Dec 04 2008
President R. Conrad Schultz
Portland Oregon Temple
13600 SW Kruse Oaks Boulevard
Lake Oswego, OR 97035-8602
I am writing to inform you of my decision to permanently resign as a member of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. In making this choice I ask that my name be removed from any and all Church records. I also publicly renounce my membership and disavow any and all titles of authority (including those involving the priesthood).
The decision by the LDS Church to involve themselves in the business of lobbying and imposing your own morals upon the people of California with your support of Proposition 8 is only the most recent example of your disregard for the First Amendment. Thomas Jefferson was well aware of the need for a “wall of separation” between church and state in his speech to the Danbury Baptists in 1802. This idea is as relevant today as it was when John Locke first conceived it. These United States were founded on the notion of freedom of and from religion.
The very notion that the Church, whose members were once subjected to tyranny and oppression by the State would gladly join to oppress and rescind the rights of a group of people is repugnant and beyond my comprehensions. It sickens me to recall that I once called you brethren, shared worship with you. I find incongruity that my gay hands have blessed and prepared the sacrament of which LDS member partook as spiritual nourishment. Do you not find irony in the fact I was deemed righteous enough to share in the miracle of transubstantion but not righteous enough to share a legal union with my mate?
Tell me please, how your actions are in compliance with the teachings of Joseph Smith when he wrote:
“We declare that from principle and policy, we favor:
The absolute separation of church and state;
No domination of the state by the church;
No church interference with the functions of the state;
No state interference with the functions of the church, or with
the free exercise of religion;
The absolute freedom of the individual from the domination of
ecclesiastical authority in political affairs;
The equality of all churches before the law.”
There are few better examples of “the domination of ecclesiastical authority in political affairs” than spending in excess of $25 million dollars to overturn the established law of the land.
Regardless of how entrenched you may be in opposition to social change, a recurring theme in LDS history, you are in morally wrong in your attempts to legislate social behavior. This is the anthesis of the very freedoms you hold so dear.
As a former LDS member I know a good deal of your secrets, the vile contempt of your leaders towards homosexuality, Spencer W. Kimball writing in Crime Against Nature, stated that:
“Homosexuality is an ugly sin, repugnant to those who find no temptation in it.”
And also that “Perhaps as an extension of homosexual practices, men and women have sunk even to seeking sexual satisfaction from animals. …”
There is perhaps no clear illustration of LDS beliefs towards gay and lesbian people than when Kimball wrote:
“All such deviations from normal, proper heterosexual relationships are not merely unnatural but wrong in the sight of God. Like adultery, incest, and bestiality they carried the death penalty under the Mosaic law. … The law is less severe now, and so regrettably is the community’s attitude to those grave sins”
The only possible explanation for your actions; is that you do not believe in my rights or the rights of gays and lesbian people. You wish to deny us civil protections under the law by publicly debasing and striping us of our dignity. Only when we as a society demonize a group of people as ‘the other’ can we rationalize our own intolerance and abuse towards them.
Unfortunately I would have thought that the LDS church would have learned this painful lesson from your own bloody history. Sadly this does not appear to be so.
Bruce Henry Cavnor, Jr.
Cc: President Henry B. Eyring