President Paul Martin,
8th November 2015
Re: Excommunication, or Name Removal without express permission
There seems to have been some lies told in your behalf.
I’ve just heard this week via my parents that I’ve had my name removed from the records of the Church. Bishop Nelson Oliver visited my parents specifically to tell them the news of my ‘Name Removal.’
Now, either this is a big clerical error, or multiple lies are being told about me and my membership status in the Church.
I know from my time serving as bishop that clear policy rules are set in place to protect a member’s membership status. A member’s name is only removed from the records of the Church by adhering to a strict set of rules, following a clear and unequivocal request for name removal originated by the member themselves. Never is it allowed for the Church leader to initiate that process independently. I recall the General Handbook of Instructions stating categorically that Bishops and Stake Presidents were not allowed to ask members to resign, nor to use name removal as a way to avoid Disciplinary Procedures where serious transgressions are involved.
I have clearly stated on multiple occasions, verbally and in writing, that I did not want my name removed from Church records following your requests for me to do so.
Yet I now hear from my parents that it has happened despite my desires to the contrary. And when checking the online membership records for confirmation the Church website says “You have stated that you are not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” This is a blatant lie!
The other possibility is that this so-called Name Removal is in fact excommunication. Having received a hand-delivered written letter from you inviting me to meet to consider “whether you should remain a member of the Church.” I asked Bishop Nelson Oliver, who delivered the letter, specifically if this was a Disciplinary Council. To which he replied very clearly with, “No. It is a meeting to discuss your membership in the Church.”
From the Bishop’s reply I was reassured that this meeting was not a Disciplinary Council. The Church’s own General Handbook of Instructions specifically states those words should be used when inviting a member to such an important meeting and as they were not used I was satisfied it was only a discussion.
Nevertheless I went to the trouble of writing to you to acknowledge receipt, stating that I consider your continued behaviour to be harassment, and if it continued I would report you to the Devon & Cornwall Constabulary for Religious Hate Crime. Which I did.
In that letter dated 14th October 2015 I reiterated very clearly my intention to remain as a member of the Church.
I have not received written confirmation of any decision taken with regards to my membership, which, if a decision was made, is very irregular and does not follow Church policy.
In view of these queries I need answers:
1. Were Disciplinary Proceedings carried out on the 18th of October 2015 despite lies to the contrary.
2. Has my name been removed from the Records of The Church despite my stating this should not happen.
3. Further, I need to see minutes of the meeting held on the 18th October 2015 where you considered my membership. I also need the names of everyone in attendance at that meeting, as I will be asking each of them if they were aware of the purpose and type of meeting they were participating in. I do this in accordance with regulations about personal information under the Data Protection Act 1998
4. And I wish to lodge an official Appeal to The First Presidency about these proceedings and my membership status, as they ultimately hold the Keys of Membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I firmly request that the First Presidency overturn the decision made about my Church membership.
Please forward me with a copy of your correspondence to the First Presidency, including any ‘Report of Church Disciplinary Action’ forms and other relevant documents, by Friday 13th November at the latest.
As you read this the media are being informed and I’ve been assured by them that they wish to follow the outcome.
Stephen C Bloor