Tuesday, October 23, 2012

To Salt Lake With Indifference

The following is the resignation letter I sent to SLC on Friday, Oct 19, at the Exmormon Foundation.  I read the first part aloud and sent it live in the conference.  I've been told there is an audio recording and I have a video of it, but the audio is nearly impossible to hear.


Greg Dodge/Admininistrator
Member Records 
50 E North Temple, Room 1372 
SLC UT 84150-5310

msr-confrec@ldschurch.org

Mr. Dodge or current resignation processor:

I have a feeling you know my name, as managing editor of MormonThink.com (MT).

Let me spare you and Mitt Romney all a load of more embarrassing media fallout and having to fire stake president Allan Pratt (you know, the star of the little-boyd-factory self abuse missionary video at http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xd1nzk_mormon-mission-pres-allan-pratt-on_news) by foregoing your kangaroo courts of love.

First though, I want to thank church leaders and especially Scott Gordon (head apologetic cheese) for their skulking me and previously the site founder at MT. This produced the unintended but welcome ten-fold increase of traffic to MT.  With its balanced approach to looking at church history from all sides, MT is many times more popular than FAIR and its one-sided approach. For now, the Orwellian tactics using guilt and ”discipline” boosted our rankings. A dozen more active LDS have asked to contribute to MT to show a more balanced view of Church history.  MT, with its full disclosure approach, is stronger than ever with millions of hits each month.

Attempts at general conference to make MormonThink forbidden fruit have only shown curious members that "it is very desirable and delicious to the taste" as they bite into the fruit of knowledge. (BTW, can I get the new hottite temple Eve's phone number?)
While the aim of MT has been to objectively examine the history and doctrine of the LDS church, we understand that the latest actions by SLC has upset some members and caused increased resignations. By confronting truth-givers, the church has caused problems among its own ranks. Perhaps the church could avoid this if it started to disclose to its members and investigators the full truth of its historical foundations instead of hiding its history. At least it's unlikely church leaders will go after future editors with impunity now that they know what happens when they try to manipulate. Our Rolodex currently overflows with high level media contacts. Thanks for the help! 

If you’d like to help further, please by all means, excommunicate the next editor at Mormonthink.  Have leaders of the strengthening members committee stalk us.  Even better, send in the Danites! That should propel MT popularity into orbit around Kolob.

All loud laughter and evil speaking of the Lord's annoyed aside, the details you need to process my resignation are below.

My full name is David Twede; my date of birth __.  I was baptized on __. My membership record number is 000-XXXX-YYYY.  My residence address is __ ___ ___, Orlando, FL , residing in the Hunters Creek ward & stake of Orlando.

This letter is my formal resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and it is effective immediately. I hereby withdraw my consent to being treated as a member and I withdraw my consent to being subject to church rules, policies, beliefs and 'discipline'. As I am no longer a member, I want my name permanently and completely removed from the membership rolls of the church.  All of this is to be done immediately and on the date and time given in the header of this email/letter.

I have given this matter considerable thought. I understand what you consider the 'seriousness' and the 'consequences' of my actions. I am aware that the church handbook says that my resignation "cancels the effects of baptism and confirmation, withdraws the priesthood held by a male member and revokes temple blessings" I also understand that I will be "readmitted to the church by baptism only after a thorough interview". (Quotes from the current Church Handbook of Instructions.)

My resignation should be processed immediately, without any 'waiting periods'. I am not going to be dissuaded and I am not going to change my mind.

I expect this matter to be handled promptly, with respect and with full confidentiality.

After today, the only contact I want from the church is a single letter of confirmation to let me know that I am no longer listed as a member of the church.

It is my understanding that you are required to indicate on your form my "reason for leaving." Please state the reason as "At member's request" or "Doctrinal reasons," since that is, in fact, the reason. I insist that you should not put there any reason which may be derogatory to me. I wish to assure you that I am not leaving the church because of some personal slight or insult, or because I have "sinned" or am unable to "keep the commandments." I have simply come to the very sad realization that the church is not what it claims to be, that its doctrine is false, and that the LDS church is not where I wish to be.

If the request is not made effective immediately and you still feel the need to contact local authorities, delaying my resignation against my wishes, then I request that my name removal request be forwarded without delay to the stake president (assuming Allan Pratt hasn't been released for his bungling efforts ” in my behalf”) in accordance with the Church Handbook of Instructions. I will check with you in one week if you have not already notified me by then that it has been forwarded to the stake president.

If the request is not made effective immediately, please inform the stake president that I waive the thirty-day waiting period during which the stake president may hold the request in order to give me the opportunity to rescind. Rather, I request him to process it without delay. Please ask the stake president to notify me when he has forwarded my request to church headquarters. If I do not hear from him, I will contact him to make sure that my request is being honored without delay.

I will consider any unnecessary delay to be a violation of my rights of free association and freedom of religion as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

I consider this matter to be confidential to me and those I personally wish to share with, and I insist that no church representative discuss my resignation with any persons other than those church officers who are processing my name removal or those who must be informed to carry out their church duties; that if any church official speaks of this matter outside of official channels, I will consider it a violation of confidence, a violation of church regulations (CHI p. 150), and seek legal redress.

Thank you for your courtesy in honoring my request without delay.
Sincerely,
Dave Twede
Managing Editor
MormonThink.com



40 comments:

  1. That was cute ! That was also an awesome publicity stunt you just pulled off ..... So clever you are :) good luck with you all your truths ;)

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  2. My hat off to you sir. When one drops the self-imposed shackles of dogma and social repression, the bolt to freedom should be stark and thrilling. My hope is that those who love you respect your decision and support you.

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  3. There's a new eve? Did they film an updated version of the show?

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  4. Question: When you get the confirmation letter that you are 'off the books', will you post it?

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  5. Way to use Mitt Romney's candidacy as a way of driving traffic to your site. I am certain you were successful beyond your wildest dreams. But let's not pretend this was anything other than that.

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    1. You know, I was thinking something similar, except, it was about the LDS "I'm a mormon" campaign. They used a lot of "characters" that represented very little in the membership demographic. Way to use the cool people as a way of normalizing your weird cult, LDS church! I am not certain they were successful, and we don't have to pretend their productions were anything other than a facade.

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    2. I agree with most of what you say, other than your unnecessary dig at the "weird cult." But all you're really saying is, "I know you are, but what am I?"

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  6. @David,

    If Romney doesn't become the next president,you've had your fifteen minutes of fame. If he does become president I'm sure you'll be busy begging for another fifteen minutes of fame.

    I'm amazed that you included in your letter a comment about masturbation! I do not see the connection to anything else in the rest of your letter. Really, to include this as part of your letter probably provided a laugh to everyone. Okay, I've got to repeat this....really??? I'm guessing you believe it is a very dignified action? I'm guessing you believe that everyone should give in to their animal instincts? No, I'm not even going to address this issue, it is too rediculous address.

    So, you want out of the church so badly that it must be done right away. You don't believe in it, so you must be let go from it immediately. You do realize how weak you are right?

    Good thing you have left this church. Don't let the door hit you on your way out.

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    1. "I'm amazed that you included in your letter a comment about masturbation! I do not see the connection to anything else in the rest of your letter."

      Think about the fact that it was Mr. Pratt, star of that video, that called him in for discipline. Then you'll see the connection. The control freak who whips little 18 year old missionaries into shape by guilting them over a simple biological function is leading a whole stake of adults.

      What you need, anonymous, is to go get some Mr. Bates for yourself and relax.

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    2. My goodness extreme aren't we?! Lol

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    3. Masturbation seems to really bother mormons. They have an unhealthy view of it and trying to control themselves gets them controlling others. I think Pratt is a control freak. Pointing out his freaky lecture in the letter is a good way to highlight that you're not gonna give into their control anymore. It's not only connected, it is very astute of David.

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  7. I appreciate the letter David. It reminds me of when I wrote up my own. Thanks for sharing.

    Many of those who are posting in opposition to this are the type of people who years down the road will be in the same position as you. Standard Mormon > Internet Mormon > Apologetic Mormon > ExMormon. Take heart.

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    1. Sorry, I've been where you are going...I try not to go backward.

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  8. David, Thanks for sharing your journey with us. I feel so much more complete, content and powerful since leaving the church; I have never looked back.

    I will always be a cultural Mormon; intrigued by it's teachings and actions. As a self proclaimed cultural anthropologist I am interested in religious belief even though I don't claim any personal belief in a religion.

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  9. Congrats to you Dave----I know that you will find your newfound freedom exhilarating beyond your wildest dreams because I have been there and done that and the confidence just keeps on growing. Cudos to the manner in which you did it also because it left no mistake as to who was in charge---definately not the white-haired men basking in the money exchange at temple square. Also, thanks for sharing because having a community of thinking friends helps everyone---right?

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  10. Indifference? Hardly true is it:

    without interest or concern; not caring; apathetic: his indifferent attitude toward the suffering of others.

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  11. The texture and tone of your resignation letter is completely antithetical to the stated purpose of Mormonthink.com. I have no problem with those who choose to leave the Church, but do you need to torch the place on your way out? Those flames also hit some of us who choose to stay and who strive to make it a better place by encouraging open dialogue about the historical conundrums and doctrinal anomalies that trouble all of us. You run the risk of alienating some of us who would otherwise support you at the helm of Mormonthink.com. For what it's worth, I do not plan on voting for Mitt Romney. And if we had the chance to vote for someone to be the Editor-in-Chief of Mormonthink.com I would not vote for you.

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    1. " if we had the chance to vote for someone to be the Editor-in-Chief of Mormonthink.com I would not vote for you."

      I appreciate that there are a diverse set of opinions and needs. I would never expect everyone to agree. Some would have liked an even stronger letter, others far more subdued. Some though the humor was a nice touch, others see it as irreverent.

      We gladly invite you to help at mormonthink as a contributor and to even vote with us on how we handle issues in the future. Perhaps you can take the role of editor or even managing editor someday and guide the site. Thanks for your viewpoint, it is very welcome.

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  12. David-

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, for taking out your own trash!

    Loves and prayers!

    Traci, your cuz!

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    1. Hi Traci.

      Thanks for posting. While my opinion differs with much of the immediate and extended family, my views are about an entity (the church organization). Never have I intended personal offense to any family member, even when I post resolute positions. Sometimes a person identifies so strongly with an entity (such as a religion) that any "attack" on the inanimate entity is felt as a personal attack. I realize that my opinions and posts have affected family in this way, but I have no responsibility for how others take my words personally when they were never sent out to offend personally. If ever you (or other family) wish to discuss the content, facts and meaning of my views, I am here.

      Regards
      Dave

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  13. Dear Dave,

    I have to say you had me till this letter of resignation. I have always come to MT to find facts and information, as well as helpful links. I find MT to be a well-run site with an authentic air of professionalism. I am so troubled, so lost in the dark abyss of conflicting facts and truths. I am a grandmother of deep and abiding faith in Jesus Christ as seen through the correlated Mormon telescope. My telescope shattered at FAIR when I was preparing a lesson and discovered information there I never knew existed. My crisis is profound. I don't criticize your choice to resign at all. But I would rather it had been written in a more professional manner. I'm sorry, but I feel you let us MT followers down by giving SL what they will no doubt see as proof of their opinion of MT, and by default, its followers. You took us all out to the trash with you.

    Did you have to do that? I mean, yes, it's your personal resignation. But you are an editor. You represent many others besides yourself, whether you want to or not, or like it or not. I'm not mad. I'm just really disappointed, and now any bridge-building has been set back terribly. Perhaps even irrevocably. Maybe I'm not being fair, I don't know. I just thought more of Mormon Think than this.

    Nevertheless, best wishes Dave. Truly. Best wishes for you and yours.

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    1. One of the great things about leaving behind an organization that preaches there is only one path and one kind of life worth living is that we don't need to feel guilted for how others perceive us or by what kind of life they demand we live. Yes, the resignation is David's. Perhaps you'll find your unique path out and write your very own, very personal letter of resignation in your own words. Every life is its own path and every path is valuable. Bridges are not paths. They're one way streets leading in the direction of those with power. Instead, go your own way and forget the church.

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    2. We suggest you take a look at the resignation of MT Founder. http://mormonthink.com/resignation_letter.htm

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    3. If there is anything that the disallsionment from Mormonism should have taught you it is that we need to follow our own paths and not put our "faith" in man. David did what David does; he mixes the profane, sacred, and sarcastic, then adds a lemon slice and shakes with ice. Your style is different and thats ok, too. Many people try to replace the feeling of security that Mormonism brought with "the next big idea". Don't do that, you'll be disappointed. I don't agree with every point MT makes, but its lightyears ahead of what I got at Church. Keep exploring what makes you happy, not what makes you miserable.

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  14. "O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
    To see oursels as others see us!
    It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
    An' foolish notion!
    What airs in dress an' gait wad lea'e us,
    And ev'n devotion!"

    Happy traffic-driving!

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    1. To a mouse: a very esoteric way to ad-hominem. What you may have missed in literature class is that the author, Burns, was a teensy bit anti-clerical/religion.

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    2. Whatever misunderstood latin phrase you want to assign to my post, my wish is genuine! When they make me the emperess of the mormons, every 5th sunday will be devoted to study of the writings of folks like Mr. Twede here.

      And whatever Rabby Burns was, he was spot on here. Man, I wish I had the unique blend of circumstances, experiences, and self-image as Mr. Twede to believe that something at general conference was there to make my blog forbidden fruit!

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  15. Never seen a path that doesn't have some kind of bridge, whether natural or manmade. No path is one way. You may see it as such, but all paths can go either way, or take an off-shoot. Dave absolutely has the right to resign as I said. But he and the founder of MT have wasted opportunities to gain credibility for MT. Dave's letter to Pres. Pratt was better than his resignation. Yes, it's a personal thing, as I said. But I would have hoped he would do all he could for Mormonthink, even as the person, Dave, resigned. It's not to guilt him --- it's an honest and worthy opinion, just as honest and worthy as yours or anyone else's. Dave doesn't need my approval, and I have retained my support for his happy future. My critique is fair. His venting cynicism and sarcasm felt good, I'm sure. I understand it was done publicly at Exmormon. It was a fun moment. Perhaps freeing. But it will cost Mormonthink credibility. Millions of hits to the site may come, but some credibility will be lost. Salt Lake will gloat that they have struck down another enemy, even though Dave resigned. Those who have left don't need Mormonthink. It's those who are in crisis but are trying to navigate through a murky swamp of one version of interpretation of facts versus another. These people aren't interested in emotional bias, sarcasm and cynicism. We are looking for reasonable scholarship and presentation of facts. Some editorializing is good. But when it derails the professional purpose of presenting unbiased truth while seeking answers from leadership regarding these facts, then readers who are still studying will vacate the site sooner, rather than later. Hence, the lost opportunities. Maybe MT doesn't care. Maybe I have misunderstood the mission statement for MT. Maybe it's about killing the church rather than seeking truth and answers. If so, then my bad. That's certainly their prerogative. But I thought more of them than that. And that, also, may be my bad.

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  16. As a strong member of the church, I write to you and wish you the best in your endeavors. Your letter expresses much of the pain you must feel.

    I have no idea what causes you so much hurt, but as is evident by including masterbation quips, there are obviously some other issues you are dealing with. I wish you nothing but the best as you strive to move forward with your life. To watch you waffle between trying to keep your membership and then letting it go, this can not be an easy decision.

    I have read the blogs, and am not alarmed by anything that I see. I am not sure why it affects so many others. I wish anyone that is troubled by any of these things the best as they struggle to find their personal path.

    If you choose to continue to believe in God, I wish you his richest blessings. If you decide that there is no God, then I wish you nothing but luck and positivity.

    I hope that you are now able to put your efforts into avenues that will move your life forward instead of mired in fighting an establishment that you so dislike.

    Wishing you the best.

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  17. Did you send a resignation letter to help the Mormon organization avoid further bad press, or to allow yourself the freedom to not endure a kangaroo court. You mentioned both ideas and am only curious as to which one motivated you more.

    Also... in the attached video what was the mission president holding? It looked like a stick.

    Also... as much as I generally enjoy reading your blog posts I'm none too impressed with the photo of the mostly naked woman being oggled by men. It's neanderthal and sexist in an otherwise intellectual and socially evolving blog. It's not even about the female body/nakedness. The naked male and female body is beautiful. It's about the placement of the photo in connection with your issues. I'm a feminist looking for equal rights in a patriarchal institution and this photo was NOT representative that. You can take the mormon man out of the church but can you take the sexist disrespectful attitude out of the average mormon man? Why don't you put up a photo of a male in the same naked pose with women oggling him. It would be more appropriate yes? Why is the female photo representing your committment to quit? Does the female body with males clapping and learing represent you quitting? If not, then why use it? What's your point? The photo would literally represent my resignation in myriad of analogies, but yours? When you do it it looks masoginist and disrespectful.
    Geez David, the photo presentation is so neanderthal in sooo many ways. Didn't you say you wanted to do a segment on egalitarianism/sexism within the mormon organization? Perhaps I can help you with research. I'd be glad to help you starting now.

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    1. You missed the female ”oggler” in the far right. She's even black. The person with the sign shows nothing except a bare back - as much as a backless evening gown. How is this sexist? Perhaps David took the attitude of ”quitting naked” as shedding the suits of priesthood oppression. Perhaps David used the implied nudity as a shot at the church's silly policy on porn. Who knows? But was he intending a sexist message?

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  18. Congratulations, you are officially no longer a Joseph Smith adulterer/pedophile worshipper. You made the right decision. Cheers. I feel sorry for all of the other pedophile worshippers that think that Joseph Smith actually talked to God and God told him to have sex with multiple teenagers and married women and lie to his wife about it. You all are crazy!!!! I left as soon as I found out about that BS.

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  19. The tone of this letter seems much different than the Sunstone talk (I think you gave one there, no?) about "Why I stay"??? I enjoyed that talk - this letter... not so much. I'm sorry for what's happened.

    I'm kind of disappointed that you didn't allow the Church to play their hand. You only would have had to wait until after 11/6. : )

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  20. I value the thoughts/writings of apostates from any sect pretty much above all else (I am former RCC turned atheist). There is a wealth of wisdom and self-discovery worthy of being shared. Welcome to the ranks of the great unwashed.

    Sincerely,

    LT

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  21. David, it's not that you don't have a good point, or that your reasoning for leaving isn't sound. Your positions are totally valid. The church IS false, no question about it.

    What makes me sick is how you handled it. Your letter was drenched in sarcasm, insulting, and totally unprofessional. You discredit the entire MT premise of balanced, reasonable investigation.


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    1. You're always welcome to criticize me, of course. And I understand that some question how I resigned. Others feel that treating it lightly is the only way to deal with an organization that doesn't deserve our respect because it acts despicably. Perhaps I could’ve toned down my letter, but this is how I felt after the way I was treated by leader, apologists and former friends for daring to respectfully question the church. I was smeared and disrespected long before I penned this resignation.

      What you can do is volunteer at MT and contribute quality material, put your name on them and when you can, resign in your own way on your own terms. I will respect your choice there as a personal one. Leaving the church is a personal thing, and while I made mine public, the way I did it is reflective of how I felt at the time. I don’t regret it, I enjoy it still.

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  22. Wow. I recorded Pres. Pratt's lengthy talk on my mission, posted it on YouTube three years later, and removed it at his request. I wasn't aware of your situation in 2012, but I'm intrigued that his talk is still in circulation. The man had quite the rhetorical fire and brimstone worldview.

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