3.05.2010

My Exit Letter

Member Records
50 E North Temple, Room 1372
SLC UT 84150-5310

Dear New Friend / LDS Church Employee,

Congratulations! You are the first one at church headquarters to find out that I'm officially resigning from the Mormon church.

Innit that special? Now, I understand if you feel the need to stop reading right now and gloat to your coworkers. I know the urge to jump up on the desk and do a happy dance is overwhelming. Don't hold back on my account. That guy over there, to your left? The one in the ugly tie? I wouldn't blame you one bit if you were to go rub his face in the fact that YOU were the one that got my resignation letter, and not HIM. Go ahead, do it. Literally rub this letter in his face. He deserves it.

I know what you're thinking. "It's like she's inside my head!" And the fact of the matter is, I bet you are pretty happy to be reading this letter. My assumption is that you are one of the church employees who processes a fair chunk of the resignation letters that come in. I also assume (having read several other people's letters myself) that most of them are either very dry and boring, or very angry. But aren't you the lucky one, because my letter is neither dry, nor boring, nor angry!

Slightly sarcastic, maybe.

But only just.

You see, when I first drafted my resignation letter from the Mormon church, I did it much the same way as many of my friends and acquaintances had done. I received advice from several sources that the church was able to process resignations more quickly and efficiently if the letter was formal, straightforward, and professional. So in my first draft I was very formal, straightforward, and professional. "To Whom It May Concern," it began. "I am writing to notify you of my resignation of membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints," it said. "I request that I not be contacted in any way, except as confirmation that my request has been fulfilled," it ended. After all, the LDS church is essentially a business, and so a business letter would be appropriate.

But then I got to thinking.

For 25 years, the Mormon church tried to get me to be a sheep. They weren't even subtle about it. They actually used the word “sheep.” I was told in countless lessons from Primary through Relief Society that I was a sheep, and that I had to follow the shepherd just like everyone else. "Conform!" they said. "Bah!" I replied. "Do everything we say, even when it's morally reprehensible!" they commanded. "Ba-wait, what?" I replied. "DO IT! OBEY! OBEY OR GO TO HELL!" they shouted. "Beh," I half-heartedly muttered.

Now that I'm rid of LDSism, why should I continue to do things the way the church expects me to? Writing this letter is my final act as a 'member' of your church - why not go out with a "bang!" instead of a "bah"? Why not write a letter that is uniquely and unquestionably me?

I know some people who, even though they have left the church themselves and despise its commandments to conform, would frown upon this. This is because some of them, after sending a letter announcing their own resignation, received notice from the church that they were subject to one of your "love courts" (which sounds like a great name for an 80s prime-time sitcom, if you ask me) or even excommunication. A church to which they didn't even belong was threatening them with disciplinary action. To which I say, what the fuck?

What? The? Fuck?

Now, look. I thought we were friends. You wouldn't try to pull something like that on me, now would you? Because after all, you and I both know that simply by your receipt of this letter I am no longer a member of your church. I know the church hates to relinquish power more than anything. But don't be absurd. I don't have to answer to any of your priesthood leaders for my actions. The church has absolutely no jurisdiction over me. So don't try to Bogart my decision. It makes you sound like a kid in junior high who just got dumped. "No, dude, she didn't break up with me. I broke up with her, right after she told me she wanted to break up!"

Puh-lease.

I totally broke up with you, and we both know it.

And I know the church well enough to know that even if it is willing to admit that, it will still try to place blame for our falling-out on me. "Yeah, she resigned her membership, but it's because she (select answer from list below)...
  • is too proud.
  • is too stubborn.
  • just really loves sinning.
  • was influenced by Satan.
  • was too easily offended by something somebody in Relief Society said about her.
  • thinks she's some kind of intellectual.
  • all of the above."

 The church would never, EVER find fault with itself. After all, the church is perfect. The church is true. The church is unchanging and unrelenting. Isn't that what you keep telling yourself, every time something happens that the church's doctrine/PR team can't explain? "Well, I don't understand the meaning behind this, but the church is true so it must be for my own good."

Do you not see the fallacy behind that line of reasoning? Now, seriously. Don't get your garments in a twist. I'm asking you as a friend.

We are friends, aren't we?

Good.

Now, friend, let me ask you something. Let's pretend that you're that kid in junior high again, only this time you're really really good at science class. You're a science nerd. Which is probably why I dumped you. Anywho, you're sitting in science class and the teacher asks if anyone can tell her the steps of the scientific method. Your nerdy little hand shoots up in the air and you recite, "Ask a question. Research the question. Form a hypothesis. Test your hypothesis. Analyse the results. If the hypothesis doesn't answer the question, start over." Well done! The teacher then gives you a silver star (it would have been gold if you had waited for her to call on you before blurting out your answer).

Now let's compare that with what the LDS church tells people to do.

In the logical world, the first step is the ask a question. In the Mormon world, the first step is to give you the answer. That is what we like to call "backward." Here, I've made a little chart for you to help you understand. I thought that as a science nerd, you'd like a good chart.


Admit it, you liked my chart.

You're thinking about cutting it out and taping it to your wall.

"See this?" you'll say to passersby, pointing to the chart. "This is why all those ex-mormons are wrong. They all think they're scientists!" The passersby will laugh as you take a sip of your caffeine-free Diet Coke, reveling in the attention. "Don't they know the difference between science and faith? God is the greatest scientist of all! Guffaw!"

See, bud, you're missing the point. Yes, it's called the "scientific method." But that doesn't mean that this is a science vs faith debate. I have no problem with faith. What I have a problem with is the LDS church's utter refusal to let its members figure out for themselves whether or not that faith is worth having. What I have a problem with is the church's emotional abuse of members who have the audacity to question anything they're told, and not just blindly accept the teachings of church leaders. What I have a problem with is the church saying that anyone who doesn't have a firm testimony in all of its bullshit must be doing something wrong.

So look, it's been fun and all. We had a good run. I'll never forget all the times the church bought me hot chocolate and donuts at Mutual activities. That was awesome. But the fact of the matter is, I've moved on. I've outgrown the church. I'm a lot happier without it, and I suspect that it's breathing a sigh of relief that I'm finally gone.

Best of luck to you, new friend / LDS church employee. I wish you nothing but happiness.

Now wasn’t this the best resignation letter you’ve ever read? Please feel free to share it with anyone who you think would enjoy it as much as you did. Just keep an out eye for that guy with the ugly tie. He's coveting your chart.

Also your wife.

Regards,

Kristen

p.s. Just to be sure we're clear, I am officially resigning my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints effective immediately. I request no contact from this point forward, except to acknowledge that my request has been processed and my name removed from church records. I expect this acknowledgement within 30 days of receipt of this letter. Cheers!

57 comments:

Nick Wheeler said...

I wish this were my letter. Mine was the boring one you spoke of. Yours? Totally awesome. And congratulations!

Ryan said...

Wow, Kristen. You actually did it. I'm very proud of you.

Craig said...

Congrats. It's both hilarious and a smackdown to Mormons.

Lisa said...

good god, this is fantastic.

i might write a letter in this same spirit. haha :D

congratulations

Tims0l said...

haha, This made me laugh, one of the funniest stumbles in ages. hoorah for atheism

Kristen said...

A big fat *muah!* to all of you.

Eric said...

Kristen, you left one giant thing out of your letter, and it's the reason your letter will find itself in front of such a tough room! They have tried to surgically remove the Sense of Humor... and have succeeded! Jesus was a Jew, and he delighted in cracking jokes about the Jewish religious establishment! (These guys, they could swallow a whole freakin' camel, and still spit out a gnat!) Not only that, but he had to do so knowing his joke would get re-translated and still retain its original flair! Humor and style, that's where the True Religion is at!

Michael said...

Congrats. I feel like showing this to a few Mormon friends of mine...

Steve said...

Kristen, as someone who simply stumbled on your letter late one Saturday evening I would like to say I hope you are enjoying your new-found freedom.You clearly have a terrific brain (and a pretty terrific father, from the earlier post).

You have taken a leap of faith, and I am sure you will find it rewarding. Not that you need *my* approbation.

Rachel said...

Hilarious! I particularly loved the chart. Rich, very rich.

(BTW...I'm a friend of Nick's....just noticed your tweet about this on his blog and had to check it out.)

Anonymous said...

What a great letter! I almost wish I needed to write a letter to my old church in order to be removed from the membership books. I think it might be quite cathartic.

Your chart outlining the scientific method vs the faith reponse was wonderful.

May you go forward in peace and retain your thirst for the truth at any cost. May you find a whole army of freed friends outside the sheep yard who will celebrate life with you.

Zoroaster said...

Kristen, you're beautiful.

Taylor said...

I had never read your blog before today, but you wrote the letter to the church that I wish my wife and I had written, rather than going the boring "succinct and direct" route. Simply excellent.

Gwenny said...

Excellent!

Mr. X said...

Stumbled from California, excellent letter, best of luck to you in the future.

Anonymous said...

Stumbled on this. Well done.

Let's encourage people to live their own lives, not the narratives invented by old white men.

Phil said...

Found posted on Atheist Nexus (humor group). Great letter, and congratulations :)

LDS Revelations said...

Funniest resignation letter I've ever read...and I've read a few. Thanks for sharing and good luck with your new found freedom.

Michael said...

Congratulations!! This was posted as a link through RfM. It's the funniest thing I've ever read.

Lori said...

Wow.

I think I'm in love with you, your letter was that awesome.

-Lori

Grammar G of "Big Beat Battalion" said...

one word:
RAD!

Jeffrey Draga said...

Brilliant! Just found your blog, so from one exmo to another, thanks for the laugh.

The authors of "In my other Life I was a Mormon" www.poinkie.com

pagilandia said...

hahaha.. stumbled on this one by accident.. Will you please marry me? ..although, it would be a more appropriate to wear those aprons and hats while we do it.. :D

Anonymous said...

You are a good writer. That was a letter I would read again.

I'm not Mormon, so I am not so sure how offensive it would be to a resignation department clerk, but I thought it was really funny.

Amy said...

You are my hero! I was still scared and shy when I first left (it takes a few years to recover from leaving a cult...). I wanna be your friend... and I wanna post your chart on MY wall!

Anonymous said...

I am a retired CES instructor. I ROTFLMAO. And I don't do that often. Is Kristen open to an invitation to join a private email discussion list of like-minded though not quite so eloquent reprobates that I moderate?

Anonymous said...

that was a great letter, kept my attention, made me laugh, and was 'instructive' to the more sap reading it at Member Records.

jpicht said...

Some reprobate forwarded your letter to a Mormon listserve I slouch through from time to time. I thought it was amusing. I really did. And that's from an active LDS true-believer. Not having a sense of humor I didn't laugh, but I felt an incipient smile form once or twice and refrained from rolling my eyes even once. My only objection is your choice of fonts and background colors. If you sent your letter to the COB looking like it did on my screen, no one there laughed, either. The eyes of the guy at Member Records started to water as he read the first sentence and he felt like he was going blind by the middle.

Moroni McConkie said...

Will someone please forward this to Ardis Parshall so she can shit a brick?

BeneeK said...

U completely and utterly ROCK!!!!
My letter was a boring one as well.
Congrats on getting out!!! Welcome to freedom and free thought!!!

Reina said...

I can't say anything more than anyone else has already said. I love this letter. You have a new fan!

Ginger said...

Holy Cow! I SO wish I'd written mine like that!

Well done!

Andee said...

This was amazing.

Well done!!!

Happy Stan said...

Epic. Now I wish I hadn't resigned via the 'prescribed' form letter on mormonnomore.com. Writing an articulate, authentic, meaningful, hard hitting, realistic, true and hilarious letter like yours would have made a much finer addition to my "Book of Rememberance" than the form letter I signed.
Maybe I can go back and join again, just so I can craft a real exit letter like yours. Mind if I steal it?

Anonymous said...

Kristen,

That was FAN-MFIN-TASTIC!

My wife and I have been talking about resigning, and I downloaded a form letter for that purpose, but after reading this, there is NO WAY I'm using a form letter.

I wish you all the happiness in the world and thank you for your example of leaving in style.

I laughed through the whole thing. Good work.

W

Jadie said...

I've never posted on a stranger's blog before, but THIS.WAS.AWESOME. I'm sooooo printing out that chart...

Thank you for the laugh!!

Ange said...

BEST LETTER EVER. Someone linked me to it and I couldn't not leave a comment. :) Way to go! Love that chart too! ;)

Area Man said...

Hi, I resigned from the church, too. But, you resigned and blew the front door open all vigilante-like with an explosive ability to think clearly and logically! Blam Blam!! Take that sheep ____ers! LOL

I want to see more letters from members that aren't afraid to call the church's different objective and objectionable absurdities for what they are. Just nice, witty, clear thinking --facts-- that overflow with righteous indignation (read: confidence) in a resignation letter to church HQ. I hear some ex-mos that claim they are ex-mo but really aren't because they never officially resigned. They tell me they don't feel it will do any good or make a difference for the hassle to go through with the resignation process. It's examples like these that say: "Maybe they just will! [make a change]"


What's great about this as well, and I realize the major aspect of this may already be obvious, but this is one way we can start to plant seeds to fight this evil citadel of cult thinking (and I mean that in the Half Life 2 alien Combine sense if it makes that word sound any worse, those dirty ___ fuckers).

The attrition of the church's correspondence/PR staff to potentially dwindle into ex-mos... Ha, maybe that's absurd but it sure is fun to imagine.

Anyways, what's your number and when are we getting married? J/K LOL

Hiker said...

Kristen, reading that letter made me wish I had not resigned just so I could do it right.

Bravo!!!

Anonymous said...

Best. Resignation. Letter. Ever.

The end.

Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

Stop being offended and come back - well maybe not! Good letter

Anonymous said...

You are brilliant. :)

Sibyl Vane said...

You know, if you'd just pray about it...

:D

Just kidding.

Excellent letter, excellent chart.

Matt said...

That was a wonderful letter! Truly awesome! With great touches of humour.

("Oh, look. He said Humour! Is he Canadian?" Nah! "Is he an Aussie? No, mate! "Oh, then he must be British!" Too bloody right!)

I wish I'd have gone the humour route, but I, too, sent a boring letter. COB will have a laugh and tell you to write to your local Bishop. But beat them at their own game. Copy the local Morg leadership in to the letter. Then they'll have no excuse for ignoring it.

I think I'll have to subscribe to your blog!

Anonymous said...

I am an ex perth western australian mormon that was terminated from attending church
because I suffered scizeprenia
and the new bishop was dead set
against people with mental illness
that had a problem keeping a smile
on their faces because of the pressure of the church made them worse, this arrogant bishop who
never smiled himself terminated
me and to this day years later
not a letter has been answered that I sent the church here and
in the states just ignored like
a piece of shit. This church is
a cult the king of cults that
are sucessful but it took this
discrimination against me to
realize that it was a cult.
Be warned jesus came for the saints not the sinners is the
example in mormonism but in
the true sense any other church
would accept me and has done
so. It cost me my marrige in
the church and more. Even
my messed up cultish wife
believed I was dammed to had
been terminated and wasnt good
enough for heaven because of
my mental illness.
Since going to another church
I hardly have any negitive
behaviour feeling the real
jesus in my life not the
counterfiet one of mormonism
and their stinking filthy rags
of rightous teachings that
walk past a wounded man while
a good samariton stops to help
Yes a good samariton was the
better example than stinking
levitical modern day moromons
and I've learnt that even
the levites stated that saturday was the 4 commandment remember the 7 th day and keep it holy, saturday but modern day levites
follow the catholic change of sabbath who are above the bible
and above the 10 commandments
to ignore the true sabbath.
Both mormons and catholics are
the false churches.

amen.....martinryan15@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Dear Kristen:

Gracias for su carta. But my English is very little. Request processed pronto.

Adios
Juan Thomas Trujillo
LDS Chief Clerk
Membership Department

Konrad said...

Definitely a new fan! I linked your letter from my blog on here. www.konradjuengling.blogspot.com . :) If you dont like it I can definitely take it down.

Konrad

TGD said...

Best resignation letter evar!
I want to join the church again just so I can resign like that. My letter was boring and cut and paste off the Internets. I didn't even state any reason why I left in my letter.

Becky said...

Did it work? I tried the email thing and so far, no luck...

Scatterbrains, Caged Monkeys, and Ignorami said...

You are AMAZING! I love it! I'm going to go out with a bang, too. No regrets! :)

Peterbilt said...

ROFL, this is truly classic. You rule.

Brandon Mitchell said...

Kristen,

I hope you find what you are looking for. As I read these comments I can't help but see the direction our world is heading in. Our country is falling apart because (no matter what religion you have) we as a people have taken God out of our society. This great nation was founded on God and the principles of free religion. I just hope that we as a people remember that or we may be saying goodbye to all our freedoms.

Religion just brings peace, happiness, joy, and love to the people and if that is all it ever does then it is worth it. Anger, hate, sarcasm, and descrimination leads to more pain for everyone.

Good luck with all your endeavors. I just wanted to point out the comments that this post has stirred up.

KleoPatra said...

AWEsome!

This Jewess loves it!!!

:)

Can't wait to read more of this blog... i accidentally stumbled upon this tonight and it was a highlight for sure!

AZAtheist (Former Mormon) said...

First time reading your blog, but having read your resignation letter and reviewed your chart, I am an instant fan! BEST LETTER EVER!

Gwennaƫlle said...

I am keeping my fingers crossed that they just did not skip to the part that really enabled them to consider it an "official" resignation letter because the church does need not to let idiots feeling so superior in their belief system.
I mean I am LDS and don't intend just a second to be out again but I know what you are talking about and I wish the FP'd be a little less proud or a little more concerned about the message they have been encouraging and emphasizing.

Liz Brown said...

I. LOVE. IT.

Swearing Elder said...

Epic resignation letter. Epic.