10 March 2012

A Private Club For Members

I wonder sometimes about doing what some of you have done, and composing a letter asking that my name be removed from the records of the Church.

Sometimes I don't know why I haven't done it already.  Whenever I have to fill out a form that asks about religion, or if someone asks me, I don't identify myself as LDS anymore.  I usually opt for Christian-Other. If someone asks, I tell them I am non-denominational Christian.

I do believe in Christ, very deeply.  My relationship with Him and with God have become very personal and there is no way I could ever deny that they know and love me.  Little old me, just doing the best I can, living a life where I follow my heart and try to be a good person.  Those are the boundaries I set for myself and the standards which I hold myself to.

When I think about organized religion of any sorts, I recognize that people as individuals have many different spiritual needs.  There are many different spiritual hopes, which in turn has led to different denominations and sects and all sorts of faith.  What is good to one person may be completely strange to someone else.  I think at their core, most religions try to help people have good lives, teach them good principles, and try to encourage society as a whole to be a more loving place.  Unfortunately, these core threads are sometimes buried beneath the emotion that runs on the surface.  People use their religious beliefs to justify a lot of things, not all of them good.

I have always been the type of person who bristles when someone tries to tell me who I am, or how I should be.  I am perfectly capable of making that determination on my own, thank you very much.  A little guidance is fine but any mention of "should" implies judgment that I'm not willing to accept.

And yet, there is something stopping me from writing a letter and signing my name.  Maybe it's enough for me to not go to church every Sunday and not pay tithing and consider myself Christian instead of LDS.  I no longer feel like a member, and maybe that's all I really need.

Maybe it's that I know it would break my mother's heart, and I know I've already put her through a lot of heart wrenching stress anyway.  She likes to remind me that she hopes for the day when I'll "come back."

Maybe if the Church and the records department can feel better about their membership numbers by including all the people they freely hurt and who don't support them anymore, then that's their problem and not mine.  I certainly don't lose sleep over it.

Maybe...maybe I don't even know what.

If you have sent a letter and resigned your membership, what was the major factor and/reasoning behind your decision?


A.J. said...

I was angry at the church and no longer wanted to be a member. Also I wasn't allowed to fade into inactivity. The ward sent the missionaries to teach us the discussions never mind I had been a member for over 30 years and was an RM. So yeah anger. You don't have to resign. Do what feels right to you.

El Genio said...

My goal is to get my letter written and the whole process completed this year. For me, I just feel uncomfortable having any sort of affiliation with a church that continues to push a decidedly anti-gay agenda.

I'm pretty sure the news will not be pleasant for my parents. I don't plan on telling them unless I'm directly asked about it. I also hope my records haven't ended up in my parent's stake. Having dad sign my name removal form would not be a good way for him to find out.