Nearly 100 Break Ties With Mormon Church In Mass-Resignation Event

| by Nathaly Pesantez

A crowd of approximately 100 handed their formal letters of resignation to The Church of Latter-day Saints, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Saturday in a final push to end their relationship with the church, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

With the group meeting at City Creek Park, the gathering was organized as a means of instilling a "sense of community for people leaving Mormonism," according to Brooke Swallow, the event planner.

"We know that it's a painful process," Swallow said. "Some people are ostracized or they feel like they need to ostracize themselves from their Mormon families."

Stephanie Engle, Logan resident and participant at Saturday's event, wanted to deliver a formal letter of resignation to The Church of Later-day Saints after ending her involvement with it six years ago.

Engle began questioning her faith when she moved from home to attend college.

"I just thought is is so obviously not true," Engle said about the Church's tenants. "I can't keep claiming that I believe it."

Stephanie Orgill, another participant, cited discrimination as one of her reasons for leaving the church.

"The treatment of women and children and also the gay community was to me the most disgusting, and the culture of obedience rather than free thinking," Orgill said.

But for Orgill and her boyfriend, Brendon Carpenter, their final straw came when Kate Kelly, a prominent women's rights advocate, was excommunicated from the church last year.

"I feel like I have to take a stand, those were my heroes that enforced my Mormonism, and to take them out of the equation I just don't have anyone to rely on anymore," Carpenter said to KSTU.

Kelly, who was excommunicated from the church after pushing for women to gain priesthood, flew in from Kenya to see the mass resignation and speak to the gathering.

She told the crowd that their decisions to leave or stay in the church should be based on whether their faith "brings them joy."

"If you stay, you should raise hell," Kelly said, according to the Associated Press. "I think you have a moral imperative to make it a better place for children and especially for girls."

Kelly also noted that submitting formal letters of resignation would allow the church to gain perspective on the numbers and reasons for former adherents leaving.

"I think this is just the tip of the iceberg of a huge exodus of people leaving the church," she said.

Swallow said the resignations were not arranged to upset or aggravate the church, but to demonstrate how the church has failed some adherents.

Dale Jones, spokesman for The Church of Latter-day Saints, released a statement about the mass resignation.

"Every person is valued and loved. They are our brothers and sisters, colleagues and friends. Each makes their own decisions about their participation and church membership. Regardless of their choice, we love them and wish them well, and hope they will find the support and answers they seek."

Saturday's event was the fourth annual mass resignation from the church, according to KSTU.

Sources: KSTUThe Salt Lake TribuneThe Associated Press via Arizona Daily Sun

Photo Credit: Scott Catron/Wikimedia Commons