Yes, y'all, in what is seen as a rare act of collective revolt, these Mormons quit the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after decades of disagreement for some over issues ranging from polygamy to gay marriage.
After signing their declaration, the men and women hiked up Ensign Peak--scaled in 1847 by Brigham Young to survey the spot where his Latter-day Saints would build a city--and, at the top, they gave three loud shouts of “Freedom,” cheered, clapped and hugged.
Among the reasons cited by those resigning are the church’s political activism against same-sex marriage, doctrinal teachings that conflict with scientific findings or are perceived as racist or sexist, as well as the Mormons’ explanation of the practice of polygamy; the church renounced plural marriage when Utah sought statehood.
Asked about the resignations, Michael Purdy, a church spokesman said the church--which calls itself the one “true” Christian faith--loves and respects each member: "People make their own decisions about the direction they will follow in life. While there are very few who take this action, it is sad to see someone choose to leave. We wish them well.”
Odd, though, that Purdy doesn't mention what happens to those who leave the church. Mormon culture often stigmatizes those who fall away, leaving some without social or business connections. See, to quit the church, Mormons must submit a formal letter asking that their names be removed from church rolls. It's a very public resignation, and one that comes with consequences.
Basically, they're banished. Which, really, isn't wishing people 'well' is it?
Robin Hansen, who signed the declaration, did so over what she calls a “culture of abuse” which she believes is cultivated by church teachings promoting obedience. Her husband did not, could not, join her in leaving the faith because he works in a church-related business and could lose his job if he doesn’t maintain his membership.
Zilpha Larsen, organizer of the event--resignmormon.blogspot.com--says, “It’s been a hard journey and this is a symbolic end. I just hope that it boosts people up and helps them feel more comfortable in their decision.” Larsen collected the letters of resignation from each participant and sent them off to the church.
Kris Fielding, a sixth-generation Mormon, traveled from Phoenix for the resignation and said he represented those Mormons who did not yet have the courage to do so, like his wife, who worries that she might be ostracized from her family if she anticipated.
Fielding left the church because of his local church leader’s response to his questions about polyandry and polygamy in the early church. “I went to him looking for a faithful perspective. He called my wife and told her she needed to find a new husband.”
He chose to find a new church, and says he is relieved by his decision.
Life is so fluid. People change as we grow and learn, and religion and politics should do the same. Social mores adapt and change as people change, and if these "churches" and political groups don't follow suit, they are soon seen as as old and antiquated, and of no use or value in these times.
If the church doesn't change--and I mean any and all churches--then their congregations will look elsewhere.