Reasons not to resign from Mormonism
In light of the latest drama in Mormonism regarding the updated policy on apostasy (and the barring of the children of a parent in a same-sex relationship from receiving a name and a blessing, being baptized, and so forth), a lot of people have finally decided to resign. There’s a lawyer on r/exmormon who says that he’s processed over 1500 resignations since the news.
And then there’s little old me who is still on the rolls. Is it time to resign?
There was a great article at Feminist Mormon Housewives discussing why one might stay in the church — even though they don’t attend and have no intention on attending in the future. Just a couple of reasons from the article:
VOICE: I only get to resign once. If resigning is the way I choose to use my voice, I am effectively choosing to make it silent forever after. This is the last thing I get a voice on. Storming out of the room feels good, but it also means I am now out of the room. And they will not follow me and ask me to clarify my position. They will be shocked for a second, and then I will simply cease to be an issue.
THE SLOW BURN: On the other hand if I stay on the records, I am forever a thorn in the side of the local ward with my existence, whether or not I go to church. They have to send me home and visiting teachers; they have to wonder what happened and why I don’t come. Somebody has to have the uncomfortable job of reaching out to me, in every place I live, and with every change of leadership. Every time this happens I have an opportunity to tell someone IN the church how I feel, if I want to. I can certainly decline to engage, if I’m not in the mood. But it leaves the door open to continue to have a voice with the local members and leadership of the church. I’m not ready to close that door.
That being said, I’m not sure if I agree that all of these (or even most of these) apply to my situation, or that I would want them to.
As I saw people saying they were going to resign, I will say that the concern regarding voice did circulate during my head. It seems this is a “big” event…much bigger than other events of recent years. I don’t have statistics, but the growth of exmormon websites in just the past few days suggests that quantitatively (and qualitatively), this change in policy has hit much harder.
And so I thought to myself: what might happen if something even worse occurred? Would it be better to save one’s exit for then? Do people who left because of Kate Kelly’s excommunication, because of John Dehlin’s excommunication, or because of any other event in the past, wish they could leave again now?
Maybe that’s a silly thing to think. Once out, they’re out. They don’t have to pay attention to the shenanigans ever again.
I like what Megan had to say about the slow burn, but I can see how this is a double-edged sword. Some people just want the church to leave them alone, so having home teachers and visiting teachers everywhere they go is not in any sense desirable — even if having those people means one always has a forum to express their disagreements.
Additionally, would I want to burden random folks from wards with my concerns? I don’t think so.
I have been very fortunate that I have been left pretty much alone in the past few years. I just went off grid, and no one followed up. (Maybe that fortune is running out?) But I can’t see myself expressing my grievances with every home teacher that came by. I’d probably make the relationship much more cordial, friendly, and as unchurchy as I could possibly make it.
If you didn’t read the full article, please do. I left out a lot, but I want to say that I really appreciated that Megan pointed out that this was just about her. As she wrote in the beginning of the article:
…I understand that it feels like the only voice you have, like the only way to vote is with your feet. I feel that too. I get that. I also understand that for some, resignation is necessary for their own spiritual health and well-being. I support you. This is not about you. In fact, it’s not about anyone but me—a recently disaffected Mormon who is no longer active but still on the rolls, who is pissed off and angry and hurt and wants to do something in response. I know there are so many others in a similar position, and I feel it’s worth noting that we have options. There is more than one way to live this horrible moment. Resigning is a valid one.