Dear Brother Horne:I have been asked to acknowledge your recent letter in which you request that your name be removed from the membership records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.I have also been asked to inform you that the Church considers such a request to be an ecclesiastical matter that must be handled by local priesthood leaders before being processed by Church employees. Therefore, your letter and a copy of this reply are being sent to President Stephen J. Klenk of North Hollywood California Stake. He will have Bishop Mark S. Mikolyski of the Studio City Ward contact you concerning the fulfillment of your request.In view of the eternal consequences of such an action, the Brethren urge you to reconsider your request and to prayerfully consider the enclosed statement of the First Presidency.Sincerely,Gregory W. DodgeManager, Member and Statistical Records
Click here to see a jpeg. So yeah, then there was a pamphlet inside that was even MORE aggravating.
An Invitation to Come BackWe reach out to members of the Church throughout the world in a spirit of love and brotherhood inspired by the Lord Jesus Christ.Our interest and concern are always with the individual man or woman, boy or girl. Our great responsibility is to see that each is "remembered and nourished by the good word of God" (Moroni 6:4). If any have been offended, we are sorry. Our only desire is to cultivate a spirit of mercy and kindness, of understanding and healing. We seek to follow the example of our Lord, who "went about doing good" (Acts 10:38).To you who for any reason find yourselves outside the embrace of the Church, we say come back. We invite you to return and partake of the happiness you once knew. You will find many with outstretched arms to welcome you, assist you, and give you comfort.The Church needs your strength, love, loyalty, and devotion. The course is fixed and certain by which a person may return to the fill blessing of Church membership, and we stand ready to receive all who wish to do so.Sincerely yours,Thomas S. MonsonHenry B. EyringDieter F. UchtdorfThe First Presidency
Click here to see a jpeg. There are so many things about this letter that are aggravating.
Mostly, though, it's the magnanimous glee with which they "apologize" for any offense (but not apologize that they hold the opinion that causes the offense, it's more like "sorry you got offended, we were just trying to be Christlike, maybe you should pray about it until God tells you how right we were all along."
Also, I love this gem--"We invite you to return and partake of the happiness you once knew"
WTF? Um, I AM happy. I'm happier now and more at peace now then I have been in any adult memory. When I was attending church, my soul was in a constant state of turmoil, of self doubt, pain, and aggravation. My emotional turbulence prompted my college friends to dub the seventh day of the week "Sour Sunday" because I would be miserable and depressed whenever I came back from church. The inability for me to be one and at peace because of the doctrines of the LDS Church are what made me almost leap off a subway platform my Junior year in college. So, yeah, I'll pass on returning to THAT kind of "happiness".
I am sure that what ever happens, I'm going to be out of the Church by the end of the year, but I was hoping that I wouldn't have to be guilt tripped about it. The thing is, even though I'm mostly able to just let it roll of my back, my Mormon Programming is so deeply ingrained that I almost considered "prayerfully consider[ed] the enclosed statement of the First Presidency."
But I don't need to pray about it, because I know by the fruits that I am doing what is right for me.
I am really looking forward to the day when the church no longer has power over me—let's not forget, that is what this whole exercise is about—it's about the church trying to claim my agency to leave. To prove they are in charge, that they have the power. But they are wrong. I am empowered as an individual who understands his rights and is sure of the path he is on.
Let me know what you all think. Peace.