Regarding the “Authenticity Required” argument.

This started out as a reply to an old friend on my last post, but I think that it warrants a deeper look. Many friends, family, commenters, and the bishop who came to my house have said that the Mormon church needs to confirm the veracity of my request to remove my name from their records. On the surface this may sound like a reasonable argument, but when examined through the critical eye there are blatant holes that cause it to fall flat.

The argument mainly relies on the “what if” scenario of a fraudulent removal request, in this case some ne’er do well falsely resigns another person from the church. In this case the victim should have nothing to worry about, because first and foremost God wouldn’t fall for it (he is after all omniscient).

As for the local effects say that member records removes him/her, then passes that on to the Stake, then to the Ward, logically the individual’s continued attendance would be noticed and the bishop could easily ask for confirmation without being required to go to the person’s home. A quick e-mail/phone call and the matter is resolved. Alternately if this occurs as a member is moving, then it would be caught almost immediately since the members will ask to have their records transferred to the new Ward and/or Stake.

The church itself did not even acknowledge this as a reason in their official correspondence with me. They simply referred to the matter as ecclesiastical in nature, which required local priesthood leaders to contact me (see their response letter here). The bishop visited me 2 days after receiving their letter, I was out so he left his phone #, which I called about a half hour before my interview on Q Transmissions. I explained in no uncertain terms that I was to be removed from their records and that the letter was not an invitation for proselytization. A couple days after that he came to the house again acknowledging the receipt of my phone message (which call display would have confirmed it as coming from me) but still requiring a face to face. Once again I had to tell him to remove me, and expressed my displeasure at the hurdles being placed in my way. It wasn’t until this point that he mentioned authentication being required. I was not asked to sign any documents, my ID was not requested, and I did not have to confirm my last recorded address that the church had. A couple of days later the bishop dropped a letter off indicating that he had sent the paperwork to the member records. I have yet to receive confirmation from member records despite nearly 3 weeks passing since the last letter from the bishop.

I have found that it is easier to quit a job with a resignation letter than it has been to quit the church. I will be sending yet another letter to the church if I have not received confirmation of my removal by the first week of March. This new letter will not be as nice since this ordeal has been going on since the original letter was sent on December 12, 2008 and it is currently February 22, 2009 over 2 months later.

Returning to the original topic of authentication, as Janine said in the comments on my previous post that there may be some truth in this The Science Pundit did point out that there is a reasonable limit. What could have been a quick matter has been stretched out needlessly, I for one will be glad when this is finally over. Stay tuned as we await the final chapter to my resignation from the mormon church.

Thanks again to SP and Janine their comments on my last blog post inspired this one.

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24 Responses to “Regarding the “Authenticity Required” argument.”

  1. I feel sorry for the trouble you’re going through. The last thing I want to do is sound like I’m trying the defend the church, but remember they are a large organization. As such things will take a glacial pace to deal with them, since you want to do something not in their interests. If you were trying to join, it’s be way quicker.

    Governments have shown us that much. I think the next letter should come from a law firm, not from you. Stress and suffering. Yeah, not really a case to stand on, but might make them jump a little faster.

    Good luck.

  2. The Science Pundit Says:

    Let’s hope this gets resolved quickly.

    I like Chris J’s idea of the next letter coming from a law firm. I don’t know how much that would cost though. Maybe you could get a similar effect with a notarized letter on some official looking stationery written in legalese (you can probably download a template from the interwebs). A notary should be cheaper than a a law firm, but it might not pack as much punch.

  3. The law firm angle is one I have considered already, I know an atheist lawyer up here, I’m wondering though if just mentioning discussions with legal counsel would be enough. Money is tight after all, and I need all I can get to go to TAM this year.

  4. Glad I could help inspire another post Nathan! ;p
    I’m not sure I completely understand your hurry to get your name removed, since you’ve been what the church labels ‘less active’ (we aren’t supposed to call people inactive anymore, which I think is silly, if you haven’t come for 10 years, you’re not less active…) forever. I feel frustrated for you that it seems to be a long wait, but I was told 40 days is about the norm (maybe for atheists this is a good sign, too many requests to handle!) As for the arguement not holding water, I still disagree. A group of angry former members could easy think of all the members they know and mail off a ton of request letters. The mess would be considerable and time consuming, both for the clergy as well as the church-goer. More hoops for you, means less for us, aren’t we terrible. ;p It would sort of be like church members doing genealogy work, but in reverse, and for the dead. God would know, but the paperwork to fix it would be a nightmare, and since these guys all do this in the free time and with no pay, that would really suck.
    I have to say, kudos for you sticking to your guns, and I’m surprised that Bishop Olsen actually came to your house instead of requesting you come to his office. He could have done that, and prolonged this even further if you’d refused. That phone call you had first must have convinced him to get this all done sooner rather than later.

    I can’t wait for the next installment!

    From your old friend, who you never tried to convert when I wasn’t a member, and I promise to do the same for you now. ;p

  5. Wow, sorry about the long comment and multiple typos, like ‘former members could easily’, not easy and “but in reverse, and for the dead’ should be for the living. Pregnant brain strikes again, as well as blogger comment overdrive!

  6. Hey Janine

    about the hypothesized group of angry ex-mormons (and really I’ve gotten to know a few they would never do such a thing they just want to get out in peace), such a stream of resignations should raise flags with the member records. If they do not catch it then when they send the confirmation letters out to the members who “quit” then the members themselves would be able to correct their bishops and branch presidents. The church makes it unnecessarily difficult for those who want to leave to the point that lawsuits have been filed because rights were being denied. I hold no animosity to the members of the church (well maybe a little to the leadership), most exmormons just want their personal freedom back mine is not the only story like this.

    I’m glad that we can at least see eye to eye about trying to convert one another, you always did treat me with respect all the way back in those days “on the line laying ground” in Cradle Cove (I still love that play), and I hope we remain friends for as many years to come 🙂

    oh and in case I haven’t said it yet congratulations, I’m sure you will have another beautiful baby.

  7. I haven’t actually tried to remove my name, so I cannot claim to know the full process. And I too have some ex-members as friends, some of which are very understanding of me still being a member, and some who are…let’s call it…hostile. And you will, of course, find the same the other way. Some members will continue to be good friends (either because they really are, or because you present a challenging missionary opportunity, let’s be honest here) and some will make your life a living hell (also because they may find you a challenging missionary opportunity, oddly enough).
    I am glad we have a mutual respect for each other’s intelligence, I find that the church teaches people how to discuss their religious views with passion, and when people leave, they take that skill with them (one cannot do anything but laugh when church members wonder why former members want to ‘shout the truth from the mountain tops’, it was that same church that told them how important this is. Makes me kinda giggle.)
    I am also fully aware that your family is probably monitoring our conversation on here, and since I have nothing to hide, I’m fine with that. Although, your mother may stop asking me to pray for you (since I’m obviously half-heathen, given my willingness to accept your choice with no concerns.
    Good Luck, Nathan, I won’t take up anymore valuable comment space. I think, though, it may be of interest to your friends to hear from a member. 🙂

  8. “I am also fully aware that your family is probably monitoring our conversation on here”

    Actually, no. We’re not.

    We handed the whole thing off to the Apostacy Enforcement Division in Provo since they’re the ones with the funding and all the ex-CIA guys.

    Just ignore the white van across the street, Nathan.

  9. lol, funny AAron! I just meant you were hopefully reading the blog, as it is your brother’s and all.

    No offense intended.

  10. so far Aaron is only the second member of the family to actually comment here

  11. My friend on Orkut shared this link and I’m not dissapointed that I came to your blog.

  12. robert gorman Says:

    WOOOOOOW! I feel really sorry for you. Watching your video, u say a lot of horrible things. So if I may, u r an idiot for not believing in God. In the end every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is king. I laugh at u atheists who claim to know the truth but when your life is in danger what do you say? Oh “God help me.”

  13. Northernskeptic Says:

    Ahh Robert thank you for showing your lack of skill. An ad-hom attack out of the gate combined with the inability many internet trolls to use complete words in their responses, and to top things off a complete misrepresentation of what I would do in a life or death situation.

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