Friday, June 22, 2012
My Resignation Letter
To the Membership Office of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
This letter is my formal resignation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You may be interested to know that my husband, John, and I have taken this journey together. We discuss all kinds of things together. We both feel much more satisfied and contented in our lives now than we did as believers. Our children have not been raised LDS and they are growing up to be healthy, moral, and intelligent young people.
Although the reasons for my formal resignation are many, I would like to make known three of the main factors contributing to my disaffection with the Church. I believe that the LDS Church is not what it claims to be, is not trustworthy, and is the cause of significant individual psychological harm and damaged family relationships. These factors are described in more detail as follows:
1. I can no longer believe in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Many of the basic teachings of Mormonism are impossible for me to accept as true.
- The “Book of Abraham” papyrus was written in Egyptian, a language now readable by Egyptologists. Proper translation reveals that the papyrus clearly does not say what Joseph Smith claimed it did. It appears that the “Book of Abraham” is a fraud.
- The Book of Mormon is inherently and inexcusably racist. The whole foundation of the story is that dark skin is a curse from God. I do not believe that this is the case. I reject the religion which was founded upon The Book of Mormon’s racist teachings.
- The Book of Mormon has another clear and fundamental problem that makes it impossible for me to continue to believe it: Native Americans are not of Jewish descent.
- The Church is generally anti-scientific. The Church has taught that the earth is only 6,000 old, that evolution is false, and that there was a global flood in which God killed thousands of infants and toddlers. I put my trust in science when it comes to these matters.
I feel that the Church has not always been forthright in regard to some important information.
- The Church has been teaching its members for years that Joseph Smith used a Urim and Thummim to translate the “gold plates.” Numerous Church films, paintings, and lessons relate this version of the process. However, historical records relate that Joseph most often “translated” with his “seer stone” (the same rock he had previously used in money-digging efforts). To translate, Joseph would put the rock into a hat and then put his face into a hat while he dictated to scribes. The “gold plates” were generally not even in the room during this “translation” process.
- Joseph Smith had at least 30 plural wives, but only his first wife, Emma, is mentioned in Church films, paintings, Sunday school manuals, and seminary and institute manuals. At least 6 of Joseph’s plural wives were already and simultaneously married to other men. He was also sealed to several of his other wives before he was sealed to Emma. The Church has apparently attempted to hide these potentially disturbing details.
- Brigham Young had 55 wives, but the Church’s Sunday school manual about Brigham Young mentions only two of them (one of whom died before his Mormon conversion)..
- Brigham Young openly taught from 1852-1877 that Adam (of the Garden of Eden) is our Heavenly Father who was a resurrected and exalted man from a previous world and Eve was one of his wives. Church leaders have denied that this doctrine ever existed.
- The Church has always taught that righteous people can become Gods (and Goddesses) complete with their own kingdoms (called Exaltation). As an example, Ch. 47 in Gospel Principles states, “These are some of the blessings given to exalted people...They will become gods.” In recent years, while continuing to teach this concept to believers, outsiders and investigators are told things like former President Hinkley’s, “I don’t know that we teach it, I don’t know that we emphasize it.” This type of response seems to show Church leadership to be duplicitous and untrustworthy.
- Church members are required to pay the Church 10% of their incomes in order to be able to attend the LDS temples. The temples are where Mormon marriages and other rituals believed to be vital to salvation take place. Despite such high donation requirements, the Church does not disclose its financial statements and expenditures. Members pay thousands of dollars to the Church each year and yet are not permitted to see what is being done with that money.
I believe that some of the actions and teachings of the Church are harmful.
- The LDS Church teaches that homosexuality is a sinful choice which must never be acted upon. The Church has spent a lot of time, resources and effort to make and keep it illegal for homosexuals to marry who they love. The Church’s harsh treatment of homosexuals has been the cause of heart-wrenching self-loathing, mental anguish, and even suicides.
- The Church teaches that any sexual expression or experience outside of marriage is evil. Unfortunately, many people have been damaged by these teachings to the point of inflicting self-injury and sometimes committing suicide, often over an activity as harmless as masturbation.
- The Church encourages and facilitates the routine ostracization of ex-mormons and non-members. Nonmembers are not permitted to attend the weddings of their family and friends that are held in Mormon temples. Sadly, church members cannot simply choose to marry outside the temple so their non-member loved ones can attend. If they do this, the Church requires that their marriage sealings must wait until a year after the “secular” wedding. Of course, young people are reminded that something horrible (death) could happen to one of them within that year, and then their marriage would be permanently over rather than eternal. Ex-mormons are generally viewed with a combination of suspicion, pity, and contempt by their LDS neighbors, friends, and family members.
- The Church is a misogynistic institution that limits the opportunities of women. The Church teaches women that their place is in the home and that they are only suited to being leaders over women and children. Women are never appointed as leaders over men in the Church. Women were not allowed to pray in sacrament meetings until 1978 and still are not allowed to pray in General Conference sessions.
- Although the Church now allows black men to hold the priesthood, they continue to teach that dark skin is a curse from God (it is, after all, the basis for the main story in the Book of Mormon). This doctrine is potentially emotionally harmful to people with dark skin, and is therefore untenable.
As soon as possible, please send a letter confirming that I am longer a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Note to Reader: If you would like to learn more about John and me and our thoughts about Mormonism, check out mormonexpression.com (a podcast with between 15,000-20,000 listeners). There are many people’s ideas, research, and opinions shared on Mormon Expression (including a few true believing Mormons). Mormon Expression discusses Mormon culture, doctrine, and history in a funny and entertaining way. Also check out Mormon Expression Voices (mormonexpression.com/voices) for the personal stories of people’s struggles with Mormonism. But if you’d like to know where our new focus is now (outside of Mormonism), go to our new podcast, reasonabilitypodcast.org.