The full text of our resignation letters can be found below:
To Whom it May Concern,
It is with great sorrow but deep resolve that on this day, the 9th of November 2015, we give our formal resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This resignation is to go into effect for our entire family including my wife Rachel (her separate letter included) and our children Maebe and Bowie. As we will no longer be members, we want our names permanently and completely removed from the membership rolls of the church.
This decision has not been made lightly, nor is it done out of haste, anger or under duress. It is with a clear conscience and moral fortitude that we have found it absolutely untenable to continue to be associated with or have ourselves counted as members of the Mormon Church. We understand the full consequences of our actions, including:
- Cancellation of the effects of baptism and confirmation
- Withdrawal of the priesthood held by male members
- Revocation of temple blessings
We also understand that we will be ‘readmitted to the church by baptism only after a thorough interview’. We wish our resignation to be processed immediately, without any unnecessary ‘waiting periods’. It is our expectation that this matter be handled promptly and with respect.
It is an exceptionally somber thing to be writing these words. After 33 years of devoted service, including a full-time mission, temple marriage, and a lifetime of callings – including most recently that of Elders Quorum President – our time in the Church has undeniably been one of many happy memories and loving relationships formed with those in our ward, neighborhood and surrounding areas. Our families, both extended and immediate, and especially our Parents, most of whom are devout members, have raised and taught us well. Our love and acceptance for those in our life who are still active devoted members has not diminished in the slightest.
Since it is understood that this letter will be shared with our local ecclesiastical leadership – men and women whom we have worked with for many years and have a great respect for – it is our desire to give as meaningful an explanation for our decision as can be expected in a formal letter such as this.
One of Jesus’s most concise and insightful rules of thumb was ‘by their fruits ye shall know them’. Not only is it simple to remember and apply, it is also without caveats. Jesus did not say, ‘by their good fruits ye shall know them’, or ‘by their most recent fruits ye shall know them’. No – he kept it simple. And although the history of the LDS church is a mixed-bag of fruit to say the least – including horrible and in some cases redacted fruits such as
- the coercion and systematic sexual abuse of under aged girls by early church leadership
- the genesis and thus underlying root cause for all modern polygamous sects and their many travesties against women and human rights
- the murder of innocent civilians in both the Mountain Meadows Massacre and its subsequent leadership-initiated cover-up
- the now doctrinally renounced denying of black people equal rights as members including priesthood, temple ordinances or even the right to pray in church meetings
- the authentication and purchase of numerous forged documents resulting in the eventual and avoidable deaths of innocent persons
- the systematic excommunication of members who would seek to inform and teach about accurate events in church history and who have since been vindicated by approved church literature
- the universal inequality toward all women in areas such as leadership opportunities, moral and modesty standards, priesthood rights and ordinances, and doctrinal teachings
The list could go on – but It is in-fact the church’s latest policy change that is perhaps the most rotten, un-Christ-like piece of fruit I have had the misfortune to witness in my lifetime.
Imagine if you will the Church’s latest announcement concerning the children of homosexual parents flipped 180 degrees. Imagine it said the following: “In an effort to follow Christ’s admonition to ‘Suffer the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.’ We the first presidency of the Church invite all active seekers of truth, lovers of God and family, and children of all households to join us in fellowship. It is with great love and open arms that we will deny no one the right to baptism, fellowship, priesthood or missionary service on the basis of their parental or family situation, for we believe that ‘man will be judged for his own sins and not for Adam’s transgression’.”
Alas – this is not what the recent policy change stated. Instead of fellowship, the church has chosen exclusion. Instead of love, the Church is now tacitly accepting the full embrace of already simmering feelings of hatred and disgust toward homosexuals. It may deny that last statement – but that reality has already occurred and will continue to occur on a daily basis among thousands of Mormon wards and families. It is without over-dramatics or histrionics that I state with full solemnity that many people, and especially youth, will die because of the Church’s actions. The gay-teen suicide rate in Utah is already sickeningly high. There is simply no denying that this recent announcement and its irreversible follow-through will exacerbate that trend.
And it is that blood that I refuse to be on the head and hands of myself, my wife or my sweet, intensely loved children. Although there is sadness to see this chapter of church membership end for my family, it is with great joy that I look forward to the day my daughter and son become adults, are fully honest with us about who they are, and feel that intensity of our love only grow brighter. My daughter and son will be better – more empathetic – more selfless – with more inner confidence and strength being raised outside the church that they could ever hope to be staying in it.
We will be happier.
We will be healthier.
And our love for one another – no matter what happens after this life – will never be diminished and will never die.
To Whom it may concern,
After many years of questioning, doubting, but remaining faithful, even through the loss of my testimony, I have come to the conclusion that the church is not the place for me or my family.
This decision has not been made lightly or with haste.
I thought for many years that my calling in the church was to help it progress forward, to become a more inclusive and loving place. I served faithfully in every calling. I did my visiting teaching. I started play groups to help create community among the families. I spent hours each week preparing myself for participation in sunday school and relief society lessons. I regularly bore my testimony in sacrament meeting, never taking these moments to preach my own political positions, but to share a greater message of love for one another, and of love from our heavenly parents. I had person after person from my congregation tell me how I had helped them in one way or another. I also joined groups like Mormons Building Bridges and Affirmation to help create a safe space for my LGBTQ brothers and sisters at church. I sang in the One Voice Choir, a choir who’s message is that of love and friendship. It was truly one of the most inspiring and positive moments in my life. And so for a brief period of time (before the onset of excommunications, and PR retrenchment), I had hope for the future, even despite my continually diminishing testimony that was coming from a result of pure study, and real world experience with others.
Eventually I did lose my testimony of the church, and had to ask myself why should I stay? At that point I felt it was still my community, and that I was going to grow where I was planted and serve those around me. Unfortunately I can not do this any longer. As a child I was taught to Choose the Right, even if everyone around you didn’t. I was taught to stand up for what I believe, even if others make fun of you or alienate you. I was taught the Golden Rule, to treat others the way I would want to be treated. I was taught that “All are alike unto God”.
But over time I began to clearly see that my interpretation of these principles did not match the leadership of the church. It started with Prop 8, and it is ending with the latest policy change directed at innocent children. I am actually grateful for the clarification that has been given by the leaders of the church – it has shown me that what I feel to be right and what the church teaches will never align. I thought that I could change the church, make it what I wanted it to be, but unfortunately the pain and real damage the church is causing in my own life and the lives of others far outweighs my efforts.
And so today I am choosing to follow my own heart – I am choosing the right – and it is of my own free will and choice that I am hereby sending in my resignation to the LDS Church.
Rachel Lyn Turk