Mormon missionaries to stay in Russia despite new law

Inset: Two Mormon missionaries walk past a large map of the world in a hallway at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, In this Jan. 31, 2008, AP file photo. Background: Map of Russia. Mormon missionaries will remain in Russia despite the country's new anti-terrorism law, which will put greater restrictions on religious work starting later this month. In a statement issued Friday, July 8, 2016, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said that missionaries will respect a measure that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law this week. | Inset is AP Photo/George Frey; background photo by Bonilla 1879/iStock/Getty Images Plus; composite by St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Mormon missionaries will remain in Russia despite the country’s new anti-terrorism law, which will put greater restrictions on religious work starting later this month.

Elder M. Russell Ballard, an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, recently met with representatives of religions, government and academic leaders and members of the Church in Russia. Circa June 2016 | Photo courtesy of the LDS church, Mormon Newsroom; St. George News
Elder M. Russell Ballard, an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, recently met with representatives of religions, government and academic leaders and members of the Church in Russia. Circa June 2016 | Photo courtesy of the LDS church, Mormon Newsroom; St. George News

In a statement issued Friday, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said that missionaries will respect a measure that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law this week.

“The church will honor, sustain and obey the law,” the church said. “The church will further study and analyze the law and its impact as it goes into effect.”

Starting July 20, missionary workers will be working under more stringent rules. They include a requirement that missionary work be done by people affiliated with registered organizations. Missionaries and organizations caught praying and disseminating materials in private residences could be subject to fines. They range from $780 per missionary and $15,500 for an organization.

Furthermore, religious work can only be done in houses of worship and other related religious sites. Critics say this aspect is way too restrictive. It would mean no Mormons could share their faith online or in a home to which they have been invited.

In this Jan. 31, 2008, AP file photo, Sister Erica Glenn, left, and other missionaries take Russian language class at the Mormon Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. Mormon missionaries will remain in Russia despite the country's new anti-terrorism law, which will put greater restrictions on religious work starting later this month. In a statement issued Friday, July 8, 2016, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said that missionaries will respect a measure that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law this week. | AP Photo/George Frey, File; St. George News
In this Jan. 31, 2008, AP file photo, Sister Erica Glenn, left, and other missionaries take Russian language class at the Mormon Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. Mormon missionaries will remain in Russia despite the country’s new anti-terrorism law, which will put greater restrictions on religious work starting later this month. In a statement issued Friday, July 8, 2016, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said that missionaries will respect a measure that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law this week. | AP Photo/George Frey, File; St. George News

Julie Emmons, 20, came back to her Elk Grove, California, home two weeks ago after finishing her mission in the Mormon Church’s Russia Moscow Mission. Russian Mormons regularly assist missionaries, she said, and have them over to their homes to teach people about the faith.

While in Russia, she and other missionaries carried “a testimony” at all times. A testimony is paperwork that includes a copy of a passport and information about what the missionary is doing.

More than 22,700 members of the Mormon church reside in Russia, according to the LDS’ news website. Matt Martinich, an independent LDS researcher and project manager of The Cumorah Foundation, said Russia has historically put up obstacles for missionaries since the church gained recognition in 1991. They include making it difficult to get building permits, bring in missionaries and get visas.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom condemned the law Friday, saying it is a way to enact “sweeping powers to curtail civil liberties.” Groups in other religious communities such as Muslims and Jehovah’s Witnesses also must register to do religious work. The law calls for heightened telephone and social media surveillance.

Written by The Associated Press

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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31 Comments

  • ladybugavenger July 10, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    I am so blessed that the Mormon missionaries do not knock on my door. I don’t want to be bothered. I love Jesus but I don’t like the Mormon church cult. Amen

    • Bob July 10, 2016 at 1:14 pm

      i was born into it, but if u don’t give them any money they eventually give up bothering u and go away. Your status and value in the LDS corporation depends on how much u paid them over the years. They can instantly look up in their network your lifetime cash contribution, and this is how they determine ur worth as a member and if ur worth trying to lure back into active LDS membership. It’s a very cold corporate model when it comes down to it, and IT IS all about the $$$.

      • Brian July 11, 2016 at 11:14 am

        The stupidity of this comment is off the charts. I’m the one that processes the donations in our ward (which is the only rubber-meets-the-road unit in the church) and not only are donations kept highly confidential, they aren’t considered or even mentioned in ANY conversation or meeting about members or non-members, not with regards to ministering, service, callings, food or other welfare assistance, or for any other reason. Literally ever. Your comment is ignorant by every definition and has no basis on reality whatsoever.

        • RealMcCoy July 11, 2016 at 1:02 pm

          You might just not be invited to those meetings, Brian. You need to gain another step or two up in the worthiness ladder.
          If being current on tithing’s can determine whether or not you are ‘temple worthy’, then no those numbers are no confidential, and yes, they are brought up in discussions.
          No, I’m not a mormon, but my neighbor is, and he stresses so much about making sure his tithing’s were current so he could keep his temple recommend. His kids starved from time to time, but at least he had that shiny card in his wallet…
          Let’s not get started on things that have ‘no basis on reality whatsoever’…

          • Brian July 11, 2016 at 2:01 pm

            Having a temple recommend is optional and voluntary. Numbers, dollar amounts, and percentages aren’t part of the conversation. Individuals declare for themselves whether or not they are a full tithe payer, and the definition of what that means is left up to them. That is very different than what you and bob are trying to portray, which is an entirely false narrative.

          • RealMcCoy July 11, 2016 at 3:28 pm

            Sure Brian. Whatever helps you sleep at night.
            Never mind that there are countless cases of people losing temple recommends due to tithing’s being in arrears.

        • Bob July 11, 2016 at 1:12 pm

          the lower level volunteer service peons (like u were doing) may not have all the access. Don’t be naive and in denial. The LDS corp is all about the $$$, and u know it. The worth of every member (asset) is determined by what they’ve paid in $$$.

    • ladybugavenger July 10, 2016 at 2:34 pm

      That explains a lot. I’m broke lol

      When I first moved here they knocked on my door and I mentioned the salvation of Jesus Christ and that he died and rose again the 3rd day. Haven’t been bothered by them in 4 1/2 years.

      • .... July 10, 2016 at 4:03 pm

        Knocks on Ladybugs door. …hello would you like to buy a vacuum cleaner ? LOL !

        • ladybugavenger July 10, 2016 at 4:30 pm

          HA HA

          • Proud Rebel July 10, 2016 at 7:55 pm

            How about buying a Watch Tower? 🙂

          • ladybugavenger July 11, 2016 at 8:12 am

            Good one LMBO!

  • Bob July 10, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    If u need to sit in a building and get preached at about jesus and all that, other churches aren’t nearly as blatant in how they beg cash. I’d recommend that route if u really need a dose of Christ Insanity.

    • .... July 10, 2016 at 4:06 pm

      Well if it’s insanity, you would know eh ?

  • .... July 10, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    Nothing wrong with that Ladybug ! ☆

  • anybody home July 10, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    Dasvidanya, Mormons!

  • .... July 10, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    It won’t be the Churches decision what they do there, they won’t be there much longer

    • Real Life July 10, 2016 at 11:47 pm

      Drugs have done made you stupid.

      • Bob July 11, 2016 at 12:34 pm

        so true and so sad

        • .... July 11, 2016 at 2:28 pm

          Awwww look everybody Bob just showed what kind of a liar he is. .he claims St George news axes all his posts about me LOL ! Liar liar pants on fire !

          • ladybugavenger July 11, 2016 at 5:13 pm

            Be nice…poor Bob

      • .... July 11, 2016 at 2:26 pm

        Awwww look everybody Real Life came back to say hello. …….thats so sweet of him

  • Tmoney July 11, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    God Bless the Mormon Church!! Latter Day Saints who follow the Gospel Of Jesus Christ and follow his example are truly wonderful people. Those who bash the church do so out of ignorance for most have no real knowledge of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and all of the good they do throughout the world. Jesus Christ and all the prophets had to deal with persecution and the bashing of their Religion. Attending Church (any Christian Church) where you can feel the holy ghost and the peace He brings to your soul is worthwhile and can help all people throughout the rest of the week.

    • RealMcCoy July 11, 2016 at 3:26 pm

      This isn’t your sunday session. No need to give your testament. No one is bashing your church, just pointing out obvious discrepancies. Real Christians get it all the time.

      • .... July 11, 2016 at 5:16 pm

        No one wants to hear your stupid testament either !

    • Bob July 11, 2016 at 4:36 pm

      Those who bash the church do so out of ignorance for most have no real knowledge of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and all of the good they do throughout the world

      plenty of current and ex-members are critical of the LDS corp. I’ve been on their books since i was 8 and still am. your argument is invalid.

      • ladybugavenger July 11, 2016 at 7:58 pm

        I watch the show escaping polygamy. I make sure I have the series recording on my DVR. It makes me angry what they do to children and women in this cult ?

      • ladybugavenger July 11, 2016 at 7:59 pm

        Your late on your tithing.

      • .... July 12, 2016 at 4:25 pm

        Be nice Elder dumbob !

    • ladybugavenger July 11, 2016 at 5:20 pm

      I feel the Holy Spirit everyday. Do you only feel it on Sunday’s?

      • ladybugavenger July 11, 2016 at 5:27 pm

        Just curious Timoney.

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