A change is coming to the title for missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who are serving in Russia, with elders and sisters serving in the country now to be called volunteers rather than missionaries.
The change is in response to a new Russian law aimed at combatting terrorism—but one that also restricts religious organizations in the country.
All Mormon missionaries serve on a volunteer basis, but to comply with the new law set to take effect Wednesday, the LDS Church is making adjustments to what the missionaries assigned to Russia are involved with and known as.
The sweeping new anti-terrorism law also restricts missionary work to faith organizations registered with the government, requiring that all proselytizing must happen within houses of worship.
When the law was enacted earlier this month, the LDS Church responded with a statement that reads in part: "The Church will honor, sustain and obey the law. Missionaries will remain in Russia and will work within the requirements of these changes. The Church will further study and analyze the law and its impact as it goes into effect."