I went through my Awakening and stopped believing in the truth claims of Mormonism sometime in 2012, but recent events have pushed me to the conclusion that it is time to officially ask for my name to be taken off the records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If you’re feeling the same way, the process for resigning from the LDS Church is described in detail here.
Why now? In May of 2014 three Mormon individuals who are prominent online figures revealed that they had been sent letters indicating the formation of disciplinary councils to determine whether they would be allowed to remain within the LDS church, or be excommunicated. John Dehlin of Mormon Stories, Kate Kelly of Ordain Women, and Rock Waterman of Pure Mormonism. I cried when I heard the news because I consider excommunication to be a spiritually violent act. It strips away all of the promises and blessings contained in the baptismal and temple covenants, including the promise that the individual can live with their family after they die. Unless those baptismal and temple convents are restored in the future, the excommunicated person is sentenced to an eternity alone after death. The LDS church refers to the council that determines excommunication as a “Court of Love,” which is ironic in a sad sort of way, since excommunicating someone is the equivalent of kicking a family member out of your family circle and not allowing them to participate in family gatherings unless they conform to your demands. That doesn’t sound like love to me.
I don’t believe in the exclusive teachings of Mormonism anymore but that doesn’t prevent me from feeling a deep sadness for the individuals who do believe and have this tactic used against them (and it’s happened to more than the three individuals I mentioned above). As I wrote in a guest post on The Mormon Child Bride, the discipline of these individuals has me feeling I am only wanted if I stop seeking change for the better and simply conform. There is a part of me that still loves the culture and tradition of my childhood, but I interpret the actions of the Church to be a very clear message that the LDS Church is exclusively a space for those who are willing to sit still and obey. I thought that Mormonism might put up a Big Tent sometime in my lifetime, but recent actions and dialog indicate they are headed in the opposite direction.
I’ve thought about resigning for a long time, but haven’t yet felt certain that it was the right time. I know that my family will view the action with great sadness, and will also possibly feel hurt by my decision. I write this post with no malice toward any individual. However, as the media has covered the disciplinary measures against the three Mormon activists named above, I’ve watched the last remains of my belief in the possibility of reform in the Mormon church be washed out to shore.
I reject the Mormon Church of today that discourages the free exchange of ideas and the pursuit of truth via intelligent discourse. For this reason I am making public my resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because it is the firmest way I know how to take a stand against an organization that uses such aggressive and hurtful tactics against members who are advocating for changes such as equal opportunities for women (Kate Kelly, excommunicated in June of 2014) or greater compassion and understanding for LGBT individuals (John Dehlin, threatened with disiciplinary measures several times over the last decade). That is not an organization I can bear belonging to, even if it is in name only.
I know there are others out there who have reached a breaking point recently. If you would like to share your story I will publish it here under a “Why I Resigned” series. I value having a place to share my story and want to provide that for others if they are so inclined. I know this post and all others related to this topic will be difficult for my believing friends and family to read and I hope they will keep in mind that this is exclusively about me and my relationship with Mormonism and has nothing to do with my feelings about them or our individual histories. A lot of love and support has been extended my way throughout my journey out of Mormonism and it has meant so much to hear from those who love me for who I am, Mormon or otherwise.