Time to begin the exit strategy

Draft one of my resignation letter. Feedback would be lovely. Next post: Planning the actual strategy. I’m still clinging to the idea that I can do this without losing my entire family. I will probably lose my extended family, but I know I can keep a few siblings and possibly regain my mum at some point. I think my dad will never see me again, and I doubt I’ll ever be welcome back in his house. But the schizophrenia of living with the Church hanging over me is making me mad. As the church becomes ever more bigoted and dishonest, the shame of still being on their roster is getting to me. It’s time to go. Do what is right, let the consequence follow.

This letter is my formal resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and it is effective immediately. I hereby withdraw my consent to being treated as a member and I withdraw my consent to being subject to church rules, policies, beliefs and discipline. As I am no longer a member, I want my name permanently and completely removed from the membership rolls of the church. My information is as follows:

[redacted]

To the best of my knowledge, my membership records were last located in [redacted] under Bishop [redacted].

I have given this matter considerable thought over a period of more than five years. I understand what you consider the seriousness and the consequences of my actions. I am aware that the church handbook says that my resignation cancels the effects of baptism and confirmation and revokes temple blessings. I also understand that I could only be readmitted to the church by baptism only after a thorough interview, although I have no intention of ever doing so. I also forbid the church from rebaptising me by proxy after I am dead.

My resignation should be processed immediately, without any waiting periods. I am not going to be dissuaded and I am not going to change my mind. I expect this matter to be handled promptly, with respect and with full confidentiality. After today, the only contact I want from the church is a single letter of confirmation to let me know that I am no longer listed as a member of the church. I do not wish to be contacted by telephone, e-mail, in person, or by any other means except to receive the letter of confirmation. Do not send me any pamphlets or documents intended to persuade me to reconsider. Any attempts to convene a disciplinary council against me will cause me to consider legal action.

If any reasons are to be recorded as to why I am leaving, they are many. Overall, my values do not match those of the LDS Church. I believe in honesty. The Church lies about its history and hides the revision of its doctrines in its teaching materials, public addresses, and official publications. I believe that men and women are equally valuable as leaders. The Church does not. I believe that race is simply a side effect of genetics. The Church teaches that those with dark skin are the way they are because God cursed their ancestors. The Church privileges whiteness in its scripture, the makeup of its leadership bodies, and its culture. I believe that loving relationships should be honoured regardless of the gender of those who love. The Church teaches that cisgender heterosexuality is compulsory, to the detriment of the well-being of LGBT and straight people. I believe no one should attempt to legislate morality through laws that have no proven secular, civic value. The Church believes in imposing its doctrine on non-members by lobbying for laws that support its beliefs. I believe that if a church decides to become involved in the public sphere, it ought to do so for humanitarian purposes. Instead of leveraging the Church’s considerable resources to vanquish AIDS, poverty, lack of access to education, and starvation, it has decided to wage war on homosexuality. This lack of perspective in determining priorities is shameful and causes the LDS Church to bear no resemblance to the man whose name they place on their chapels.

I have a firm belief that the doctrine preached in LDS chapels and in the temple does not offer what I consider to be a plan of happiness. Had I not been born to this organization, I never would have joined it. I now take the opportunity to correct this issue. The only reason I have not done so sooner is that I know when my family discovers what I have done, they will likely never speak to me again. However, the integrity they taught me to value so highly compels me to no longer remain a member of an organisation that I find morally bankrupt.

Oh-so-very-sincerely,
Molly

11 thoughts on “Time to begin the exit strategy

  1. This is awesome. It’s a good idea to get it notarized (you’ve probably already heard that though).

    I’d like to see you claim most of the articles of faith and why you can’t be a part of the LDS church because of how it fails at each of them – I loved how you started with “I believe in honesty,” and you seemed to imply other articles a few times, but quoting them word for word would be incredibly poignant. Probably skip over the “BoM is the word of God” part, etc. 😀

  2. This is an absolutely fantastic letter. You have included most of the pertinent issues that make me want to leave as well. I wish I could send mine in now, but I’m waiting until I move away from the family first. The only reaction I’m worried about is my father’s–which is why I don’t want to be in the same state when I do resign. He might literally fly to my house and kill me.

    I’m envious of your bravery.

    • Which…is so sad. I’m in a similar situation, myself, and one thing I’ve discovered is, people who haven’t been in this type of situation/don’t know any Mormons don’t believe you. Several people thought I was surely exaggerating, until they saw it, themselves. I’m in the middle of getting a restraining order against someone who’s determined that I “must be judged”, and the worst part about the whole thing is–apart from the threat to my family’s safety, I mean–is the hypocrisy. “Gospel” means, literally, “good news”, and it’s supposed to be the “good news” of Jesus–a man who preached love, compassion, and tolerance. He told us to love each other unconditionally, as God loves us unconditionally. And yet, here are these people, who claim to be so “strong in the Gospel”, who are reacting with anger, intolerance, and outright hate. What I absolutely can’t figure out–and believe me, I’ve tried–is how they can delude themselves that they’re acting in a manner that’s any way Christian. How can they look at themselves in the mirror?

  3. Awesome!!! This is terrifically well written in every respect. Good job!

    Re: losing your family, I think one of the toughest realizations to have is that we truly, truly can’t control others’ actions, or reactions. However you choose to tell them, your family will, ultimately, react how they choose–which will be a reflection on them. You can only do what’s right for you, and act in a manner that enhances your self respect. Believe me, I know how strong the temptation is to think of the “right” solution, the “right” action–and fearing how people will react.

    In my personal, albeit rather limited, experience, since there’s only one of me, you’ll get both: people who’ll surprise you positively, and people who’ll surprise you negatively. Ultimately, though, the good news is, you’re being true to your own convictions, and that’s something to be proud of. Hopefully you’ll get the support you need.

  4. It’s an excellent letter. The reality is they probably won’t read most of it. They’re getting so many of these (or so I’ve been told) they have a department that handles only resignations.

    Personally, I did not resign. I gave LDS Inc. formal notice that I terminated my membership. After attempting unsuccessfully to jerk me around for not providing my physical address so they could “verify my identity” (my letter was notarized, included my DOB and my membership number, they quietly sent me the lovely written acknowledgment.

    So sorry, Molly, and to the countless others who lost family relationships in this process. If ever there was evidence that LDS Inc is a cult, the negative hold it has on families is it.

  5. Very nicely done.

    As for the first half… I think it covers all of your bases for objection. My own resignation letter contained pretty much all of that but the threat of legal action. A few weeks later, I received a ward newsletter in the mail for the first time at that address (or ever, really). I immediately wrote Member Records informing them that my request was not being complied with and further delay would result in legal action. Very swiftly thereafter received my “okay, but you’re doomed now” letter back.

    My only recommendation would be to include a proviso that your request be processed in under 30 days. Assuming you’re sending this to the bishop of the ward in which you currently reside (which is what i did), I’d send it certified mail and CC copies to the stake president and Member Records, and state that you are doing so.

    (Ugh. It is utterly ridiculous that any of that rigmarole is necessary, but the experiences of so many show that it is.)

    As for the second half, very eloquently put. It’s sad that it almost certainly will be ignored, but if it were me, I’d want it there too on the off chance that someone will read it and care.

    Best of luck with your family! 🙂

  6. The letter is fine. I would leave off the last parts wrt reasons – they really don’t care, though I realize it helps a lot of people process things for themselves by including them in the letter.

    I would hope your family loves and accepts you regardless of your religious affiliation. It’s hard for parents who are used to thinking in terms of their eternal posterity, but children coming and going in the faith happens all the time to all sorts of people. They adjust. I think in the big picture love will win out.

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  8. “The Church believes in imposing its doctrine on non-members by lobbying for laws that support its beliefs. ”
    If this could be proved maybe their tax status could be revoked.

    Maybe if we put pressure on their tax status they would stop.

    By the way I am a father (daddy) and yours should be ashamed if he disowns you for this.

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