Summarized by Eileen Bell
Bill Allowing Foreign Missionaries in US Clears Senate Committee
(Panel OKs 'Mother Teresa' bill)
Deseret News 9Jun00 N1
By Lee Davidson: Deseret News Washington correspondent
WASHINGTON, DC -- The full U-S Senate will soon be considering a bill
important to the growth of the LDS Church around the world. The
"Mother Theresa Religious Worker Act" allows
missionaries from other countries to serve in the United States. While the law
currently permits missionaries to enter the US, this legislation would make
that law permanent.
The bill has now been endorsed by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The endorsement allows it to proceed to the full senate. It was
drafted by Senator Spencer Abraham of Michigan who named it after Mother
Teresa. Shortly before her death, she had written to him asking for help
soher nuns could work more easily in American inner city areas.
Elder Ralph W. Hardy of the Seventy testified before congress
concerning the Church's stance on the bill. He told a hearing
in Washington that some foreign missionaries can learn about the LDS
Church structure when they see it in action in the U.S. "The
missionaries are able to see how our church, with its volunteer
lay leadership, operates in the United States, and they
return to their home countries with this institutional knowledge,
which in turn strengthens the church and its lay leadership in
LDS Senator Orrin Hatch calls the bill crucial for other reasons.
He says "Religious organizations need to have the ability to
sponsor individuals to provide services to local
Currently, legislation allows ten thousand foreign missionaries
into the U.S. each year on a temporary basis. The new legislation
would not set up immigration possibilities or increase numbers. It
would just guarantee that the current policy continues to exist. Half
of the ten thousand are ordained clergy, while the rest can hold various