Subject: Don't 'request name removal' - RESIGN
Date: May 02 00:48 2003
Author: KathyWUT

I would like to suggest that people stop using the phrase 'request name removal' and start calling it 'resigning from the church'. If you 'request name removal' in your exit letter, you are giving them permission to handle the situation THEIR way. If you RESIGN, that is, if you say the letter is your formal resignation from the church, you are taking away their right to treat you as a member.

In fact, I'm now thinking that people ought to use wording from an important court ruling about the right to resign. A person could write, "This is my formal letter of resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I hereby terminate my consent to be treated as a member of said church and I withdraw my consent to submit to the church's beliefs and ecclesiastical disciplinary procedures. You must now treat me as a FORMER member in all your dealings with me."

To understand why I'm recommending this new phrase to people who are resigning, I present the following quote from the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling in Guinn v. the Church of Christ of Collinsville: (be sure to read the whole thing, especially the last paragraph)


24 Parishioner asserts that her withdrawal of membership from the Collinsville Church of Christ was also effective as a withdrawal of her consent to submit to that church's beliefs and ecclesiastical disciplinary procedures. Upon her withdrawal, Parishioner urges, the church was precluded from sanctioning her as if she were a current member. By continuing to discipline her as though she were a practicing Church of Christ member, the Elders are alleged to have invaded her privacy and caused her emotional distress.

25 In defense of their actions the Elders claim that the Church of Christ has no doctrinal provision for withdrawal of membership. According to their beliefs, a member remains a part of the congregation for life. Like those who are born into a family, they may leave but they can never really sever the familial bond. A court's determination that Parishioner effectively withdrew her membership and thus her consent to submit to church doctrine would, according to the Elders, be a constitutionally impermissible state usurpation of religious discipline accomplished through judicial interference.

26 The Elders had never been confronted with a member who chose to withdraw from the church. Because disciplinary proceedings against Parishioner had already commenced when she withdrew her membership, the Elders concluded their actions could not be hindered by her withdrawal and would be protected by the First Amendment. Parishioner relies on her September 24, 1981 handwritten letter to the Elders in which she unequivocally stated that she withdrew her membership and terminated her consent to being treated as a member of the Church of Christ communion. By common-law standards we find her communication was an effective withdrawal of her membership and of her consent to religious discipline.


Subject: We need to work on getting this info out there more -
Date: May 02 01:03
Author: Susan I/S

we need to get linking with more of the other sites and make sure it has more spots here. It is a confusing issue and I think our best shot is to share as much info as possible. And we all need to HELP Kathy as much as possible - this is a LOT of work guys. She might appreciate a helper?

Subject: thanks Kathy. ERIC, perhaps this whole thread merits a permanent "short topics"??
Date: May 02 08:19
Author: Langdon

I would also suggest that the "name removal" link on the main page's menu merits a little more visibility too, something to grab people's attention.

And according to Kathy's suggestion, maybe clarify it: Resigning Your Membership (aka, 'name removal')

and then perhaps prominently within that 'Resignation / Name Removal' page, a highly visible link to Kathy's legal info:

How to Protect your Legal Rights (i.e., making sure they understand that once you've resigned, they cannot excommunicate you)

Although most everyone here knows how to send their resignation letter, it has become painfully clear recently that many do not know they can protect themselves from excommunication, or pursue legal action if the church does.

You may already know that no one could resign until the mormon church lost a law suit a number of years ago. Before that, those who left had to have a court to be excommunicated.

Subject: Kathy, is it better for letters to be handwritten? (***AND MSG FOR ADMIN***)
Date: May 02 12:46

I was just reading the "Name Removal" section of and it suggests letters be HANDWRITTEN. What are your feelings on this?

Note:  Typed is OK.  There were some folks a few years ago handing out a form letter to use.  Just do not use a form letter.

Subject: The membership records dept of the Mormon church seems unable to be able
Date: May 02 13:19
Author: SusieQ#1

to wrap their mind around the concept that a person can voluntarily RESIGN. My phone calls to them indicated that they were not used to dealing with that term.

I have found that saying that I resigned my membership is a foreign term to TBM's also. They will reply: "oh you had your name removed?"
My reply: " No, I resigned"

The Mormon Church takes the view that once you are a member, you are always a member and only they have the right to determine the status of your membership.

Resigning takes that power away from them and is, indeed, the most accurate way to tell them what you want done.

It has also become apparent that they never take any names out of their system. They just put them in a different file.

So, if you should change your mind and want to re-join, they have all the records! Their confirmation letter, indicating you are no longer a member, gives you instructions on how to reinstate your membership!

It must be a massive job, keeping track of their 11 million members, those that resigned also! But they do it!

I would suppose that they keep the names of members who resigned their membership, for the purpose of rebaptizing them when they are dead.

Subject: Here's the citation and a link.
Date: May 02 15:29
Author: Dude

Guinn v. Church of Christ of Collinsville, 775 P.2d 766 (Okla. 1989).

Here's a link to the case at the Oklahoma Supreme Court website (docket no. 62154).

Subject: Yes! Yes! Yes!!! Thank you Kathy!
Date: May 02 14:41
Author: BestBBQ

This has bugged me for years. "I'm asking to have my name removed" sounds namby-pamby - like you don't really mean it. Resigning is emphatic and can't be mistaken for anything else.

Thank you for bringing this up, Kathy. I've wanted to say something about this for ages, but I'm a nevermo and I don't have any real perspective on what is comfortable for people who are trying to leave this cult.

It might be helpful to find out if "I'm resigning my membership" letters are handled a bit differently than "I'm requesting that my name be removed" letters. Who knows? There might be a correlation with foot-dragging by the cult.

Subject: another ? from a never mo
Date: May 02 14:50
Author: rhys

When you resign, do you ask that you be mailed all your paperwork and various documents?

Subject: The church owns all of your records and documents. The keep 'em. nt

Subject: How about instead of "resigning from the church"... (Something even a tad more linguistically "powerful") [5 edits]
Date: May 02 18:27
Author: juxtaposed

"I formally resign (Imperfective form) from the COJCOLDS, and expect both you and the COJCOLDS' full co-operation in removing my name and all related documents from the COJCOLDS' records, reflecting my resignation (Perfective form)."

(EDIT: I also changed "the records" to "your records", it adds distance, further proving that you are no longer part of their group, sets the sentence up better for the perfective.)

(MORE EDIT: I added "all related documents" since Cheryl's post higher up got me thinking that just removing the name, maybe, doesn't imply removing 'everything'.)

(EVEN MORE EDIT: "Both you and the COJCOLDS full co-operation" really cover all your basees, singling out everyone who reads this letter and the entire church. Noone has a place to shove off responsability.)

By moving the verb within the same topic from the Imperfective to the Perfective form through a single sentence it reflects that the process of resignation has begun and then ended. Thus resignation is complete. Nothing more should be expected from me. I now only expect YOU to comply, I am done "resigning".

(NOTE: It's also nice having the perfective as the final word. The final word has quite a bit of strength in a sentence.)

(MORE NOTE: "My resignation" is also nice becuase it shows that you are the sole posessor of the resignation, and thus the power to resign.)

Resigning has the problem that its the imperfective gerund, which still implies that you can't complete the process of "resigning" without sending this letter.

I like my version because it makes resignation something that you have already done, that the church isn't involved in, has no bearing over. You are just sending in this letter as a formality, letting them know what YOU have done on your own. And making an overt (yet not rude) demand that they remove your name from the records, reflecting your status.

Subject: Aha! many of your ideas are same as mine! I've been working on my exit letter...
Date: May 02 22:44
Author: Langdon

for a few weeks now, re-editing, revising... and just last night I think I finally got it into final form.

One thing I felt strongly about in mine, was stating that in actuality I left the church long ago, and that my letter merely formalizes my resignation from the church, and allows them to update their records to reflect that de facto reality that I have not been Mormon for many years already. Etc etc.

I'll post it here once I've submitted it. It's quite long - 4 full pages. But first, I am still preparing my TBM family members so that it will not be a shock to them when it happens.

Subject: question for kathy?
Date: May 02 22:12
Author: CP

Kathy I was wondering if it would be possible for a lawyer to write a general legal letter of resignation that all leaving members could use to get out.. Could you ask the lawyer if it would have to vary from state to state etc? I would really like a legal letter to send that spells out the case in legalese etc....But if I pay for one I would like others to be able to utilise it as well.. Clearly dealing with this as individuals is just getting people screwed.. We need a united front.

Also eventually maybe we could do something with to raise money to pay for this.. You can have my former tithing money to shove up their you know whats

Ideally we would almost have to make a clearing house with a legal department to channel all letters of resignation so that the bishops were forced to deal with this as a simple administrative process ( talking to the lawer) rather than dealing with the member directly through guilt and intimidation.. I realise this would be to grandious and well frankly too expensive.

When you talk to your friend the lawyer see if he would be willing to offer a basic service to do this and what the fee was? That way we could just send our letters to the lawyer and let the damn bishop talk to him.. Many of us would much rather do this just to send a message to the dumb bastards....

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