By Alex Temblador
This last Saturday, 2,500 people gathered at City Creek Park in Salt Lake City, Utah, to resign from the Mormon Church. This mass resignation event was sparked by the recent policy changes from the Mormon Church that stated that same sex couples do not fit into the Mormon religion and bans adopted or natural children of same sex couples from being baptized in the church.
Numbers vary among the reports, but it appears that 1,500 resignations were filed in the park on Saturday and about 2,000 resignations were processed by lawyers from people who were unable to attend the event. Attorney Mark Naugle said that he was busy for three hours straight with people resigning at his office and that many waited in lines for hours.
Apparently, submitting a letter of resignation through an attorney speeds up the process of resignation and encourages the Mormon Church to not question the resignee’s decision by sending them pamphlets to reconsider or having church members stop by their homes.
One of the main aspects of the City Creek Park event was watching people place their resignations in a mailbox that quickly filled up. Individuals, families, children, and gay couples submitted their resignations.
One of the event attendees, Aaron Linford, explained his reasoning for submitting his resignation to the Mormon Church that day: “I stopped going to church religiously a year ago because, just the attitude toward minorities, homosexuals, and women was the main three reasons.”
People all across the nation and the world were in support of this event as well. Organizer Lauren Elise McNamara said, “We’ve actually had participation nationally in our event…on our online event people have RSVP’d internationally and have been posting pictures of when they been taking theirs to the mailbox all week.”
In response to the resignation event, the LDS Church released the following 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 Friday’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.”
The President of the Mormon Church, Thomas S. Monson tweeted out before the event:
I plead with you to avoid anything that will deprive you of your happiness here in mortality and eternal life in the world to come.
— Thomas S. Monson (@ThomasSMonson) November 13, 2015
This last plea did not seem to deter many in Salt Lake City or across the nation.
This mass resignation from the Mormon Church is a symbol for many, a symbol of taking a stand against the tearing apart of families. “We perceive it as tearing families apart and making children choose their religion over their parents,” said Brenner Zeller.
Aaron Rosen added, “It’s not easy, but on the same token I have to stand up for humanity and stand up for the right thing, and to me supporting these people here and their effort to understand those of us who are in mixed families. All families matter.”