Resigning your Mormon Church membership and cancel temple sealings
Subject: Resigning your membership and temple sealings
Date: Jan 15 00:18 2004
Author: TLC

I'm reposting this here on the main board from another thread for those of you who might be interested. This question comes up often here and there's a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to the parameters of membership resignation and/or excommunication and the cancellation of temple sealings.

My ex-wife and I were married in the temple in 1980 and separated and divorced in 1990. We had a daughter together and have remained committed over the years to being civil with each other for her sake. Even through all of the tough times, we have maintained a feeling of affection for each other that has never gone away, although we seldom speak to or see each other.

My ex-wife remarried briefly a few years back out of the temple and the marriage ended after less than two years. In the meantime I resigned my membership in the church. That I'm gay is a well-known fact to all of my family and friends and is inextricably tied to both my divorce and my formal resignation from mormonism.

Fast forward to early 2003. My ex-wife is getting married again and this time in the temple. Her bishop in SLC tells her that in order for her to marry in the temple she has to get a written letter from me granting her my permission to be sealed to another man. When she called to ask for the letter I was left speechless. I told her I would think about it and call her back soon with an answer. I hung up the phone and my blood began to boil.

First, it wasn't my place to give my ex-wife permission to do anything. We had been divorced for 13 years and we were WAY beyond consulting with each other about anything other than our daughter's well-being and education.

Second, I was angry that I was being pulled back into anything that had anything to do with mormonism. I didn't want to play their games and was disturbed that my ex-wife was being used as a pawn in roping me back into their insanity.

Third, I felt that the church was deeply insulting my ex-wife by compelling her to come to me for permission to be sealed to another man. ME, an apostate who had been not only inactive in the church for nearly twenty years but was also no longer a member. In the church's eyes I was a son of perdition. And a gay one at that. (Definitely the worst kind.) Why did they give a damn what I thought about anything?

Fourth, when I terminated my membership in the church I was told that all ordinances, blessings, priesthoods, etc. had been terminated or revoked. But I was NOT told that my temple sealing to my ex-wife had been held aside as an exclusion to this process. Through all of this I learned from my twin brother who's a bishop, that even the resignation of membership or excommunication doesn't automatically nullify a temple sealing. I learned from him that this is a separate matter and one that has to be handled on its own merits. One must actually ask for a cancellation of a temple sealing in writing and it has nothing to do with having your name removed from church records.

And finally, what kind of a sealing is this that it can still be in effect when the couple has been divorced for thirteen years, one of them has remarried and divorced again and the other is a gay apostate who has resigned his membership? The whole thing was so obviously insane that it deeply disturbed me for several weeks until it was resolved.

My brother was at a loss to explain to me how a sealing could still be valid when I was no longer a mormon and by all mormon definitions certainly a son of perdition. But the fact is, no matter how much you distance yourself from mormonism and no matter how much you've "sinned" and no matter how many times you've removed your name from church records, your sealing in the temple stays in effect until someone at 47 E. South Temple sends you a form letter signed by a signature machine that says that your sealing has now been cancelled.

It has nothing to do with membership resignation or excommunication.

Of course to those of us who have left mormonism behind it's all utter nonsense. But on a much deeper level, it really hurt me that my ex-wife, who I still care very much about, was being subjected to this kind of insulting behaviour. By forcing her to come to me and ask for this letter, the church was in essence saying that no matter what, she as a woman would always be subject to a man's control; his desires, his whims.

I was more angry about what they were doing to my daughter's mother than I was about what they were doing to me. Why women put up with this I will never understand.

Ultimately I let my brother handle the situation. He contacted my ex-wife's bishop and explained to him what was what and that I was reluctant, if not unwilling, to participate in this letter writing request. It was determined that by my not writing the letter, I was in essence giving my permission by default. That's fine - at least I didn't have to write the letter.

My ex-wife got permission to be married in the temple (tho not from me) and I got a notification that our temple sealing had been cancelled, along with a most insulting letter inviting me to come back into the fold and all sorts of other absurdist mormon yak about the eternal fate of my family. As if I wasn't angry enough already, this letter really put me over the edge.

In the end, everyone got what they wanted anyway, so why they put everyone through this charade I'll never know. "Give your ex-wife permission to be sealed to another man or we'll do it for you."

How stupid is that?

I suspect that the reason mormons do this is because they do NOT consider women to be equal to men in any sense of the word. This much became clear to me and I found it very offensive. No woman, mormon or not, should ever, ever, ever have to go to a former spouse and ask permission to be remarried. It's demeaning and it's pathologically disrespectful to require her to do so.

* Note that a man doesn't have to ask the same of a former wife because a man can be sealed to many women in the mormon patriarchal structure of things.

And for those of you resigning your membership, the process does not automatically include the nullification of your temple sealing. So if you want to avoid hassles in the future with an ex-spouse, make a formal request in writing that your temple sealing be voided at the time you resign your membership. Otherwise it stays in effect






As if.

Subject: Re: TLC, it happened to me too! (cussing like a sailor!)
Date: Jan 15 02:01
Author: Travis
Mail Address:

TLC, I went through the same situation. I was married to my TBM wife in 1978 in the SL temple, and divorced in 1992, due mostly to me leaving the church.

My ex-wife also asked me to write her bishop giving my permission for her to marry in the temple to a new Victim. My response was the same as yours. I was booted out of the church & I shouldn't be empowered to make the call. I didn't write a letter, even though I didn't give a shit! Months later, btw, I did receive a letter from the "First Presidency" that after thoughtful prayer they had decided to grant her permission. I need to dig that letter out & post it. I kept it cuz it was funnier than hell!

I had another issue. My kids! She wanted them sealed a few years later to her & her new hubby. She promised to release me from my child support if I would agree! At the time I was paying $2,200 a month! Those were net dollars!

My response was, if the kids want to be sealed to another man, they could do it when they were 18! I won't be bought for $2,200 a month! That was over 8 years ago & not one of my kids have been sealed to them.

What a f*cking farce! We bring families closer! Bullshit!

I feel for you my friend!

Subject: It goes beyond mormonism (I'm venting here a little OT)
Date: Jan 15 08:47
Author: nonamepls
Mail Address:

Yes, it makes my blood boil. But the practice is not unique to Mormonism. It's everywhere.

All throughout history, women have been owned as property of men. Even now, young women are dressed up as packages/presents and given away by a man to another man in a wedding ceremony. Traditionally, she drops her father's last name and assumes her new owner's (uh, husband's) last name. Even in divorce, most women continue to use that husband's last name until another man takes his place.

Remember, "Mr." is an abbreviation for "master."
"Mrs." is an abbreviation for "mistress."

I refused to give in to this ridiculous and demeaning practice when I married 26 years ago. People called my decision not to be given away and use the term "mistress" with a name I was not born with as "bizzare."

Think about it, if a man were to change his name after a marriage, wouldn't that seem bizzare?

Somebody has to stand up for equality in small ways where they can. Relating back to the subject of this thread, don't sign any ridiculous letter giving permission for someone you don't "own" to do something. Just say "no."

As far as name changes go, my thoughts are:
"sperm to the worm"
"nurse to the hearse"
I'm keeping my name, cradle to grave, just like a man!

Subject: Fair enough, however
Date: Jan 15 11:50
Author: Tyson Dunn
Mail Address:

nonamepls wrote:
> Remember, "Mr." is an abbreviation for "master."

> "Mrs." is an abbreviation for "mistress."

Yes, but the original connotation of "mistress" was merely the female version of the title "mister"/"master", straight from the French: maître, maîtresse. And these go back to the Latin, magister and magistra, which do not show inequality.

I really wonder if it's worth getting annoyed at a connotation that isn't present in the current abbreviation. Most English speakers use Mrs. simply as "missuz", without any regard to a past linkage to "mistress". Current usage dictates the language, not ossified forms.


Subject: Chilling
Date: Jan 15 09:06
Author: conformist

The idea that a man someohow retains possession of his long-divorced wife and she needs to ask permission to be sealed to someone new is demeaning beyond words.

Thanks for the story, TLC.

A lot of people stay in the church, because "it's right, even if it isn't true."

Many of them don't realize the great damage caused by church policies based on God's whims of the past.

Subject: What if I do request sealing cancellation?
Date: Jan 15 10:26
Author: OU812
Mail Address:

TLC wrote:
> And for those of you resigning your membership, the process does not automatically include the nullification of your temple sealing. So if you want to avoid hassles in the future with an ex-spouse, make a formal request in writing that your temple sealing be voided at the time you resign your membership. Otherwise it stays in effect.

Until a couple years ago, I thought if my ex ever came to me with a permission request I'd just resign my membership and that would take care of two problems at once. Then I discovered what you just described. Incredible though it may be, the sealing, in the eyes of my ex and the brethren, survives even though membership is terminated.

If I, a male, resign and request sealing nullification:
1- Is the request automatically granted for an ex-spouse?
2- Will the request just fall in a crack?
3- Will I be positively notified that the request has been honored?
4- Do they contact the ex to notify her that she has lost her eternal companion (lost at my request and through no action of her own)?
5- What happens if I am still married to the woman but I want the sealing cancelled? Will they honor my request?

If a female resigns and requests sealing nullification, I would suppose it would be ignored regardless of the status of her husband or ex-husband. Anybody know from experience?

Subject: So what if you are a female with a TBM hubby
Date: Jan 15 12:52
Author: Spunky
Mail Address:

I would like to send my resignation letter in, but I'm a little afraid of my TBM hubby's reaction or what pressure would be put on him because I want to resign.

One thing in my favor is that we had a "temporal" marriage before we ever went to the temple. So I can always reinforce the fact that this is the marriage that I honor.

We've been "temporally" married for almost 35 years. I still love him, but don't believe in the church. I know he won't be considered for any "higher" callings, it might matter to him, but not me.

So if I resign, I think the Morg will look at it as we still have a "temple" marriage, and if they REALLY wanted him to have a "higher" calling, he could get it.

It's interesting that if you resign you give up " all ordinances, blessings, priesthoods, etc. had been terminated or revoked" , but yet the temple wedding is still valid.

Wonder if it's as "valid" if a woman resigns leaving her
TBM hubby without "an eternal companion".

Guess this is one of those "changing doctrines" you hear so much about! If they really "WANTED" him for a higher calling, they'd interpret it so he could have it.

So what should women with TBM hubbys do when they want to

Subject: Makes no sense at all if you are exied or resign that a temple sealing (NOT THE MARRIAGE) is
Date: Jan 15 16:35
Author: SusieQ#1

still considered valid. That is just plain craziness!

When is the church going to wise up and stop treating women like pieces of property and children who have to have permission from some man for anything!! ARGH!!!

Subject: oh sh*t
Date: Jan 15 17:47
Author: anna

Stupid damn mormons. While I was a TBM I asked to have my sealing cancelled and was refused. A lot of my motivation in having my name removed was to cancel the damn sealing. I know it isn't real...that I am not really sealed to the asshole for eternity but it bugs me and I want it to go away. Oh well.

Subject: And the reason is....
Date: Jan 15 17:58
Author: IDTortfeasor

Although it makes no sense, and there are so many problems and logical inconsistencies, the reason why the temple sealing isn't cancelled, is because the Morg believes that being "sealed" is the ticket to the highest degree of the celestial kingdom.

So basically, even if you don't go with the person you are sealed to (in this case, since TLC will be in outer darkness), as long as you were sealed to some warm body, or dead body for that matter, at some time, and the sealing hasn't been cancelled, and you have allegedly lived your life worthily enough, you can make it to the highest degree, to be assigned to be the 1000th wife of Brigham or Joseph or your current stake president.

Subject: Re: Resigning your membership and temple sealings
Date: Jan 15 18:08
Author: wisedup
Mail Address:

Mormonism does not respect women. As a matter of fact, it respects no one (Native Americans, African Americans, etc.). Many of the leaders do not respect the membership. It's their way or no way. Most mormons are dumped on by the organization.

Another thing that irritates me are the threats - you will not be with your family - you will burn at the second coming - you are not going to the celestial kingdom - yak yak yak.

No wonder people come to hate the morg. Stupid little mind games.

It's too bad your ex doesn't get it - sad - really sad.


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