Thursday, June 19, 2014

Resignation: "There is No Home For You Here"

This is the fourth in a series of posts that chronicle my decision to resign my membership in the LDS Church and my confrontation with Church history that followed. Unlike the previous three posts in this series that were originally published on another blog in the spring of 2013, this is a new post.

Within a week or so of mailing my letter of resignation, I received a form letter from the Membership Records Department of the Church:

Perhaps I should say again that I didn't feel I could just go inactive in the Church. For me, it was a matter of personal integrity. I just didn't want the feeling that I was responsible to some church authority for the way I was living my life; nor did I want the feeling of looking over my shoulder to see if some church leader was going to send me notice of a disciplinary hearing. I wanted to be free of all that. Period. 

I know other gay Mormon men who have been excommunicated but still believe in the Church. I know of others who were excommunicated and have nothing whatsoever to do with the Church. Others have simply gone inactive; they are still members but don't associate with the Church. Still others have, like me, chosen to resign their membership in the Church. I respect each of these decisions; it is a very personal matter. I have never regretted my decision to resign.

As the above letter describes, the Church doesn't give up easily. Resignation requests are always referred to local church leaders, i.e., the bishop and stake president. By the time my then-current bishop was contacted, I had already moved in with Mark, but I deliberately used my old address. Sure enough, the bishop came by the house and talked to my old housemate, who assured him that I was deadly serious and totally confident in my decision to resign.

So, a couple of weeks later, I received the following letter from the bishop that had been sent to my old address:

Enclosed with this letter, however, was a personal one, hand-written by my former bishop. I have to say I was deeply touched by and appreciated his words and the sentiment behind them:

It was somewhat ironic that the letter was dated the day my daughter Hannah was married in the Salt Lake Temple. Of course, I wasn't in the sealing room, but I was there when she came out, looking radiant. I didn't know until much later of the ordeal she experienced within her own heart and soul with regard to the temple. But she also didn't know until much later what was going on regarding my decision to leave the Church. 

My resignation also occurred in the midst of the first Mormon Stories Circling the Wagons Conference, an event which I helped plan and in which I participated. I will share some of my thoughts about that conference in the next post in this series.

In early December, I received the final letter:

Thus, the end of a 28-1/2 year period in my life. I didn't know what the future would hold, but I was confident that I had made the right decision.

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