Tag Archives: Latter-day Saints

Son of Prominent Yes on 8 Leader Quits Mormon Church Over Prop 8

Matthew Lawrence, 28, of Santa Ana, California is just one of approximately 500 people who have contacted Signing for Something ( http://www.signingforsomething… )in the last few days to announce his resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because of the Mormon Church’s handling of and involvement in the gay marriage issue.  Matthew is gay and is the son of Gary Lawrence, 67, who is the “State LDS Grassroots Director” for the state of California.  (See http://yesonprop8.blogspot.com… ).

Matthew Lawrence, in an e-mail interview with this diarist, said that although he is “extremely upset and frustrated” with his family and that he has “cut off communication with them,” that “at the end of the day, I do love them.”  The elder Lawrence was also the Mormon Church’s point man for the Prop 22 campaign in 2000.  Matt says, “I love my family so much, but it’s hard to not take this personally.  We had a brief falling-out over Prop. 22, but that got mended.  But two anti-gay initiatives in eight years, it’s impossible not to feel attacked.”

Matthew was particularly hurt when “my father said that opponents of Prop. 8 are akin to Lucifer’s followers in the pre-existence.”  (Printed in Meridian Magazine online, and reported in the Salt Lake Tribune http://www.sltrib.com/utah/ci_… and other newspapers). Matthew’s plea to his father and others is “We can all agree to disagree and respect each other’s informed opinions and decisions, but don’t put me and Satan in the same sentence please.”

“This issue isn’t about gay marriage,” writes Matthew. ” This is about certain religious factions that believe homosexuality is disgusting, immoral and wrong and needs to be stamped out. . . .  It’s a problem to be ‘fixed.'” Matthew writes that his family sent him to multiple counselors during his youth, and even sent him to live with relatives in Utah which he writes was an attempt to “straighten me out” by living with what he describes as “homophobic cousins.”  He said while in Utah it wasn’t unusual for his cousin to call him a “faggot” at school and that his “aunt and uncle did nothing to discourage his behavior.”

Matthew is at least a third or fourth generation Mormon, and said that even after he stopped attending church (about the time of his return from exile to Utah) that “I even found myself defending the church for years and trying to dispel the notions that polygamy was still practiced or any of the other misconceptions. And deep inside, I still believe certain truisms that can be found in nearly any religion, such as treating our earthly brothers and sisters with love and respect.”

Gary Lawrence served as a Mormon bishop while Matthew was a child, and is the President of Lawrence Research, http://www.zoominfo.com/Search… .  Matthew said that from his father he learned “the value of hard work and not making excuses. My father has worked hard his entire life and has done whatever it takes to provide for his family. He truly was a loving husband to my mother, which is why it saddens me he would work to deny others the same happiness that his family provided for him.”

Matthew says that about 95 percent of his family supported Proposition 8, but that “a few cousins that are strongly opposed to this Proposition and have let me know that they support and love me” and have insisted “that they get a wedding invitation if I ever marry in the future.”

But, as for his father, Matthew says, “My dad keeps telling me it’s not too late to ‘change.'”

Below are comments from other Mormons who have finally decided to give up on their church, and have their names purged from the rolls:

I have great love and affection for the members of the LDS Church, in particular the members of XXX Ward. I want to thank you and acknowledge all of the love and support that has been shown to me over the years. I truly appreciate it.

I am now requesting that you remove my name from the membership of the LDS Church. While it saddens me to do so, I can no longer be a member, even in name only, of a church that seeks to deny people the benefits of marriage. The LDS Church has been active in the fight to deny homosexuals the right to marry in the state of California and elsewhere and it deeply disturbs me that the LDS Church is using church funds and member’s tithing to support this hateful campaign. Even though I am not homosexual, I can no longer have my name associated with an organization that seeks to deny people a basic human right. This issue is not a religious issue, it is a human rights issue and the church should stay out of politics and instead focus on supporting the thousands of members of the LDS Church whose marriages are in danger.

Please discontinue my membership. . . .  Read more of this letter at: http://signingforsomething.org…

My family is one of the oldest Mormon families in Utah – one of my great-great-uncles actually drove Brigham Young’s wagon part of the way on the trek to Utah. . . . . I always considered myself culturally Mormon, due to my historical family connections with the Church. Now, I’m not so sure that I can even keep that bond. From our history, Mormons should know all about religious persecution – and look what the Church is doing now! Persecuting people just like Mormons were persecuted over 150 years ago! Jesus would be ashamed.  Read more of this letter at: http://signingforsomething.org…

I have thought about this a great deal, and I cannot in good conscience be affiliated with any organization that would use its resources to strip a minority group of its civil rights. Having been raised a Mormon since birth, my family has instilled in me a truly Christian sense of ethics and morals. This religiously motivated attack is profoundly immoral and is in direct contradiction to the teachings of Jesus Christ – love, compassion, freedom, unity, inclusion, and equality.  Read more of this letter at: http://signingforsomething.org…

I consider Propsition 8 to be contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ and no longer wish to have my name associated with the LDS church in any way, shape or form.

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matthew 25:40

These things I command you, that ye love one another. John 15:17

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Galatians 5:14  Read more of this letter at: http://signingforsomething.org…

I’m disappointed and ashamed to be a member of this church right now. . . . I wish I could understand, in any rational sense, the reasons a Christian would want to deny an entire group of people something that they themselves hold so dear. My Mormon upbringing always taught me that the things I value most in my life ought to be shared. . . . I couldn’t feel more disappointment and distance from those who fought so hard to pass this amendment. And why are they standing quietly by as families around the world are torn apart by poverty, war, famine, environmental injustices, AIDS, or any number of social and political issues that seem so much larger and truly threatening to families? This isn’t a version of Christianity I recognize or want to be a part of.  Read more of this letter: http://signingforsomething.org…

[W]ith the church’s recent involvement in the passage of Prop. 8, I felt that now was truly the time to resign . . . . And now it looks like most of my immediate family feels the same way . . . . my personal involvement with the church of today is through, and not a moment too soon.  Read more of this letter at: http://signingforsomething.org…

There are dozens more resignation letters, and hundreds more letters from Mormons stating their opposition to the Mormon Church’s position available at: http://www.signingforsomething…  These voices need to be heard.

Mormons Resigning Despite Strong Heritage, Citing ‘Hatred’ by LDS Church

(Unsurprisingly, it’s the LDS leadership that is uniformly anti-justice.  Individual members may have different views, and are willing to act on them.  This should be applauded – promoted by jsw)

Mormons continued to register their resignations with, and post resignation letters to Signing for Something this week, citing “hatred” and “discrimination” among their chief reasons for quitting the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  These resignations come among the continuing backlash against the Mormon Church’s involvement in passing California’s Proposition 8 last week to take away the right of civil marriage for gays and lesbians.

Excepts of a few recent letters are posted here, with links to the full letters.

I am a gay man who, after serving a [Mormon] mission to the Netherlands, left the mormon church (although not officially) as they have no place for me. I’ve always felt that I didn’t need to upset my family or make waves by requesting that my name be removed from the records. After all, I didn’t recognize the church’s authority anymore so what was the point?

Since the LDS church has decided to VERY PUBLICLY extend their hatred beyond their realm I’ve decided that the time has come to make my voice heard, too. I resigned membership recently as has one of my friends from California who was recently married to his partner of 28 years.  See complete letter here: http://signingforsomething.org…

But now I see that there isn’t a community or a place for me. There’s not a place for the people I love. The Church is not a place for anybody who believes in equal rights and the Constitution of the United States of America. The Church is not pro-marriage, it is anti-gay. The leadership fights for bigotry and hate. The God I grew up with was perfect in His Love and Justice. Shame on the men who act so disgracefully in His name.  See complete letter here: http://signingforsomething.org…

Entire families are resigning:

As a member of the LDS church I was always taught to love one another and to treat everyone with a certain amount of respect. The position the church took on this particular issue went against everything I learned from the church. Not only was the church’s position discriminatory, but it was also hateful.

I found it extremely strange that it took the church 14 years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act to allow black members to hold the priesthood. I just excused this inaction as a mistake, but now as I see history repeat itself I realize that it wasn’t a mistake and the Mormon Church will always discriminate.

My whole family has been traumatized by the church’s efforts and will be sending in letters of resignations.  See the complete letter here: http://signingforsomething.org…

Emotions run deep.

For 45 years I served in every calling I was asked, in leadership, in service, in every capacity. I did it because I knew I was serving my Heavenly Father, a loving God. I continue to serve him and in doing so, I am resigning from this organization that I believe to be corrupt from the egos of mere men, that has strayed so far from its’ original mission to serve God and His people.  See the complete letter here: http://signingforsomething.org…

Resigning despite deep roots and strong ties:

I served an honorable and successful mission for the Church, and I am well aware of what is at stake. Though I will never forget-and do not regret-that experience, I cannot in good conscience remain a member of the Church.

I do not take this step lightly. My family connection with the Church is old and deep: my forebears were among the first handcart pioneers, arriving in the Salt Lake Valley in September of 1856. They endured much hardship for what they believed to be a just and righteous cause, and I am proud of that heritage. It is now time for me to honor their memory and take a stand for what I myself believe to be right.

The Church’s involvement in the effort to rescind a basic Constitutional right from California citizens is shameful and misguided. These are people whose desire to marry would only strengthen that civil institution, and would benefit and further family stability. And the campaign to deny them this right was a campaign of fear and lies, for which The Church should feel the deepest shame.

In offering their imprimatur to a mendacious, divisive, and unworthy political cause, Church leaders have, it seems to me, gone against both the spirit and the letter of Scripture, to wit:

“We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others;” See complete letter here: http://signingforsomething.org…

Even some not resigning are suffering abuse from family members:

I believe in the rights of all people, that two homosexual people who love and want to be with each other should have the right to do so. I believe that this right should be granted unto all people . . . .Every day as I drove to and from school I would pass by a major intersection where members of my church took turns holding signs promoting Prop 8 and telling fellow supporters to honk in agreement. . . . One day I came home and my brother was at our home visiting with his children. He bluntly asked me if I had honked or not. I was startled by his accusing tone and told him I had not. His eyes took on a blind rage as he demanded the reason to why I hadn’t honked. I lied and told him my horn wasn’t working but he didn’t buy it. He told me with a vinomous voice, “that is the stupidest and worst excuse i’ve ever heard.” It was difficult for me to hold my tongue as he continued to harrass me, but soon I simply left the room telling him I had homework to do. At this point I knew that my true political beliefs could never be revealed to my family. . . . I will not resign from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because I truly do love my religion, but that does not mean that I am willing to go against everything I know to be right just because our prophet has told me to. I think the church has no right to assume the inner thinkings of its members and take such an open stand of any political issue. . . . I love God, I love ALL people, I try to live the way God wants me to, I pray, I repent, I read the scriptures, I go to church. . . .I WILL NOT BE TOLD WHAT TO BELIEVE! So here I am, going against the church i’ve stood up for so many times, and for what? for the rights of the people, our people, we as the people. So sorry Bretheren, I love you, but I will not at this time stand by you as you attempt to make me your soldier of a war I don’t wish to fight. . . . I WILL STAND FOR WHAT I BELIEVE IN! Whether you will stand by me or stand against me, I WILL PREVAIL! And as my sunday school teachers have always taught me, “if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for everything.” This is me standing, this is me choosing a side, and this is me telling all people that I WILL NOT STAY SILENT!  See the entire letter here: http://signingforsomething.org…

Mormon Quitting Church in Droves over Prop 8

The website Signing for Something http://www.signingforsomething… is registering resignations of Mormons who are quitting the church over Prop 8.  Many are also posting their letters of resignation for the world to read.  There is much anger within the Mormon Church directed at the hierarchy of the church for its generations of lying and misleading its own members.  For many, Prop 8 was the last straw.