Monday, January 01, 2018
My Resignation Letter (back in 2004)
My Resignation Letter from The Mormon Church
By William K. (Written in 2004)
With the sound of Mormon testimonies echoing emotional appeals to my mind and LDS songs and scripture references being called to remembrance, I signed my resignation letter with a feeling of peace and closure. In the past I found it almost impossible to completely disbelieve the religion, that for my whole life, I perceived to be the fullness of truth. I had awakened from a dream and taken captain of my own ship, facing reality would be new to me and it began with my resignation letter. The following is my resignation letter I sent to my LDS bishop at the time. It contains the main body of the letter, minus the boring parts on church policy matters. I felt that my tone was appropriate in order to motivate the LDS clergy into action, and honor my resignation. I was assertive and bold in the letter because I was concerned that if I wasn't then the Mormon leaders might not take me seriously and postpone my resignation; as I heard from others this sometimes happens. This is not meant to be a sample exit letter. For important information on what a resignation letter should include I suggest a google search. I left out the names of church leaders for the sake of privacy. What follows is my letter of resignation with only a few minor edits:
Dear Bishop ______.
I’m writing to inform you that this letter is my formal resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, effective immediately. I’m withdrawing my consent to being treated as a member. As of right now I’m not a Mormon and no longer subject to Mormon dogma, rules and discipline. As I am no longer a member, I want my name removed from the membership rolls of the church. I voluntarily resign.
If you recall I have met with you before in your office about a year ago to talk about the problems with Mormonism. I remember you making a deal with me that if I went to church for three months then you agreed to read B.H. Robert’s controversial work in the book Studies of the Book Mormon that I let you borrow. I kept my part of the deal and went to church for three months. When you returned the book you informed me that you had only read a few pages of the introduction, and I could tell that you were not interested in investigating things any further. So you probably won’t fully understand why I’m resigning from the LDS Church. If you knew what I did, you would probably do the same thing I’m doing. I like you as a person Mr. _____, and you can rest assured that my resigning from the church has nothing to do with you. In fact, this letter is really between Joseph Smith and me, but since he is dead I'm writing to the institution he created (with the help of others), and so his followers have to be the recipients of my request for resignation….
I have not come to my decision lightly but have been pondering this decision for the last seven years. I can say that my resignation was inevitable being an inquisitive open-minded person of integrity. I'm convinced (based on the overwhelming evidence against Mormonism) that the LDS Church is not what it claims to be. Therefore, my name on the roles implies that I believe in Mormon dogma, sustain the Mormon leaders, and support Mormon policies, which is not true. Over the years I have wrestled with my conscience against the fear of being socially ostracized by my Mormon friends and family if I resigned. Having my name on the rolls as a member, even though I'm convinced the church is not true, has been a dark cloud over my conscience for some time now. I no longer care if friends and family shun me; if they do they were never true friends or loving and accepting family members to begin with. My resigning from the Mormon Church does not mean that I hold any animosity towards any individual Mormon. In fact, I wish to continue to associate with Mormons on an individual basis outside the confines of the dogmatic LDS institution....
I understand that some people at this point choose to give some brief reasons for why they resigned. But due to the fact that the reasons are so many and I wish to make this letter short and to the point, I will only give ten short reasons for my resignation. However, don’t receive this list as a temptation to try and resolve these issues. I’ve spoken with the best the Mormon Church has to offer already so don’t waste your time and mine. This is not a comprehensive list but just a few reasons why I’m no longer a Mormon:
1. The Mormon apologists are unable to resolve the problems in the church. Imagine a defense attorney who is unable to defend his client against the overwhelming evidence against him or her. I have read thousands of pages by LDS apologists. I find their defenses both inadequate and based more on emotion than substance. At the end of the day all of their excuses and defensive arguments are largely fallacious. All of the discussions I’ve had with Mormon apologists mostly comes down to them committing circular reasoning, appealing to subjective feelings, and in a lot of cases making ad hominem attacks.
2. I’m convinced that Joseph Smith, and possibly others like Sidney Rigdon, are the authors of the Book of Mormon; which is a false representation of the American Indians on this continent. The book is also racist (just look up “skin” “dark” “black” and “white” in the Book of Mormon Index).
3. The Mormon Church endorses a faulty epistemology. Feelings do not make something factually true! Something is true when it corresponds with reality and logic. I have tested Moroni’s promise many times (which is really 19th century author making the promise) and it has failed miserably. Even the LDS magazine the Ensign (April 1989, pg. 21), admits that not all people get the promised subjective experience of a burning in the bosom. It is not a universal formula for obtaining real objective truth, but is a psychological device used by other Fundamentalist Mormon Churches. Instead of the LDS church admitting that its claims could be false, instead it attacks the disbeliever labeling them everything from an “inactive” member to an “apostate infidel.” Thomas Paine once said, “It is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.” A good juror should not be blamed for forming an opinion and reaching a verdict (someone doesn't like) that was based on the evidence or lack thereof; but unfortunately that is exactly what the LDS church does: it condemns the innocent intellectual for learning the truth and being honest about it.
4. I believe the church exercises cult-like tactics through ecclesiastical manipulation of power, social pressure, testimony meetings, garments, oaths in the temple, and subtle brainwashing that begins in primary with the constant singing songs like “I hope they call me on a mission,” and “follow the Prophet.” So much for critical thinking skills once that is drilled into the child’s head.
5. The LDS church’s official publications omit any incriminating pieces of information. I consider this the sin of omission. The church then turns around and labels any books or web pages that expose the controversial issues they’ve omitted as “anti-Mormon.” Then LDS members are discouraged from reading these critics. So rank-and-file Mormons are persuaded to remain voluntarily ignorant, and since LDS books omit anything controversial (being mostly faith-promoting propaganda) members remain oblivious and are led to falsely assume that all dissenters are just evil persons of some kind rather than seeking to understand the Mormon dissenter. The vast majority of LDS members fear the opposing point of view, and never learn the facts of the case against Mormonism.
6. I have an obligation to future generations not to perpetuate Mormon mythology as fact. I have a duty to be true to reality lest future generations within my family continue to perpetuate what is essentially a fraud (see The Ethics of Belief by W.K. Clifford).
7. If there is a God then that God must approve of logic and critical investigation since we have a brain that enables us to reason and examine evidence. Therefore, I must be true to reality forming my decision based on logic and evidence, otherwise I would be going against God. By perpetuating Mormon mythology as literal truths I would also be withholding the possibility of learning the real truths of the cosmos through science.
8. Doctrineand Covenants section 132 is a misogynistic document that is not only an insult to Emma Smith, but is degrading towards all women. My research has shown that Joseph Smith had sexual relations with many women through emotional coercion. He promised them eternal bliss in the Celestial Kingdom and rescue from eternal damnation if they would succumb to his desires. He even told some of his followers that an angel with a big sword would strike him down if he did not engage in godly-sanctioned fornication (see Journal of Discourses, Vol. 20, pages 28-29).
9. The seed of Cain dogma is both absurd and racist; and yes it is still Mormon dogma: see Moses 7: 8, 12, and 22; Abraham 1:21-27; and how blacks are labeled the seed of Cain in the Journal of Discourses vol. 7, page 290; and in The First Presidency Statement, August 17, 1949; and in the Personal Testimony of Revelation on Priesthood by Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (Priesthood [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981], pp. 126-37). [Note: This was written in 2004. As of 2013, the LDS Church has finally repudiated the seed of Cain dogma in their essay Race and the Priesthood, found in their topics section of lds.org. Of course this essay contradicts the 1949 First Presidency Statement and other official documents].
10. Although I am not an “anti-Mormon” but wish to encourage a reformation within the church, I finally realized that even if the church repudiated the racist seed of Cain dogma, took out the misogynistic D&C 132 from the cannon, and did away with garments and the Masonic temple rituals, this would not change the fact that Joseph Smith (and possibly Rigdon) made up the Book of Mormon (which is claimed by the church to be a historical record), and that he lured multiple women into having sex with him through his polygamy doctrine.
If whoever is reading this can't understand why anyone would reject the tenets of Mormonism this shows me that you probably form your opinions about religion on the basis of emotion, tradition, and family/social pressures. If you are quick to pass judgment on me personally for my resignation, then I presume that more than likely you’ve never taken on the role of an objective juror critically examining both sides of Mormonism without pride or prejudice. You probably just don’t want to know about anything that might not make you feel good. So writing several more pages of reasons with sources will not do any good, for if you want to know the reasons there are plenty of books and web pages to assist you in understanding my position. Some recommended books and web pages are listed below:
An Insider's View of Mormon Origins by Grant H. Palmer
Joseph Smith and the Origins of the Book of Mormon by David Persuitte
Inside the Mind of Joseph Smith: Psychobiography and theBook of Mormon by Robert D. Anderson
In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith by Todd Compton
No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith by Fawn M. Brodie
By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus by Charles M. Larson
Early Mormonism and the Magic World View by D. Michael Quinn
The Changing World of Mormonism by Jerald & Sandra Tanner
I closed the letter with the usual "please honor my request..." and other political jargon. My bishop has never got back to me in regards to my invitation for him to discuss with me (as a man and not a Bishop) why I resigned. I have to say I'm not surprised. After sending my exit letter I received a letter about a month later from the Stake President telling me my name was being removed from the records. He then said, "You are always welcome at any of our meetings, and I extend a personal invitation to you. It is clear from your letter that you have done a lot of research and study regarding the church and what we stand for. I would like to wish you happiness and success in all your endeavors. The Lord loves you." I was actually surprised how cordial he was, and the fact that he acknowledged all the research and study I've done. I think telling me that the Lord loves me was possibly his way of being a little patronizing; or maybe it was about his own personal acceptance of my decision, as he has possibly harbored the same doubts that I brought up in my exit letter.
The second letter arrived shortly after the first, and it merely confirmed that my resignation was complete. All in all it was a smooth breakup. I like to say that I am still friendly towards the LDS Church even though she deceived me. I still like to hang out with her children; I just don't trust her anymore.
If my reader ever decides to resign or go inactive after examining the evidence for yourself, I recommend renting the movie Pleasantville.
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