Asked in Mormonism
How does one resign from the Mormon Church?
November 26, 2013 4:59PM
The simplest way to resign from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (The "Mormon" church) is to simply stop going to worship services. However, by doing this your name will remain on the records of the Church. If you would like your name removed from the records of the Church you must speak with your local bishop and ask him to have your name removed. As with leaving any church, this will be met with some resistance, but he is required to follow through with your request. Sending a letter to Church Headquarters is not protocol and will simply result in local church leaders getting in contact with you to follow the same process listed above.
It should first be noted that the Mormon Church keeps records on all of its members. If you were born into the Mormon Church and your parents went through the process of adding your name to the membership records (this is very common with active members of the church, as church leaders will do this when a new child is born into their congregation), or if you were ever baptized into the Mormon Church, you are considered a member of the church and you are listed in their membership records.
Although technically, a child born into a Mormon household is listed as child of record when they receive a parent or baby's blessing. The child isn't considered a full member till a child reaches the age of eight (the age Mormons recognize as a time of accountability) and are baptized.
The Mormon Church teaches that a person cannot obtain full heavenly glory without being a member of the Mormon Church. As such, Mormons generally do not seek to leave the church, and Mormon leaders do not take the process of resignation lightly.
But if for whatever reason one wishes to leave the church and never be associated with it again, they may choose to "resign" from the church. In reality, nobody is ever "removed" from the membership records of the Mormon Church. But if you present the Mormon Church with a letter of resignation, they will note in their records that you have ceased to be a member. This does not happen without a considerable amount of resistance from church leaders, as they will not want you to resign. Still, you have the right to believe as you wish and exercise your own freedom of religion.
Here is a sample letter that can be used to resign from the Mormon Church, taken from MormonNoMore.net:
Your date of birth
Your current address
Member Records Division, LDS Church
50 E North Temple Rm 1372
Salt Lake City, UT 84150-5310
This letter is my formal resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and it is effective immediately. I hereby withdraw my consent to being treated as a member and I withdraw my consent to being subject to church rules, policies, beliefs and 'discipline'. As I am no longer a member, I want my name permanently and completely removed from the membership rolls of the church.
I have given this matter considerable thought. I understand what you consider the 'seriousness' and the 'consequences' of my actions. I am aware that the church handbook says that my resignation "cancels the effects of baptism and confirmation, withdraws the priesthood held by a male member and revokes temple blessings" I also understand that I will be "readmitted to the church by baptism only after a thorough interview". (quotes from the current Church Handbook of Instructions)
My resignation should be processed immediately, without any 'waiting periods'. I am not going to be dissuaded and I am not going to change my mind.
I expect this matter to be handled promptly, with respect and with full confidentiality.
After today, the only contact I want from the church is a single letter of confirmation to let me know that I am no longer listed as a member of the church.
(you can add any comments or reasons here)
Your name, printed
Again, according to Mormon beliefs, resigning from the Mormon Church will nullify the saving effects of membership, including the opportunity to obtain the highest rewards in the next life.
If such a response is received from the church, one may send an additional letter back to the address noted above, insisting that the original request be honored. This almost always does the trick, and one last letter is typically received from Mormon Church headquarters, indicating that church membership has been nullified at last.
In some extreme cases, people have reported that the Mormon Church ignored their repeated requests and instead sent representatives to visit them, apply pressure on family members, and so forth, but these are rare cases.