Sunday, August 30, 2009

The entire process.

To make this simpler for others who want to avoid being necro-dunked by the mormon church, I'm going to post the entire text of all the letters I sent/received during the process; as well as the address I ended up sending the final letter to. This way I can just link to this post when people ask me for details:)

*NOTE* I'm removing my name, birthdate, address, etc as that isn't important to the process. I suggest that anyone writing their own letter include all of that--the same info as in a resignation letter. For the sake of streamlining the process, I would probably mention that you know this has ALREADY BEEN DONE, otherwise they'll try to stall...and they may still. This is new territory, and I'm not 100% sure how SLC is going to handle this from now on.

On May 19th, addressed to the 1st Prez:

Dear Sirs,

I resigned from the LDS church in July of 2008, though the removal of my name from your records is only now being completed. I was informed by the Membership and Statistical Records Division that there is no administrative office for a request such as this one, so in the absence of existing official channels I am presenting it to you personally.

I know that when my name is removed from the membership rolls, it is simply put into a different file away from the standard records. This is, ostensibly, in case I change my mind and wish to return to the LDS church. I also know that no temple ordinances can be performed on my behalf without First Presidency approval. I am as of this moment withdrawing my consent to these ordinances, and directing you to place either a brief instructional note or a copy of this letter into my former membership file. The note should make it clear that my name is not to be used in any proxy ordinances, and that any violation will result in legal action by my estate.

By way of brief explanation, and to head off inevitable argument, I resent the implication that after the long and furiously annoying process of “name removal,” the LDS church believes it can simply baptize someone on my behalf and that process is undone. I find that kind of willful and flagrant disregard for my personal wishes deeply offensive, and I will not live the rest of my life with that hanging over my head. While I can understand the LDS practice of proxy-baptizing someone who did not have the “opportunity” to learn about your church, I think it is an entirely different matter for someone’s name to be used in the ritual despite their express objections.

Please do not attempt to stall or make me change my mind. I am quite certain that this is what I want, and will not be dissuaded by arguments that I can “choose not to accept” the ordinances. I was a member for over twenty years. I have already chosen. It is my name, and my responsibility. I find it absolutely disgusting that the LDS church reluctantly honors official resignations and proceeds with the process of name removal, only to rebaptize former members once they are no longer able to object. This does not bespeak of integrity in an organization, and I will not stand for it in my case.

I expect this matter to be dealt with promptly and efficiently. I also expect a single letter from you or your office, informing me that my instructions have been followed and containing your personal written assurance that my wishes will be honored. Refusal on your part would leave me with no other recourse than to pursue legal action.


They forwarded my letter to the Family History Dept, which sent me a standard PR letter shifting responsibility:

Dear Mr. [iBear]

You recently wrote to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to request that the Church ensure that vicarious temple work is not performed on your behalf upon your death. Your letter was forwarded to the Family History Department. I have been asked to respond on behalf of the department.

The Church on its own will not submit your name for temple work once you are deceased. The names of deceased persons that are submitted to temples for ordinances to be performed are contributed by individual members of the Church.

The Church counsels its members to identify their ancestral family members and provide temple ordinances for those who need them. Members also are counseled to be considerate of the feelings of close family members when submitting names of deceased relatives. It further counsels that for deceased persons born within the last 95 years, members should obtain the approval of the person's closest living relative before temple work is performed.

To help ensure that ordinances are not performed on your behalf after your death, please inform your family and relatives of your wishes.

We wish you well and pray that the Lord will bless you with peace and happiness.


Fred Graham
Family History Department

My second letter was mailed off on Aug. 4th, directly to Mr. Fred Graham at this address:

Family History Department
50 E. North Temple St. Rm. 599
Salt Lake City, UT 84150

Dear Mr. Graham,

I recently received your letter advising me to attempt to convince my family not to submit my name for temple work. You either grossly misunderstood me, or else you were deliberately trying to shift responsibility from the Mormon church. I will try to be very clear this time, so as to prevent any further slip-ups. I am well aware that stopping my name from ever being submitted is quite literally impossible, but that was not what I instructed in my last letter. Those names are being submitted to an organization--your organization--and the only reasonable way to ensure my name isn’t used in a proxy ordinance is to take it up with the organization directly.

As I am a former member, First Presidency approval is required before my name can be used in the temple.

2006 Church Handbook of Instructions, page 88:
First Presidency approval is required to perform temple ordinances for deceased persons who, at the time of their death, were excommunicated or had their names removed from Church membership records.

So my family (and anyone else) can submit my name as many times as they like, but the ultimate responsibility lies with the Mormon church. My name cannot be used in the administrative ordinance without deliberate action being taken by the Church Office Building in Salt Lake City. I am instructing you, and therefore them, not to take that action. No instructions could be simpler, or easier to follow.

My letter specifically requested that no attempt be made to stall this process. Further “misunderstandings” on the Mormon church’s part would be unfortunate, as that would force me to involve both the media and an attorney. I remind you that I have withdrawn my consent for any temple ordinances to be performed on my behalf. I consider them a violation of my First Amendment right to Freedom of Religion, and will respond accordingly. Place a note in my former membership file to that effect.

Now that things have been clarified, I expect one of the following from you or your offices: either a single letter of confirmation, informing me that my instructions have been followed and my wishes will be honored; or a single letter of refusal, informing me that my instructions have not been followed and the LDS church intends to use my name in its rituals despite my clear and repeated objections. I wish to reiterate that this second letter would leave me with no other recourse than to pursue legal action, and notify the media. I anxiously await your response.


A few days letter I received this short, utilitarian reply:

Dear Mr. [iBear],

On August 13 I gave your letters dated May 19, 2009, and August 4, 2009, to the Member and Statistical Records Division to be placed in your file.


Fred Graham
Family History Department

So that's everything you need to know. They did precisely what I told them to do, and I'm satisfied that my instructions have been followed.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

No necro-dunking for iBear!

Received a letter from Salt Lake City today, assuring me that my instructions had been followed: they have officially added my "Do Not Dunk" letters to my former membership file, essentially red-flagging it "DO NOT BAPTIZE"

Feels good:D