MOSCOW — Pessimists may look at the LDS Church in Russia and see the glass half-empty, limited missionaries, past visa challenges, social ills including escalating alcoholism and divorce rates and a nation emerging from seven decades of atheism in the former Soviet Union.
But the optimists — including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' leaders and members in Russia — see the church's relatively short history there, a second generation coming of age and a great opportunity for continued growth in years to come.
A glass not just half-full but getting fuller.
"You'll find the Russian members of the church to be just like members of the church throughout the world. They're trying to raise families, they value highly the standards we associate with the church, they have the same challenges as we do — financially, raising children and teenagers," said Elder Gregory A. Switzer of the Quorums of the Seventy and Moscow-based president of the church's Europe East Area.