The Mormon Church has traditionally had a positive reputation, especially when it came to their neighborly conduct. In the past several years, however, thousands of now-former members have been resigning from the church, with much of this being aided by the website. The site, started by Utah-based attorney Mark Naugle, aims to help people fill out the paperwork needed to officially resign from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The volume of people leaving the Mormon Church in the past few years has led to several institutional changes, such as the acceptance of same-sex couples, who are no longer placed under the “apostasy” label. Much of this was driven by mass protests and resignations from within the church. This has led to hundreds of children being baptized without the church denouncing their parents’ relationship.
This doesn’t seem to have affected the number of people leaving the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; founder Mark Naugle notes that he has seen a spike in resignations in previous weeks. While the website typically sees 25-40 resignation requests daily, at one point he saw over 500 applications over one day during the last few weeks.
These resignations are having quite a notable effect on the Mormon Church’s growth; it grew by 2.03% in 2013, though it’s membership only saw an increase of 1.21% last year. However, it’s also been noted that the Church’s figures also include lapsed Mormons who haven’t been through the resignation process. This is something thataims to help with, although it’s something that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is attempting to tackle.
Fraudulent Resignations From The Mormon Church
In the past few years, the Church claimed that many of the requests that the website saw were fraudulent; Naugle, who noted that this was a valid concern, stepped around this by instituting an identity verification process. He also noted that there were several fraudulent requests that he spotted before adding identity verification. This includes a request supposedly from the Prophet of the Church; this was flagged almost immediately, with the culprit confessing to Naugle, who subsequently reported it to Church officials.
Recently,has been working somewhat with the Church to speed up the process of resigning. Early last year, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints requested that all resignation requests be sent to Kirton McConkie, a law firm which works with the Church; before this, requests had been sent to the LDS’ Membership Records department. Now, Naugle sends the resignations to the firm’s Daniel McConkie, noting:
“They received over 6,000 emails in a six-week time period. I don’t think they realized that was what was going to happen.”