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Andrei Kirilenko


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Hansen: How many children do you have?

Kirilenko: We have three children. Our youngest little girl we adopted from here in Russia.

Hansen: We adopted a little girl last year also. It has been a remarkable experience. What made you want to adopt?

Kirilenko: We adopted three years ago a little girl named Alexandra. She is a little cutie. We wanted to adopt because we always wanted a big family and wanted more kids. It took us nine months to adopt so basically it was like giving birth. (laughs). We would love to have three more children for a total of six!

Hansen: That would be great but I have never heard of a Russian with six kids.

Kirilenko: I am Mormon. (laughs) I was born in Russia and raised by Mormons. (laughs)

Hansen: What do you know about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

Kirilenko: I like it. It is a strong religion for your family. Everyone has a lot of kids, the church is based around families and kids. It is very focused on families. I mean I am not going to church or anything. But I believe it is important to relate to each other and to strengthen your family, whether it is through church or whatever.

Hansen: Have you ever read the Book of Mormon?

Kirilenko: Yeah, I have read it. I mean they are in every hotel room in the states (laughs). I am not super religious. I understand it is a good thing but it's a no-win situation for me with religion, whether it is Catholic or Orthodox or Mormon. It is just important to have God in your heart.


Some nice words there.

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Nice words about Mormons that is. His last statement is troubling and is an attitude that plagues LDS members (usually the inactive ones) as well. While technically true, it also implies the false notion that one can get true religion from just about any source.

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I wonder which Mormon church is he talking about. If you read his interview carefully, he says that he was born a Mormon but talks about the LDS church as if it were something else.

Andrei Myachkovich was cracking a joke about his years in the Utah Jazz.

The "Mormons" were in Russia long before the LDS church was there.


If you mean "mormon" as a perjorative small religious sects, then I agree with you. Sensationalised anti-Mormon literature was very popular in 19th c. Russia, even a provincial backwater like Rostov-na-Donu had (and still has) some of them in its library. The term "mormon" became a catch-all phrase for a religious group percieved as bizarre.

I don't know of any group in Russia, apart from our Church, which would self-identify as Mormon.

Patriarch and BYU professor Gary L. Browning (a person I admire) conducted some important fieldwork in the 1990s, investigating rumours of Russian "Mormons." I'll have to see if I can find it.

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