Right- It's due to Visa problems. Truth is, other countries have the same hoops
to jump through. The conversion rate in Russia is one of the lowest in the
However, in other countries, renewing the visa does not require 3-4 days and
the long, expensive journey. That's valuable time. I served in the Montevideo
West Mission but was assigned to a branch over the river in Argentina. All we
had to do was cross the border every two weeks into Uruguay and we could return
immediately to Argentina with our stamped passports. So we would go to Uruguay
for district meetings. There is a huge difference between the two.
When I was in Croatia, we had to exit the country every three months to renew
our visas. We were lucky enough that we had borders nearby we could cross and
return all in one day. It can be a long process and take days, especially if
there are no nearby borders. There are other countries where no North American
missionaries serve with lower conversion rates than Eastern Europe.
Imagine that there were no borders.Imagine a world that didn't
discriminate because of where one is born.Imagine a world
with-Out so much "Red Tape".I know i'm just a dreamer, but I'm not
I doubt the LDS church would withdraw because of a low conversion rates. Why do
people insist the church only cares about numbers? They didn't say there won't
be missionaries or that they are closing the missions they just won't be staffed
by North American missions. But thanks for your negativity.
I'm sure glad that in this country we have freedom of speech. It's always
interesting to read the people who gloat, swagger and state their overbearing
pride of arrogance. When there's a story about the chuch in the news.
If the church was taking missionaries out because of low conversion rates, they
would just do it without saying a word and not cover it up with some loud
I think that it is sad the the Russian gorvernment is being so unworkable. I'm
sure the Lord new this would happen and that's why there is a temple
underconstruction in Kiev, Ukraine and not Moscow.
I would feel angry, but Russia's visa laws aren't all that different from our
own. Russia, like the US, seeks to discourage foreigners from coming in.
love the jonh lennon comment!!!!!!!now we know what other people has to go
trough when they come to America.
If low conversion rates were the criteria for sending or not sending out
missionaries - then most, if not all, of European missions would not have any
North American missionaries! Plus several other nations on different
continents!I know of missionaries serving in some of the European
missions, and if their success was measured in baptisms (or, numbers for the
cynical), then they are unsuccessful!I also know of missionaries in
Russia being arrested on the street, just for being missionaries! so it is not
surprising that Russia is making it difficult, if not impossible, for North
Americans and other foreign nationals, to obtain visas, and then fulfill the
requirements to stay in the country!
Do the math--There have been 20,000+ baptisms in Russia in less than 20 years.
That puts the Russian missions way ahead of Western Europe. This has nothing to
do with baptisms. It's all about politics, and the Russians are getting uppity.
The church is very careful about entering countries through the front door. In
this case, the entry fee is getting way too high. The same-day processing fee
for an American to get a Russian visa is $300. Next-day service is $200. Add
in the travel and lodging costs, and the ongoing visa renewals cost about as
much or more than the ongoing cost of living. Visa renewals for EU citizens are
half the price, and CIS citizens don't need any visa at all. If the missions
can be staffed from those countries, then do it!
Interesting. In my trip to Biisk, south of Barnaul, working for uncle sammy, I
met a catholic priest who was trying to establish some catholicism in that area.
The russian ortho. church was just plain awful toward the catholics. Awful.Apparently Putin has made more deals with the russian orthod. to save it
any competition. and so it goes...........
Elder Holland visited our mission in Ukraine in late 1997. He told us in very
strong words that we were not there to baptize large numbers of people. Our
specific assignment was to find and establish a strong leadership base for the
future, and that rapid growth would only come after a generation had grown up in
the church, served missions, and came home prepared to be strong local leaders.
Ukraine is still very welcoming to foreigners and foreign missionaries, but it
looks like the time may be coming to truly test the local leaders in Russia.
Any common sense would lead to agreement with To: Shuuurrre! | 8:19 p.m. July
14, 2008. Any other style of thinking is wrong and is proven so by its own
statement of disbelief. To state that a group is false or lying without
statistics, facts, intelligent basis which is supported still by other facts is
only to condemn ones self. By doing this there is open acknowledgment of bias.
The bias of refusing actuality to substitute with a pretended reality is proving
itself false. It is a simple I am open... or I have already made up my mind
about what ''I think' they are really doing...and by the way, I have nothing to
prove it; I'm just right.'The logic not only proves itself false but
proves that it is more likely an agenda motivated bias. Now more likely isn't
enough to support a claim. I merely bring this point into context with the
proving statement- your title. "Shuuurrre!", which shouldn't include an "h",
alone by its modern sarcastic meaning, proves the agenda claim; which the
elongated spelling defines the the audible tone required to pronounce the word
this way.In defense of my religion and true intelligence.
I thought the goal of every mission was to have missionaries from their own
area, language and culture. Although I doubt that there are enough Russian
missionaries to staff all of the missions, isn't is a step in the right
direction to have missionaries from at least the same hemisphere serve there?
Truth, you said a real mouthful,but what do you mean???
If this was an issue of conversion rates then why is this happening now? The
number of baptisms is drastically going up, at least in the Samara Mission I
know it is. You are correct that Russia in general has a pretty low rate, but
that is no reason to stop sending missionaries from North America (which make up
80% or more of the missionaries in some Russian missions) when there is still so
much potential in the country. The reason is the expense.It was
very expensive and time consuming to send missionaries out of the country every
six months to the Baltic Countries like was done in the past, I can't even
imagine the expense to send them every three months to places like Prague. Talk
to those who have been doing it the last few months and they will tell you it
isn't cheap and it disrupts the missions. It's too bad that this is happening
and that the Russian government is making it harder and harder. Hopefully the
number of missionaries in Russia won't decline too much and those from European
countries can fill in.
I served in Moscow from '93-94 (sister) and I remember when Elder Wirthin came
and told us that we needed to find strong members that could carry on the the
church in Russia w/out us in case the missionaries ever had to leave.
Hmmmm....I'm not suprised by this at all. Also, I have a friend (from my
mission) who works for the church in Moscow and she has told me that this would
happen. Remember Putin and now Medvedev are both hard-liners. My friend told me
that they have fewer freedoms now than when I was there. The members are great
in Russia are AMAZING and they will do just fine! I have complete faith in them!
You know, I was initially a little saddened after reading the article, but after
the comments from the returned missionaries who served in the area, I'm
beginning to see what a truly inspiring set of circumstances this could be. I
appreciate those posters that helped show the other side of this, thank you.
Maybe Travis Hansen (former BYU b-ball-er) could go talk to Putin. He plays
over there now and has been given citizenship so he can play on their olympic
team. Maybe he should boycott until Russia fixes this...
For people who have lived in the united states it is very difficult to
understand that other countries have national religions. Think of the Church of
England. For americans it would be very odd to think of "The Church of The
United States of America" Russia has the Russian Orthodox Church. To many
Russians, changing religion is similar to changing nationalities. You don't just
decide that you're not Russian anymore than you'd decide you're not Russian
Orthodox. The barriers to conversion can be very high. In the past several years
the state has been moving from the ultra secular to the more religious oriented.
Similar to the Evangelical Christian Right influence in the republican party in
the united states. As the Russian orthodox church gains more political
influence, the other churches face more hurdles to jump through in order to
convert others. At least that's my two cents...
still being called to serve in Ukraine (three missions), the Baltic states, and
Belarus-so when the time comes to re-open the Russian visa process, there will
be many that may be transferred back in to the various Russian missions.The work shall go forth...no unhallowed hand!
You nailed it right on the head, buddy. It's the same with the Greek Orthodox
Church. To many Greeks, changing religion is similar to changing their
nationalities too. That is why Greece is so similar to Russia, in that regard.
My son is presently serving in the moscow west mission. He has participated in
4 baptism in about 13 months. He has grown to love the people, but hates the
regulation. If he leaves his apartment without his documentation he can be
arrested. He was just yanked last week from his area because some governmental
agency complained about a regulation not being followed. So, he packed up all
his stuff and had to stood in line for an hour at the train station to trade in
the ticket he purchased to go to Moscow the next day so he could get out of town
ASAP. It was necessary for him to take a six hour bus ride through the night to
Moscow where it was uncertain if he'd be able to return or not.Each
transfer means hours in line waiting to fill out the necessary paperwork.The 90 day leave the country to renew your visa is expensive. But it is
also very inconvenient because companions don't leave together. That means
missionaries must be shuffled around to fill the in for absentees. That means
bus and train fares, lost time for the work.
When I went on my mission some years ago, we had visa problems getting into
Mexico. This happens in many places. I think that the trend is and will be, to
keep North American missionaries mostly in North America, and have missionaries
from other countries serve in their own lands. This only makes sense. They
already know the language and culture and can become effective more quickly than
missionaries who have to spend sometimes half their mission learning to teach
effectively in a new language. This isn't a criticism because I've "been there,
done that." It's just a reality. I served with all native companions, and they
were able to quickly connect with the people we taught. This announcement may
turn out to be a positive thing.
Anybody who says this is a conversion rate issue simply has no idea what they
are talking about, and it's obvious they have never been to Eastern Europe
(specifically as a missionary). The government in Eastern Europe is corrupt and
still extremely large and controlling. This is purely a governmental issue.
Nothing more, nothing less. Meanwhile, members in Ukraine will be enjoying their
temple very soon!!! The Lord's work will continue to roll forward, even in
I served in the Moscow & Samara Russia missions from 1992 to 1994. It was one of
the greatest experiences of my life. The Russian people are wonderful. I agree
with the previous comments from "Served in there 14 years ago..." regarding the
strength of the membership in Russia. It's unfortunate that these visa
roadblocks are getting worse. However, I think visas and the church's status in
Russia have always been tenuous. While I was there they had the attempted coup
against Yeltsin with tanks firing on the Russian white house. We also had
constant pressure from the Russian Orthodox Church as described by "State
Religion." I'm just happy that the church is still allowed to openly exist in
Russia. It could and has been MUCH worse. It is still a MIRACLE that
missionaries were ever allowed to enter the country! P.S. It's wonderful to hear
from Pres. Browning. He is one of the most wonderful men I've ever known. No one
loves the Russian people more than Pres. Browning.
Re: To State Religion/10:15 -- Russia. Greece. Check and check. But don't forget
Serbia, Armenia, and other countries that have strong Orthodox roots. Telling
members of that faith--the oldest and in their eyes the truest of Christian
faiths--that there exists another "true" church is counter to anything they have
ever thought or believed. To them it's laughable and heresy. LDS Missionaries
working those cultures get a similar reception as do non-LDS here in Utah when
it comes to religion. If you want to see the consequence of what happens when
states and religions become too cozy, you don't have to go to Europe. Just visit
North State Street.
My son is currently serving in Russia as a missionary and is well aware of the
cost of renewing a visa. His first trip was to Mongolia, then Estonia and now
has to travel to Spain to renew his visa....it is an overwhelming cost to the
Church...however heard from a mom who picked up her son recently from Russia and
met 3 Elders, native Russians heading to the MTC and then back to serve in their
homeland...what an awesome thing that is taking place. Great things are
happening in Russia even if it seems otherwise. Glad my missionary is able to
stay with the people and the land he has grown to love!
I can remember what a miracle it was to have the iron curtain down, to have
these Eastern European countries to open the door to missionaries. But like
many areas, the door may only be open for a short time and then closed again. I
can see this happening in Russia, Putin is not the nice person he use to pretend
to be, he makes me very nervous. Russia now has a foundation and if the work
has to be done from inside, it will happen. Don't forget, this is the Lord's
church and he opens and closes the doors as needed or when needed. Boy, I sound
like the Sound of Music :) When I was growing up, if you had told me that we
would have freedom to come and go in Russia, that there would be missionaries
there, I know one family that sent three sons there, but who would have believed
this? I think it is totally awesome that there are now 20,000 members there,
they have come a long way and they will continue.
I was in Austria during the 1980s. We didn't have any visa problems, but the
conversion and retention rates were horrendous. Half of our missionaries
returned without baptisms. This is true to one degree or another throughout
Europe, western, central and eastern.I still don't understand why
the LDS Church sends so many missionaries to Europe. In Austria, we had so many
missionaries and so few teaching appointments that we would usually tract out an
area every three months. At least half of the mission did not put in a full
day's work because they just couldn't see the point in doing so.When
people ask me about my missionary experience in Austria, I tell them it's a
great place to learn German.
I also served in Ukraine and have many many friends that served in Russia. I
thought the visa regulations were tough in the UA. But Russia sounds downright
ridiculous. What a difference was made in the 2 years that I was in Ukraine.
The work was really moving forward. The wonderful Russian people will be fine.
They've had a lot of adversity in their lives and this is nothing new for them.
I'm sure it will prove to be an enormous growing experience for the Church in
Russia and many strong spiritual leaders will come out of this.
State Religion--I don't think the evangelical right controls the Republican
party. They might wish they did, but I don't see that they do.They
are definitely a pretty fair fit as Republicans because they don't believe in
offing inconvenient babies, they do believe in the right to keep and bear
weapons, plus limited government, a strong defense, and lower taxes. I don't
have trouble with any of those things myself although I am far from an
evangelical.As far as what's happening in Russia, the problem is
definitely a corrupt government and the fact that a lot of the population is
stuck in the Russia of the past. I am heartened by the comments here by the
returned missionaries. Hopefully, the natural-born members will step up to the
plate, and provide the missionaries and leadership the country needs.It's actually astonishing to realize how few years back that teaching the
gospel in Russia would have been completely unthinkable. Now, if the doors to
China and the Mideast would open so people in those areas could find peace, too.
I don't think it's simply numbers that matter. The gospel of Christ is
transformative for the people, the country and the culture.
One poster commented on a missionary there in Russia who has participated in 4
baptisms in 13 months. I will tell you that is A LOT higher conversion rate than
here in Oklahoma :)
Hard to get into the US? Just look around you. A homogenious society we are
not, not any where in this large land of ours. I can't go anywhere and not find
foriegn nationals. I know your kidding. I live in Boston and I work with
people from countries I've never heard of before I met my co-workers. They come
to attend our excellent universities here in the Boston area and have no trouble
staying. No one leaves every three months to renew a visa. And I'm talking
legal aliens, not illegals.
my son served in the novosibrisk mission about 6 years ago, he had a lot of
baptisms. As many as i did in Brazil in the 60s. the Brazilian gov. stop north
americans from entering Brazil in the 80s. they call brasilians to serve as
missionaries and the work got a boost. now those missionaries are stake pres.
and bishops and the church has more than a million members in Brasil. the same
thing will happen in Russia. bring it on.
)(Sorry for my English)Mission is a cacrifice. It does not metter how many
money it takes, or time, but it,s worth anything. Human souls have no cost. (In
Russia or anythere else). And missionaries are the same (awesome)wether they are
from USA, Russia, Latvia or anywhere else. Gods work will continiue, I think its
just temporale trials. As ussually. No offense.
No one stop north Americ miss. to enter
Russia needs the church badly, maybe they have enough internal members to pull
it off themselves.
Right on Anonymous!!!
I served in Moscow from 98-00. Even then, the visa troubles were ratcheting up,
as were the registration issues. I was in the office for a time, and I oversaw
the real estate matters for our mission. It truly became a ridiculous
hoop-jumping exercise. I could almost hear the government fat cats laughing at
us from across town. They'll get theirs in time. I'm also
confident in the foundations that have been laid in that country. The local
leadership is strong enough to continue on their own until these barriers are
once again broken down. It was incredibly challenging, but I only wish I could
go back a second time and do it all again!
While I was there in Russia about 10 years ago, our mission's focus was to
prepare members for the day that North American missionaries would not be in the
country. We all knew it was only a matter of time before American missionaries
left the country. The members have been prepared and will sustain the church.
My son is one of the American missionaries that has the priviledge to remain in
Russia to finish out his mission. The church is growing over there. His
district had 7 baptisms last transfer. He loves the Russian people.
Your comments made me smile, thank you for your warm testimony. It's so true,
every single new member to join the church is cause for rejoicing, and no matter
what country the missionaries come from, the work will continue to grow in
Russia and everywhere else.
I wonder if this has anything to do with the tensions between the US and Russia
over what is going on in Georgia. Its almost like a mini-cold war.
I do not believe you have ever lived in a nation that had a state religion,
neither do you know what it is like to live in a small town southern baptist
community. The comparision you draw between these situations and North Temple
are very superficial.It would do a lot of good in this world if there was
a separation between church and state. Not only in Russia, but India, Iraq,
Israel, and some South American Countries,too.
From friends of mine, I heard about a missionary couple in Russia, actually
Siberia, who finished with their mission there a few years ago. They came home
and missed it so badly that they decided to return there to live so they could
could continue to strengthen and support the members. (Kind of like Ammon.)
This new situation make it difficult for them.
It's the Russian government!
I lived in Russia and served in Ukraine. Honestly the registration betwen the
two is like night and day. I used to have to make the yearly trip to Finland to
get my new visa. I'm very proud of Ukraine for not doing this.
I served in the Russia Samara mission in 1994-1995 and found teaching
opportunities as well as baptisms to be plentiful.The government was
corrupt then, too, with an especially strong mafia influence.Has
anyone considered the possibility that OUR government has gotten more corrupt
and arrogant over the past 13 years in its policies toward other countries? Does
anyone besides me see a possible connection here? What goes around, comes around
Re: Head on the Nail/9:17 You're right, I don't know what it's like to live in a
small town baptist community. I miss the point, but believe it may be the same
as a baptist living in Provo. I live Utah. Deep Mormon roots. Living in Utah is
witness to as close a marriage between church and state as I ever wish to see.
It's not superficial. It's real here and you know it. The degree may differ, but
the techniques of imposition and the consequence of such are not different at
all. Just read these posts each day for evidence of how many of us don't want
any newcomers here at all and who want those who disagree with us to leave. Read
how we delight in making it difficult for them to even move about (quick
example, private club memberships). How is that so different, in the end, than
what is taking place in Russia? In both cases they want to protect their own
"purity" and power.
This will be a good incentive for the local members to step up to the plate and
see what they can do themselves. Native missionaries are always going to be
better than foreigners if they're spiritually prepared enough, since they
already have the language and culture down. This just may be a test of the
Russian Saints and Eastern European Saints to see how they will respond.
Why would God tell the presidency to send missionaries to the MTC to be trained
to go to Russia when he knew that they wouldn't be able to go?
Actually, the Church is in the process of lessening the number of missionaries
in Europe and the eastern US and increasing the number of missionaries in the
western US, Mexico, Central and South America.
Natalie, the scriptures, both ancient and modern, have _numerous_ examples of
God giving commandments or revelation which does not immediately or always come
to pass because of the agency or circumstances of men, women, families, and
natalie:"Why would God tell the presidency to send missionaries to
the MTC to be trained to go to Russia when he knew that they wouldn't be able to
go? "Because we need people to go there until they can't anymore.
Knowing the exact minute when this would happen is not needed here, especially
since all that needs to be done to fix the problem is to reassign them. A knowledge by revelation that we need to preach the gospel in Russia is
sufficient enough of a revelation for me to move forward in the work. The point
is that the missionaries go where needed. I went where called, and I'll do so
again. I went to New Jersey and could have been transferred any old place. I
served and was blessed for doing so. It wouldn't have mattered where I was
sent. The Lord made my mission experience what it became.
I served in Samara from Aug 03 - 05. When I first arrived the current
missionaries left once a year to renew their visas. About 2 months into my time
in Russia they changed the law that you had to leave once every six months.
Each of these trips consists of about 4-5 days outside of your area depending on
how far away from Samara you were, and when the mission covers 3 times zones
that can be a ways away. More importantly than the cost of simply traveling for
a visa is all of the other costs involved. The cost of logistics, shuffling
around companions while their companion is on the visa trip. If you think about
a mission of 100 missionaries and you have groups of 15 leaving every 2 weeks or
so there would be constant problems. Leaving your area for 4-5 days can be very
costly in terms of relationships built with your investigators. To my
understanding some of the Slavic countries surrounding Russia are not controlled
by such regulations.
I served in St Petersberg mission 2 years ago. My mission president and wife
just got home and we discussed this issue. Although the Russian govt has made
it more difficult for US missionaries to serve, the work will continue to go on
and that is what is most important. I for one am glad. I know from first hand
experience that Russians more willingly listen to fellow Russians, as well as
Ukrainians, Moldovians, etc. It may even remove the stigma that the LDS Church
is an American church. I think this is the way it should be. The Russians I
met and came to love make great missionaries. They are strong in their
conviction. Lastly, I know what it's like to travel to the city and take a bus
to Estonia for a Visa. It is distracting to the work and the missionaries.
This doesn't have to be a bad thing.
Thank heavens that God provides ways for us to learn and to grow, whey does
someone feel inspired to marry someone and then that person leaves the church or
gets into some deep sins? God has blessed us all with agency and things will
change as a result of good or poor use of that agency. When there is a poor use
of agency, then we that are involved need to make proper choices and sometimes
adjust to changes. The people of Russia and the missionaries were prepared that
one day the agency of this country's leader would change the situation. As long
as the doors were open, the callings were made, and now that the doors are
starting to close again, then the church is now adapting to it. There are times
when missionaries are removed from a country due to wars and violence, but isn't
it important to have them their as long as possible. There are people in Russia
that are embracing the gospel, maybe that last Elder that was able to get into
Russia will convert a future bishop, stake president of General Authority. But
we have to respond to a country's agency and move forward.
Remember what it was like for the Church in Communist East Germany? The Lord
will find a way, and sometimes that "way" surprises us.
Thanks, Sushka for your comment. I have one son serving in Russia, and another
called to the Ukraine. We were hoping he wouldn't experience the same visa
problems as his brother
To Vienna RM, Well your comments might explain why the church has
consolidated the mission in Austria into the Germany Munich Mission.
"For behold, the Lord doth grant unto all nations, OF THEIR OWN NATION AND
TONGUE, to teach his word, yea, in wisdom, all that HE seeth fit that they
should have;" [Alma 29:8]It appears that the time has come
for the native Russians to step forward and fill the ranks in these challenging
times."There are no great men. There are only great challenges that
ordinary men are forced by circumstances to meet."
To head on the nail, To compare having free access to an inebriating
substance to limits on missionary activities is the most stupid and insincere
analogy I have seen. I have on multiple occasions denounced people who
say that those who disagree with them should leave. One more time, please read
Elder Ballard's talk about being kind to your neighbors. Please start living
it. I also feel that some of the anti-immigrant rhetoric is just as bad
if not worse than Russian attacks on foreigners. However I do not think
that head on the nail knows anything about real oppression. The Hare Krishnas
have a temple outside of Spanish Fork and I even saw flyers for activities there
posted at BYU. When was the last time LDS Church leaders organized a protest
against baptists? When have Provo city leaders met to consider what punishments
they will inflict on baptist and other evangelical missionaries, such as
throwing them in jail. When has a psychiatrist in Provo claimed that baptists
"literally zombize people on the street"? All these things have happened in
Russia with the Orthodox Church and city governments.
To Courtney, Your point is very good. What people have to remember is
your mission was one of the closest to the border in Russia. I know people who
served in the Novosibirsk mission and it can take 36 hours by train to get to
the mission headquarters from some parts of the mission. On a
different note, I just remebered that at least one of the newly called mission
presidents was Russian.
I was remembering wrong. President Podvodov, the new president of the Russia
St. Petersburg Mission, is actually from Ukraine. However he is from Donetsk,
in the far east of Ukraine where many people consider themselves Russian. This
area is the political base of those in Ukraines government who favor allignment
The visa regulations are not directed towards Mormons or Americans. It is an
immigration issue only! There have been serious issues with illegal immigration
from the Caucuses and other regions and the government cracked down on it. It is
just like the same big immigration debate in America only Russia decided to do
something about it, not just argue about it like our politicians do. It just so
happens that it affected our missionaries too and it is no big deal it'll all
work out. The Lord is in it all. Continued...
Re: John Lambert. Granted, the comparisons were not apples and oranges.
However, again, the consequences are similar in either a state sanctioned
religion, or one in which a religion still comes to extreme power within a
state. Of course club memberships do not rise to equal a protest or jail time.
But they are imposed on a religious minority nonetheless. Do you think what is
taking place in Russia started at this chapter or do you think it took time and
practice to attain such arrogance? I do not defend the Russian state or church,
I merely suggest we look nearby honestly. I appreciate that you and others
hearken to Ballards words. So many others do not. As they continue in that
thought, and as they continue to gain power and abuse that power, then it really
is time to look in the mirror. Anyway, was this visa thing aimed only at the
LDS? I don't think so (Russia has far more serious issues with it's Muslim
neighbors, issues ignored on this blog and therefore don't take it so
I didn't mean to imply that you couldn't possibly be frustrated about living
among Mormons, with the influence "North Temple" might have on the way that they
vote, run businesses, etc.The combination of Church and State is a much
deeper issue, one that inhibits and even makes illegal the right of citizens to
follow their own religious beliefs, or to develop new ones, thus dominating an
individuals conscience and spirituality. There is much to this subject, and I
suggest you learn about what the separation of church and state means and why we
really have it in our consitution, on your own time.You obviously think
you have something to complain about, and maybe you do. But it is not the
separation of church and state.
Russia's new visa laws aren't really aimed at controlling immigration. They are
being implemented for two primary purposes: One, to weaken NGOs that the Russian
government sees as a challenge to its authority; Two, as a diplomatic move
against the US due to strong disagreements over the concept of a missile shield
based in East Europe (seen as a threat to Russian national security).It is likely that the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church, which is
becoming even more powerful, is fully on board with this move. Humanitarian
NGOs, to include missionary efforts, are not viewed kindly by the Orthodox
Church.While this may be a challenge to spreading the Restored
Gospel in Russia, the Lord knew it was coming. If we continue to do our part,
the Gospel will continue to roll forth.
Re: John Lambert, again. I didn't complain. I pointed to examples where if we
are not careful here, we may find a similar course as our friends in Russia. I
appreciate the offer to study what the separation of church and state means, but
I have already, and from that perspective, we already in Utah hit 2 out of the 4
negative aspects you point out in your latest post--the domination of an
individuals conscience and spirituality. I realize you don't see it that way, or
may not find it a concern. Others do, and to them it's not an academic issue,
but an everyday concern. Anyway, thanks for the chat and for the record, I wrote
"North State" street, not North Temple. The capitol is as far as one travels
north on State.
as a reason why the church is not sending missionaries to Russia currently.
Aren't the people of Russia important enough? Why all this worry about money to
send missionaries to renew their visas when you have $1.5 billion for a mall in
This is funny, I don't even think Russia knows whom the mormon church is. Once
again it is not all about you, there are far more serious concerns with this
policy rather than keeping the mormon church out. I would doubt that the mormon
church was even an after thought with this decision. How mighty you think you
are! This situation falls very nicely into the mormon churches decisions to cut
back on missionaries throughtout Europe due to floundering results and declining
When I went to California all I had to do is dump out my fruit
To in the game, You may be right that these new regulations were not
specifically aimed at missionaries, but I doubt it. You have to consider
the long standing nature of oppression of foriegn religious dating back to the
1998 laws and beyond. You have to consider the protests against the church
building anywhere. You also have to bear in mind the overbearing rules to
register the church in any new area, and the constant denial of applications on
the most trivial of grounds, forcing five resubmissions or more. It is
not just the LDS Church Russia's leaders are trying to suppress, they hate the
Jehovah's Witnesses as much if not more.
The changes in the visa regulations were NOT aimed at the US and definitely NOT
aimed at LDS missionaries. Russia simply got tired of their citizens being
treated differently for visa purposes by European countries than the Europeans
were treated by Russia. So, Russia adopted visa regulations that are
essentially a mirror image of the European regime. The difference is (as it
impacts LDS missionaries) that most European countries have a readily-available
temporary residence permit, which has the effect of taking the missionaries out
of the 90-day in/90-day out cycle imposed by the European and Russian long-term
visa protocols. It is much easier for an US citizen to get a visa to Russia
than for a Russian to get a visa to the US (the reason being that there is not
much risk of US citizens overstaying their visa in Russia whereas the contrary
is not true). By the way, contrary to what the article states, Russia is
enforcing the limitation restricting days in Russia to 90 days in any 180 day
period. That limitation, however, does not apply to the short-term (90-day)
visas being used by LDS missionaries since the onset of the October 2007 visa
Our Son was called to a Russian Mission. Last Sunday he was told about his
reasingment with tears in his eyes he accepted. Whatever the reason he is
willing to serve. By the way we live in Europe so it does not only effect North
What, are they afraid that they'll have rocks chucked at them in Russia now?
Just because it happens everywhere else doesn't mean it will there. Give them a
When I read this story, my first thought was "Great! PLEASE send these
missionaries to Brooklyn!" Missionaries don't have to go TO Russian to teach
the Gospel to Russians. I believe that Brooklyn, NY has the largest population
of Russians outside of Russia itself. Thousands and thousands of people from
all over the former Soviet Union now live here in an area sometimes referred to
as Little Odessa. Many of them still speak their native language and not much
English. My ward in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn once had many Russian-speaking
members and a pair of Russian-speaking missionaries, but when the missionaries
were pulled a few years ago, that membership fell away. But we have a few
Russian-speaking members who would LOVE to work with missionaries in their
community. PLEASE send the Russian missionaries to us! Brooklyn is a field
white for harvest.
religion is the opiate of the masses.
I served in Russian from 2000-2002. We went to Finland to renew our Visas. We
only had to be out of country for as long as that took, and that was less than
half a day. The Lord will take of the Russian Saints.
Well, I am a convert to the Church in Russia. I just love this Church and I know
this is true. Well, as for the visa problems, you know members in Russia are
ready to accept the changes, we know we're not going to have anymore american
missionaries at leats some following years, but we are ready to do the Lord's
work. The missionaries were great examples to us, w ehave our testimonies and we
have great russian leaders. Yeah, it is also kind of hard for people to be
converted to the Church because then you have friends and relatives saying that
you are not Russian anymore, you are a traitor. We face problems with some local
leaders and Russian Orhthodox Church but we have our testimonies and trength to
overcome all the obstacles and trials. We care about our american and russian
missionaries and we know they Gospel will go forth =) And ow we know that we
have to keep this work here, not the missionaries, we have to convert people and
send our native missionaries. Yeah there are not many of us here, but we can do
If religion is considered the opiate of the masses, that is because it is
required to alleve the pain caused by the effect that institutions counter to
the Lord's teachings have brought to pass.