Latter-day Saint volunteers released in Russia

In this Jan. 31, 2008, file photo, two Mormon missionaries walk past a large map of the world in a hallway at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. (AP Photo/George Frey, File)

Two volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who were detained in Russia are now on their way to the U.S., according to a statement from Church spokesman Eric Hawkins.

The volunteers were held in Novorossiysk, Russia, for three weeks after they were arrested on March 1 in a local church building. One of the volunteer’s fathers told the Deseret News he believed they were arrested for teaching English without a license, even though they were just “conducting a regularly scheduled game night in English.”

“Elder Kole Brodowski, age 20, who was nearing the end of his service, will return home to California,” the Church confirmed. “Elder David Gaag, age 19, will return to the United States for a short time, receive any needed support, and then continue his service in a new mission.”

The statement confirms the missionaries were treated well and maintained contact with their families and mission president while detained. The Church is monitoring conditions in Russia for all volunteers and intends to continue to comply with Russian law.

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