RACE, RELIGION + SOCIAL JUSTICE

Church volunteers in Russia will be deported, church spokesman confirms

Mar 7, 2019, 4:34 PM | Updated: 6:09 pm
Salt Lake City most future-focused city...
Salt Lake City's skyline against the Wasatch Mountains. Photo: Adobe Stock

Two church volunteers serving in Russia will be deported, a spokesperson with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints confirmed on Thursday.

The Russian police arrested two church volunteers Novorossiysk, Russia on Friday.

A church spokesperson said in a statement that the two volunteers will “remain in custody while their deportation is being processed.”

“The young men are in good spirits, are being treated well, and are in regular contact with their mission president and their families,” said church spokesman Eric Hawkins.

“We continue to work with local authorities in Russia and we remain hopeful these volunteers will be allowed to leave the country soon. In the meantime, we are grateful for the many offers of assistance and support expressed on their behalf.”

The date of deportation for the two church volunteers has yet to be determined, but the Church says it is hopeful that they will be “allowed to leave the country soon.”

The state-ran news outlet, Tass, from Russia reported Novorossiysk’s Primorsky District Court said two U.S. foreigners were guilty of violating the country’s entry and exit rules.

Tass also reported that a Russian Orthodox Church claims that Latter-Day Saints are carrying out religious activities working as English teachers.

Yuri Kozhokin, a representative in Russia of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, says the two volunteers were not teachers.

“They just talked with Russian citizens who came to see them on their own accord,” Kozhokin said. “They just talked about various topics unrelated to religion, got to know one another, but they talked to each other in English.”

The church announced in 2016 that missionaries in Russia are now called volunteers as part of an initiative in the country to combat terrorism.

The U.S. State Department also says it is aware of the detainment of the volunteers as well.

“We have no higher priority than the protection of U.S. citizens abroad. Due to privacy considerations, we do not have any additional information at this time,” according to a State Department statement.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Race, Religion + Social Justice

Gov. Spencer Cox covered a broad range of issues Thursday night at the State of the State Address. ...
Chandler Holt

Governor Spencer Cox signs transgender bill, releases statement

Gov. Spencer Cox released a statement on the transgender bill, that would ban transgender-related surgeries and puberty blockers for minors, on Saturday.
23 hours ago
Rabbi Avremi Zippel talks to the crowd during halftime of a Jazz-Portland Trail Blazers game at Viv...
Mark Jones

International Holocaust Remembrance Day: Area rabbi shares his thoughts

Rabbi Avremi Zippel joined Inside Sources Friday to discuss International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
2 days ago
The Utah House has advanced the bill that bans transgender-related surgeries on minors and pauses t...
Lindsay Aerts

Utah Senate passes transgender-related surgery ban for minors

The Utah House has advanced the bill that bans transgender-related surgeries on minors and pauses the treatment of hormone blockers.
3 days ago
Pope Francis criticized laws that criminalize homosexuality as "unjust," saying God loves all his c...
NICOLE WINFIELD Associated Press

The AP Interview: Pope Francis says homosexuality not a crime

Pope Francis' comments are the first by a pope about laws criminalizing homosexuality. But they are consistent with his approach to the LGBTQ community.
4 days ago
The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Monday plans to r...
Mark Jones

Church announces Anchorage Alaska Temple reconstruction

Reconstruction of the Anchorage Alaska Temple was announced Monday by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
6 days ago
2021 Sundance Film Festival...
Heather Kelly

The Sundance Film Festival isn’t just about movies

The Sundance Film Festival has many more events than films and the chance to see celebrities 'up close and personal' and most of them are free.  
6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Church volunteers in Russia will be deported, church spokesman confirms