The changes were leaked onto Facebook by an excommunicated Mormon, and the responses… well, the responses have been uplifting to say the least. Many LDS members are voicing their disgust with the new policies all over social media and there’s even an event coming up this Saturday where large numbers of LDS members are expected to officially leave the church.
In light of these leaks and the mass resignation set to take place this Saturday, I thought I’d give you a quick-but-maybe-not-so-easy guide to leaving the LDS church. This is inspired by a post by Hemant Mehta and an infographic he shared, here.
Step 1. Consider what you may potentially lose by leaving the church. Is your family devout? Could they possibly take such exception to your resignation from the church that they cut you out of their lives? Perhaps your career is tied up in the church, or the school your children go to is associated with Mormonism? Are you prepared to endure, potentially, the loss of your family, your career, and your kids’ ability to attend the same school and events?
If you still live with your LDS parents, is it possible you can be kicked out? Abused? Is this safe for you to do?
If you attend BYU, have you considered that people have been kicked out for leaving the church?
Perhaps speaking to your loved ones in the church about it will help you to see how they might react and prepare them slightly for telling them later that you have left the church.
If these are things you and your loved ones can handle, and you see that you are not forcing people to react this way – it is entirely their choice; if you can see that being free from the shame and guilt-ridden dogma of the church can lead you to a far happier and more honest life; if you can see that pulling your children out now can save them from ever having to fight that guilt, that shame, that fear; if you can see all these things and handle the potential losses, you are making the right decision. Proceed to step 2.
If you find that you cannot deal with the potential outcome, perhaps reassess whether or not you should resign from the LDS church. If you’re a teen still living at home as a dependent, do not resign from the church until you’re sure it is safe to do so and you at least have somewhere safe to go if your family reacts by kicking you out.
Step 2. Write your letter of resignation. According to the exmormon subreddit, you can send your resignation letter via email or snail mail. Here is a link to a form letter that you can use. You should include your name and any other details you can remember, but your name is enough.
You can email your resignation letter to firstname.lastname@example.org or address a physical letter to,
Member Records Division, LDS Church 50 E North Temple Rm 1372 SLC UT 84150-5310
The exmormon subreddit goes on to explain that:
They will acknowledge receiving it within 1-2 weeks. Their response will state this is a local ecclesiastical matter, as shown in this typical example. They will usually contact you to confirm your name and that you intended to resign. As far as we know, after making this confirmation, you have officially resigned. You do not need to meet with them, be interviewed by them, or otherwise be subjected to their authority. Within a few weeks, you will receive a final confirmation letter that your name has been removed from the church membership records.
You can call this number to confirm, if you need to: 801-240-3500
Step 3. Tell people. Once your letter is sent, the people who lead your church may be notified of your resignation and inform those closest to you in the church. Make sure you beat them to it, because this sort of information is best coming from you rather than the grapevine. In my own experience, the best way to tell someone news that may upset them, is to just get it out and deal with the aftermath.
Step 4. Talk to others who have left the church. If your experience resigning has left you in the middle of a great many loved ones who disapprove and perhaps are not treating you kindly as you deserve, you may need to reach out to others who understand. A great place to start is online. The aforementioned subreddit, exmormon has over 25,000 subscribers, most of whom totally get what you’re going through. There are also a few groups on Facebook:
And a couple of communities on Google+:
You can also find support from organizations in the real world:
As well as meetups: Exmormon meetups.
Step 5. Diversify your community. Get to know people from other walks of life, preferably open-minded people who do not cling to ancient religious dogma. People who celebrate the human condition rather than condemn it and who think love, above all else, should be cultivated, nurtured and celebrated. Here are some ways to find these people:
You can attend a Skeptics in The Pub – these events are relaxed and usually have a topic to get the conversation started. It is literally just about a few cold ones and interesting conversation with some like-minded people. Find your local Skeptics in The pub here, or just search Google for your closest city and “Skeptics in the Pub”.
You can attend meetups. Just hit up meetup.com and search for terms like “humanist”, “atheist”, “freethinker”, etc.
Attend CFI events. You can find your local CFI branch by clicking here, and then visit their respective pages to see any and all upcoming events. In my area, there are often events centered around science education for kids.
Attend conventions. Click here for a thorough list of events for skeptics.
Step 6. Experience things you couldn’t as a member of the church. There is nothing wrong with a beer here or a coffee there. Get a tattoo commemorating your newfound freedom. Watch some porn! (although, let’s face it, you probably have already). Get out there and celebrate your newfound freedom. If you have a bonfire to burn your magic underwear though, you need to post pics.
Step 7. Rid yourself of toxic people. If there are people in your life who constantly criticize you, cut you down, badmouth you to people you love, or try to get you to come back to the church relentlessly, tell them goodbye. Yes, even if it is a family member. Life is too short to keep toxic people around just because you share some genes and a last name. You can try talking to them first and making it very clear that if this behaviour continues you will have to cut ties, but make sure you follow through if they do not heed your warning.
If you intend to join the mass resignation event to deliver your letter, you can find out more about it here: Mass Resignation From Mormonism Event. You can also read this highly acclaimed book, Exit Strategy
Do you plan on resigning from the church, or have you already? Tell me your experience in the comments!