Father Of Church Volunteer Detained In Russia Working To Understand Situation
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — KSL TV’s Ashley Moser spoke Tuesday with the father of one of the church volunteers currently detained in a Russian prison.
KSL is not naming the father or his son at this time.
Two volunteers for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serving in Novorossiyk, Russia were detained Friday in a church meetinghouse.
The father said this is a strange situation for his son, his family and the church.
“I’m just thinking there is a political message involved… but I don’t really know what it is. And I’m too far away to know what it is or to really understand anything.”
He said the mission president in the area is staying in town until the two volunteers are released from custody.
He told KSL the charge by officials was teaching English without a license, but he says the two were in a church meetinghouse just playing games with others in English, not teaching.
He said his son and the other volunteer love the people there, despite the situation.
“They are just so excited to be there and they love the people… they just want nothing more than to help them,” he said.
Responding to media requests, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spokesman Eric Hawkins issued a statement after two of their volunteers serving in Novorossiyk, Russia were detained Friday in a church meetinghouse.
The church is working with local authorities towards a release of the volunteers.
Two of our volunteers serving in Novorossiyk, Russia were detained by authorities Friday evening while engaged in a meeting at a local meetinghouse. While we are grateful these young men are reportedly in good condition and are being treated well, we are troubled by the circumstances surrounding their detention. They have both spoken to their parents. We will continue to work with local authorities and encourage the swift release of these volunteers.
-Eric Hawkins, Church Spokesman
In 2016 the church began calling missionaries serving in Russia volunteers, due to a new Russian law aimed at fighting terrorism.