Instructions for Resignation Letter

Timothy Oliver

1. Identify the Mormon leader (and his address) to whom you must send your Resignation Letter.

Men who have held the Mormon Melchizedek priesthood, and women who have received the Mormon temple endowment ceremony, should write to their current stake president. All others should write to their current bishop. Be sure to use his name and personal address at the top of the letter. This will let him know you have identified and located him personally.

If you do not know the names and addresses of your bishop and stake president, or what ward and stake cover your current address, you can obtain that information by calling the Member and Statistical Records Division at: (801) 240-3500. You can then find out if your records are in your local ward by calling the bishop.

If your records are not in your local ward, you may want to help the process of locating them. In your letter include enough information for them to identify your record: date and place of birth, names of mother and father, and the last ward (to your knowledge) to have your record.

2. In your letter identify all persons whose names should be removed from Mormon church records.

It is important to state both your name and address. If you have children involved, include their names in your letter, state that their membership is also ended, and have them sign the letter also. You should also be sure to date your letter. Including all this information will ensure that the Bishop has no excuse for delaying his response.

3. Mailing your Resignation Letter.

We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men (see Doctrine & Covenants 121:37, 39). Some persons who have left the Mormon church and who request that their names be removed from the church's records have found their former leaders very uncooperative. Harassment may include deliberate obstruction and protracted delays, attempts to persuade or intimidate the person not to sever official membership ties, or conversely, initiating excommunication proceedings against that person.

For this reason you should send all of your letters to Mormon authorities "Certified, Return Receipt Requested." This requires the person to whom the letter is addressed to sign for it. His signature acknowledges receipt of the letter. Upon delivery of your letter the Post Office will return the signed card to you. Be sure you keep the return card in a safe place. It is legally binding proof that the Mormon authority received your letter, and well worth the extra cost in mailing. Having such proof --- and the Mormon authorities knowing you have such proof --- may be a deterrent to their taking unwarranted and defamatory action against you, and an incentive for doing what you ask in a timely manner.

If they refuse to remove your name from their membership records, or if they excommunicate you and you attempt to redeem your good name and reputation by suing them for defamation of character, then you must have the return receipt to prove that you already had withdrawn from membership, and that they knew it, before they took action against you. Otherwise your letter will not be admitted as evidence.

Do not let any of the above intimidate you from doing what is right. The Church has recognized that obstruction and stonewalling former members' requests that their names be removed from Church records poses a serious public relations problem. They have generally become more cooperative in recent years than in the past, and will probably comply with your request without any problems. The language of the letter below, and your mailing it "Certified, Return Receipt Requested," will let them know that you really do mean business, and are competent to carry it out.

The 30-day time frame for response suggested in the letter should be adequate regardless of where your records are. But if you know that your records are not already in your local ward you may wish to give them a longer time, perhaps six weeks. If the Mormon authorities do not reply within four to six weeks of your receiving the return card acknowledging their receipt of your letter, please contact us at Watchman Fellowship immediately for further assistance.

Be sure you keep a copy of your actual letter for yourself.

4. Resignation Letter Content.

There is a point in the model Resignation Letter below where you may appropriately insert a personal witness or testimony to those receiving your letter. A model witness is also included below. Inclusion of a witness in your letter, as well as use of this model, is entirely at your discretion. Watchman Fellowship recommends, however, that you do not materially alter the rest of the letter except to make it grammatically correct for the number of signatories.


(Your name and address)

(Bishop's or Stake President's name and address)

Dear Mr. ___________ ,

This letter is formal notification that I [we] have, of my [our] own free will, resigned from membership in your church, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," and henceforth deny and renounce any and all connection thereto. Therefore:

1. I [we] am [are] not subject to said church in any way, and therefore not liable nor subject to excommunication or any similar proceeding in the "courts" of said church.

2. You and said church have no right to carry my [our] name[s] in the membership records of said church.

I [we] therefore request that you send me [us]official written notification that my [our] name[s] has [have] been removed from the records of said church, and that such notification include specific acknowledgement that:

1. I [we] have not been "excommunicated" or "disfellowshipped" from "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," but:

2. I [we] am [are] no longer member[s] of "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," by our my [our] own free will and choice, and therefore:

3. My [our] name[s] has [have] been removed from the membership records of "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" and:

4. The sole reason for removing my [our] name[s] from the membership records of said church is my [our] request.

Please understand that I [we] am [are] not requesting permission to leave "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." I [we] am [are] not a member[s] of said church right now, by my [our] own choice and action as stated above. Accordingly, you should write on your ward record[s] of my [our] former membership: "Has [have] withdrawn from membership. Please remove name[s] from Church membership records," and send it [them] to the "Member and Statistical Records Division" at your church headquarters.

Church courts are for church members. Since by my [our] own choice and action of resignation I [we] am [are] no longer a member[s], then either retaining my [our] name[s] on church membership records or convening any church court regarding myself [ourselves] would be an wholly inappropriate and unwarranted action. I [we] will regard either action as a deliberate defamation of my [our] good character and reputation, for which I [we] will seek appropriate redress from you personally, and from the "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" corporately, through due process of law. I [we] advise that you consider carefully the case of Marian Quin vs. the Collinsville Church of Christ in Oklahoma, and the $10 million suit that Norman Hancock filed against your church in Arizona. Additionally, if you or any church authorities are recalcitrant in granting my [our] request, then newspapers with national and international circulation will receive notice of your treatment of me [us], and worldwide exposure on the Internet is likewise assured.

(Insert personal testimony here, if desired. The {{double-bracketed}} paragraph below provides an example of the kind of thing you may wish to say as a personal witness or testimony to those receiving your letter. Inclusion of a witness as well as use of this model is entirely at your discretion.)

{{I realize that in your own opinion the decision I [we] have made is a drastic one that entails eternal consequences. I [we] too believe in and look forward to the eternal consequences. I [we] have left Mormonism to accept God's free gift of eternal life (Rom. 6:23). This is not only immortality (living forever as resurrected beings), but "Eternal Life" --- knowing God and living with Him forever (John 17:3; 1 John 5:10-13). And so I [we] give thanks to the Father, who has qualified me [us] to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. For He delivered me [us] from the domain of darkness, and transferred me [us] to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in Whom I [we] have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:12-14). For God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved me [us], even when I [we] was [were] dead in my [our] transgressions, made me [us] alive together with Christ (by grace I [we] have been saved), and raised me [us] up with Him, and seated me [us] with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but in the one to come (Eph. 2:4-6; 1:21). With such wonderful promises directly from God's Word I [we] think you can see how utterly unnecessary it is to me [us] to have either Joseph Smith's consent or yours to enter Eternal Life. Jesus has consented, and given it all to me [us] as a free gift which I [we] have accepted and entered into, already (John 6:37-40, 47, 5:24).}}

I [we] hope that this letter has not seemed unfriendly, for I [we] certainly have no personal malice toward you or any member of the your church. If any portion of it seems harsh or threatening it is only because I [we] have learned by others' sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of some church leaders, having a little authority, as they suppose, to attempt to exercise unrighteous control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of persons leaving the church. I [we] hope that you will have the wisdom to understand that you have no "authority" over me [us] and spare yourself and your church the embarrassment of following their example.

Please know that the time for you to influence me [us] even by persuasion is past. My [our] decision was taken only after thorough study, deliberation, and many prayers. My [our] decision is final. Any efforts by priesthood home teachers, Relief Society visiting teachers, or any other representatives of "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" to contact me [us] either by letter (other than that requested herein), by telephone, or in person will be a very unwelcome invasion of my [our] privacy, and will be considered as harrassment and an attempt to abrogate my [our] free agency.

Be assured that I [we] are well aware of my [our] rights under the Constitution and laws of the land with respect to all of the above. I [we] are prepared to take any necessary legal action to ensure those rights. I [we] trust, however, that such action will not be necessary, and that your response will be swift (30 days should be more than enough time) and to the point as described above.


(Your name[s])
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