A new website has launched to help Mormons leave the Church for good. QuitMormon offers free legal representation for anyone ready to resign their membership.
The obvious question here is: Why do people need legal help to leave the Church? Can’t you just, you know, stop believing?
It’s not that easy.
A couple of months ago, I posted about Mark Naugle, the incredible attorney who was helping thousands of Mormons through the process. He explained why he could help make life easier for people who wanted to get out:
If you attempt to resign from the church on your own, you’re going to be contacted by your local bishop. He’s going to come over and start asking you questions to figure out what you’ve done wrong and why you don’t have a testimony anymore. He’s going to put you on a 60-day probation period. He’s going to call your family, the neighbors and everyone in the congregation so they can start helping you stay in the fold. It’s essentially a form of harassment. I don’t think they do it maliciously necessarily, but they feel that your eternal salvation is on the line. This process can take three to four months with a lot of pain and suffering. For most people, it’s not worth it to do it that way.
[Under my representation,] people fill out the forms and send them back to me. I’ll print them, sign them and mail them to the church. When I receive confirmation that their name has been removed, I email them. They should receive no contact [from the church].
In other words, he was the middleman, allowing others to get out of the Church with as little friction as possible. More importantly, some people were having trouble resigning without legal assistance — the church simply didn’t process their resignations. It was nice to have a third party who could follow up on the requests.
Mark was doing this free of charge for months — people just contacted him through Reddit and he would process the paperwork on his own.
Ryan Sorensen and his wife were two of the people who used his services. They had unofficially left the Mormon Church several years earlier, but when they heard about Mark, they got in touch and ultimately removed their entire family from the Church’s rolls.
As it turns out, Ryan is a software engineer. When he found out that Mark was doing all this work essentially by hand, he offered to create a website to help Mark process everything a little more easily.
QuitMormon has been in beta test mode for a little while now, but it’s already helped process nine resignations in that time. Now, with the official launch, it could process thousands more.
In a way, this is the Church’s biggest nightmare. If quitting Mormonism becomes as simple as filling out a short form, without having to deal with Church leaders knocking on your door or calling up your extended family members to shame you into staying, how many people will finally get out for good?
We’re about to find out.
(Portions of this article were published earlier)