United Brethren has retired.

Bill Could Affect LDS Mission in Sri Lanka

There are three LDS branches in Sri Lanka (a country with a population of 19 million). Sri Lanka is part of the Singapore mission, and missionaries there deal with a Buddhist majority and a large Hindu minority. Formal missionary work is not practiced; instead Sri Lanka is home to a few service missionaries, and has been a recipient of LDS tsunami aid.

Missionary work of all types in Sri Lanka is in danger with the passage of a new bill that would "silence religious expression and criminalize religious conversions in the country", according to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

“This law would jeopardize faith-based aid exactly when it’s needed most,” declared Becket Fund attorney Roger Severino. "Unfortunately, the campaign of threats and attacks against religious minorities has survived the tsunami and the proposed anti-conversion law would only encourage the religious persecution we’ve already seen in Sri Lanka.” The Sri Lankan Supreme Court has held that “the constitution does not recognize a fundamental right to propagate a religion” and that “the propagation and spreading of Christianity…would impair the very existence of Buddhism.”

The LDS Church has provided disaster relief in the wake of December's tsunami. Church spokesman Dale Bills has stressed that LDS humanitarian work is separate from missionary work. However, the proposed law targets all relief workers linked to any religion.

The bills in question are pending before the Parliament of Sri Lanka.

Violence against Christians has soared in Sri Lanka in recent years:

A church firebombing in Hokandara

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Blogger Geoff J said ... (April 17, 2005 10:18 PM) 

It would be a bummer if that passed but then again we're not able to proselyte there now anyway. I believe the church when they say that these things have nothing to do with the humanitarian aid we give.


Anonymous Steve H said ... (April 18, 2005 9:33 PM) 

I've got some christian friends in Sri Lanka, and as I understand it, they were perfectly free to speak with the missionaries. The stipulation was that the missionaries couldn't proselyte to non-christians. This of course means, however, that you have to figure out that someone is Christian before talking to them about the church, so it's not like tracting is a possibility. does anyone know where more info can be found on the details of the projected legislation?


Blogger Ronan said ... (April 18, 2005 10:27 PM) 

Follow the link to the Becket fund.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 17, 2005 8:51 AM) 

There are actually 4 LDS branches in Sri Lanka - 1 in Kandy (Sinhalese speaking), 1 in Negombo (Sinhalese speaking), and 2 in Colombo (1 Sinhalese, 1 English.) I attend the English-speaking Colombo branch personally. 

Posted by Laurie


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 17, 2005 10:00 AM) 

Laurie, thanks!

If you'd like to write up something about the church in Sri Lanka, we'd love to post it.

- Ronan 

Posted by Ronan


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 17, 2005 10:06 PM) 

What would you like to know? Seriously, I'm a writer, I've been here for 2 years, and I keep a blog on life here. :D 

Posted by Laurie


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (November 02, 2005 5:34 PM) 

What about the bill in Parliament now regarding Buddhism as the State Religion ? I was in the 1st group of members in 1980 when we met at Horton Place Villa. Then, some v. influential folks from Colombo attended the Branch,who kept everyone at bay only to scatter after the '83 riots. I went to BYUH and had 4 others from the Branch with me. I tried talking to My bro. in law , who's a cabinet member,about the conversion law but, he's too extremist and mentioned something about the monks in Parliament hijacking the agenda. Too bad ! Any updates folks ? Let me Know !
Bandula Sri. 

Posted by Bandula Sri


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (November 02, 2005 6:19 PM) 

last Week while attending BYU Hawaii Golden Jubilee celebrations, met 2 awesome RM's from Colombo, who mentioned about the Branch in Kandy missionary work which seems to be on fire ! Now, is that because, other Christians who are joining are more receptive or change in the church approach in S. Asia ? What gives ? I am in the Bishopric here and we were told to encourage members to join rebuilding efforts as service missionaries. So does this approach work ?

Posted by Bandula Sri


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