Below is my letter and the saga of how the whole process went for me. Not everyone having their names removed from LDS Church records has as much trouble as I did. I believe Church leadership made it so difficult because I was the current Relief Society President. There was no way my leaving the Church could be done discreetly and without raising questions; therefore, their only recourse would have been to discredit me for the sake of damage control.
* * * * *
Dear Bishop Lytle, November 29, 2000
This is to inform you that as of today, November 29, 2000, I have terminated my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
1. Please remove my name from the records of the church.
2. In 30 days please send me a letter confirming that my membership was terminated at my request.
3. The word “excommunication” is not to be used in your letter to me, nor on the records.
At this time I would like to express my appreciation for your example, outstanding character, and kindness. You are truly a wonderful man and I have valued your friendship. I hope that our friendship will continue, although I understand if it cannot.
The reason for my leaving the church is that I was ignorant of its history and many un-biblical doctrines. As an investigator at age 13, I failed to investigate. Had I known at that time what I know now, I would not have joined the LDS church. The history and doctrines that have caused me particular concern and distress are as follows:
- Joseph Smith practicing polyandry and polygamy and attempting to enforce it by the threat of eternal damnation if refused.
- Joseph Smith changing his account of the First Vision numerous times; in one account he claimed to have seen one personage, in another he claimed to have seen two. In still another there was no mention of any personages, only angels. In the Fifth Lecture on Faith Joseph teaches that God the Father is a Spirit, and not of flesh and bone. Which account are we to believe?
- Brigham Young teaching that the Savior’s Infinite Atonement is finite. He taught the principle of “blood atonement”; the necessity of shedding one’s blood for sins like adultery — sins which Jesus clearly forgave during his lifetime, and clearly forgives now.
- Brigham Young preaching for over 25 years the heresy of Adam being God the Eternal Father and the only God with whom we have dealings with. Wilford Woodruff and John Taylor also taught that as doctrine.
- Brigham Young, Orson Pratt, Bruce R. McConkie, Ezra Taft Benson and many other leaders teaching that Jesus was not born of a Virgin, but rather the product of a physical, earthy union of God the Father and Mary.
- Gordon B. Hinckley stating in a Time Magazine interview that he does not know that the church teaches “As man is God once was, as God is man may become.”
- Gordon B. Hinckley admitting that the Christ followed by the Mormons is not the Christ followed by traditional Christianity.
- The Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price being a bogus translation. Joseph Smith claimed that the papyrus he translated had been the original parchment written by the hand of Abraham himself, and up until 1967 the church taught that as well. In 1967 the LDS Church gave the parchment to BYU scholars and other certified Egyptologists to verify the translation, only to find that it is a Pagan funerary ritual taken from the Book of Breathings / Book of the Dead.
- The LDS church and its leaders making changes to church history, suppressing evidence, and disciplining those with the courage to speak out.
The list could go on and on, and if you wish to know more, I will be happy to show you in the church’s own history and writings the above information and much more.
Being the caring person you are, I am sure you are concerned about my eternal welfare and that of my family. I would like to express at this time my assurance to you that I know what I am doing, as God has led me to the truth after many months of prayer, study, and searching the Bible for the answers.
I have never felt happier than I do now, now that I know my Savior. He is NOT the spirit brother of Satan. Jesus is the CREATOR of ALL THINGS, including Lucifer (John 1:3, Col. 1:16). God does not have a father who had a father, ad infinitum, neither does Jesus have His beginning as a spirit child of Heavenly Father, for the bible teaches us that God is “from everlasting to everlasting” (Psalms 90:2, Isaiah 9:6, Hab. 1:12).
I have prayed that the Lord would remove the scales from my eyes and help me to see the truth. He has taught me and cradled me in His ever-merciful arms over the last few weeks and I am seeing things with “new eyes.” I am humbled to tears to know that GOD HIMSELF became a man to save us from sin, not by any works we can do, but by His grace alone. He is not our brother; He is our GOD. I worship, praise, and adore Him.
Through this whole process, even when everything seemed to crumble around me as I discovered that the LDS church is not true, I have felt a peace and a comfort that I have never experienced as a worthy-temple-recommend-holding-Mormon. I have given 26 years to a false church, but I am not bitter because I have nine precious children to show for it.
May you have the courage to SEEK the truth, and not just accept blindly what is taught by the Church. If the Church is indeed true, it should hold up under scrutiny. If not, the sooner you find out, the better off you will be.
[Editor’s note: Narrative in blue text] The bishop came to me after receiving the above request and said, “Would you postpone having your name removed until you study out the issues with Brother E___?” I replied that I prefer not to wait. He said, “I’m asking you as a friend. Please wait.” Well, if he put it that way, who could turn down the plea of a friend?
We scheduled weekly appointments with Brother E. to investigate the claims against Mormonism to see if there was any validity to them. Brother E. was our home teacher, an attorney by profession. We assumed that because of his analytical mind, he would be able to go over the issues with us objectively. Not so! Instead of looking at the problems with an open mind (like a mediator) or pursuing all the facts (like a prosecuting attorney), Brother E. clearly took on the role of defense attorney for the Church; dismissing the facts, trying to discredit the witnesses with superficial objections, ignoring pertinent evidence, and building a case with the framework of “The Church Is True, so let’s not let the facts get in the way of the conclusion we want to come to.”
I gave my bishop another letter.
Dear Bishop Lytle, April 29, 2001
I am requesting that you send the letter for my name to be removed from the rolls of the church immediately. If you no longer have a copy I will provide you with another.
I am continuing the weekly study with [Brother E.], but the fact is, I am never coming back to the Mormon Church, and no amount of further study will “prove” to me the church is true. What God thinks of me is more important than what man thinks of me. He has already shown me the truth by reason, study, and His Holy Spirit. For me to continue lingering on the church rolls is to deny God and His truth.
Several people have suggested that my leaving the church was because:
1. I didn’t have a testimony to begin with
2. I wasn’t humble enough or “worthy” enough when I prayed to know the truth
3. I was offended
4. I’m doing this for attention
5. I was tired of “living the gospel” and took the easy way out
6. I did not understand the teachings
7. That I let anger over certain doctrines fester until it drove me away
8. I lost the “Spirit”
9. Any combination of the above plus other bizarre reasons
1- I DID have a “testimony,” but it was from the wrong source
2- I came before the Lord in tears of humility, only seeking the truth. While not claiming to be near perfect, I was “worthy” enough to hold a temple recommend.
3- I was offended once; about 15 years ago and it didn’t stop me from going to church.
4- Yeah, right.
5- Easy? I wouldn’t call it easy to lose almost all your friends, admiration, respect, a “calling” of authority and position, having your children look at you with pity, and having your extended family pretty much avoid conversations with you at family gatherings, etc.
6- I DID understand the teachings and took them seriously. I was not a “Sunday Mormon.” I attended Education Week almost yearly, took Book of Mormon study to heart, read and studied many, many teachings and “deep doctrines,” and was fully immersed in Mormonism.
7- While the doctrine of polygamy being essential to exaltation bothered me at one time, I pretty much decided that I would understand it in the next life and would have to just have faith for now. As a matter of fact, all the doctrines that I didn’t understand or take a shine to were just put on the back burner as I plowed ahead in faith.
8- That is true. I lost the Mormon Spirit, but gained the Holy Spirit.
These last few months since leaving the LDS Church have been the best in the last two decades! I have a personal relationship with my Savior Jesus Christ. I no longer worry and wonder where I stand in regard to salvation/exaltation or what my standing is before Him. I know exactly where I stand – He has truly given me the “peace that passeth all understanding.” I rejoice in the Lord and find refreshment in His word.
Please remove my name from church records so I can be free from the taint of belonging to a false church.
Still your friend,
May came and went with no response from the Church. In the mean time, my visiting teachers invited me to lunch one day and picked me up at home. We went to a Mexican restaurant. Halfway through the meal, Kristy pulled out a written “talk” by one of the General Authorities of the Church and began reading it to me. She read through the rest of the meal and through dessert. She read all the way back to my house while her visiting teaching companion drove. We got to my driveway and Kristy continued reading in the hot car. She was trying to persuade me to come back to the Church and hoped that somehow this conference talk or whatever it was would make me “see the light.” When she got done, I asked them to wait while I ran in and got them something to read. It was my draft of why I left Mormonism. Since Kristy and Astrid didn’t have any problem holding me captive while reading LDS propaganda, I did not see any problem with sharing my written testimony with them. It was only a few pages long. I mentioned to them that someone wanted to put my testimony on their website. I gave them a copy and left it at that.
Mid-June, the bishop called me and asked if he could drop by my house the following day. He had something he needed to give me. The next day he came over to the house with Brother E. and handed me an envelope. He said, “Sister, this is not the letter you’ve been hoping for.” I opened it up. It was a summons to a bishop’s court for apostate activities. The activities I was accused of were giving my visiting teachers my written testimony, agreeing to have it put up on the Internet (which had not yet taken place), and sending Kristy a letter about the book of Hebrews in the Bible.
You see, in May, Kristy had told me she read Hebrews and tried to use what she read to persuade me that Mormonism is true and I should come back to the Church. She challenged me read it for myself, which I did. However, I did not come to the same conclusion Kristy did. In fact, Hebrews proves that the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods of Mormonism are not necessary! So I responded to her challenge with a letter, pointing out how Hebrews demonstrates that Jesus was the final and permanent high priest (click here to read my letter to Kristy).
I was stunned and very hurt. I had written my first request to terminate my membership in the Church seven months prior to this time and made another request five months later. It was only because the bishop appealed to me on the basis of friendship to wait to have my name removed from Church records. I had done no wrong. I was being persecuted for my faith in Jesus Christ of the Bible and for my determination to be true to Him. I was being punished for not remaining silent and not quietly fading away. The LDS Church wanted me excommunicated because I would not cave in to intimidation.
I called an advocate in Salt Lake City who asked if I would be willing to take legal action if the bishop went through with the church disciplinary court. I told her yes, because for one, holding a court on me was morally wrong, and two, my reputation was at stake. She took the name and phone number of the stake president and told me she would call him the following morning to advise him we would pursue legal action if the court was not dropped and my name not removed. I wrote another letter, stating I would not subject myself to a Church court.
Bishop Lytle, June 17, 2001
This letter is to reaffirm that I officially terminated my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as of November 29, 2000 and that the letter was to be considered my formal resignation.
I will not participate in any church court proceedings, as I have already resigned as a member and therefore am not subject to disciplinary actions.
I request that you halt all action against me and cease to threaten me further. If you continue with a disciplinary council, I will consider it harassment, as well as libel against my good name. This letter is to inform you that I will not hesitate in seeking legal redress in the courts or in the media if my name is not immediately removed from church records per my previous and continued requests.
Again, it is to be noted on the records that I voluntarily requested my name to be removed and that I have done no wrong. I trust that you will be prompt in this matter.
I drove to the bishop’s house with the intention of giving him the above letter. Before I could hand it to him, he told me that he just got off the phone with the stake president and they decided to drop the court. He said the “Spirit” prompted them not to hold a court on me. I guess an early morning phone call and the threat of a law suit had nothing to do with it. A few days later I sent the bishop one final letter:
Dear Bishop Lytle, June 21, 2001
There is one last matter I would like to address. You stated that one of the reasons for holding a disciplinary council was to help me, but that I was so confused you did not think it would do any good. I believe you are a caring man and are only concerned about my eternal well-being. I just want to reassure you that you can lay aside your worry and not fear for my soul.
Instead of being confused, I have never thought and seen so clearly in my life as now. I have the peace that passes all understanding (even Mormon doctrine teaches that Satan cannot imitate peace). I hunger and am filled by His word. I ask and receive, knock and He opens. He fills me daily with His love and I am ever aware of His salvation. I now have a personal relationship with my Savior, Jesus Christ; a relationship I didn’t have while LDS – even though I tried.
The Jesus Christ of Mormonism is not the Jesus Christ of the Bible. (Church News, June 20, 1998, p 7 and The Ensign, May 1977, p 26) The Jesus of Mormonism is finite, someone who had a beginning (Deseret News, Nov. 16, 1859, p 290), a spirit-brother of Satan (Gospel Principles, p 17-18), a product of sexual intercourse between God and Mary (Mormon Doctrine, p 546-547,742), and a weak god whose atonement doesn’t cover all sins (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 4, pages 53-54, Deseret News, 1856, p 235).
The Jesus Christ of the Bible is God who became a man through a Virgin birth (Matthew 1:18). He is the creator of all things, including Satan (Ezekial 28:15). He always existed as God (Isaiah 43:10-11, Hab. 1:12, Mal. 3:6, Ps. 41:13, Ps. 90:2). His atonement is Infinite and covers all those who seek His salvation, regardless of their sin, and gives them Eternal Life (exaltation) (Acts 10:43, Romans 1:16, 6:10, Eph. 1:7, 2:8-9, 1 John 5:11-13). Salvation only comes from believing in the right Jesus Christ.
I believe you are trying to live right and that you are sincere and genuine in your faith, however, sincerity doesn’t get one to heaven – if so, what about the millions of Muslims, New Agers, and Buddhists who are also sincere in their faith? If you say, well, God will take that into account and they will be saved in the end, then why does the Bible teach that it is through grace by faith alone in Jesus Christ that we are saved (Eph. 2:8-9) and that narrow is the gate that leads to eternal life (Matt. 7:14, John 14:6)?
I only wanted to witness to you of the love of God and what He has done in my life since I left the LDS church. Nothing should come between a person and Jesus Christ: not another person, not an organization, not a ritual. Jesus Christ alone is our advocate with the Father (1 John 2:1). In Old Testament times the High Priest (only one on earth at a time) was the mediator between God and man; but when Christ came and died on the cross, He became the last High Priest (Heb. 5:24-28) and now we can approach the throne of God directly. We do not need a prophet (Heb. 1:1-2) or laws and ordinances (Gal. 2:15, Eph. 2:15), or a priesthood to mediate between God and us.
I encourage you to study the Bible and compare the teachings of Jesus Christ to the teachings of Joseph Smith and then decide who you will follow. As for me, I have chosen Jesus Christ.
Thank you for the kindness you have shown to my family and me over the last year. It has meant a lot.