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Fallout from Resignation Announcement

Open Letter to Mormon Friends and Family

To my friends from the Plano, Texas 5th Ward and to my other LDS friends and family who have been directed to this blog, I wish you a hearty welcome.

I understand that my disappearance from Sunday meetings and voluntary relinquishment of my callings—first as Executive Secretary, then as Elders’ Quorum secretary, and finally as home teacher—have been the subject of some curiosity and discussion among you. I have been disaffected with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for a little over two years now. The reasons for my disillusionment and disappointment with the church that I have called my spiritual home for nearly two decades are the subject of many of my posts here. If you are interested in knowing why I have chosen to cease active participation in the ward, I refer you to the left sidebar under the caption “Best of Equality.”

The purpose of this post, however, is simply to dispel a few myths or misconceptions and, perhaps, to quell a rumor or two and clear up any misunderstandings that may have arisen. I want you, my friends and family, to know that whatever my thoughts about and feelings toward the LDS church and some of its leaders, my feelings toward you are not diminished or tarnished in any way by my transformation of faith. If I loved you before, I love you now. If we were previously friends, I consider you a friend as much now as ever.  In the words of Joseph Smith, “I have enmity toward no man.” I have friends of many faiths and political persuasions, and see no reason to withhold fellowship from any simply because we do not share a particular world-view, ideology, or belief system.

My decision to resign my callings, substantially reduce my attendance at church functions and, more recently, to voluntarily withdraw my membership in the LDS church, (Download resignation_letter_redacted.pdf ) should in no way be viewed as indicative of my feelings toward the members of the LDS church with whom I have always enjoyed a pleasant association. To the contrary, that it has taken more than two years of researching, discussing, deliberating, and soul-searching before finally resigning my membership underscores the gravity of the decision—a choice made all the more difficult because of the love and respect I have for my Mormon family and friends. If the Mormons with whom I have associated in my ward and family were not basically honest, sincere, caring, compassionate folks, then leaving the LDS church would be much less emotionally arduous. In short, my disaffection with the LDS church has neither caused nor resulted from any disaffection with my Mormon friends and family.

One of my stated purposes in maintaining this blog is to dispel some of the myths often promulgated in the LDS church regarding those who “leave the fold.” It is not uncommon for members of the LDS church to speculate on the root cause of “apostasy.” Invariably, the consensus among the faithful is that those who leave do so because they either (a) have been offended or (b) want to sin. A variation on this is that the Mormon lifestyle was just too hard and the departing member was just too weak to “endure to the end.” A third explanation for apostasy often posited is that the “wayward” member is afflicted with a “hard heart” or “pride.” All of these (offense, desire to sin, pride) are the result, it is often surmised, of Satanic influence. The member neglected his duty to pray or read the scriptures, or pay tithing or go to the temple and was thus left open to be tempted of the devil or one of Satan’s millions of demonic henchmen who are constantly on alert for faltering saints, ever hoping to find a chink in the member’s spiritual armor.

Contrary to these clichéd explanations for why people leave the LDS church, in my experience meeting, discussing, corresponding, and counseling with hundreds of disaffected Mormons over the last two years, I have not encountered any who left the LDS church because they were “offended” personally by a fellow member.  So, all the cookies and paper hearts in the world (as well-intentioned as they may be) will not bring such people “back to the fold.” Nor have I encountered people who have left the church—believing it to be true—but just wanting to sin. Asking former members “which commandment they didn’t want to keep” might make for a good EFY anecdote, but it bears no resemblance to reality. People who leave the LDS church often (but not always) do make certain lifestyle changes (especially with respect to Sabbath observance, word of wisdom, and tithing). But in the great majority of cases, formerly faithful members who leave do so because they undergo a spiritual change on the inside. The outward manifestation follows the inner transformation.

I did not leave because someone offended me. Nor was there any particular “sin” that I just had to commit or any specific commandment I was incapable or unwilling to keep. This cucumber is perfectly capable of one day becoming a pickle, thank you very much. As for pride, I think that it actually takes a substantial measure of humility to examine one’s belief system critically, to accept the idea that the things you believed in so ardently for years—things you felt with “every fiber” of your being—might not be true. In my view, it is prideful to cling to beliefs for which there is no reasonable basis and to refuse to consider new information, new evidence, new arguments, new points of view. My willingness to re-examine and re-consider my faith, and to change as a result, is the opposite of proud. I think that the nearly two years’ worth of blog posts here put the lie to the notion that I left because I was offended or wanted to sin or that I have been overcome by demonic forces. Far from the picture of apostasy painted in LDS church culture, I am not miserable; I am not tormented; I am not walking in darkness or wallowing in pig slop. I still love my family; I am still gainfully employed; I still smile and wave at the neighbors and the school crossing guard; I still have spiritual experiences; I still have a conscience—indeed, it is my conscience that impelled me to withdraw my association with the church. So, worry not for me or my soul. Do not wonder what you may have said or done to drive me away—you had nothing to do with it. I have nothing but the best of feelings for you, my Mormon friends and family. I wish you Godspeed in your spiritual journey. And it is my sincere wish that we who were friends at first may yet be friends at last.




Wow, you really impressed me with the open and loving tone of this letter to your friends and family. I could only nod and agree with what you said about some of the misconceptions and myths that are attached to people who choose to leave the church. I experienced most of them firsthand from friends and family, and was saddened to find that people whom I thought knew me and loved me would believe that I was under the influence of Satan or choosing to sin. I was also astounded they had such low regard for me to believe that I'd allow something as simple as "being offended" to lead me away from the church.


I hope this letter touches the people who matter in your life, and that your friends will remain so, and that your family will be supportive of you just as Christ would.

Best of luck.



Thank you for this post. I think you've captured the feelings of so many former Mormons.

Just out of curiosity, how many people did you give this URL to?


Dear Eric,
I can understand that this wasn't an easy decision for you. I only wish you the best and I support you in whatever you choose.
Sending love, light and positive energy your way,

Cody Frisby


Good on ya mate. This letter is terrific. I just recently sent my letter of resignation to the church and subsequently notified my family/friends and I wish I would have sent this. I may copy and post some to answers a few concerns and questions some of them had, it that's ok with you. Thanks again for the beautiful letter.


Thanks for the positive comments, all. I appreciate them. Ned, I sent an email to an old EQ email list I still had in my inbox. I think it had about 40 addresses, something like that. Not sure if any of them will want to come here and read the letter, but they have the option. Freedom is a wonderful thing, isn't it?

truly confused

Eric-Congratulations. I think one of the things I appreciated the most about this letter is that is you acknowledge that you thought this out and took time before you resigned.

I also hope that although you have resigned, you will still post about your reflections and experiences with the LDS faith. I have grown to appreciate thinking about them as I go through my journey of deciding what I want to do.

One other quick thought in regards to people leaving because they were "offended". The final straw for me was an experience with my bishop, however the need to leave had been building for years before I got to that point. Someone from the outside could look at my situation and say that I left because I was offended instead of realizing that I left because of many, many reasons but the experience with my bishop was the final reason.


I'm sure this has been a very liberating experience, and I wish you well. Your explanation is very open and generous, which anybody having at least a minimally open-minded approach should recognize.

I hope this might even open some productive channels of communication with friends and family.

The time is not yet right for me to take this formal action, but that time may come.


That was a beautiful letter! I hope everyone who reads it will get a better idea of how incredibly hard losing one's faith is. It's not a walk in the park! I hope if the time ever comes when I send in a resignation that I can explain myself in such a kind, caring, and articulate way!

Sending good vibes your way!



Thanks for posting this. Very beautifully done. I have appreciated being able to share in your journey thus far.


circus watcher

Good letter, you made me look up the word 'dissuade'.



You have such a way with words, being able to express what is in your heart.

Jennifer aka SillyNut

Plano 5th Ward

Speaking for myself and not the ward collectively, I’ve missed your attendance over the last year or so and at the same time I respect you for your ability and desire to look deeply at Mormon Doctrine. I will miss your sense of humor as you ask the “hard questions” that make each of us think. For that I congratulate you. I know God wants us to think. Ever since they locked up Galileo for expressing himself(1633), I’ve always tried to remain teachable and consider multiple viewpoints. As you know, this process of searching for truth can build or destroy your testimony. But without this process, you really can’t say you have or don't have an understanding.

I consider you a friend and plan to continue our relationship as is.

Carrie Oakie

What a great letter! It is not angry but loving and respectful.
I have been reading your blog for a long time and know that your decision was not hastily made. I wondered sometimes if you would be one of those that takes the "middle way" since your wife is an active believer. How has this resignation process affected her?

Thanks for posting this.

CV Rick


I commend you on such a thoughtful approach and a heartfelt letter. I could learn a lot about tact, and probably humanity, from you. Well done.

- rick

Doug G.


Thanks for all the work you’ve done! The well written essays and thought provoking comments from around the different blogs have been very helpful to me and others. I sincerely hope you can still find time to post and be part of the DAMU. Just because you got your get-out-of-jail free card doesn’t mean you can move on completely, or at least we hope not...

Congratulations on completing one journey and good luck with the start of the next…

Tears of a Clown


I have enjoyed reading your comments and thoughts over the last little while both here and on various message boards. Though we did not know each other well, we went to law school together (class of '02). As I have recently re-embarked on my journey of discovering where I stand in my own faith, it has been helpful for me to know that there are others out there who are going through (or have gone through) some of the same issues that I am facing. It is even better to be able to actually know someone who has faced many of the same questions and who has come out with his conscience clear and in tact. Best of luck to you!


Eric, Well Done and congratulations. I've been out for nearly 14 years but haven't bothered to "resign". After reading your letter I'm considering it, if only to make somebody go through the motions of reducing the "size" of the church by ONE. Interesting how those of us who leave are viewed as losing our faith or testimony. It was faith in "God" that led me out. In my view, allegiance to a "testimony" of the church is a subtle and particularly insidious form of idolatry (in the language of the religious). This applies to "Christians" who throw stones from behind their dogma as well. I am more conscious of a loving guiding hand (presence) than I ever was in the church; and my awareness grows daily.

Blessings on your journey,
John in Bothell, WA

John Cocktosten

Hey Eric --

Along with Tears of a Clown, I'm also a disaffected 2002 classmate (e-mail me if you wish to discuss more.) I too became disaffected about two years ago, but it really can on strong within the last year. I often think that the seeds of overtly critical thinking were planted during law school. In law school, I became a skeptic of everything, including religion. But my skepticism toward Mormonism didn't' manifest itself until years later.

Thanks for the wealth of information posted on your blog, it's been an enlightening read. Although with the busy schedules associates keep, I'm amazed that you found the time to be such a prolific writer.

John Cocktosten


Thanks, y'all. John C.: it's amazing how much time one gains when one steps off the Mormon hamster-wheel for a little while. I average about 2 posts a month since starting my blog 2 years ago. And I have help from my "choir" (lol). Email me anytime and we can continue a conversation offline. Thanks for posting. I am glad you enjoy my blog. I think there are a number of us from the 2002 class. Maybe they are teaching the students a little too well at BYU law.

family practice emr

This letter is great, it brings out the best in you!


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