My companion and I had an area that was very conducive to such preaching since there were about thirty high rises all one after another in the Toronto area we had. Our area had close to three hundred thousand people. We set up our stool on a corner with eight twelve story high rises within close proximity. My companion stepped up on a stool while I worked the crowd. Within a few minutes several people gathered to see what we were up to.
When my companion finished preaching. He stepped down and a man and a woman approached. The man gave off some weird vibes to me so I was very cautious since he was so assertive. He demanded my companion sell him a Book of Mormon. My companion told him he would be glad to do that. I was a bit leery and insisted he just give it to him. My companion started to argue with me but despite being a junior companion I stopped him and said just give it to him. Despite being frustrated he gave it to him. The man then identified himself as a police officer and said had he sold it to him he would have arrested him for soliciting without a license. He told my companion "lucky for you you listened to your friend or I would have booked you."
Most of us don't realize that in some places in the world missionaries are still being arrested for proselyting. This Saturday a couple of missionaries dropped by my house who were tracting in my subdivision in Summerville, South Carolina. I didn't get a chance to talk with them but they stayed about thirty minutes talking to my kids. The next day at church I saw them and asked them what was going on. One of the elders told me that the president of our homeowner's association was yelling at them if they didn't stop proselyting he was going to call the cops. He told them it was illegal to solicit in his subdivision and if they did it they would be arrested. They had come to our house to get away from him and let him cool down.
I said what is the big deal anyway even if they were arrested they would go to jail for the cause and their mission president could always bail them out. He laughed and said I know about going to jail I have been arrested three times on my mission and my companion has been arrested once. He told me he was specifically assigned to areas with homeowner associations since he has so much experience with them.
He told me that in South Carolina the Church had legally challenged the homeowner associations in court and had won. A couple of home owner associations in Columbia had been dissolved as a consequence of these trials. Also he said a state legislator had been trying to get a state law passed so that the Latter-day Saints couldn't go door to door but it hasn't passed so far.
The elder told me that all three times he was arrested he was never booked. He was arrested and cuffed and driven in the car toward the jail but whenever the arresting officer checked with dispatch or their senior officer he was told to release them. His companion said that happened to him the one time he was arrested also and that being arrested was common in their mission.
I did a thorough search of South Carolina State legislative law and could find nothing about religious solicitation nor door to door solicitation. I did find the following general statement:
When Officers receive complaints of door to door solicitation in neighborhoods that are posted "No Soliciting", The first thing an officer should do is ascertain as to whether or not the roads of that neighborhood are open by right or by custom to the public. If they are then the door to door solicitation prohibition in the neighborhood is invalid (Per the United States Supreme Court. Example: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York vs Village of Stratton); the court found that door to door speech is among the highest orders of protected speech under the 1st Amendment and any broad sweeping restrictions would be invalidated.I couldn't substantiate the missionaries' claims one way or the other. I don't know why they would make up this information but there was absolutely nothing about any legal action in South Carolina that I could find on the Internet. Does anyone else know anything about missionaries being arrested for tracting in South Carolina or any other state or country?