It is with a heavy heart and careful deliberation that I write this letter to resign from my position as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am fully aware of the implications and consequences of resigning; such understanding is why I am asking formally to be removed from the records of the Church.
These past few days I have been praying and desiring to know whether or not I should give, yet again, the Church's guidelines another sincere effort; in my meditation, I foresaw my suicide. Thrice I've tried with all the energies and sincerities of my soul to bear the yoke the Church would have be bear, and thrice I've been plowed under, each time more deeply, each time more scarring.
My faithful tenure as a Mormon has left me emotionally and financially desolate. I have been unable to hold a steady job despite my great talents and abilities; I have been unable to complete even one semester of school at a university level despite my great talents and abilities.
As a Mormon, I sought help from the Church, yet my intentions were demeaned, I was mocked, and the uncompassionate, merciless rhetoric spawned by church leaders (such as “You need to change your attitude” or “Your focus is off” or “You cannot make decisions based on desires for physical gratification” – which rhetoric has never, in any way, accurately represented my heart, attitudes, or actions) was smugly spat at me as I shrunk more closely to suicide.
Nevertheless, the Church refuses to see this actual damage done to so many in my situation; the Church silently encourages its members to heartlessly turn a blind eye to actual evidence of grief, pain, and desires of death unfolding even within their own homes; the Church refuses to place the blame where the blame belongs and is horribly content with placing this blame on already wounded hearts.
The Church refuses to see that their prescribed burden is simply too heavy and the yoke too difficult for the majority of homosexuals. A truly compassionate, honest, meek, and humble heart will testify that such is true and that such has not been for a lack of sincere effort and purity of heart.
I know the Church believes her harmful actions are rooted in love and compassion, but the love is tainted and the compassion false – if they were pure, the love would testify of the horrible, horrible damage being caused and the compassion would allow for the absolute best life possible for all of God's children. I sincerely and strongly believe that Christ atoned not just for the straight man to bear a light burden and easy yoke, but for the gay man as well. Once the Church can finally humble herself enough to see such, this that is most plain and simple (as the scriptures testify Christ bears witness), I will, with a rejoicing heart, reclaim what is rightfully mine, a membership in Christ's Church.
And it truly is not my desire to leave the membership of the Church now; nevertheless, there comes a time when one must humbly admit one can do no more and can take no more abuse, remove the heavy burden and difficult yoke, lay them at the feet of the Savior, and then take upon oneself a lighter burden and more manageable yoke in the hopes that the Lord Jesus Christ is truly compassionate and merciful and will look upon the intent of one’s heart. That time for me is now, and as the yoke that I am able to bear is unfortunately one towards which the Church can feel no compassion and mercy, and as I do not want to be made a liar who has agreed to one thing but then acts contrary to the agreement, I must ask to be released, effective immediately, from the contract I signed at baptism to follow the guidelines of the Church.
I feel impressed to reiterate that the motivations behind my actions are not rooted in any lust or desire or disposition to sin or justify sin; rather, my intentions are rooted in my sincere inability to progress successfully in life – if I am able to progress at all – under the counsel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Again, such is not for lack of sincerity and purity of heart, and any words that would have anyone believe otherwise are hateful and hurtful lies.
As I leave, I leave with the sincere hope that the heart of the Church will one day be softened and that she will finally be able to see what is truly the most compassionate, most merciful, most loving, most kind, most charitable and therefore most Christlike thing to be done with those in my situation who, despite our best efforts and most sincere and pure of hearts, are unable to sustain a truly healthy, happy, prosperous life as dictated by the LDS Church.
Andrew Martin Pankratz