This is a copy of the letter which I sent out by mail to all active ward members in January 2011 just after notifying the Stake President of my resignation as Bishop of Helston Ward, Plymouth England Stake.
I felt they needed to know the truth about my resignation from myself, because rumours can & did start to spread so quickly.
I truly loved the members of the Helston Ward. The relationships I had with them felt like strong family ties.
As a consequence of my love & concern for each of them I wrote this letter.
They deserved to know I loved them & despite my change of beliefs was determined to continue to be their friends!
The Europe Area Presidency were not well pleased & demanded my silence.
I obliged under duress (threat of excommunication) in order to protect my extended family and friends’ feelings.
Time has healed hurts to some extent & allows me now tell the truth as I initially wanted.
Dearest brothers and sisters
Firstly, may I express my deep and abiding love for all of you. I have always enjoyed our association with each other in the Church. And hope that will continue.
For most of you, our relationship started when I was a young child, for others we became acquainted later, but our relationship feels just as sweet and enduring. I have loved serving you all as your bishop these past seven years. It has been the most wonderful time of my life. There have been challenges which we have worked through, but there has been an abundance of beautiful and memorable experiences.
It is with heartfelt regret that I write to you at this time. I want to inform you of a decision I have taken which not only affects me, but everyone in Helston Ward. By doing this I realise my decision will cause an emotional upset for most of you which I can truly empathise with as I have had to endure the emotional turmoil personally for over six weeks as I fought to discover the truth.
I have resigned from my calling as bishop of Helston Ward due to realising that my testimony was based on a false premise.
I realise this will shock you. It has truly shocked me how quickly a testimony of the Church can unravel when Joseph Smith’s divine calling as God’s prophet is undermined by learning the truth about him.
I have come to believe over the last month that there are so many inconsistencies and problems with the historicity of the Book of Mormon, as well as the divinity of Joseph Smith’s calling as prophet, that I can no longer, in good faith, fulfill my calling as Bishop of Helston Ward.
I have not come to this decision lightly. I am resigning as bishop after much careful study, prayer and thought over a period of almost two months. During that time I have desperately tried to find out that what I had recently discovered about the Church was a malicious and fictitious lie. But the more I studied the more evidence of a cover-up I discovered.
What I found has hurt me deeply and has made me realise that the sweet feelings of the spirit I believed were associated with the truth were actually misplaced.
My testimony of the Church has been found wanting. What hurt most was discovering that I had gained a testimony of things as they were made to appear, rather than the truth.
I was hurt by discovering that prophets in times past were “economical with the truth”, at best, in order to protect the Church and this practice continues to this day.
Let me reassure you I am not resigning as a result of sin, or weakness or being offended by anyone. I loved the gospel and the Church, and loved serving you as your bishop.
It hurts me to even think the Church I have sacrificed so much of my life for could be untrue. When I think of the time, physical & emotional effort, money and all the sacrifices I have made as a diligent member, I just can’t believe I am now thinking it was for a false premise.
But, I have just come to the inevitable conclusion, when faced with indisputable evidence, that I would rather accept the uncomfortable truth than a comforting fantasy.
I dedicated my life to serving my Saviour and his children, but my integrity and honesty forces me to follow the truth, as painful as it is, rather than live a lie.
President J Reuben Clark said “If we have the truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed.”
After having gone through the emotional turmoil of coming to terms with the fatal flaws in the Church, I am now beginning to enjoy the benefit of being able to think more clearly and am starting to feel the joy of knowing more truth.
The most important question every member needs to ask is: “If the church is not true would I want to know?” Only then can one be open-minded to truth.
Please don’t think that I, in any way, am doing this with the intention to hurt anyone. It pains me deeply to think that my decision will make anyone suffer.
Please accept my sincerest apologies for any pain caused by this decision.
Know that I love and respect you and hope you can understand my decision and the reasons why I have made it.
All the best on your journey.