This was my official letter of resignation as Bishop of Helston Ward sent to the Stake President on 11th January 2011
Dear President M_________
Firstly, please may I thank you for your amazing example and love. I feel your love and concern for me personally, and hold you in the highest regard as a friend and brother. I have never had reason to doubt your sincerity and compassion for others, and I love you and respect you for it.
It is with great pain and torment of mind and body that I am forced to write to you. I deeply and truly would rather not have to write this letter. But, honesty drives my motives.
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.
When faith in the unseen is replaced with indisputable evidence to the contrary, faith becomes redundant and, in fact, becomes a pleasant, if fanciful, myth.
I have not come to this decision lightly.
You have known me since I was in my early twenties. All that time, including twelve years in Yorkshire, I have diligently served in the Church with my heart, might, mind and strength. I have dedicated myself to God’s service since I was a young boy, including serving a full-time proselyting mission for the Lord in Manchester.
Since moving back to Cornwall I have served the Lord with a passion. I love serving the members of the Helston Ward. And it cuts me to the very centre of my heart to have to ask for this release. But, to do otherwise would be dishonest, and hypocritical now that I have discovered the truth about the church.
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.
I am resigning as bishop after much careful study, prayer and thought over a period of over one month. 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.
My initial foray into the world of previously unknown truths about the church (unknown to me), was sparked by a genuine and sincere desire to understand why my brother can no longer believe.
My research has only involved studying church history and commentary, Mormon and Ex-Mormon Intellectual websites and not “evangelical Christian anti-Mormon lies.”
I didn’t realise for instance that Joseph Smith practised polygamy, and was married to 33 women, most under the age of 20, one as young as 14. That some of Joseph’s wives were already married to other men when he married them; a practice called polyandry. All of these facts can be confirmed by a simple look at the church’s own website, familysearch.org.
I didn’t know that all polygamous marriages were illegal in the USA. Yet we believe in “Obeying, honouring and sustaining the law. ”
I have learnt an awful lot about the church which the General Authorities, though accepting as true, refuse to tell the general membership for fear of destroying faith!
There are many other issues, like; there are several accounts of the First Vision and Joseph Smith’s initial personal journal entry about the First Vision didn’t include seeing God the Father and Jesus Christ, but an angel. Then over the years the story got embellished till it changed to what we have today. Yet I was told it was the most momentous event to occur in this dispensation. Why didn’t Joseph initially record it correctly? And there are so many other things that have just dissolved my faith to the point I can no longer bear a testimony of the truthfulness of this church or even God.
Can you imagine how I now feel? It’s like my whole world is crumbling around me. I no longer know what I believe, or who I can trust. I don’t even know who I am, it is a most frightening experience. At the moment it feels like a death in the family. My death!
My feelings have run the whole gamut of human emotions; from initial shock, to anger, despair, grief, sorrow, depression, fear, and concern about the future and relationships. I am very anxious about how my parents and other family members will accept my new beliefs. It changes everything! I no longer have a value system which is my own, I don’t even know how to think anymore. At one point I was fearful my marriage would fail, but luckily our relationship is stronger than that. We have decided to work our way through this together and now our love is even stronger.
All of this whilst still trying to function as bishop. I didn’t want to say anything to you because I wasn’t yet sure, in fact I was desperately hoping it was all a nightmare which I would soon wake up from and everything would be just as it was before. I would still prefer the church to be true, it would be so much easier. But my dedication to the truth compells me to be honest, no matter how painful.
For me it is more important to believe in an uncomfortable truth than a comforting fantasy.
I know that this will be impossible for you to comprehend, just as it was for me when I was a true believing Mormon. It’s just the nature of Mormon psychology, it doesn’t allow for uncertainty or questioning.
I am beginning to see prospects of a brighter future as my reluctant realisation changes to acceptance of the truth and a feeling of excitement to learn more truth.
I had previously believed I knew the truth as strongly as any latter-day saint. My faith was sure! It has been my sure faith which has always guided me in my life, but now that faith seems to pale into insignificance compared to the new feeling of light and knowledge I am receiving.
Some may say I have been conned by Satan, but it feels so good to be seeing things more clearly that I feel god is guiding me. The same type of feeling of “the spirit” that I had as bishop still guides me. My own feelings which are now enhanced with solid, reliable, testable scientific data. Faith can only be faith if the evidence of things not seen are actually true. When all indisputable evidence proves that they are not true, faith is dead.
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.
Just to be clear, my resignation is not due to unresolved sin, or to being offended by someone. I have not just got tired of my calling as Bishop, or become over-stressed. In fact I feel, more than ever, a deep and abiding concern for those in the Helston Ward, who I love with all my heart, and wish you to know that had I not had a significant epiphany, which causes me to no longer believe in the restoration of the gospel and church to the earth, I would still yearn to serve God and his children.
I tell you this so you can understand the sincerity of my disbelief in the church.
Again, please let me reiterate that I have complete trust in you as a friend and brother.
I welcome a conversation with you at your convenience and would ask you to keep this in confidence till I tell my parents myself.
With gratitude for your kindness