Imagine if the U.S. Congress passed a law saying that you cannot talk about your faith in your own home or anywhere else besides a church building. You can’t even send an email to your friends telling them about your home Bible study. And if you are found guilty of, say, telling your kid about your beliefs, lighting a menorah candle or spreading out a prayer rug, you’re fined $780.
That may sound outlandish, but such is life in today’s Russia. In July, President Vladimir Putin signed an anti-terror law that even got a rebuke from Edward Snowden for its overreach. Human Rights Watch reported the law was “rammed through Russian Parliament.”
What didn’t get as well reported was how the law could affect religious groups.
An English-language summation of the law is here. One outlet that’s jumped on it has been the Huffington Post, which realized quickly which group might be the most affected by these rules. It stated in July:
A new anti-terrorism law in Russia includes measures that will limit religious work in the country, calling into question the fate of Mormon missionaries currently serving there.
Russian President Vladimir Putin formally signed the legislation into effect on Thursday, which will prohibit the door-to-door evangelizing Mormon missionaries commonly do. On Friday, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement saying missionaries would remain in the country but will reevaluate their strategy.