A group of about 150 Mormons quit their church in a mass resignation ceremony in Salt Lake City on Saturday in a rare display of defiance ending decades of disagreement for some over issues ranging from polygamy to gay marriage.
Participants from Utah, Arizona, Idaho and elsewhere gathered in a public park to sign a “Declaration of Independence from Mormonism.”
“This feels awesome,” said Alison Lucas, from West Jordan, Utah, who took part in the rally amid soaring temperatures. “I don’t know if I would have had the courage except in a group.”
The Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is known for its culture of obedience, and the mass ceremony was a seldom-seen act of collective revolt.
Like too many other conservative Christian churches, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints teaches that it is the one and only true church. People who leave the church are ostracized in Mormon society and employment.
Among the reasons cited by those resigning are the church’s political activism against gay marriage and doctrinal teachings that conflict with scientific findings or are perceived as racist or sexist.
Others cite inconsistencies in the Mormons’ explanation of its own history, including the practice of polygamy. The church renounced plural marriage over a century ago as Utah was seeking statehood.
One Mormon, Kris Fielding, 35, traveled all the way from Phoenix because of how a Mormon cleric treated him when he dared to question church history regarding polygamy and polyandry.
“I went to him looking for a faithful perspective. He called my wife and told her she needed to find a new husband,” Fielding said.
Now whatever happened to the sanctity of marriage?