An Attorney and How He Removed his Name from the Mormon Records

I'm willing to wager that my personal exodus (excommunication excepted) is one of the most speedy to take place, perhaps the "speediest", yet. The bishop & stake president received my request (as evidenced by the US Mail return receipt) on Sep. 18th and according to SLC, my name was officially removed on Oct. 24th (of which I am a little skeptical, since the my letter that SLC refers to in #12 below was not received until Oct. 28th - as evidenced by the US Mail return receipt). That comes up to 37 days. However, I did not receive written notification of compliance with my request (which I asked for in my original exit request - item #1 below) until Nov. 8th. Therefore, at a minimum, it would appear that it takes at least 52 days for a written exit request to be received, for it to be honored, and for notification of compliance to be sent and received by the "exitor".

For most individuals, I view the successful exit request as a "3 step process":

1) Send your initial exit letter to the bishop (certified mail RRR and to his home address), courtesy copy to the stake president, and an additional courtesy copy to Membership and Statistical Records Division (address is included in #6 below); (by the way, for US residents, the local bishop's & local SP's addresses can be located in the local telephone directory, business-white pages under "Church JC LDS");

2) The bishop will likely send to you a "form letter" of sorts stating that he is honoring your request stating that you can rescind/revoke the request by contacting the stake president within 30 days; this letter should arrive within 2 - 4 weeks of your bishop's receipt of your original letter. If it doesn't - you're getting "jacked around".

3) Wait about 30 days after you receive the bishop's "acknowledgment" letter and then call ((801) 240-3500) or write to the Member and Statistical Records Division to confirm "compliance"... In the event of "Noncompliance" - request that SLC contact your stake president to expedite the process (and point out that both he and your bishop received your written request more than a month ago). That should do it. It might take a couple more weeks, but, more than likely your request will be honored.

As you can see, "30 Days" is overly optimistic... and downright unlikely. My estimate would be that "60 Days" would be an optimistic, achievable goal/result.



(a.k.a - "Doin' the Exit Shuffle")
1) 9-16-97 "Exit Letter" - certified mail, RRR, both to the bishop and to the stake president;
2) 9-29-97 - after no response to my exit letter, I sent a copy of the "exit letter" to SLC;
3) 9-30-97 - the next day, I receive a response from the bishop;
4) 9-30-97 - I respond to the bishop's letter to clarify some "ambiguities"; the main "ambiguity" being that I did NOT want a "30 day holding period", but wanted my request implemented immediately;
5) 10-07-97 - I receive a response and a kind "Invitation" from SLC;
6) 10-07-97 - I respond to SLC and decline the First Presidency's "Invitation";
7) 10-08-97 - I write to a member who has twice called and left a message asking me what my home teaching statistics were. If my name HAD been removed, I never would have received such a call...
8) 10-10-97 - I receive a letter from the bishop: "Bottom line, your name has been removed."
9) 10-21-97 - I call SLC (801) 240-3500 and get shuffled to the person dealing with "confidential" matters... Bottom line? My name has NOT been removed.
10) 10-21-97 - I write USA Today and forward a courtesy copy, and all attachments, to the Salt Lake Tribune.
11) 10-22-97 - I write Pres. Hinckley & include copies of ALL the above.
12) 10-31-97 - I am notified by the secretary to the 1st Presidency that I am now just a "Mr." as opposed to a "Br." since my name was removed on Oct. 24th. FINALLY - SIMPLE ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF A SIMPLE REQUEST!
Austin, Texas
Date of Birth: _____

September 16, 1997

President GR

Austin, Texas
Certified Mail Return Receipt Request No. _____

Dear President R,

I am writing to officially request that my name be removed from the records of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; my full name is MJJ..., son of ____ & _____ and my date of birth is _____. After years of soul-searching, prayer, and study, my self-imposed ultimatum must finally be answered: "...Mike - you're either in or out... which is it?" Having been born into the church, blessed with wonderful, loving parents, and immersed in a "culture" that teaches Christian values and ethics -- I wish to make it very clear that I am not leaving the church because of hurt feelings, contact with "anti-Mormons", or from sin or moral indiscretion. I have family, friends, and acquaintances who are members of the church who have enriched my life and for whom I feel deep love and gratitude; it is my intention to respect their spiritual convictions and in no way do I intend to cast aspersions upon or disparage their belief system. My request to have my records stricken from the church is made of my own volition and I am fully cognizant of the consequences according to LDS doctrine.

I insist that my records, and the letter notifying me that my name has been removed from church records, explicitly state that the only reason why my name has been removed is solely because I requested that it be done; in other words, I request that the word "excommunication" not be used in the church records, or in the letter notifying me of this action. I would not hesitate to take legal action against the church if anything is done to slander my good name, or if members of this stake are given the impression that I left because of immorality.

The only church-related contact I will accept is specifically limited to written correspondence necessary to secure the removal of my name from the records of the church. Please understand that the action requested in this letter is, in essence, acknowledging the reality that I do not have a testimony of the "truthfulness" of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the restoration claimed by Joseph Smith, Jr., or the Book of Mormon.

I will not attempt to list all of the doctrinal problems that I have encountered and contemplated; however, I am convinced that, on many issues, the LDS church engages in what I term "selective nondisclosure." Anything "mainstream", "politically correct" a.k.a. "faith promoting" is readily promoted, published, propagandized... and in some instances, embellished to appeal to larger audiences. Embarrassing issues, inconsistencies, and unpleasant doctrines are suppressed, ignored, or abruptly apologized away -- I believe -- to satisfy and comfort members, to hide doctrinal errors, and to protect some leaders from exposure to their moral failures. A few examples are as follows:

1) Doctrines: polygamy (very different as compared to how it was practiced in the Old Testament); Adam/God doctrine; Blood Atonement; Re-baptism; the offensive treatment of and statements about the black race; evolution of the endowment...

2) Joseph Smith: "translation" by means of a peep-stone in his hat...even when the plates were not on the premises; the Book of Abraham and the not so "lost papyrus"; the secret practice of polygamy (for close to ten years before the 1843 "revelation") accompanied by public denials (i.e. outright lies) of the doctrine; various unfulfilled/failed prophecies...

3) Brigham Young: well... when Gordon B. Hinckley was questioned about some of Brigham Young's teachings his response was on the lines of "...Brigham Young said a lot of things..."

4) Book of Mormon: contrary to the many good-intentioned insinuations of various Sunday School/Seminary teachers, there is no archeological evidence or facts that support it; although it may contain many beautiful concepts and ideas, ultimately, it is a matter of faith - it is either truth...or fiction (or as some would state it - either "fact" or fiction; unfortunately there are no facts).

These are just a few samples of a much larger list/body of items with which I have struggled for quite some time now. A church or theology that makes exceptional claims should withstand "exceptional scrutiny" if its assertions are true. In my opinion, the LDS church does not withstand such scrutiny; I wish it could - but it does not. Granted, the LDS church does much "good" - but so does any respectable fraternal organization. The LDS church does not have a monopoly on Christian values -- or for that matter -- on "truth". From my vantage, the church is a venerable religious corporation with a "Christian-agenda" led by astute, seasoned, businessmen -- a "vehicle" that attempts and accomplishes much good.

My rejection of the LDS church does not constitute a rejection of God, Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit. For those who have no doubts or those who can suppress what doubts they do have, the church is their panacea; for me, the LDS church is not what it claims and is not my personal panacea. The church is not the gospel or vice versa.

I can no longer in good conscience avoid my self-imposed ultimatum ("...either in or out - which is it..."); I have made my decision. I ask that you please respect my request to have my name removed immediately. Be aware that I will not welcome any visits from missionaries, home teachers, bishopric or stake presidency members. My decision is final in this matter, and any missionary efforts on the part of the LDS church will be considered an invasion of my privacy. I understand that it takes approximately thirty days in order for a request of this nature to be granted. Thank you for your prompt assistance in this matter.



cc: Bishop Texas

Certified RRR No._____


[On Law Office Letterhead]
Corporation of the President of the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Office of the First Presidency
50 East North Temple Street
Salt Lake City, Utah 84150

September 29, 1997

Dear Sirs:

I am providing your office with a copy of a written request that was sent certified mail, return receipt requested, to the local stake president; likewise, a courtesy copy was sent to the local bishop. Also attached is a photocopy of the "green cards" demonstrating that both the stake president and bishop have received my letter. As of today's date I have yet to receive any correspondence to the effect that my request has been honored - or will be honored.

To my knowledge, there is no reason why the redaction process which I desire, and have requested, cannot be immediately implemented. It should be a simple, procedural, bookkeeping matter. As you may note from my original letter, I consider this to be a private and a personal matter -- a serious request that should be acknowledged by expeditiously implementing it in simple compliance with its terms. I have every intention of keeping the matter private and personal out of love and respect for my parents and family. However, any further delays in granting my request may result in this becoming a public matter.

I understand that the local stake president and bishop are busy men with their ecclesiastical responsibilities on top of their personal obligations. I respect their convictions and the time they commit to fulfilling their callings. I hope that they can likewise respect my convictions and my request.

My original letter is self-explanatory. Please review it. Thank you for your very prompt attention to this matter.



enc: Copy of org'l letter to stake president.

Certified No._____


[Church Letterhead]
[Address & date]

Dear Brother J:

I have received your request asking that your name be removed from the records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I will, of course, honor that request and begin the process at once.

I would, however, ask that you give careful consideration to the action that you have requested. The eternal implications are serious and I would be remiss in my responsibilities as a Bishop in the Church if I failed to advise you concerning them. The Lord has provided each of us with a simple plan and opportunity to return to him through obedience to his laws and commandments. You once accepted and embraced those concepts but now feel that they no longer have a place in your life. At this point, I'm not completely aware of your reasons for leaving the Church, but I would inform you, should you allow this to proceed, to continue, it could have eternal consequences on your life. Please take a very close look at your decision and be very, very sure that this is what you really want.

As you stated in your letter, I will hold this request for 30 days before submitting it to Salt Lake and should you reconsider your request and decide not to have your name removed, you may contact President _____ at the address or phone listed below. May the Lord bless you in your search for happiness and may you find peace in what ever course you set.



[address & phone of Stake Pres.]


[On Law Office Letterhead]
Bishop _____

September 30, 1997

RE: Please implement my original request without further delay; I did not, and do not, request a 30-day "holding" period.

Dear Bishop _____,

In response to your letter dated September 26, 1997 -- which to me looks and sounds surprisingly much like a "form letter"-- I write this letter. Usually, I do not expend much time and effort in responding to "form letters"; but, this letter merely acknowledges the sentiments of the original: I understand the "seriousness", as well as the "consequences" according to LDS doctrine, of my simple redaction request.

I am enclosing a photocopy of my original letter with certain portions hi-lighted to clarify two ambiguities I noticed in your form letter:

(1) My reasons for having my name removed from the records of the church are succinctly stated (and are now hi-lighted on the enclosed copy): the church is not what it claims to be. As such, I must be true to my convictions & conscience and not be a part of something that purports possessing "truth" in absolute terms when it cannot support such assertions doctrinally.

(2) My original letter did NOT request a 30 day holding period. If you will read the last paragraph again -- "I understand that it takes approximately 30 days in order for a request of this nature to be granted" -- does NOT translate to "...once you receive this request, sit on it for thirty days in case I change my mind...". My request was received by you on September 18, 1997; my intent with my original request was that the entire redaction procedure be completed no later than October 18, 1997.

Reiterating my original letter: "I have made my decision." Please do not delay my original request. I request that you forward my request IMMEDIATELY to Salt Lake City. The thinking has been done, the decision was made, and a request has been tendered; therefore, no delays are necessary. In fact any dilatory tactics can only be viewed as a paternalistic effort to obstruct my moral agency.

As I mentioned before, the church accomplishes good works; but the "church" is not the gospel, nor does it have a monopoly on truth. In closing, your "form letter" stated: "May the Lord bless you in your search for happiness and may you find peace in what ever course you set." To this I can whole-heartedly acknowledge - the Lord, indeed, has blessed me and continues to bless me more than any expression of gratitude on my part could ever adequately convey; every prayer is heard and every prayer is answered in its due course.



enc: Copy of Org'l request


(5) [SLC sent me an "Invitation to Come Back" flyer]


[I printed this on the Invitation Pamphlet and mailed it back to SLC]

To your kind "Invitation" - NO THANK YOU!!!
My Invitation: Remove my name from the records of the church IMMEDIATELY or I will be forced to seek the legal system to order you to honor my God-given moral agency.

Membership and Statistical Records Division
C/O Yves R. Perrin
Thirteenth Floor
50 East North Temple Street
Salt Lake City, Utah 84150
October 7, 1997

Dear Mr. Perrin:

I must decline the First Presidency's Invitation. You really should read an individual's letter before forwarding it back to his/her bishop. If you HAD read my last letter you would know that my bishop and stake president ALREADY received it. I do NOT believe Joseph Smith was a prophet of God nor do I believe his claims regarding the restoration. I do NOT believe the Book of Mormon to be based on verifiable fact. Although it is fiction, I do appreciate many of the Christian concepts which it contains. If I am not promptly notified that my records have been removed, absolutely redacted from the records of the church, I will send copies of ALL my correspondence regarding this request (including a copy of this letter) to the Salt Lake Tribune so that it can be publicly known that it is the church's policy to engage in dilatory tactics by refusing to honor the sincere, free choice of an individual to merely have his name removed from the corporation's records.

I repeat, I DO NOT AGREE WITH THE "TRUTHFULNESS" OF THE LDS CHURCH. Please remove my name from the corporation's records IMMEDIATELY.

Date of Birth: May 10, 1967
[Fax #]

(7)[Re: Hometeaching "stats"]

Dear Charles,

Some time ago I sent letters to the people I was supposed to home teach; each letter contained a stamped, self-addressed envelope with a brief information sheet. One letter was returned to me undeliverable; the others never returned the brief sheet (which basically asked for phone numbers, address updates, and convenient times to visit). My assumption was that those individuals were not interested in being home taught; with which I can understand and really relate. So, since that time, I have respected my assumption -- as well as the "teachees" privacy. As of September 16, 1997 I "permanently retired" from hometeaching (amongst other things) -- being one as well as receiving them. I'm sorry there's such a "lag" in getting that type of information out to those (such as yourself) who should get it. I did, however, at that time inform the bishop and President Robinson regarding the matter.

My stats are "0". You might want to let the Elder's quorum president know that some reassignments are in order. Just because I conveyed my intentions to the bishop does not mean he passed it on to the Elder's quorum president. Why my "retirement" has not been passed down the "chain-of-command" is beyond me. Sorry for any inconvenience.



[CJCLDS letterhead]
[my name & address]
October 8, 1997

Dear Brother J:

I have received your second letter dated September 30, 1997. Bottom line, your name has been removed. The reference to "holding" for 30 days was an incorrect way of stating this action can be rescinded if a written request to do so is received by the stake president within 30 days.

I hope this clarifies that your request has been honored.


BJC Bishop


(9) [I call Membership Records (801) 240-3500; BOTTOM LINE? My name has NOT been removed...


(10) [Law Office Letterhead]

USA Today
1000 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22229
October 21, 1997
RE: "Mormons on Mission to Grow" article in the life section of October 21, 1997. The church is like a "classic", popular tune: " can check out anytime you like - but you can't never leave...". It is MUCH easier to be baptized a member than to officially remove your membership off of the church's records.

Dear USA Today:

Your most recent story titled "Mormons on Mission to Grow" made me chuckle, shake my head, and smile as I read it. I have been a member of that group for most of my life - attended seminary & institute, served a mission, and held many "callings". The noted growth is merely "statistical growth"; it does not account for a large percentage of the members of record who, in Mormon terminology, are "inactive". From personal observation and years of "participation", I would estimate that at least one-half of the "statistical members" on the church's roles are "inactive". As a missionary some years ago in Portugal, I would estimate that about 75% of the "converts" dropped-off into "inactivity" within three months of being baptized. My estimates are in no way scientific measurements, but are merely my observations as a "member", noting who is "there" (meaning at "church") and who is not.

To further illustrate how such statistical growth is overstated, I am including with this letter ALL recent correspondence with the Corporation of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its "subsidiaries". On September 16, 1997 I requested that my name be removed from the records of the church. I was told that my request had been granted. This morning, however, when I called the Member and Statistical Records Division of the church in Salt Lake (801-240-3500) to verify that my request had, indeed, been implemented -- I discovered that I am still a "member of record". My correspondence in this matter is self-explanatory and I have redacted the names of those involved, but not their respective "title or church role".

I bear no animosity towards the church or its members, but facts are facts; the facts that are so frequently touted as "astonishing" statistical growth are quite inflated considering the fact that half of those "statistics" do not participate or are quite indifferent about their membership in the church. This also ignores an extremely small minority of individuals who repeatedly request to be removed from the church's "statistics" and are repeatedly ignored in some paternalistic effort by bishops, stake presidents, etc. at protecting "us" from our own sincere, deliberate choices. There is no "waiting period" to be baptized a member of the church; so - why should there be a "waiting period" to exit the church if you no longer desire to be one of its "statistics"?

Thank you for your time.



enc: "Redaction Correspondence"

cc: Salt Lake Tribune
143 South Main
SLC, Utah 84111


[Law Office Letterhead]

President Gordon B. Hinckley
Corporation of the President of the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
50 East North Temple Street
Salt Lake City, Utah 84150

October 21, 1997

Dear President Hinckley:

I recently made a simple request that has been ignored. Why must such a simple matter require so much effort? If the church cannot respect and honor my God-given right to worship "how, where, or what [I] may" by removing my name from its membership records, I am very strongly considering filing suit in a court of law to order the corporation to comply with my simple request. If that is the course I must pursue to resolve this matter, so be it; however, it will not be a private matter. It will be very public. Any newspaper, magazine, television show, or any form of public media that desires copies of the correspondence that I am enclosing with this letter will be given a copy.

The enclosed materials are self-explanatory. Some of it may not be eloquent or grammatically correct, but in its entirety, it contains my sincerest and deepest conviction regarding my simple redaction request. I respect your convictions, please honor mine. If I am not notified in writing that my name has been removed from the records of the church within fourteen days of your or your representative's receipt of this letter, I will take legal action to secure a court order for that purpose. This is not a threat; it is a promise. I am very disappointed that the church bureaucracy has paternalistically ignored my right to make my own choices. It is a skewed system that allows practically anyone to "join the ranks" with no waiting period and little effort or preparation, but ignores and delays the very clear, honest, and sincere desires and attempts of an individual to leave that system. Where is the honor and integrity in a system that is so controlling as to ignore a simple request, not to mention my legal right, to remove myself from that organization?

I have other interests that I would like to pursue, but before embarking on such pursuits, I want to permanently close this particular episode of my life. I am asking you to please honor my original request. May the Lord bless you with discernment to understand that not everyone wants to belong to the LDS church or subscribe to the church's version of history and its doctrines. Not everyone can sustain you in your official church capacity; that is a factual reality, one that you need to confront, acknowledge, and accept.



enc: "Redaction Correspondence"
Certified RRR #P 108 499 153



Office of the First Presidency
47 East South Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150

October 31, 1997


[my address]

Dear Mr. J:

I have been asked to acknowledge your letter dated October 21, 1997, about your desire to have your name removed from the records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

We note your name was removed from the records of the Church on October 24, 1997

Sincerely yours,

F. Michael Watson
Secretary to the First Presidency


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