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resignation?
agnosticmormon
At first I wasn't sure why the Prop 8 ruling (y'know, yesterday's) fired me up enough to semi-publicly consider penning and sending in my resignation letter to the church. But as it always occurs, my writing/talking about it shed some light on the reason, and I'm going to attempt to state why here.

It was the Church's official reaction. That bit about "the people have been given the chance to vote twice on the definition of marriage and twice voted that it should be between a man and a woman."

Surely, LDS leaders are not that stupid. Especially the lawyers, which there are many not just in leadership but in membership.

So why the hell, knowing how our system works, does the church insist on perpetuating this meme about how the majority always rules no matter what? Especially considering their history as a minority stripped of rights.

THAT is what pisses me off. They lie. They lie because they can. They know their members have been taught time and time again that leaders speak for god and therefore they know better than anyone else.

It's not about the truth because we all know what the truth is. The weak, pathetic arguments used to promote prop 8 don't work. They didn't work in the recent court hearing. They are laughable. I'm in love with the text of the ruling. Judge Walker is omg awesome.

But the Church doesn't care about that truth. They don't even care that this wouldn't affect them as a religion. Nobody would force anything from them as a result of this ruling. They don't care about that. They are stubbornly standing by the truth they began with. Their official response was simply "We regret this, the people have spoken, marriage is fundamental and we must 'protect' it."

And good members will (a) eat it up or (b) chew on it, nursing a nagging conscience that tells them it is wrong but hesitate because they have been told time and again that the prophet knows and sees all and they need to trust him no matter what.

I know plenty of people who fall in category B. I entertained it for a quick spell back in the summer of 2008.

But back to my point:

They know the system doesn't work by what the majority rules. They know that the majority has a tendency every now and again to vote for unconstitutional things and that it is then the court's responsibility to right the wrong. Slavery, interracial marriage, etc. Google Loving v. Virginia.

Yet they mislead their sheep by saying otherwise.

It's one thing if a group of citizens without understanding of the system whine about the "will of the people" in instances such as this. It is quite another when an entity made up of lawyers and other highly educated people ignore their knowledge in order to keep their followers in line despite all evidence to the contrary. Just to be right.

And then you have to wonder--what else is there? What else has there been?

Do I really want to be part of this, even passively?

My concerns about officially leaving, family aside, are these:

1) The church is a part of me. It will always be. I cannot talk about my life without talking about the Church. It is part of my fabric, my structure. Whether I leave it officially or not.

2) If I leave officially, I will feel as if my right to criticize it will disappear. Maybe this is good, but we all know I like to get up on my soapbox sometimes.

Yet, like I said, it will always be a part of me. I will always--or at least for a while yet--be fighting the remains of my tenure. I don't love the church, but I don't necessarily hate it either. I think it's stupid and encourages stupidity, but while there is bad fruit on the tree I hesitate to cut it down completely because I know of a few good apples. I don't buy that scripture about a good tree with a few bad apples = a bad tree.

3) Which brings me to a related concern: will it bring me any closure?


Staying, however, also means these things:

1) I'm counted among the millions. When the church announces its membership numbers, it counts inactive members as well. One source said that the 13 million - inactives = 5 million. Yeah.

2) I am standing with them on paper. If I resign, I am stating quite clearly that I refuse to accept what they are doing.

3) I wonder if leaving also means I'll be free of it. I wonder if it'll bring me closure, but I wonder if by not leaving I am still, in a way, keeping myself chained to it.

Also, I have to remind myself that the church tries to try to control even its ex-members. They tell their own that all "apostates":

1) are ridiculously and violently angry (the dreaded "anti-mormon")
2) can leave the church but can't leave it alone

Remember my saying that I thought that resigning = no more criticizing? This is why. It is in my nature to prove people wrong, so I would be allowing them to control me. I am angry, but not violently. I am not "anti"--you want anti, I'll show you anti.

My membership took a good chunk of my life and a lifetime out of Eric's. We will discuss it. We will criticize it. We will also recognize the good. I cannot emphasize enough the good people I am so glad to have met because I was part of the church. I am grateful to still be connected to a few of them.

But srsly, if you can't take the heat, get yo ass out the kitchen.

I forget that I can feel however I want and it doesn't necessarily mean anything. I can decide the church means nothing and just live my life. I don't know to do that yet, though. I don't know if it's possible.

So I wonder why I'm afraid to officially leave. If I'm being honest, I'm afraid that one day I'll decide to go back. I don't know why I think this would happen because I'm 99.9% sure if I did it wouldn't last long. I also know never to say never.

And say something happened to Eric. It's as if I don't feel confident enough or strong enough yet to be on my own w/out the church. Without Eric. I don't have anyone else. I don't know life on my own without a church, whether or not I buy it all. While I am uncomfortable in an LDS chapel, it is my home. Aside from one other experience, it is the place I feel most comfortable (not saying much, but there you go). The church was unbelievably fundamental in my life. Is it my security blanket? Is that why I can't leave? I want it there just in case?

At least now I know I'm on some list of someone to be fellowshipped back into the church. I'm assuming we are, anyway. We haven't heard from anyone. I did finally get one piece of mail from my visiting teachers (so thaaat's who those two girls who friended me on FB were). There's the knowledge, or assumption, that someone gives a shit. Even if it is only because they're supposed to.

You know?

And online ex-mo communities are helpful but not enough.

Yet I want to stand for something.

I feel in a lot of ways like I'm back where I was two years ago, when I was considering leaving in the unofficial sense. I was afraid to for various reasons. I thought the church might be right, that I might be wrong--even though I knew they were wrong. I still have the ability to rationalize a lot of things.

But we did stop going. My confidence in my opinions have strengthened. The kids still ask about things, they still mention stuff, but we did stop going despite that fear, at least.

Am I just delaying the inevitable?

I think so. Still, I want to be ready. It's a big step.

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You bring up such good questions and issues. I can’t really answer any of them directly except to share my own experiences and feelings. Like you, one of my major issues with Prop 8 is not even the church’s stance on the issue – there are a lot of religions that dislike homosexuality. The issue, is like you said, the lying, and I would add the underhanded way that they tried to cover up their involvement. The lying is a big thing. To me, the manner that they went about the whole thing only proves that they are just like every other organization – they are MAN-MADE.
1 – Yep – even after you leave the church is part of you. You carry it with you. I have officially not been a member now for about five months now and still think of myself as Mormon… Even if you could somehow transport yourself to some bizarre world where the church had never existed it would continue to be a part of you and influence you, but that is not a bad thing. There are a great many good things that the church teaches that are beneficial. The challenge is choose which things from the church you want to keep in your life.
2- I absolutely still feel entitled to be critical of and to criticize the church. It never occurred to me to stop being like that but then again I have always been a critical member.
3 – It has not brought me any closure, but I do feel like I reclaimed my life. I feel like the authority that I had given them to rule my life was taken back when I resigned. All of the issues still exist and I still think about the church a lot (clearly) but I no longer feel like I owe them allegiance nor obedience.

I have left and still occasionally want to attend. I realize that sounds funny but when you think about how important community is it makes sense. Human beings are tribal. It is ok to not want to completely reject the community. As an “inactive” they welcome you back anytime you want to come. As an evil apostate who resigned they do look at you like you are a snake ready to strike. They don’t get close when they see you. They start to avoid you when they see you in store. That is fine. You just continue to be yourself and be friendly. It is their problem.
If it makes you feel any better I drafted no less than 12 resignation letters. I carried one around in my purse for awhile ready to be sent. I eventually pulled it out and threw it away. Then one day I woke up and was just ready. Mailed the letter the same day I wrote it. I was just ready. It was just time. Be patient with yourself. It is ok if you are not ready. It is ok if you are never ready. As long as you know that you own your life you are in a good place.

(I am sorry my response was so long…)

Reina/Kiley

I wouldn't worry too much

(Anonymous)
It's unfortunate that the church is so good at making itself a huge part of your identity, because discovering that it isn't true can be a painful experience. They've been lying to keep people believing for years, as spectacularly demonstrated when they bought forged documents from Mark Hoffman in order to hide them from the public view, then lying about having bought them.

Then there's Joseph Smith's revelation about polygamy coming conveniently right after getting caught having an affair, then marrying the woman who happened to already be married.

And don't get me started on all the anachronisms, plagiarisms and falsehoods in the Book of Mormon. Long story short, I've never looked back, and never been happier. I think you will feel the same way.

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