better that we heard about it now rather than a couple of years from now at a family reunion.

  • bj-hp Maryville, MO
    Feb. 17, 2014 12:46 p.m.

    It seems that many are criticizing Des News for reporting on this. Still this is an newspaper owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. As more and more missionaries go into the mission field and the closer we get to the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ this will happen just as much if not more.
    Even before the Lord Jesus Christ came to earth, missionaries have been killed, robbed and hurt. They have been persecuted and will continue to be as long as they are willing to stand and teach of the Restoration of the Gospel in these the Latter Days. Just as Stephen was killed, Peter and others through to Joseph Smith, Parley P Pratt and many today this will continue until the Lord Declares it is done and he returns in a blaze of glory. We will continue to see those who deny and wish ill will on anything Latter Day Saint. So be it as has been mentioned, "When in the service of your fellow man, you are only in the service of your God".

  • riverofsun St.George, Utah
    Feb. 17, 2014 12:20 p.m.

    A terribly frightening time for parents to send a child(yes, now they are still children) out on a mission for two long years.
    Too many terrible incidents are occurring. Sounds as though the parents and the public are not being notified about many of them.
    Our family never heard about the terrible incidents our sons were involved in either, and that was almost 20 years ago. Parents of their companions told us following their sons return.

  • theshadowknows Salt Lake, UT
    Feb. 17, 2014 11:58 a.m.

    It isn't's people. Several missionaries when I was out had interesting experiences. That included one who knocked and found himself facing a double-barreled shotgun as the door opened. That was in North Carolina. There are more stories out there than people can imagine. Don't have to look far.

    Absolutely the Lord protects missionaries....not just LDS ones either.

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    Feb. 17, 2014 11:03 a.m.

    I am certain that the Lord, quietly and frequently undetected, protects and blesses all of his children multiple times each day. He does this in a way that doesn't take away anyone's moral agency.

    Every once in a while, He holds back for a wise and loving purpose. These moments seem to get all of our attention, and we look to the heavens and say "Why me?"

    I have tried to be attentive enough to recognize how often I and others are comforted, protected, encouraged, and taught by our loving Father in Heaven.

  • Old But Not Stupid Moorpark, CA
    Feb. 17, 2014 10:57 a.m.

    Chris B and The Scientist say or imply that "you people like to cherry pick." If you want to see some serious cherry picking, go read any of Chris' comments/predictions on U of U or BYU football and basketball.

    After Chris, the ultimate cherry picker, erroneously foretold BYU's loss to St. Marys (basketball) over the week-end, I think one can safely disregard almost anything he says.

  • Sasha Pachev Provo, UT
    Feb. 17, 2014 10:55 a.m.

    The reason Deseret News did not report the robberies of other missionary is perhaps that the story did not make it to the editors of Deseret News in time. I found this story newsworthy. I am a Russian convert, my brother-in-law served in that area, and do have an interest in what is happening in Russia with our missionaries. It may be of interest that the city where the robbery took place is named after Friedrich Engles, a co-father of communism (along with Karl Marx). I find this more than just a coincidence - to me this represents the fruit of communist ideology.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Feb. 17, 2014 10:55 a.m.

    Not the first time missionaries have been robbed or held hostage in Russia and won't be the last unless the Church changes proselyting methods. Just so glad these young men weren't hurt. I suspect there needs to be some sort of screening of investigators going forward ...criminal records etc... before missionaries go to teach. Tracting for many parts of Russia should be off limits. It may be also that investigators have to be taught in a church instead of in their homes. Yes this will be harder but safety of the missionaries is paramount here.

  • Rustymommy Clovis, NM
    Feb. 17, 2014 10:05 a.m.

    For those who think the Mormon Missionaries should always be protected by God, I'd like to point out that God's plan involved free agency and choices. He knew we would do stupid things. He knew that bad things could happen to good people. It was Satan who wanted to give us no choices. If God rescued us from every bad thing, He would be following Satan's plan. Drama is part of the plan we agreed to follow. Rather than seeing the negative side of this situation, perhaps it would be good to assume that God protected them by not letting them get killed.

    For those who think it is crazy to send Mormon Missionaries to faraway places to take risks with their lives, consider the everyday risks of living here in the United States. I pray that my son doesn't ever go to Detroit or the ghettos in Los Angeles or any of the dangerous places we call "home". For pete's sake, innocent people get killed in Salt Lake City, UT and Pocatella, Idaho. Life can be risky no matter where you live.

  • Wild Will Tehachapi, CA
    Feb. 17, 2014 9:55 a.m.

    My son was mugged five times while serving in the Caracas Venezuela Mission, endured hurricane weather for two weeks causing the death of 10,000 people in the area and we never received so much as an e-mail from him or anyone else from his mission.... My Bishop's son is shot at while serving in Latvia and he receives an e-mail several weeks later about the assault. Doesn't seem fair that because these young elders are serving in Russia during the Olympics that the missionary department steps up the efforts to keep the parents informed. Hopefully these communications to the parents when incidents occur improve.


  • Johnny Triumph American Fork, UT
    Feb. 17, 2014 9:32 a.m.

    Obviously this guy didn't know the Elders very well otherwise he'd have known they don't have much.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    Feb. 17, 2014 9:30 a.m.

    An Elder in where I served got mugged 4 different times. The last time had his face slashed with a razor knife. Terrible...yes..but at the root of the problem was all 4 times he didn't hesitate to approach "tough" kids and call them to repentance. You would have though he would have learned something after the first time. This story never made the Deseret News. I wonder why?

  • Spoons Lake Tahoe, NV
    Feb. 17, 2014 8:32 a.m.

    I served in the Dominican Republic and got robbed around 8 times. You quit counting after awhile. Why is this in the paper? Kids dad must work for the D-News.

  • David M Metairie, LA
    Feb. 17, 2014 8:14 a.m.

    # The Scientist,

    On my mission in Las Vegas, I knew of 3 different incidences when people threatened to shoot when I approached their door while tracting. One other person (drunk) through a knife at me. Maybe it was a byproduct to serving those in poor neighborhoods. I know of others on my mission with similar experiences, but none of them one was injured or otherwise harmed from such experiences. We also simply moved on and kept working.

    The Lord does protect his servants, but he won't take away people's agency. That would defeat his plan.

    I heard of a tragedy a long while back in South America in which a missionary was killed. There was an increase number of baptisms in that community following that tragedy. Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ, and others were allowed to be killed, but the Lord knows the larger picture.

  • mhilton Lancaster, CA
    Feb. 17, 2014 8:14 a.m.

    I am not telling my friends about this incident who are called to that mission! Yes, it happens in different places to different missionaries. It's always nice to know that they are being protected by the Lord and directed how to get out of situations. Could be that this is being publicized because of the recent movie, Saratov Approach, too. Who knows.

  • LittleStream Carson City, NV
    Feb. 17, 2014 8:03 a.m.

    I tell you, Satan is really stepping it up! One comment that was made was "why couldn't God have stopped the robbery?" I believe that would have frustrated the robber's free agency. Heavenly Father will never take free agency away. But I believe the Holy Spirit guided these missionaries to make the very best out of a bad situation. So very glad they weren't hurt.

  • LovelyDeseret Gilbert, AZ
    Feb. 17, 2014 7:56 a.m.

    @The Scientist

    Yes of course the Lord could have "protected" them from getting robbed in the first place.

    Just like He didn't stop you from posting your comment in the first place. Instead the Lord lets us live our life and make bad and good choices. In this case, these missionaries were blessed to now know what it feels like to be kept from being beheaded and/or knifed. That is an experience for which I am sure they are grateful and for which draws them closer to the source of all good, which is God.

  • estebanborup Brunswick, GA
    Feb. 17, 2014 5:56 a.m.

    What's the big deal about this incident that deserves so much attention. Missionaries all over the world experience similar threats, assaults, robberies, and worse on a daily basis and hardly seldom call home to complain. Get over it and get on with the work!

  • cfmacd Rexburg, ID
    Feb. 16, 2014 10:32 p.m.

    Yeah, I'm interested to know why this is making the news. Missionaries get robbed all the time. Of course there's no connection between this robbery and the Olympics. I'd be willing to be that the only reason this story got written was because Russia is getting a lot of publicity right now.

  • I know it. I Live it. I Love it. Provo, UT
    Feb. 16, 2014 10:25 p.m.

    I've never been robbed and didn't serve a mission.

    I like to read this news.
    I like to know missionaries are safe.


  • ElJefeOcho STAFFORD, VA
    Feb. 16, 2014 10:06 p.m.

    I'm glad the missionaries are safe... One grammatical quibble with the story, however. It says, "He graduated salutatorian at Grand County High School in Moab." While that may be acceptable under modern usage, that sentence structure grates like fingernails on a chalkboard in my mind. I would much prefer to read, "He was the salutatorian at Grand County High School."