Earlier this month I made the decision it was time to mail in my resignation letter to The Church. I took the form letter from mormonnomore and tacked on this bit to the end:
"I wish to disassociate myself from an organization that tells my daughters their highest aspiration should be a homemaker. I wish to disassociate myself from an organization that propagates superstitious belief in the power of prayer to effect reality, of spiritual visitations, of faith-healing, and that places more importance on an imagined future over a tangible present. I wish to disassociate myself from an organization that marginalizes homosexuals and coerces its members to codify that marginalization into law. I no longer believe circular logic and subjective emotion are valid methods of discovering truth. I want the freedom to accept or reject ideas on their own merit, rather than what a detached central authority has determined is right for me and my family. My view of the world has grown beyond the broken frame of my youth that tried to contain it for so long."
Within a couple days I received a letter back from every ex-mormon's pal, Greg Dodge, stating they'd received my request. It also stated, to my hyperbolic surprise, that it was a local ecclesiastical matter and my letter was being passed to "my" bishop. I've lived in my new house for almost a year and haven't attended church for nearly three. I don't consider anyone "my" bishop. I fired off a response letter as directed by mormonnomore that, legally, I'm no longer a member the moment they receive my resignation letter and I would appreciate them dismantling the balance beams and flaming hoops they'd like me to jump through.
A couple weeks pass with nary a peep from the department of redundant bureaucracy department. I'm getting a little annoyed and I'm sure we can all see what's coming. I wake up this last Sunday to a voicemail from "my" bishop saying he's received my letter and he just wants to verify I'm me and that I really do want to give up all the wonderful blessings the church has given me like guilt, a smaller bank account, superstition, and intolerance for those different than me.
I ruminate, harumph, and grumble about it for a couple hours. Do I play their game and get a more immediate response or do I refuse and make them do things my way, as explicitly spelled out in two letters now? Expediency won out and I called the complete stranger that had the misfortune of being saddled with this responsibility.
One of the first things he did is assert that he kept everything confidential, though he admitted he received my phone number from my believing roommate. Thanks Greg, for handling things like I requested. The bishop recognized the address as my roommate's and wanted to clarify that I lived there as he'd heard someone had moved out recently. (our other roommate) He expressed his sympathy and wondered if it was anything he'd done that he could rectify.
Ding! He'd touched on shallow reason number 1, I was offended out of the church. I assured him that he'd done nothing wrong as this was clearly the first and only time I'd ever talked to him. Thank you again, Greg, for making a poor overworked bishop feel guilty about something that doesn't involve him in the slightest. At this point he asked me to hold on while he moved into his office, where he confided that I wouldn't be subject to disciplinary action and could simply come in for an interview if I desired.
Ding! Shallow reason number 2, I had sinned and was afraid to confess. I was giving up the promise of eternal life and being with my family forever for one of two very lacking reasons. I was either pissed that a bishop hadn't made an effort to come seek me out when I moved into his ward or I had a sin so grievous that leaving the church, and everything it entailed, was a better option.
I assured him it was something as simple as disbelief that prompted my exit from the church. He asked about my girls (which he happened to notice in my membership record and whose names I also requested be removed) and ended by asking, per the standard script burned into every home teacher's brain, if there was anything else he could do for me. Nope just the revoking of my priesthood powers, blessings, endowments, and eternal sealing to my children thanks. (if only I'd been courageous or callous enough to say that)
Eternal damnation, here I come!