Group holds mass resignation from LDS church in SLC Saturday
(KUTV) People cheered and hugged as they took the final steps toward resigning from the LDS Church Saturday morning.
Nearly 2,000 gathered in Salt Lake City to submit their letters of resignation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"We will heal the wounds the LDS church has caused," said a speaker at the mass LDS Resignation rally to the crowd.
Six former-LDS attorneys were on hand putting each individual's letter of resignation on their official letterhead.
Attorneys signed 1,500 letters of resignation, with an additional 1,000 submitted online this weekend.
Submitting the letter through an attorney allows these individuals to circumvent lower levels of church leadership and speeds up the process of resigning significantly.
Within six days these individuals will have had their names removed from the records of the church.
Those who wished to resign ceremoniously dropped their envelopes in the mail and were met by cheers and applause from supporters.
"Those who have come here today may be feeling anxiety - but they are happy to do this," Timmy Chou PostMos Organizer said. "This is a well thought out decision."
One of the organizers was handing out pins that read "apostate". Emily Vought was wearing one on her sweater.
"If church officials are going to call me apostate, then I am. Because this is what I believe in." Vought told 2News. "If they are going to label me as an apostate - then I will proudly be an apostate."
Melanie Matson told 2News she is a lesbian and stopped believing in the LDS teachings when she was 13 years old.
"I haven't been to church in several years," Matson said.
When asked if those in the LGBT community are actively wanting their children to be raised in the LDS faith, Matson replied, "Honestly, no. They don't. But this new policy change tears families apart. And for a church that claims to be all about families, this is very hypocritical."
A recent poll conducted by event organizers and posted on the LDS Mass Resignation Facebook page shows only 5 percent of those who resigned this weekend attend an LDS church on a weekly or monthly basis.
"I haven't been active in 15 years," Bob Taylor said. "But it's time to remove my name from Church records."
Eric Hawkins, Senior Manager of Media Relations for the Church Public Affairs Department, said in a statement:
"We don't want to see anyone leave the Church, especially people who have been struggling with any aspect of their life. The Church exists to build people and help them heal, and there isn't one of us who doesn't need help at some point in our lives. We hope that today's guidance from Church leaders and the additional commentary will help provide understanding and context to some who may be considering resigning their membership. It's extremely important that our members read what leaders have said, and do not rely on other sources or interpretations or what people think they have said."
PostMos, an organization that helps ex-Mormons find friends, coordinated the event. Coordinators of the event say that although tensions were running high, ultimately the ability to resign has been a relief for most of the people.
Earlier this month the Church announced a new policy regarding ordinances which can be performed for children of same-sex couples. The announcement sparked a wave on controversy across social media.