My Letter of Resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Consider this my formal resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints effective immediately. Upon receipt of this letter, I am no longer subject to the rules, discipline, beliefs, policies and ordinances set forth for active members of your organization. I do not request, but DEMAND that my name be completely and permanently removed from the membership rolls of the church. This is not a decision I have made lightly. It comes after years of prayer, debate, heartache, anger and tears. While I appreciate what you consider to be the “grave consequences” of my decision, the bottom line is I am no longer under any obligation to live in fear of these so-called repercussions. To be perfectly clear: this letter is to be processed immediately, without delay. A waiting period is completely unacceptable and I’m not going to tolerate having to participate in one. This is not a local ecclesiastical matter, either. Considering I have never even met the bishop of the ward I am currently in the boundaries of (after living there for five years), he has absolutely nothing to do with this situation, as he does not know me or anything about me. I will ignore and deny any and all requests to meet with him or communicate with him or any other local church leaders in any fashion. The only communication I will receive is a letter from your office confirming my resignation. Once my membership has been removed, you will promptly mail me confirmation informing me that my resignation has been processed. I should also inform you in no uncertain terms that any delay, unsolicited communication, contact or anything resembling a violation of my privacy concerning this situation will be met with RELENTLESS LEGAL ACTION, and I will not hesitate to involve the media as well.
If you’re at all interested in finding out why I made this choice, feel free to continue reading. If not, that’s okay too. My feelings won’t be hurt. With that said, let’s get to it.
I am gay. Simple sentence, right? Ah, not so. While I am not a resident of California, I legally married my partner of almost 9 years in Los Angeles on the first day it was legal to do so back in June of 2008. What should have been a period of celebration for not only the gay community in California, but all over the country, was defecated on by the LDS church’s underhanded, subversive, evil, corrupt, and not-so-cleverly-clandestine political backing of Proposition 8. This is beyond reprehensible. For an organization that touts honesty, love, fellowship, love-thy-neighbor blahblahblah, the fact that the LDS church hierarchy used such sneaky tactics to make this proposition pass completely negates this so-called doctrine of love. By supporting this piece of legislation in the name of “protecting the family unit” I cannot even begin to imagine how many families you have ripped apart in the process. How dare you be so arrogant as to belittle the family I have made with my husband? Your definition of the word “family” is anything but all-inclusive. What amazed me most about this whole Proposition 8 debacle, was to see that ultimately not even the overpaid, Ivy –League-educated public relations professionals the LDS church employs could gloss over how inherently evil this act was and is. The attempts at damage control were and are pathetically transparent. Evidently the leadership of the LDS church underestimates the intelligence of the general public.
Whether you believe that being gay is a choice or something genetic or what have you, any religion’s definition of what is moral and immoral should not have any bearing whatsoever on legislation. Particularly here in Utah, separation of church and state is virtually nonexistent. The laws of this state are enacted primarily by middle-aged, white Mormon men, and there is little to no consideration of the non-Mormon population.
The LDS church has always said that most apostates leave the church because they were offended in some way, as if this isn’t a legitimate enough reason for wanting to leave. I can’t think of a more appropriate reason to sever ties with the LDS church. I have been offended by your church in every way imaginable. My family was very nearly torn apart because a bishop in our ward decided my mom was a drug addict, that our house was unfit for human life, and that there were devils living there. He used extortion tactics to force my brother and me (very young children at the time) into emotionally blackmailing my mom into going to rehab for an addiction she didn’t have. He recruited the Relief Society to come in and “clean” the house, which meant a group of twenty or more women coming into our home, going through every private drawer, cupboard and closet and taking what they wanted. All because of the mandated “1000 hours of service in every ward” decree handed down by Gordon B. Hinckley. This had nothing at all to do with service or charity, it was so the harpies in the Relief Society and the bishopric could come in and air out all my family’s dirty laundry, as was a common practice in that ward. All this while my dad was in the hospital recovering from triple bypass surgery and my mom was conveniently stashed away at a rehab facility in Washington State. My mother has since passed away from a congenital heart defect. When I relay this story to anyone who is an active member, the typical response seems to be, “Well, the church is perfect, the people in it aren’t.” While I agree that no one is perfect, the men and women who are “called” into leadership purportedly represent the church and its beliefs. There is no justification strong enough to dismiss or explain away this kind of behavior from anyone, let alone people who are supposedly representatives of God.
Perhaps you remember the story of Stuart Matis? Probably not, so I’ll refresh your memory. Stuart Matis was a FAITHFUL member of the LDS church living in California. He abided by all the mandated chastity rules, prayed, paid his tithing, went to church and the temple, everything he was supposed to be doing. And he was gay. He could never reconcile his sexuality with his love for the church. He ended up shooting himself in the head on the steps of the stake center near his home. He hated himself so much, and couldn’t understand why the church he had devoted his life to hated him too and viewed him as evil and unclean. He felt there was no other way out than to end his own life. One of his close relatives described seeing Stuart’s knees rubbed completely raw from the hours he spent kneeling in prayer, pleading with God that this “affliction” would be taken from him. If that isn’t bad enough, his parents proceeded to write Stuart’s story in the book “In Quiet Desperation”. They had the gall to say that even though Stuart killed himself, they were so happy that he died with his temple covenants intact. That statement is disgusting. If he had been able to be true to himself and live the life he should have lived, I know in my soul he would still be with us today. How can you as a church justify that? There is blood on the church’s hands, and not just Stuart’s. The blood of every LDS gay kid who has decided to end his or her own life because their church told them they were an abomination (for the record, Utah has the highest rate of gay teen suicides in the nation. Coincidence? I think no.) For every LDS gay person, whether adult or adolescent, who has been kicked out and ostracized by their family because of what gender they were attracted to. Every kid that was ever called a faggot, queer, dyke, lesbo, fudgepacker sissy, or any number of derogatory anti-gay slurs by their so-called “righteous” Mormon peers because they didn’t fit into what the LDS church deemed as “normal”.
This issue was very recently thrust back into the spotlight in October, 2010 by Boyd K. Packer and his now infamous General Conference talk. In the wake of the highly publicized gay youth suicides throughout the country at the time, there was no excuse for Mr. Packer to make the highly defamatory and downright ruthless statements he made about the gay community, inferring that it is a condition that can be “changed” despite massive evidence to the contrary. We were referred to as evil, dark, wrong, immoral, that we are perverts, sinners, unworthy, harmful, just to name a few things. If that wasn’t bad enough, after the backlash from that talk, it was ‘edited’ to “clarify [Mr. Packer’s] intent.” No, it was edited because the LDS church received so much negative press about Mr. Packer’s comments. He didn’t stop for a moment to think that possibly his words would fall on the ears of a young man or woman who struggles to reconcile their religious upbringing and their “abnormal” sexuality? Did he give pause as he was writing his talk and think for just a brief second that maybe his words would cause irreparable damage to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered Mormon kids and adults who are already on the ledge, wondering how they will ever be able to exist in their church and their own families because of who they love? The most disturbing thing is, I’m quite sure Mr. Packer indeed thought about all these things and knew exactly what he was doing. It was very calculated and I’m sure he chose his words very carefully. He had an agenda, and damned if he’d stray from it. This man is next in line to be the prophet of the LDS church. That, to me, is utterly terrifying. For a church that goes out of its way to make sure everyone knows they follow the teachings of Christ, your leaders do a great job at making Him an afterthought.
The way women are looked upon and treated in the LDS church disgusts me. They are viewed as commodities and trophies. They are taught to be subservient, homemaking baby machines that should not have jobs, outside interests or anything else that detracts them from serving their husbands and taking care of their families. In fact, they are required to covenant in the temple to do these things, otherwise they are breaking God’s law. It’s the spiritual equivalent of having a gun held to their heads.
The moral of the story is, you’re damn right I’m offended. Nothing good has ever come out of my experience with the church. I was born in the covenant and an active member for almost twenty years, and in that time I witnessed things that would make any person cringe, and never once received any kind of apology or show of remorse for any of it. And why? Because not one person believed they were doing anything wrong. How can the supposed “one true church” condone these things, and yet disfellowship or excommunicate wonderful, bright, loving and accepting people because of who they love?
I’m tired of the lies you tell. I’m tired of the backpedaling on doctrine. I’m tired of your presumptuous definition of who God is and what He wants. How can the so-called “prophet, seer and revelator” be so arrogant as to claim that his word is God’s word? Your “prophet” is only a man, after all. How can the leaders of your church use extortion and threats to get members to donate money they don’t even have to a political referendum that denies a group of people their constitutional civil rights because it goes against your shortsighted definition of what family means? How can you claim to be a church based on love, service, forgiveness and fellowship when no one, including the leadership, demonstrates any of these qualities? How can you continue to treat women like cattle? The hypocrisy is epic and wholly unforgivable.
I will state this clearly and plainly once more: Remove my records immediately. Do not refer me to my local bishop or stake president. Do not send missionaries or other members of the church to my home. Do not call me. Do not contact members of my family concerning this matter; it is to remain completely and unequivocally confidential. I expect a confirmation from your office in my mailbox no later than thirty days from the receipt of this letter. If it is not received within this time frame, or any unreasonable delay occurs, I will have my attorney be in contact with your office.