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Posted by: axeldc ( )
Date: January 11, 2018 07:11PM

From the LDS Church's perspective, what is the difference between resignation and voluntary excommunication, which is what they used to call it.

If some resigned and wants to come back, what does the church do? Do you have to be rebaptized, get temple ordinances again, etc.? Does it harm your long term prospects in the cursus honorum?

Note: I have no intention of going back, I resigned years ago, but this came up in a discussion. Purely academic interest.

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Posted by: Cheryl ( )
Date: January 11, 2018 07:35PM

My brother who was exed for being polygamist decided to rejoin the mainstream church. He had to have counseling sessions with the bish and a baptism-confirmation event. The whole ward turned out for a huge dinner party with musical numbers and welcome back speeches.

He went to the temple later to reestablish the rites, but I don't think he had to redo all of them since my TBM mom said he was done in one afternoon.

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Posted by: siobhan ( )
Date: January 12, 2018 08:29AM

What about the wives and children?

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Posted by: Cheryl ( )
Date: January 12, 2018 09:41AM

The children were mostly grown but he said he was in touch with them.

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: January 11, 2018 08:28PM

Cults hate such displays of individualism because they cannot control it. Cults despise you and your use of Option #1 because Option #1 does not allow them to dictate your decisions and behavior. Nor does it provide them the ability to both privately and publicly intimidate humiliate you. Option #1 also denies them the use of any of their tools designed to make you feel guilty. Under Option #1, you remain independent and in charge, not them.

Option #2: When you allow yourself to be voluntarily excommunicated, you are ceding undeserved authority to the authoritarian Mormon Cult to arbitrarily punish you according to its own "power" and own established schedule.

Option #1 is far more preferable, individualistic and high-minded. It leaves you in charge of your own destiny in the face of an abusive religious cult that, under the terms and conditions of Option #2, is intent on mistreating and "punishing" you according to its own power-hungry terms and schedule. In so doing, the Mormon Cult is also cynically using you as a warning to members of its corralled flock of what awaits them if they dare stray from the command and control of their sadistic "shepherd."

Stay true to yourself. Don't let the Mormon Cult use and abuse you. Power to the people. Related link:,1127964

Edited 7 time(s). Last edit at 01/11/2018 08:44PM by steve benson.

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Posted by: pollythinks ( )
Date: January 11, 2018 08:51PM

Posted by: axeldc: "From the LDS Church's perspective, what is the difference between resignation and voluntary excommunication, which is what they used to call it."

Your wording makes this a little difficult to respond.

Anyone can resign at will, via words to the Bishop, or written letters. You don't have to get a response, just send a letter via the post office which requires the receiver to sign for it, or hand it over personally to the bishop.

Excommunication is what the church can do, whether or not the person wants to remain a member.

Resigning is far best, because it is one's own decision, and the church cannot force anyone to remain a member.

On the other hand, being ex'd. by the church places a stigma on the person as if he or she had done something really bad, terrible enough to cause the church to X the person for so doing.

For instance, someone stands up in Sac. Mtg., and says the church if full of s...t. Such a person may very likely be x'd, whether or not he wants to be.

Joe Smith's guideline was (something to the effect) that, "If someone says something about the gospel that isn't actually Mormon doctrine--but claims that it is--then he should be ex'd."

Hope this helps.

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Posted by: axeldc ( )
Date: January 11, 2018 09:16PM

Let me explain... No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

In the old days, to leave you had to request excommunication. After 1985, they had to respect your resignation.

My question is: what is the substantive difference in the eyes of the church? I know what it means for the Exmo, but what does a Bishop or SP see when they see a resignation?

It only matters if you want to go back, so my question is:

If you go back, what is the difference between resigning and asking to be exed?

I think the answer is: they are the same. Resignation is just a face saving term that doesn't externally stigmatize the departing member, but from an ecclesiastical stand point, you have been exed.

So, what are the steps to go back if you've resigned, and how are they different than an excommunicant?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/11/2018 09:16PM by axeldc.

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: January 13, 2018 07:12PM

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Posted by: Babyloncansuckit ( )
Date: January 12, 2018 12:21AM

I see excommunication as a positive thing. Resigning is the easy way out. Not that anyone outside of Utah actually cares if you were exed. If someone were kicked out of the KKK for not being racist enough, I wouldn’t hold it against them.

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: January 13, 2018 12:48PM

Resigning says that you want out – and you want out now.

It's like letting the KKK "ex" you--so you hang around and tolerate their racism, cross burnings and bigotry until they decide it's time to kick you out.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/13/2018 07:13PM by steve benson.

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Posted by: paisley70 ( )
Date: January 11, 2018 09:20PM

I have not formally resigned from the church but I have been out for a couple of years now. My elderly father, a recent ex-bishop, has encouraged me not to resign but to be excommunicated for apostasy. He tells me that the church would readily accept me back and restore my blessings if I were to want back in. It would be his only consolation because resigning would be blotting my name out forever! I am saving him the trauma in this life by deferring my resignation for a few years until he passes! The cult has such a hold on members. It is analogous to the belief that babies that are not baptized are going to hell in other faiths! Such is the dogma!

I don't have any urgency anyways. I will resign when the time is right. Obviously, I still have a love for my father. Such is the plight of many of us that are out of the church.

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Posted by: axeldc ( )
Date: January 11, 2018 09:26PM

I don't understand the distinction. To me, excommunication carries more stigma.

Does he think excommunication means you will try to repent and come back, but resignation means you are too stiffnecked to do so?

Administratively, they seem to be the same form of discipline.

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Posted by: paisley70 ( )
Date: January 11, 2018 09:55PM

He says that it is really difficult to get back in once you resign. Interviews, etc -- it may not be possible once they interrogate your intentions! Excommunication is just part of a repentance process and meant to bring the sinner back in line. I have trouble understanding his logic, but I guess that he's seen many people come and go over the years.

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: January 13, 2018 12:51PM

"otherwise, I'm not leaving until you do."


The sooner you leave a cult, the better it looks for you.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/13/2018 12:53PM by steve benson.

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Posted by: axeldc ( )
Date: January 11, 2018 10:09PM

Per the church handbook (2006), it seems the only real difference is that they studiously avoid the term "excommunication" if you resign. This is probably for legal reason, as exing can be seen as slanderous.

On page 150, it states that all the post-baptismal actions are the same coming back for excommunications and resignations.

In short, it seems the real difference between voluntary excommunication and resignation is just the term for external purposes, so as not to impugn the character of those resigning. Administratively, they are the exact same action.

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Posted by: catnip ( )
Date: January 12, 2018 12:56AM

like the difference between being fired from your job (exed) vs. telling your boss, "Take this job and SHOVE it! I QUIT!" (resignation.)

Who owns the power here?

Many of us have chosen to retain (or reclaim) our own power. That's the difference. Maybe that is too simplistic for some, but it works for me.

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Posted by: axeldc ( )
Date: January 12, 2018 08:53AM

I know what it's like for an Exmo. I was asking from the church's perspective. It seems they just changed the terms to avoid lawsuits for slander, but otherwise it's the same thing to them.

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Posted by: alsd ( )
Date: January 12, 2018 03:26AM

I think a lot depends on why you are leaving and if the reason could be considered higher profile. There could be some value on forcing the church to take a stand on its positions. For example if you are a person who has researched the controversial aspects of church history, having the church excommunicate you puts the church on record as being opposed to researching its history. Whereas resigning allows the church to forever wash its hands on the issue. The church still faces backlash over the 'September 6', even nearly 25 years later, but if they had resigned they would be forgotten.

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Posted by: Dave the Atheist ( )
Date: January 12, 2018 07:39AM

I think you mixed up the title of your post. It should read "voluntary resignation vs. excommunication".
Excommunication, by definition, is not voluntary.

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Posted by: axeldc ( )
Date: January 12, 2018 08:57AM

It's funny that half the responses seem to be telling me that I wrote my question wrong. I know exactly what I'm saying:

Prior to 1985, resignation was called "voluntary excommunication". The church lost a lawsuit and had to accept resignations.,1127964 The 2006 handbook explicitly tells leaders not to use the term "excommunication" when dealing with resignations.

My question was: is there any real difference? I've decided, nope, it's just a legal dodge and administratively, you have just exed yourself. They have to avoid the term to avoid slander charges.

I wasn't asking from the Exmo perspective. I know what that is like. I don't know why any Exmo would submit to being exed, unless you want to grandstand. I already resigned a few years ago myself.

I was just curious what the church does with your records if you leave, and what they would do if you wanted to come back (which I have no intention). The answer I found is that you have to be rebaptized, and you can face disciplinary action if they think you did something bad, like marry another man (which I have).

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/12/2018 09:08AM by axeldc.

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: January 13, 2018 12:56PM

Resigning is far more honorable since you're making the choice, not the Cult.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 01/13/2018 12:59PM by steve benson.

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: January 13, 2018 07:18PM

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Posted by: snowball ( )
Date: January 12, 2018 09:39AM

Axel - I got your question.

I also seem to remember that the form letter that people would get in the mail after resigning would say that resignation cancels the effects of baptism, confirmation, temple ordinances, priesthood etc. And as I remember they would say that people could only be re-baptized after a thorough scouring of your sexual past (ugh...I mean worthiness interview) with the bishop.

In my case, no such letter was received. I guess they thought I was too dangerous ':). Or maybe the bishop was inspired to know that my past sins were not interesting enough--who knows.

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Posted by: axeldc ( )
Date: January 12, 2018 12:04PM

My letter was just kthanxbye. They offered me no reconsideration nor invitation to return, nor any threat of discipline.

Maybe I read too much into it, but I think they knew I was an out gay man and they were happy to be rid of me.

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Posted by: kentish ( )
Date: January 12, 2018 11:10AM

I suppose being excommunicated does give them a certain amount of power over you but it can be freeing in other ways. Back in the early 1980s it seemed to be the only way to exit. I went willingly to a high council court and looked forward very much to the moment when I was asked if I had anything to say...and I had plenty. It was a great opportunity to speak directly to the leadership with all the details of why I was leaving. I started by telling them that it was I who was doing the Xing of the church from my life. I was speaking to a captive audience in a way that no simple letter of resignation could and I took full advantage of it. The only control I felt they had was in my willingness to attend. Beyond that I took control.

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Posted by: rhgc ( )
Date: January 12, 2018 08:59PM

1. I was put on trial for "Apostasy".
2. I spoke for almost an hour.
3. I challenged them to either excommunicate me or do nothing.
4. They "disfellowshiped".
5. I appealed the decision.
6. I won the appeal.
7. The SP decided to try me again and I resigned, informing the SP and his counselors that they could.......
8. This can be found under: "Before the Sanhedrin".

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Posted by: NormaRae ( )
Date: January 12, 2018 11:22AM

I know several people who were excommunicated because they were true believers and confessed and were contrite and believed they had to subject themselves to that humiliation in order to repent.

However, I do not personally know of anyone who resigned their membership (aka had their name removed, voluntarily excommunicated, etc.) because they WANTED out, who has ever wanted to get re-baptized. I know they exist, but they're few and far between and I don't personally know of any.

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Posted by: sparty ( )
Date: January 12, 2018 12:28PM

Resignation: you walk away on your terms, on your timeline, for your reasons. The power is in your hands.

Excommunication: you let the cult keep power over you and your membership file.

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Posted by: Cheryl ( )
Date: January 12, 2018 12:35PM

So the mormon church might still send invitations to discuss this with the bish or he might show up at the door.

Resignation doesn't leave the door open for any of this.

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Posted by: messygoop ( )
Date: January 12, 2018 12:46PM

I'd rather be a hammer than a nail.

It's better to resign.

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Posted by: Finally Free! ( )
Date: January 12, 2018 01:36PM

Here's my take on your question as I understand it...

Resignation: A person tells the church they are no longer a member.

Voluntary Ex-communication: Same as Resignation but before 1985.

In other words, prior to 1985, if a person wanted to leave the church, that person would tell the church, "I no longer want to be a member". The church would respond, "Great, we'll excommunicate you." and there was no difference between a "voluntary excommunication" and a "non-voluntary excommunication". Excommunication was simply the only way to leave the church.

When the church was sued due to the stigma and inherent assumption that an excommunication had done something "wrong", the church was forced to come up with a different method for leaving the church. The answer they came up with was "resignation" or as many members call it "name-removal".

As far as the church is concerned, the two are essentially the same thing. The person has left the church due to apostasy, they just can't legally call it that, or face being sued again, hence the avoidance of using the word "excommunication" when talking about resignation policies.

In reality, the difference might come down to how your records are updated in the church membership database. I'd be willing to bet that for someone who leaves the church there are several different statuses that could be used, "excommunicated" + reason (apostasy, sin committed, etc), "resigned", and possibly others. Because if you want to come back to church, they are going to want to know why you left and that could have an impact on the person's future in the church.

As far as you not getting a, "hey, come back!" letter... Having been on the board long enough, I've seen people get letters, some not, some get calls, other's don't. In my case I even got a one year follow up visit from the missionaries. Each case seems to be different and I have a feeling it varies with work load and who happens to be handling updating the records that day. I wouldn't read too much into it.

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Posted by: Emanon (not logged in) ( )
Date: January 12, 2018 07:53PM

Isn't being excommunicated just a label? Being excommunicated leaves your name on the local records. It's a disciplinary action.
When you resign you ask for your name to be completely removed from the local records. (They will never delete your name from the records in SLC.)

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Posted by: dogblogger ( )
Date: January 12, 2018 08:38PM

For my situation, I'd rather be exed. It would should my TBM relations that the church is messed up. Resigning is about me. Excommunication is about them. It puts the spot light on what the church did and shows them for what they are.

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Posted by: readwrite ( )
Date: January 13, 2018 11:50AM

Mormon (policy) just wants to dunk you, dead or alive. Superstition would have it that baptising someone twice is redundant. Talk about ridiculous; TCOH - The 'Church' Of Hassles; TCFH - The Church From Hell; TCOLH - The Church of Living Hell; The Church of Wasted Time. The Redundant couch-church.

If/ WHEN you get out of the vacuum - monotonous humdrum, elementary teachings, twisted beliefs, asinine practices, rituals and methods of Mormonism... - there is no need (purpose) in getting sucked back in.

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Posted by: smirkorama ( )
Date: January 13, 2018 12:40PM

axeldc Wrote:
> From the LDS Church's perspective, what is the
> difference between resignation and voluntary
> excommunication, which is what they used to call
> it.

Control! no one is allowed to formally leave with out the taint of formal condemnation, IF the MORmON cult has their heavy handed way.

Members did not have the right to formally leave with out the intended high humiliation and utter condemnation of the disciplinary measure of being exed, until Kathy Worthington took the matter to court, challenged LD$ Inc on the matter, prevailed on the matter to back LD$ inc's hostility to those who leave its MORmON cult.

> If some resigned and wants to come back, what does
> the church do?

Smirks with utter delight over their vindication in that particular instance.

> Do you have to be rebaptized, get
> temple ordinances again, etc.?

Who the Hell cares!!!! because regardless of whatever stupid meaning less crap is done to supposedly reinstate a member, that person will be TAINTED FOR EVER for the disgrace of not being faithFOOL to the bitter end.

> Does it harm your
> long term prospects in the cursus honorum?

Yah! as in HELL YES !!!! That disgraced person will never have any kind of leadership position. Because they are certified to be flawed by their exit from THE (MORmON) church regardless of how temporary that exit was.

> Note: I have no intention of going back, I
> resigned years ago, but this came up in a
> discussion. Purely academic interest.

my super a$$ hole MORmON enforcement agent Male parent told me that I needed to go in to the bishop and be excommunicated. I said that sounded just like the time when some a$$ hole insisted that "I" "needed" to go on a mission when "I" did not have any such need to do that at all, and it was really the need of the a$$ hole that had just claimed that it was "my" need.

It is impossible for me to say just how touching that moment really was as I understood full well that my MORmON male parent would have ran for the chance to kill himself rather than to have to deal with the humiliation of being ex commed.

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