Try a little experiment. Type “Mormon” into Google news. You will find a lot about Kate Kelly and Ordain Women, some about Jabari Parker, and a little on John Dehlin. Now type “Mormon Donetsk” and “Mormon Horlivka.” You won’t find a single relevant result, yet this is easily the biggest Mormon story this year. Pro-Russian separatists have seized the Latter-day Saint meetinghouse in the Eastern Ukrainian town of Horlivka (or Gorlovka), banned worship, and are now using it to house militants.
I have known about this for several weeks, but have not posted on it since until now there was no official source. Not even in the Church newsroom.
On June 26th, the Ukrainian information agency Ukrinform confirmed the report with Andrey Lysenko, a spokesman for the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine. Lysenko added that “apparently [the separatists] have nothing better to do.” The brief report incorrectly states Donetsk, but local members have stated that this happened in Horlivka. One of the meetinghouses in Donetsk was spray-painted with “Children of Satan,” and “Yankee, go home,” but was not seized by separatists.
One of the few things that I could find in English shows that a Protestant ministry school in Horlivka had also been seized by separatists. This is a very worrying trend. The church may have pulled the missionaries out of Eastern Ukraine, but the majority of local members remain in their own homes.