Life is a learning experience. I’ve learned a lot in the past few days. There has been a great furor on this blog over the fact that I have NOT been allowed to resign from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have had this story questioned MANY times since I have told it. Always by active Mormons. I shall now give you yet ANOTHER blow by blow. How fun. As I have recounted in the past, I followed the required protocol, which meant I had to contact my bishop, in my local ward, and send him a letter. He was then to forward the letter to the stake president, who in turn was to forward the letter to Church Headquarters.
I sent the letter. Nothing happened. I called. The bishop did not return my calls. I called the stake president. He did not call me back either. Several months letter, angry at being ignored, I called Greg Dodge at member services. If memory serves, I did not speak with him personally, but the man I spoke with was very kind. He promised results. A few weeks later I got a letter from the church saying that my name removal was being processed, and warning me of the “eternal consequences” of such an action. A few weeks after that, I received a letter stating that my request had been processed. Please note, my husband’s name is included in this letter, as he also requested removal. The letter read:
Dear Chad and Natalie.
This letter is to inform you that your names have been removed from the records of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This action is listed as a name removal, and not an excommunication.
This action may be rescinded if you send a second request within 30 days to President XXX XXXXXX……
If you are satisfied with this action, no further correspondence is needed.
Very Truly Yours,
A scanned copy of this letter is available here. It’s not a great copy, but hey, I received it in 1998, and the Church letterhead is this light silvery color.
Approximately three years later, I received notice that my name was on the ward directory. Not only this, but I was there twice. Once under my maiden name, along with that of one of my daughters, and a son named Robert (an apparent spirit child). I was also there under my married name, along with my husband, WHO WAS ALSO ASSURED HIS NAME WAS REMOVED. At least, I assume that NO FURTHER CORRESPONDENCE IS NECESSARY means “we are through with your unholy asses.”
At this time, I laughed and decided who cares? What’s the point? I talked to a lawyer friend about legal action. He laughed. In Utah, the MORMON CHURCH ALWAYS WINS. If you step outside of the Mormon corridor, you might have a chance of winning a suit. Not here. Why bother?
Of course, whenever the home teachers or the primary president or such would come around, I would request NO CONTACT for my entire family. This always lasted about, uh, two or three years.
I have had Mormons harangue me about harassing the primary president. HELLO! She came to my house, did not introduce herself, and asked for MY DAUGHTER! I’ve never gone to HER HOUSE and done the same.
I received comments like this:
November 10th, 2006 at 10:19 pm e
GROW UP Cambre’s Mom, noone cares that you are such a great mom that you stood up to someone who didn’t respect your boundaries while trying to be kind.
I have a feeling you are quick to hate other people who are not like-minded as well. That’s too bad for you.
And I received object lessons like this:
6. Connie Myers Says:
January 3rd, 2007 at 8:20 am e
We moved to Switzerland for the beauty, the travel opportunities, and for the great job offer. We chose a home in a little village not far from Zurich and enrolled our children in an English-language international school.
The Swiss people are proud of their heritage. The Zurich region is German-speaking – well, sort of. The language of the area is Swiss German, a variety of German far removed from what is spoken in Austria or Germany. But the people of the region are proud of their language and their heritage. And that’s fine with me, as long as they’ll leave me alone.
We’re an English-speaking family. We notified the local gemeinde (government office) that we’d enrolled our kids in the English-language school, and asked them to take our names off the school rolls. We thought that would be the end of it.
One day our doorbell rang. The woman at the door asked for my daughter, speaking English with an obvious Swiss accent. My daughter was four years old and not accustomed to adult visitors.
Me: Who are you?
Her: I am with the school district.
Me: Whoa, wait a minute. First of all, what is your name?
Her: [tells me her name]
Me: Why are you here, asking for my daughter?
Her: I stopped by to tell Andrea about her new Kindergarten class.
Me: Okay, stop right there. What makes you think you can come to my door with an invitation to Andrea to come to a kindergarten class, or whatever it is you have, and NOT tell me who you are or what you want? Isn’t that a bit presumptuous?
Her: Well, I didn’t mean it that way. I just didn’t want her to feel left out.
Me: Left out of what?
Her: Left out of making friends with neighborhood children her own age …. Well, hey, I made a mistake, I think. I’m sorry.
Me: Look, I am not trying to be rude, but have you even THOUGHT once about what you are doing? How would you feel if I showed up at your house and invited your daughter to a school in MY language? All the while smiling nicely at the mother? What would you do?
Her: Well. Hmppph. I’ll tell the gemeinde you want no contact.
That’ll last about ten minutes…..They’ll be BAAAACKKKKKKKKK.
The nerve of these people. Just because they speak Swiss German, the majority language, what makes them think our family wants to be indoctrinated? We’re an English-speaking family and have no desire to change. We’ve told them that on the official record. Why can’t they leave us alone?
And since this is one of my VERY favorite comments I’ve ever received, I wanted to share it, as well:
Message: I just want you to know that I think you are horrible. I heard you on the radio the other day talking about your book and thought I would check out your site just to see what it was about. I just got through reading your story on leaving the Church and having your name still be on the directory. BIG DEAL!!! GET OVER IT!!! PUT ON YOUR BIG GIRL PANTIES AND STOP CRYING ABOUT IT!!!
Just because you don’t like the LDS church and the teachings you shouldn’t be discouraging others from having the missionaries come to their house or opening
their door to them. If others are discouraged because of reading what you had to say, I hope you are severely punished when you get to the other side and see
what you are missing and what others missed because of you.
I of course have received much, much more like that. But that one doesn’t have much to do with the saga of my name removal. But it’s funny.
So, fast forward to the past few weeks; weeks in which Johnny believes he has been trying to help me get my name off the records.
Trappee Johnny is pretty peeved with me. Quite frankly, I think he is peeved without reason. He also probably doesn’t appreciate being called a Trappee. But hey, he’s here and commenting, so he gets to play with us.
Apparently, Johnny, who left an email, is upset because I accused him of leaving a fraudulent email address. See, when I WROTE him an email at said address, some guy wrote me back and asked me who the heck I was. After that, Johnny averred that HIS email is actually one NUMBER off the one he left, and a computer’s “cookies” resulted in the wrong address being printed every time he posted. Interesting. Just a note. This email address is ONLY visible to the person posting and to me. I would have thought Johnny would have noticed the typo, but go figure.
But the fact that HE HIMSELF accused me of HAVING FABRICATED my story, I’m perplexed as to why he thinks he’s been so helpful. When I go back and read some of his comments, I do think his intent was good. But the problem is, HE’S believing what he has been told. I wish it were that easy.
# Johnny Says:
August 6th, 2007 at 11:01 pm e
Strange that you of all people would get a copy of the ward directory. That’s contraband for you. Its clearly marked for “Bishopric and Ward Clerk” only. Who do YOU know on the inside???
But you didn’t answer the most important question: who was covered by the letter from HQ that said your name is removed? Just you or did it list your husband, and each child?
What you’re describing would be a first in this church: that HQ accepts your name removal and now magically it’s back on the directory; In more than 11 years now of dealing with church offices in salt lake on an almost daily basis this would be a first. For everyone else when HQ deletes your membership record from Membership General Directory (which means moving you to the ex members & excommunicated lists) that’s it, they just don’t put you back on. You need to request re-admitance by baptism etc etc………………..
I now honestly doubt that you are being completely truthful in all of this, especially the details.
Really you should begin by putting up a copy of that letter from HQ as a start for some credibility. (I can actually check from here, from my office pc, whether of not it’s legit.)
Now he accused me of not being truthful, especially the details. He claims that I could not have a copy of the ward directory. HELLO? They hand them out like candy here in Utah. They left the damn thing on my doorstep! I wasn’t even home. And my mom has a copy of HER ward directory posted on her cupboards in the kitchen, by her phone. Are they really contraband in Australia? And if so, WHY?
And I posted the letter, as he requested, even though he declined to post HIS credentials, like say his temple recommend. Not sure how that’s fair, but hey, I’m playing along. Don’t want to be accused of fabrications.
Both me and my husband were included in the name removal. Since MY CHILDREN WERE NEVER BAPTIZED, only blessed, they should have been included just CUZ. Apparently, this is not true. If you let someone say a little prayer over your kids head, they are COUNTED A MEMBER. I was trying to be nice to my dad. Didn’t know I’d be fending off the primary president for the rest of my life! Robert has never been blessed, however, since he declined to be born. I’m wondering how HIS name ended up on the records.
One of Johnny’s “blokes” from Australia, Mark, also posted here, accusing me of all types of lack of credibility, and ethics, and other such hogwash. Since he posted with a bogus email address, Spam Karma ate his comments, and I cannot retrieve them. I was accused by Johnny of removing them. NOPE. Wasn’t me. I even returned them once, only to have them disappear again. It appears to be a problem when someone doesn’t leave a real email address, and frankly, if you aren’t even willing to stand behind your words, don’t bother to come here.
Here is the bottom line. I followed the rules. I wrote the letter. I was ignored. I called the bishop. I was ignored. I called the stake president. I was ignored. I called Church HQ. The bishop finally acknowledged me. The name removal letter (the first one) was sent. Later, I received an official notification. I am now being told it was not official, by Johnny.
I polled the ex-Mormon community, and discovered that everyone’s experience is different! Go figure. Some people got what I got. Some people got letters from Greg Dodge. Some people got letters marked copy. Some people received confirmation they had been removed, only to find their names BACK ON.
Johnny says that IF my name was removed by all the right procedures, it would NOT show up back on the ward records. Hmm. If that is true, where did they GET IT? They don’t give out personal information like birthdays, and children’s names, in the YELLOW PAGES. Or white pages for that matter. There is only ONE PLACE TO GET IT. The Church.
So…. That’s the story, and I’m sticking to it….
Today, I put in a call to Church HQ. I also intend to make a copy of my letter for my bishop, the nice man with ten children who visited my house the other day. When I called the Church I was told Greg Dodge was not available. I left a message. The saga continues…..