This isn't too different from the good old USA. We had the police called
on us for picking up food for the Utah food bank for the Scout Food drive. Just
neighbors who hate poor hungry people and the people who help.
" I finish by asking those reading my comment to review 1Nephi 14:12,''I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were
few.''The fewer, the better!
I serve a mission in Spain, 1969-1971. This is Europe and, it was very difficult
then. My wife and I, returned to Spain for a senior mission, 2012-2014, and the
work had become even more difficult. The work is very tougher these days all
over Europe.When politics are added, it gets even tougher There is in Russia now, a strong anti-American sentiment that makes the
work very very difficult. The reason that the church has made the changes from
missionary to volunteer is for safety and protection, but I wonder whether or
not it will work to our benefit.The challenge here is not how the
Russian people see the church but, how the Russian authorities deal with the
United States of America these days. Thus said, it is going to
be even more difficult, if the present political climate in the United States,
lingers four more years.By any rate, I finish by asking those
reading my comment to review 1Nephi 14:12,''I beheld the church
of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few.''I will let
you all to finish the verse and draw your own conclusions.I am an
ordinance worker in the Orlando Florida Temple and, we pray constantly for our
missionaries, wherever found.
Glad to see that the young men have been released and are safe. I wish the
deseret news would just give the information like they did and not put
Romney's name in it. If and when he does something other than just make
comments, please let us know.
Being harassed by Russian law enforcement is no reason to pull the missionaries
out. Our diplomats along with the other countries are harassed daily, but we
will not close our embassy . Having Missionaries there will accomplish way more
than impersonal video messages.
I have to say this as someone who served in Russia. The story of the
missionaries seems blown way out of proportion. Missionaries serving in Russia
in the 90s and even up to the 2000s were regularly detained, often multiple
times in their mission. Besides, these missionaries were in jail, not in a
I really tire of the people who are couch quarterbacks and think they always
know about a situation, and in this case, call for the church to pull out of
Russia, whine that the missionaries should have known better, claim that the
church is somehow being sneaky in calling them "volunteers," saying that
the Elders should have a license to teach English etc. etc. when in reality, all
the facts that refute each of those silly complaints are in the article if they
would just read it. Just a fact of life: There are people who engages in the
hobby of complaining, especially when it comes to the church. And some of them
always provide the disclaimer that they are "active members of the
church," or are "returned missionaries," or "sustain the
Prophet," etc. when their remarks are negative and/or disparaging.And BTW, I really do not care what Romney has to say about anything. He is the
biggest disappointment since he attempted his run at the presidency and his
integrity has continuously been on a downward slide ever since.
Why is this article so full of news about Mitt Romney? We know that he is a
flaccid conservative. Our Leader Donald Trump is much more strong and forceful
on the international scene. Trump knows how to put Putin in his place! What
did Trump do to bring this dedicated volunteer for The Church of Jesus Christ
Kudos to President and Sister Ottesen for their example in caring for these
missionaries. Eric was an outstanding young man when we lived in Deseret Towers
and it's almost like an "Alma 17:2 experience" to see how he has
developed, along with his wife, into such fine mission parents.
I find some comments here interesting as they suggest that the church is playing
word games with the Russian laws, or not putting the safety of missionaries
first, or not keeping up with current laws and requirements, or not acting under
inspiration, or, or, or.I have seen too many times to ignore the
fact that the church does put safety first, does keep on top of current laws, is
not trying to get away with anything.I served my mission in Germany
and though I personally never had issues, other elders were arrested (laws in
the United States are different than Europe and people in many of those
countries can be arrested for no particular reason at all). Granted, the world
is no longer a safe place, or maybe it never really was. I am confident that
when the Lord decrees then perhaps missionary work in Russia will come to an
end, but probably not before that.
NeifyT - Salt Lake City, UT---Easy fix... get the missionaries
trained and licensed according to Russia law; or make sure all meetings and
volunteer work are done while speaking Russian. That is the simple truth.---The age of most missionaries, would lead one to believe that
Russian or the 'foreign language' of the target mission country,
should be taught in high school.I'm not familiar with Utah K-12
schools, but here in California I suspect there are no schools that have Russian
as a standardly taught language, even in Sebastopol...In general,
one of the constant laments about 'Americans' is their near complete
incapacity in a second language, even in areas which have a wide spread second
language, such as Spanish, or on the West Coast, a number of Pacific/Asian
languages.Americans seem to expect an 'english speaking
bubble' to enclose them as they travel.
My Son loved serving in Russia- his arrest was nothing more than local police
harassment. It was unfortunate they were detained for 3 weeks, mostly to send a
message to others. Many Russian church members made contact with us, and
explained what happened, police arrived with media in a staged arrest, adding
it’s very common. Kole and his companion made quite an impact on the
detention center. Since they were the only people that spoke Russian and
English, the guards had them busy translating for others. Most people being
deported were from other countries speaking broken English and no Russian.
I’m so excited to see the him- he left a naive boy, and returns a Man
capable of much.
My reaction is about the headline for this article. It is nice to know
everything that Romney appreciates. My question is this. what about Sen. Lee?
Did anyone ask his take on this issue? I just like to be informed as to what
both Senators take is on an issue of this importance. Just a thought...
Our son served in Russia in this very area. He and other missionaries were
frequently persecuted and detained, just as they are in many other countries
around the world. It was an honor to have him there, and he would go back
without hesitation. As parents, we would send him back there without hesitation.
It changed his life for the better, and helped make him the wonderful man he is.
I would suggest that we stop all the "hand-wringing" and realize that
this is part of the Church's responsibility to take the Gospel to ALL the
world. We accept that Paul and many other missionaries were jailed in the New
Testament, along with Alma & Amulek and many others in the Book of Mormon,
along with many of our 19th Century missionaries in our own country. In 2016,
six missionaries were deported from Russia. The highest Russian appellate court
later overturned it and said the missionaries had done nothing wrong. If the
court had ruled otherwise, the Church would have modified what the missionaries
could do. The same will happen here. The work will go on, despite problems and
difficulties. God bless all who are happy and willing to make any personal
sacrifice to do the Lord's work.
I can only imagine how difficult this has been for the elders, their fellow
missionaries, and their families. I can also imagine that this doesn't help
much in the pursuit to build a temple in that country, as was announced over the
General Conference pulpit. I wonder if that big of an announcement made gov
officials there more wary of church "volunteers."
Having lived in Russia for over 6 years...this is just business as usual. I
have been arrested. My wife and four children were once all arrested. For
what? Simply flying from Moscow into Vladivostok.We love the
Russians, but the government is something else.
If people are spending time with the missionaries for the purpose of learning
English then the Mission President might need to give some specific guidance to
prevent this from happening again.
@UtahBruin,I am NOT "taking jabs" as you put it. Mearely
stating my opinions of church service based on what has been reported in the
news. Yes, I am a Latter-day Saint as well, and served a faithful mission too. I
am most certainly not putting my opinions ahead or above the church policy, only
according to scripture.Yes, I fully understand that these
"volunteers" are not allowed to proselyte (it wasn't that long ago
that they were allowed to proselyte and Russia changed it's laws); and now
they are only allowed to teach those who come to them.Just like the
laws here in the US (every town, city, county and State even has their own laws)
change every few months (every time US Congress, State's congresses, and
even city councils meet); it is up to the church to be well versed in changes to
laws where they place missionaries.So, what that a pastor of a
different church turned them in? Most city laws are enforced only when neighbors
turn each other in. The fact of the matter is their laws changed; they no longer
allow English to be taught by foreigners without license--most likely because it
is a front to teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ; which they no longer want
@ Ryan.1-Cedar city, Ut.Very well said! You could not have
explained any better why we send missionaries all over the world. Thank you for
I too served in Russia. I too was harassed by the government without cause,
interrogated and detained. Despite this, I would not have changed my experience
for anything. I was able to teach, persuade and testify of Jesus Christ. The
role church volunteer’s play in Russia is invaluable. Their experience,
testimonies, and knowledge of the gospel are absolutely vital to the growth of
The Church in this far off, often scary, but absolutely beautiful country.
Leaving thousands of, almost exclusively, first-generation members, without
hands-on support does not sustain the mission of The Church or its Head. Paul
himself often preached under unpleasant or unsafe circumstances giving his
safety up to The Lord. These elders and sisters in Russia are called of God to
help in His work and ministry. They will be guided and protected by Him. No
place is perfectly safe. No place is 100% welcoming to The Church and its
message or its messengers. But the Russian people are wonderful and they need
and (many of them) want the message of the gospel. Let's not abandon those
people in the face of fear and uncertainty. The volunteers will be blessed for
their service. Take it from one who knows.
It’s best to stay away from where you’re not wanted. This is no
surprise. Russia has made their feelings known. It would be best to heed them.
So were the missionaries placed in handcuffs?
It is well known that governments are just that. Governing their citizens
according to the laws made by that government. It is not unusual for
missionaries to get caught in the "cross hairs", especially when they
are from a different nation ruled by someone such as our current President.Yet, our Heavenly Father is searching for spiritual Israelites in every corner
of the Earth itself. That search will only end when it is accomplished, and He
states, "well done faithful and discreet slave". "Whoever tries to
save his own life shall lose it". Our lives are to serve Him, wherever He
sends us.Easier said than done.
Good works will have great opposition.
@greatbam22: Your typo about the "Boof of Mormon" gave me the best
laugh of the day. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go coof my lunch and
loof at my emails.
It is exciting to know that they have been released and are heading home to
their families the gospel of Jesus Christ will go forward and not be stopped by
Curious what critics get from constantly jumping to conclusions and disparaging
the church?Could be that the area of Russia they were in just
weren't as friendly to LDS. I mean there were people like that in the Boof
of Mormon. Alma in general didn't just give up because some
people didn't want to listen. He just went somewhere else.The
mission president will probably close this area to the missionaries / volunteers
for a while seeing as some people are seeking to cause the church issues there.
It's stories like this that really actually made me want to serve in
Russia. My actually mission was much tamer. But I'd have gone to Russia
in a heartbeat because... well what a story, what an experience. Right before I
left on my mission I heard from a kid that had served in Russia and had all
sorts of experiences, being beaten up, handcuffed in the street, arrested as
well, and I thought "Man, that's where I want to serve." Probably
not fun while its happening, but a real faith inspiring bit that you can relay
to your kids someday. Glad they're safe. Keep up the good work Volunteers
to Russia! God will bless you for your trials and faith.
The worth of a soul is why they are there. There is a covenant which is about
giving all, even at the peril of life.
The last time I checked we have a duty to take the gospel to the world. At
times, that means putting faithful people in less than ideal situations. I
certainly know my mission had experiences that were far from ideal and I gladly
endured them to be engaged in the cause I believe in. To spend some time in
detention is to walk the path of the great Christian missionaries of the past,
Peter, Paul, and Joseph Smith. I commend these good young men for their faith
and for their family’s faith. The work goes on.
@NeifyTAgain, you have to understand how missionary work is done in
Russia. I am gathering here you don't. Missionaries in Russia cannot
publicly invite people to teach them the gospel. The Russian people must ask
and initiate the action. Teaching English is done throughout the world in
missions. Not all countries require a license. Missionaries have been teaching
English in Russia for years now, with no issues what so ever. This is a
circumstance as I stated where another Priest/Pastor reported them. I
don't know why, maybe he felt his congregation was being threatened and
didn't like that his members were going elsewhere, who knows. It's kind of like throwing sun flower seeds out your car window. In many
of the 50 states, this is illegal. But not enforced. I am fairly certain,
rather it is my opinion, doesn't mean it is right, that this is what this
was. Otherwise, as strict as the government is with their laws in Russia. Why
are they all of a sudden releasing them three weeks later, and not kicking the
missionaries out of the country. Logical question. I don't think this is
as big of a deal as you might like to make it to take your jabs.
I have been to Russia. They do not look at ANY religion with favor. They are not
targeting the mormon church. They are targeting ALL religions. They just
don't want a religion, least of all from America, infiltrating their
culture. Eventually the church will be forced to pull all missionaries from
@Impartial7"Second, you just called them Mission President.
Shouldn't that be "Volunteer President"?"No, it is
a Mission President, he is not called a Missionary President, he is the
President of the Mission."Most churches teach to obey
laws."As does The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,
but I assume you meant and knew this as they too would fall under "most
churches." "This is an end run around the "no
missionaries" law in Russia."There is not a "no
missionaries" law in Russia. If you read the article, and the several
others regarding this story. It is a "Provision banning PUBLIC missionary
work." Missionaries, and missionary work is still very much welcome in
country. As I stated in a previous comment, it is done in a different
way/method. It is not like other missionaries might do daily. "Russia is not liking the semantics the church is playing with their
law."I guess it all depends if we are talking formal, lexical,
or conceptual semantics. I like to think that the church does go off of the
formal, as to make sure they do follow what the Russian govt. is asking. If a
mistake was made, I am sure it can be corrected.No need to worry
To those worried about the legalities. All of my association with the Church
has shown strict adherence to local law. Remember, this did not take place in
the US. What is legal in Russia may well be subject to "local
interpretation".As to them being volunteers vs. missionaries.
All done out in the open. No one is smuggling scriptures or missionaries
through back channels.As to why not just leave? Because there are
members there already to support and because Russia may open up again post
Putin. Should it do so, having a strong presence there benefits the effort to
share the Gospel.Is it dangerous? Statistically less so than most
other activities for younger folks of this age. Not to say it is without risk.
And there is nothing in the Great Commission or the fate of the early Apostles
to suggest that this is a riskless venture.
"The church is closely monitoring conditions in Russia for all volunteers
and will continue to fully comply with Russian law," he added."There is no admission of guilt in that statement. Sounds to me like they plan
to "continue" doing business as usual and don't believe Russian law
was broken. That's all well and good, but what will that accomplish? No
plans to change their behavior. Based on that logic, I have to believe we can
plan on more arrests in Russia.
@NiefyTLast time I checked, a missionary was a volunteer. A
volunteer can do many things. They can help at a school, they can help out at a
kitchen, they can be a missionary. Maybe, just maybe, before making such a
comment, maybe you should understand what a missionary actually does in Russia.
They operate on a completely different schedule, and daily plan than most
missionaries. So a missionary called to Russia, is just that..............A
Volunteer!@MendonMickAs I just stated, the work is
different in Russia. It is not a play on words, the Russian government is fully
aware of who they are and what they are. They are asked to follow some
particular standards. What happen to these boys, obviously still more news to
come. Is they were reported by a Priest/Pastor of another religion. For what
reason we still don't know. But what these missionaries were doing is done
very often by other missionaries/volunteers in country. If they slipped up on a
way they invited or conducted. I am sure the church is on it and making sure
they are doing just as the Russian Govt. ask.
@Rikitikitavi - "'teaching english' is very commonly offered for
free by missionaries who are not pretending to be professional teachers but
freely give their time to assist folks who wish to improve their english.
It's just that simple. Nothing illegal."Actually, the point
is that it IS illegal for the missionaries to be teaching English without a
license in Russia. Where it not so, they wouldn't have been charged and
jailed for doing so.Here in the US, perhaps if you are doing it
"for free" out of your home or in a church setting it might not be
illegal; and only illegal if you were perporting to be a "professional
teacher" and charging money for it without a license. But, Russia is not
the US; their rules are different--and just like the US their rules changes
regularly.The fact of the matter is, they expect those teaching
English to be licensed. And the missionaries weren't licensed.Easy fix... get the missionaries trained and licensed according to Russia law;
or make sure all meetings and volunteer work are done while speaking Russian.
That is the simple truth.
Please understand common sense on a few things. Simple things: "teaching
english" is very commonly offered for free by missionaries who are not
pretending to be professional teachers but freely give their time to assist
folks who wish to improve their english. It's just that simple. Nothing
illegal. No one is ever pretending to be a "certified Bachelor of
Education".Please realize that Church leaders NEVER falsify titles or
assignments. We always seek to comply with every law in every country where we
have couples or young men and women serving voluntarily. Missionaries are
human beings and may occasionally make poor decisions. Stuff like this happens.
The Church never knowingly places missionaries in harms way. In fact just the
opposite. The Church goes to great lengths to prepare and to protect my sons and
daughters.Parents are not needed except in cases of serious accidents. Our
friends had a son kidnapped in Saratov but did not rush over.The Church
REALLY does go to great lengths to obey local laws to the very letter.
I am so grateful that the couple of critics that are always on every article
with there negativity are not leading anything I care about. How wonderful it
is that we have prophets and apostles and priesthood and the Holy Ghost and
temples and revelation. Isn't it wonderful that our leaders follow the
Savior instead of critics?Bless these young missionaries who serve
as volunteers - all in there efforts to love and serve their fellow man.
@USAlover - Salt Lake City, UTMarch 20, 2019 9:15 a.m.Oh @Impartial7
what we ever do without a disparaging comment from you about the LDS Church.
Thanks for delivering yet another. Good day brother.And to that Mission
President and Sister, your daily commitment and love shown to those missionaries
is a great example of Him whom you serve."First, show us where
what I stated was disparaging. Second, you just called them Mission President.
Shouldn't that be "Volunteer President"? Most churches teach to
obey laws. This is an end run around the "no missionaries" law in
Russia. Russia is not liking the semantics the church is playing with their law.
Deseret News is taking great pains to use “detained” and
“detention,” but really, they were arrested and jailed. Right?
I note at the end of the article it mentions that they were found in violation
of "teaching English without a license" ... the "without a
license" was conspicuously absent from the discussion on KSL radio this
morning.That is a reasonable requirement. Here in the US, you
can't have teachers teaching that aren't properly licensed in most
States. Although Utah recently passed a law that said that specialists in some
fields could teach even without a license... yet talk of changing that law
happened, I don't know if they did change it yet again.I
can't keep up with the Utah legislature either.Anyway, perhaps
the church should work to obtain teaching licenses for any of their English
speaking missionaries (or "volunteers" -- a missionary by any other
name). Or, just call to "service" Russian members that speak Russian
and would conduct all meetings in Russian.Oh, I know, far be it for
me to tell the church how to operate, I just find the whole situation rather
hypocritical on the part of the church given Doctrine and Covenants Section 134.
It doesn't feel right to me that they are referred to as
"Volunteers". I get why it is done, but it doesn't feel right to
me. It seems like we're playing their ("Russian government")
underhanded game. It's not safe and would be better to take them out of
the country until it is safe for them to do their work as "Missionaries"
for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I just can't keep up. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Day Saints
(you know the Mormons that send out missionaries all over the world)... they
keep changing. Now they no longer send missionaries? Instead they only send
"volunteers"?Or, is this just a political ploy for Russian
missionaries; to call them "volunteers" so that they aren't seen as
being on the wrong side of Russian law... but then the article itself mentions
the Russia Mission President... suggesting the church is really just playing
games with words; and it is still their intention to send missionaries to
Russia; but pretend that they are only "volunteers."Maybe it
is time to close the Russia mission until Russia is a little more friendly
toward missionary work. Let the Russian church members handle church affairs in
Russia until politics change again. Not a new thing, done that in many other
countries over the last nearly 200 years; missionaries in when governments are
agreeable; and out when they are not.
As you may have noticed, this took twice as long as the Russian's
originally were promising. It truly must have taken a miracle to get them out,
and the stress on that mission president and his wife must have made them
physically ill day after day. I can understand the church is in a bind. To
remove all of the non-Russian missionaries capitulates to an autocratic
government and will be a hard blow to current Russian members. However, after
this clear warning shot across the bow, to refuse to remove these missionaries
will be seen as a political push-back, and will likely escalate placing more of
our missionaries in harm's way. Russia is an extremely volatile and hostile
nation right now for people of faith. I continue to pray the church office will
choose to do the right thing and put the missionaries safety as a priority above
all else. As wrong and as intolerant as the Russian laws may be, it is not our
place to push those boundaries. We must remove non-native missionaries - Oh,
excuse me... "Volunteers" - until safer circumstances are restored.
Oh @Impartial7 what we ever do without a disparaging comment from you about the
LDS Church. Thanks for delivering yet another. Good day brother.And to that Mission President and Sister, your daily commitment and love shown
to those missionaries is a great example of Him whom you serve. As a family,
we've mentioned these missionaries in our prayers as well. Glad all is now
Well, The LDS leaders have been warned. If they continue to let those
missionaries be there and something happens, that's on them. What more
evidence do you need?
The Russians need to take a chill pill.
So glad they are released and safe. Great to hear. I wonder though, in
situations like this why is it that the mission president has to be the one to
be the ministering angel? Why doesn't the church call these parents and
arrange to have them travel out there asap? I don't know, maybe they did,
but it just seems that when missionaries have significant problems, i.e.,
physical health issues, that the church should send these parents out to be with
Must have been a very different missionary experience! With the weird Russian
government, I wish the church hierarchy would take all of the missionaries out
of the country and use the internet as a teaching tool.
When I was on my mission we always listened to the Spirit.
The Russian government has outlawed the teaching of English by the missionaries.
Spin it any way you want but having an activity in Russia and calling it an
English only activity pushes the envelope. The missionaries should have stayed
away from the edge of the cliff. The Church teaches in an article of faith
"obeying, honoring and sustain the law". The Church needs to put
emphasis on that and ensure the missionaries don't put themselves in a
Good. Glad they are safe and returning home. Now, maybe church leaders will get
the hint and remove the rest from a country that so obviously doesn't want