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When the Russian police arrived, deported American knew his LDS mission ‘would never be the same’

Posted at 10:20 AM, Jun 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-30 18:09:43-04

Vilnius, Lithuania • The three-week detention of two Latter-day Saint volunteers-cum-missionaries in Russia earlier this year may not be ripe for a James Bond action thriller or even a real-life kidnapping saga like “The Saratov Approach,” but the prolonged ordeal was still a quiet drama for the pair and their church. The Salt Lake Tribune reports.

It began on an unremarkable Friday night in Novorossiysk, a city near the coast of the Black Sea, when two fresh-faced young men from the United States who were serving full time for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints invited locals to come to their weekly game night at the faith’s meetinghouse, where the guests could practice their conversational English.

The March 1 event started at 6:30 p.m. with about 15 participants, going around a circle, introducing themselves. About 20 minutes into the exercise, the door opened and four police officers — two in uniform — and three cameramen strolled in.

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