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Featured LDS members: why the "lawyers and notaries"?

Discussion in 'Religious News' started by 9-10ths_Penguin, Nov 30, 2015.

  1. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Riboflavin
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    In a recent story about Mormons leaving the LDS Church in protest, there was something that made me curious:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news...mormons-quit-church-over-new-anti-gay-policy/

    Why would "lawyers and notaries" be necessary to leave a religion? LDS members: can you shed any light on this?
     
  2. dust1n

    dust1n Zindīq

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    "Resigning from the Mormon Church, it seems, is much more complicated than not showing up on Sundays — and, for those deeply involved in the Mormon community and its way of life, can have far-reaching ramifications.

    “Having your name removed from the records of the Mormon Church can be a very emotional experience,” explained MormonResignation.com, a Web siteorganizers of the mass resignation linked to. “It can affect your family, your job (if you work for the Mormon Church), your friends or even your spouse (if your spouse is Mormon). If you currently attend Brigham Young University, or another Mormon Church owned University, you could lose your accreditation and be expelled. There are many who have been unable to receive their diplomas or even their credit transcripts after having their names removed. The Mormon Church does not forgive, and it does not forget.” (UPDATE: In an e-mail to The Post, Brigham Young spokesman Todd Hollingshead responded to the allegation that the school does not release transcripts to students who have left the church: “This is completely false. As with most universities, the only reason we would hold an academic record is for financial reasons — meaning money is owed to the university.”)

    The Web site claimed that those who do not pursue and complete all steps of the formal resignation process will be “hunted down indefinitely by the Church for reactivation attempts.“

    And the Web site warned that completing the formal process of resigning from church membership still may not put an end to efforts to get an former member to return. “If you live around Mormons it is inevitable that they will pursue you as a neighbor,” it read. “This is an unfortunate side effect of being Mormon — every member is a ‘missionary.’ Also know that while your name is considered ‘removed,’ you will still be counted among the alleged ’14+ million’ members until you are 110 years old.”

    http://www.mormonresignation.com/resign_legalrights.html


    ...

    "The first thing you need to do is write your formal "Resignation Letter". You can find links to sample letters here in this forum. This letter requests to the LDS Church Membership Records that they remove your name from the records of the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints.

    Mail all letters to:Member Records Division, LDS Church
    50 E North Temple Rm 1372
    SLC UT 84150-5310

    801-240-2053 - Phone
    801-240-1565 - Fax
    1-800-453-3860 ext 22053 - Toll Free
    If you and your spouse are resigning at the same time, be sure to include both of your names on the letter. If you have any children under the age of 18 and wish to have their names removed as well, simply add their names to the letter. If you have any children under the age of 8 years old (who are considered "Members Of Record" if they have been blessed in a Mormon Sacrament Meeting), simply list their names as well, otherwise they will be hounded by Mormons as they get closer to the age of baptism (age 8).

    Sample letters are provided on the menu here under "Resources".

    Be sure to provide FULL NAMES and BIRTH DATES of anyone resigning.

    It is recommended that you have your letter notarized if it is possible. In the United States you can find a notary at any bank, and if you have an account there they will usually do it for free. You may wish to skip notarization if you have several children listed as each one must be accounted for although unable to physically sign any documents due to being minor children. As stated prior, the Church Handbook Of Instructions states that minor children must sign. Legally in the United States of America - minor children are not allowed to sign any document. I advise that any child over the age 12 but under 18 sign the document - otherwise there may be an increased delay - and demand for signatures.

    It is also recommended that you send your letter using "Return Receipt" mail. With the United States Postal Service sending a letter using return receipt usually only costs a dollar or two more than regular mail. This gives you proof that the LDS Corporation has received your letter of resignation. "

    Apparently, it's one hell (pun intended) of a mailing list.

    Still not sure why you'd need a lawyer...
     
  3. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Lawyers and notaries are entirely unnecessary, and won't even expedite the process, but implying otherwise makes for a good news story. The actual process involves the individual submitting a written request to his bishop (i.e. his local congregational leader), asking that his name be removed from the records of the Church. The request goes from the individual's bishop to the his stake president and then finally to Church Headquarters for approval. The individual's bishop and/or stake president may ask the person to meet with them privately to see if he might be willing to reconsider, but it certainly isn't any more involved than that.
     
    #3 Katzpur, Nov 30, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2015
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  4. Scott C.

    Scott C. A Mormon Guy

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    Ditto what Katzpur said. And... from my church's point of view, removing someone's membership records from the church is a big deal. It means their baptism is voided, they lose the priesthood (if they hold it) and they lose the ordinances of the temple (if any). The church doesn't want any miscommunication on the subject, which would certainly happen with verbal requests. The responsible thing to do is for my church to politely request that they put their request in writing and allow it to go through the right channels to get where it needs to go for the membership record to be removed. That isn't asking too much.
     
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  5. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Riboflavin
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    Thanks, Katzpur & Scott.

    I was curious, so I checked out the law here. Ontario has pretty stringent laws on collection, use, and retention of personal information. From what I gather, it might be asking too much here.

    According to my brief skimming, if someone communicates to a church (edit: or a business, or a charity they gave money to, or most organizations) that they no longer authorize them to have access to their personal information, the church is required to remove it immediately. There's nothing I can see that requires the request to be in writing; apparently a clear verbal request would be enough.
     
  6. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    I'm not sure if we're on the same page here or not, but just getting rid of a person's contact information would not be the same thing as having their name removed from the Church records -- at least not as far as a Mormon is concerned. It might be difficult for a non-Mormon to understand, but Mormons would see this decision as having eternal consequences.
     
    #6 Katzpur, Nov 30, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2015
  7. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Riboflavin
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    Under the law here, "personal information" isn't just contact information; it's any information or record that can be linked to an identifiable individual. It includes everything from baptismal records to marriage records to ledger entries of tithes to mentions of the person in the online archive of church newsletters. It's all of it - pretty much anything except records that the church is required to keep by law (e.g. financial records to support its non-profit status).
     
  8. Scott C.

    Scott C. A Mormon Guy

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    The LDS Church is careful to follow the law, which varies from place to place. If they are required by law to remove a membership record based on a verbal request, then I believe they'd do it.
     
  9. Watchmen

    Watchmen Well-Known Member
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    But not without constantly visiting/interviewing the member to make absolutely sure that's what he/she wants to do, which adds to the already difficult decision to leave.
     
  10. Scott C.

    Scott C. A Mormon Guy

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    I don't know, as I have no personal experience on either side. If I were a Bishop, which I'm not, I would want some personal contact to make sure. If the person was really upset with me, I'd back down quickly.

    I think that the more "active" and "faithful" the member has been for many years, and the better known he is to fellow ward members, the harder leaders will try to persuade him. They will likely have a strong friendship with the member and be able to talk openly as friends, and not be afraid to do so. A long time faithful member can expect his ward friends to not let go as easily as they would for a stranger who sends in a letter asking to be dismissed from the church.

    There will be exceptions to what I said above, but I think it's generally true.
     
  11. Prestor John

    Prestor John Well-Known Member

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    Would you mind sharing a link to this information?

    I find that difficult to understand since, if there is no written request, how could either side prove that any such communication took place?
     
  12. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Riboflavin
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    Collection, retention, and use of personal information by non-governmental organizations (other than health care institutions - they have their own special rules) is governed by the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. Here's an overview:

    https://www.priv.gc.ca/information/pub/guide_org_e.pdf

    Contacting someone electronically (e.g. by email or social media message) after they've withdrawn their consent could also run afoul of Canada's anti-spam laws:

    http://fightspam.gc.ca/eic/site/030.nsf/eng/home

    Well, hopefully the church representative wouldn't lie about that (right, Mormon members?). That aside, yes: not having a paper trail can make it difficult to substantiate that a privacy breach occurred... but the question of whether there's strong evidence for a breach is different from the question of whether there was a breach at all.
     
  13. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    There is definitely a need for a written request, but it should be made to the bishop, who will forward it to the stake president. From there, it ends up at Church headquarters. The point is that it doesn't require a lawyer, and there is no legal process involved.
     
  14. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Riboflavin
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    So there's nothing to what Mark Naugle is saying? He implies that while you can leave the church without a lawyer, it's more painless with representation:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friend...2500-mormons-resign-from-the-church-for-free/
     
  15. Scott C.

    Scott C. A Mormon Guy

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    By the way, my church gets no benefit from maintaining membership records on people who want nothing to do with the church. Any effort made to make certain the member is serious about their request to withdraw is simply out of interest for that member. Some people think my church wants to prop us it's membership statistics by maintaining these memberships. That's not the case. There's no value.
     
  16. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    That's right. There is nothing to what he is saying. How "painless" or "painful" it may be has nothing to do with whether a person has legal representation or not. There may be cases in which a bishop simply refuses to let the matter go, in which case a lawyer might help. But it's certainly the exception rather than the rule.
     
  17. Scott C.

    Scott C. A Mormon Guy

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    Don't mean to butt it... there's no way a lawyer is needed. This is just a membership record. If someone wants out, they resign in writing. Simple. Done.
     
  18. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Riboflavin
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    I get the impression that Naugle had the people in mind who know that their particular bishop will be a problem.
     
  19. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Riboflavin
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    Earlier, you seemed to imply that it might not be that simple:

     
  20. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    I think Naugle likes to be the center of attention.
     
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