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Reader Laura and her husband have not attended a Mormon church for years now. After doing quite a bit of research, they finally got around to sending an official “letter of resignation” to the church on behalf of themselves and their son.

Dear Sir or Madam,

This letter is to inform you that as of January 1, 2011, I and my family have terminated our membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Please remove the following names from the records of the LDS Church immediately — as dictated in the General Handbook of Instructions.

Over the years, I have had strong objections to the doctrine and teachings of the LDS church, as has my husband. Both of us have been inactive since 2003, and in recent years, our distaste for their doctrinal teachings and history has combined with our disgust for the bigotry, sexism, and homophobia displayed by the LDS church to create a situation where it is untenable for us to remain associated with this cult pretending to be a religion.

My husband and I both understand the following statements and have come to this decision with clear eyes and a steady mind:

  • We are aware that the withdrawal of our names cancels the effects of baptism.
  • We are aware [the husband] will no longer have the priesthood.
  • We are aware this action suspends/ annuls any temple sealings or blessings we may have.

We do understand these things, and make this formal, written request that our names be removed from the records of the church immediately. We ask that you promptly complete the form, “Request for Administrative Action,” and forward it to the Office of the First Presidency.

  • Neither of us will participate in church court or disciplinary councils, as we have done nothing wrong. We are exercising our freedom of religion and from religion, and we are requesting the administrative procedure for membership removal.
  • We do not wish to be contacted by anyone from the LDS church, except by mail confirming that our names have been removed from the records. This includes home teachers, visiting teachers and church leadership trying to visit or call by phone. This also includes the postcards sent from the local relief society and primary.
  • We formally object to the LDS church sending invitations to our minor son and want you to stop.
  • Our decision is not based on personality conflicts with other members, nor is it a result of immorality or other action deemed fit for church courts. We disagree with the teachings, social and political agenda, and history of the LDS church, and we no longer want to be affiliated with this organization. The use of your organization as a PAC (political action council) is disgusting and is a blatant violation of the law of the land.

We have given this matter considerable thought. We understand you believe our actions to have serious consequences, and we are honestly okay with that. We also understand that we will be “re-admitted to the church by baptism only after a thorough interview,” as per the Church Handbook. Since we do not plan on applying to be members of the LDS church ever again, that is also not an issue for us.

Our resignations should be processed immediately, with no waiting periods or other delaying tactics. We are not going to be dissuaded, nor will we change our minds. We expect this matter to be handled promptly, with respect and full confidentiality. Full confidentiality means our privacy will be respected and the church will not force a family confrontation at this time by notifying our parents/siblings/in-laws or other relations of our decision to go from being inactive to no longer recorded members.

Please notify us in writing that our membership has been cancelled within 15 business days of receipt of this certified letter. Thank you for your time.

Believe it or not, they got a letter back! (Addressed solely to the husband, of course, because why would the woman be in charge of all this?)

Dear Brother and Sister _______:

I have been asked to acknowledge your recent letter in which you request that your names be removed from the membership records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I have also been asked to inform you that the Church considers such a request to be an ecclesiastical matter that must be handled by local priesthood leaders before being processed by Church employees. Therefore, your letter and a copy of this reply are being sent to President Norman E. Hansen of the Centralia Washington Stake. He will have Bishop Bruce L. Hansen of the Centralia Ward contact you concerning the fulfillment of your request.

In view of the eternal consequences of such an action, the Brethren urge you to reconsider your request and to prayerfully consider the enclosed statement of the First Presidency.

Sincerely,

Gregory W. Dodge
Manager, Member and Statistical Records”

So instead of dealing with the issue themselves, they’re handing the responsibility off to the local church — one Laura’s family has never even visited.

It’s particularly frustrating because Laura expressed in the letter that they no longer wanted contact with the church (other than a written notice they’d been removed from their records).

Laura would like to know if there’s anything else she can do to speed up this process. The church is already sending her “never-active, never-baptized son… ‘fun’ invitations [for] Primary.” She wants to take action now.

Got any advice for her?