March 5, 2013 is the day we received the official letter from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints informing us that our request to have our names removed from the records of the church have been processed and approved. Yes, I said “approved.” It’s not as easy as simply asking and them granting. You send the corporate office in Salt Lake City, UT a signed letter and they send it to your local leadership (Bishop). The Bishop contacts you, has a meeting to warn you that you’re condemning yourself and forfeiting all your spiritual/temporal blessing by taking this action and then, only then, after wading through the fear mongering and guilt trips, if you still want to go through with it, the Bishop will tell the LDS Church to remove your names. I must say, our Bishop was very kind and expedited our process, to which we are very grateful. That is often not the case. I know of people who have been trying to have their names removed for literally years and the LDS Church has not done it.
Why would we want to do this? Why not just leave and move on, like most people do in other religions? Well, The LDS Church is not like “other religions” in so many ways. When you stop attending but keep your names on the church records, you are considered “inactive” and church members are told to reach out to those people and “reactivate them.” This means you’ll have people knocking on your door and dropping by frequently (at least once a month, sometimes much more) and trying to show you how much they “love you” in hopes that they can bring you back to the church. Often, The Mormon Church and many of its members won’t leave you alone, unless you do something.
The other reason is that the LDS Church has very specific political/societal opinions and stances that we don’t agree with; the treatment and equality for Women and LGBTQ people, just to name two. We decided, as a family, that we no longer wanted to be associated with the Mormon Church nor counted on its rolls. Our morals and standards no longer matched theirs, in too many ways.
After consulting with Bonnie, we decided to publish the letter we wrote the LDS Church, so everyone can see the exact reasons we have left (yes, we’ve discussed many of them on this blog but not all). I actually wrote a letter that I never sent because it was very sarcastic and angry, so Bonnie and a good friend suggested that we write one that is more tame, as we might actually reach someone and won’t be categorized as a “Angry Ex-Mormons.” (What’s wrong with Angry Ex-Mormons? They’re awesome!) So we did; although, I still go back and read my angry letter sometimes, as it was enjoyable; some really good zingers in there! I can produce it upon request. Without further introduction, here is the resignation letter Bonnie and I wrote:
Editors Note – I will add comments that will be emphasized, as a lot has happened in the world of Mormonism over the past year, especially now, with the LDS Church writing 13 essays to try and explain many of the issues we’ll discuss below. The internet and wonderful ex-mormons, like me, have caused them to discuss these inaccuracies and discrepancies in their history/doctrine.
The Mills Family Resignation Letter
This letter is our formal resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and it is effective immediately. We (the people listed above, our minor children included) hereby withdraw our consent to being treated as a member and withdraw our consent to being subject to church rules, policies, beliefs and ‘discipline’. As we are no longer members, we want our names permanently and completely removed from the membership rolls of the church.
We have given this matter considerable thought. We understand what you consider the ‘seriousness’ and the ‘consequences’ of our actions. We are aware that the church handbook says that our resignation “cancels the effects of baptism and confirmation, withdraws the priesthood held by a male member and revokes temple blessings.” Our resignation should be processed immediately, without any ‘waiting periods’. We are not going to be dissuaded and will not change our minds.
We expect this matter to be handled promptly, with respect and with full confidentiality. Notice that our local leadership (The Cypress Stake Presidency & Fairfield Ward Bishopric) are copied on this email to expedite the process.
After today, the only contact we want from the church is a single letter of confirmation to let us know that we are no longer listed as members of the LDS church.
Now to the reasons that we decided, as a family, to leave the LDS Church…. Where do we start?
We could go into the details of the inaccurate historical facts that the church teaches; which are immense:
Polygamy – Joseph Smith had at least 33 confirmed wives while he was alive. 11 of these women were married to other men, which is called Polyandry. There is clear evidence that Joseph had a sexual relationship with at least 12 of these women. Joseph Smith sent men on missions and then married their wives, while they were away. D&C 132 is an awful doctrine and it’s truly amazing how the LDS church has convinced its members today that the New and Everlasting Covenant has always been about one man sealed to one woman. That’s simply incorrect. It was created solely as a polygamous covenant. The early church leaders repeatedly railed on monogamy and how horrible and ungodly it was. Even saying that monogamy destroys families. These were men who communed with God?
The Mormon church still believes and practices this doctrine of polygamy. Look no further than the fact that men can be sealed to multiple women, while women have to choose one partner.
Race Origins – We’ve always been uncomfortable with the Mormon and Book of Mormon doctrine of race origins. Then, when you get into the comments made by early church leaders and prophets about black people and why they were not worthy of the priesthood or even Godhood in the eternities…. It’s really tough to stomach. To call it racist is an understatement. It’s clear these men were acting according to their societal beliefs, at that time, and this was definitely not a revelation from God, as Joseph Smith gave at least one black man the priesthood. We believe the 1978 “revelation” was the LDS church merely giving in to tremendous pressure from sources both in and out of the church to change the doctrine.
The LDS Church just wrote an essay trying to explain why African Americans were not allowed to hold the priesthood or enter the temple. They basically blame Brigham Young (he’s becoming an easy scapegoat for the LDS Church, in an effort to protect Joseph Smith). While I give them credit for disavowing all racism, both past and present, this creates so many problems for them and their doctrine. See David Twede’s blog post, as he is so correct in his analysis.
The Book of Abraham – It’s been proven by Egyptologist that the translation of the Book of Abraham was completely inaccurate. It’s not even up for scholarly debate, as much as some BYU professors want to keep it alive. The church even changed the introduction to the Pearl of Great Price this week. Here’s the change:
1981 Version: “The Book of Abraham. A translation from some Egyptian papyri that came into the hands of Joseph Smith in 1835, containing writings of the patriarch Abraham.”
2013 Version: “An inspired translation of the writings of Abraham. Joseph Smith began the translation in 1835 after obtaining some Egyptian papyri.”
This gives credence to the apologist theory that Joseph didn’t actually perform a pure translation but rather wrote “inspired” scripture, much like the D&C. This isn’t the first time the church has changed the introduction of their scriptures… we’ll talk about another one now.
Complete Lack of DNA/Archeological Evidence of the BoM – We’ve read Guns, Germs and Steel; wonderful book about the evolution of societies. This book proved to us, more than any other, that there is absolutely no historical claim to the Book of Mormon. They’ve even tested the DNA of American Indians and they are not of Jewish decent. (A study recently came out showing there are some traces of middle eastern decent in Native Americans but the time frame for the migration is tens of thousands of years off, if you consider the Book of Mormon to be an accurate history) Thus, the church had to change the introduction to the Book of Mormon back in 2007:
Pre 2007 – “….. After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians.”
2007 – “…… After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians.”
Again, this change gives credence to the apologist theory that the people of the Book of Mormon weren’t the only people on this continent, at that time. Why does the church need to make these changes? Joseph Smith said it was the most correct book on the face of the earth.
An even bigger change that was made to the Book of Mormon is when multiple scriptures were changed from the Trinitarian belief, calling Jesus Christ “God” then changing it years later to show it as “The Son of God.” This happens multiple times (1 Nephi 11:18, 11:21, 11:32, 13:40). We’ve read FAIR’s explanation of this and much like everything on FAIR, it doesn’t suffice. We don’t think their version is the truth.
Especially when you consider the multiple first vision accounts and the fact that the first one, which wasn’t heard until 1832, was just one heavenly being that visited him. Not two personages, as we’re taught. Here, let’s look at this account (source is sunstone magazine):
“The earliest known written record of the First Vision story was penned by Smith’s own hand in 1832. This version tells the story of a troubled young man who despairs of “the wickedness and abominations and the darkness which pervaded the minds of mankind.” In this account, Smith claims that well before encountering God in the grove, he had concluded that the world “had apostatised from the true and living faith” and that “there was no society or denomination built upon the Gospel of Jesus Christ as recorded in the New Testament.” Based on his reading of the Bible—although without mentioning any particularly inspiring text—Smith decides to pray to God for guidance and forgiveness. This version of the story climaxes with an encounter with one divine being, identified as Jesus Christ, who tells Smith that his sins are forgiven and then confirms Smith’s earlier suspicions about the corruption of Christianity. The vision abruptly closes, and Smith notes that “none would believe my heavenly vision.”
So the first account of the “First Vision” was in 1832 (12 years after it apparently happened). Also, the first version of the Book of Mormon demonstrates a Trinitarian doctrine, which Joseph would likely have believed, coming from the Methodist Church, that he joined. This and other evidences make it much more believable and likely that Joseph actually believed in the Trinity and it was years later that he changed his doctrine.
Those were just a few of the issues that surround the Book of Mormon.
Possible/Probable 19th century influences on the BoM – We won’t get into details on this one but I encourage everyone to read Grant Palmer’s “Insider’s View on Mormon Origins,” a wonderful book that really gives tremendous insight to this subject. Mormon Think has a vast amount of information discussing this too. It’s funny, as the question everyone always asks us, when they hear we’ve left and no longer believe, is, “How could Joseph or Anyone write the Book of Mormon?” Oh, if they only knew how clearly evident it is that it WAS written by a man…. in the 19th century.
We could continue to detail the historical and doctrinal inaccuracies with the Mormon Religion. However, we’re suffice to just list some of the key ones for us, without further commentary:
- Multiple First Vision Accounts (At least 4 distinct versions, as we discussed the first, above)
- Book of Mormon Translation Process
- Restoration of the Priesthood
- “Witnesses” of the BoM
- The Council of Fifty
- Everything involving the Temple – its history, plagiarism and rituals
- History and implementation of the Word of Wisdom
- Brigham Young… pretty much everything about this man is a problem for us and the LDS Church
- Alma Chapter 30 – Horrible and completely false doctrine! Atheists are NOT immoral people!
- So much more………..
Discovering this information at ages 34 & 33, after a life of dedication and sacrifice for the Mormon church, brought many feelings of betrayal, regret and misery to us. The LDS church even admits its use of “Revisionist History” and “Correlation.” It’s extremely disappointing and shameful.
Just a word of advice here: FAIR, FARMS and other apologists groups are the single worst enemies of the LDS Church. They chased us away from the church faster than anything we read in any “anti-mormon” website or book. Their efforts are beyond pathetic and confirm the church is an organization created and run by MEN, with no influence, direction, inspiration or revelation from God or the Holy Spirit.
We agree with the words of Elder Marlin Jensen, “There’s no kidding ourselves, we just need to be very upfront with them and tell them what we know and give answers to what we have and call on their faith like we do for things we don’t understand.”
Correlation was a huge mistake but I guess the leaders, at that time, couldn’t foresee technological advances like the internet; thus allowing the truth to be so readily available. It’s not like those leaders were Prophets, Seers and Revelators……
We understand how daunting the prospect of being completely open with LDS members must be. Especially when you see what happened to the RLDS church when they took those actions (They lost around 70% of their membership). We’re sure the leaders of the LDS church think they are better off taking steps to further indoctrinate its members. Steps like… lowering the missionary age to get the kids before they go out in the real world, give conference talks and countless lessons about why everything not published by the church is all lies and the people believing them are deceived by Satan (Elder Holland’s conference talk & Elder Uchtdorf’s BYU Devotional), change the lesson plans for the youth to require them to be even more committed (get them while their young) and on and on and on. We believe this course of action will result in failure, as it is dishonest.
Just be honest and let the members make up their minds. The storm is coming. Stay on this path and the LDS Church will be taken out to the sea of obscurity. Sure, it’ll take a while, generations even, but it’ll happen. Society is evolving intellectually and that’s a wonderful thing for our world. It’s creating more tolerant and understanding human beings, full of more love and compassion
Here’s a wonderful article discussing this very topic of the declining or stagnant LDS membership and activity:
- The rampant and inherit misogyny/sexism of the LDS Church
- The Anti-LGBT policies and practices of the LDS Church
The Misogyny of Mormonism
This church was clearly created and run by Men. You can see it in every aspect of the gospel; doctrinally, culturally and “eternally.”
Men are to be the bread winners and head of the house. Women are to bear children and be loyal wives. Oh sure, the Proclamation to the World uses language that discusses equality but that is merely an effort to be politically correct and pacifying, in some respect. We want our 5-year old daughter to grow up being told that she can achieve anything she wants in this life. She can go to college and actually earn a degree, with which she’ll be able to use to obtain a career in the workforce, if she wants. She can choose to be one of the following: Lawyer, school teacher, doctor, Senator, stay at home Mother, astronaut, corporate executive or even President of the United States and etc. The only two jobs she can do on this list and still maintain her cultural “Faithful Mormon” status (unless extenuating circumstances require her to work) are school teacher and stay at home Mom. How very limiting and disappointing. We need to teach our daughters to be strong and independent women, whom can become the leaders for their generation.
We want our Son to grow up thinking of women as his equal. We want him to validate their contributions and worth. Not just look at them as a potential wife and mother of his children. We want him to respect the woman he’s with, not require her to “heed the counsel of her husband as he heads the counsel of The Father.” Teaching my kids about gender equality and not having to reteach them after they get home from the LDS church, has been a huge blessing in our home
To further illustrate this point, all we need to do is direct you to the Pants Movement. Women wore Pants to church to express their desire for real change in gender equality. The out lash and vitriol against them was despicable. The Feminist movement is about equality and it’s real. It’s happening everywhere. Well, everywhere except the Mormon church.
Even the women trying to enter the Priesthood Session last conference turned into a real debacle, as the LDS Church denied them access. The Ordain Women movement is also happening but the Mormon leaders are speaking against it.
LGBT Rights Are Human Rights
We’ll repeat that phrase… LGBT Rights Are Human Rights. It’s not about who’s sinning or not (although we’ll help you out here… Homosexuality is NOT a sin). It’s been a point of shame and embarrassment to be a part of the LDS Church over the past several years. Particularly after Proposition 8. The LDS Church can allow LGBT people to have equal rights (even marriage) and still protect its beliefs in “traditional marriage.” Look no further than Jon Huntsman (former Utah Governor and active Mormon) and see where he stands on the issue of Gay Marriage:
“Conservatives should start to lead again and push their states to join in the nine others that allow all their citizens to marry. I’ve been married for 29 years. My marriage has been the greatest joy of my life. There is nothing conservative about denying other Americans the ability to forge that same relationship with the person they love.
“All Americans should be treated equally by the law, whether they marry in a church, another religious institution or a town hall. This does not mean that any religious group would be forced by the state to recognize relationships that run counter to their conscience. Civil equality is compatible with, and indeed promotes, freedom of conscience.”
What is the church afraid of? Is it worried that polygamy will be legalized next? Is it worried that once polygamy is legal, then the LDS church has a significant problem on its hands, as it still preaches polygamy as an eternal doctrine? Would legalizing it mean that Mormons would have to practice it again or, at the very least, accept that their “righteous leaders” will be practicing it? I have to admit, that would be pretty fun to watch.
OK, this summarizes most of our issues with the LDS Church and why we have chosen to remove ourselves completely from the organization. However, we could have written at least 50 pages detailing our disagreements with Mormon doctrine and history. We know you are able to expedite this process and that’s our expectation.
We look forward to receiving our letter of confirmation that our names and that of our amazing children have been removed from the LDS Church records.
The Mills Family