While I don't think it is a big deal, and think of it as almost entirely symbolic in its effect, I just delivered a letter to my parents Bishop requesting my name be removed from the records of the Church. If anything I think the symbol is more for others than for me. I have this sense that some people I know see me as merely in a position of doubt or sin, and that if I could just be in a position to feel the spirit, to have my heart touched, I would again become a member. I also like the idea that were I to return, however unlikely(if I thought I would ever rejoin, I would just do it now. I think I am about as likely to reconvert to Mormonism as I am to become a Jehovah's witness, not impossible, but I cannot imagine what circumstance would lead to this).
I didn't plan on telling my parents. Not that I meant to keep it a secret. They know I do not believe and have become a Baha'i, but I knew it would be sad for my mom. But when I asked my mom to use her printer, then asked for the address of her Bishop, it became apparent something was up, so I told her. When I left to place the envelope in her Bishop's mailbox she said 'I will just be here, crying.' It was partly a joke, but also serious. I told her I thought she should pray about what I am doing, and that I thought she would receive a positive spiritual confirmation that I am doing the right thing. She said she would tonight. I am curious to see if she remembers, and if she does what will happen. When I returned she hadn't the appearance of one who had been crying.
Here is the letter I wrote. I looked online for advice in crafting a letter to receive the timeliest assistance, and constructed this based on some other letters, lifting some parts verbatim. Some people were really into sending a letter that outlined all the specific reasons for leaving The Church, but I thought that seemed like a waste of energy that would have little or no effect. Here is the letter:
I am uncertain where my records are currently held, while I do not believe my records are with this ward, as this is the jurisdiction my parents (Richard and Nancy Allman)live within and I am temporarily residing with them, I hope my request can be completed through you.
Please remove my name from the records of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as specified in the General Handbook of Instructions, 1989 Edition, chpt 8, pg 4.
The instructions state that as the bishop you are to be certain I understand the following:
- that withdrawing a name cancels the effects of baptism, withdraws the priesthood from a male member; and suspends temple sealings and blessings.
I understand these things and make this formal written request for my name to be removed from the records of the Church.
I am requesting of you to complete the form "Request for Administrative Action" and forward it to the Stake President. I request you to then send me a letter informing me you have done so, and that the Stake President will hold the form for 30 days. With no further action from me, at the end of those 30 days, I request the Stake President to forward this letter and the form to the Office of the First Presidency. I thank you for your assistance in this matter.
Christopher Karl Allman
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