LDS Church Mass Resignation draws modest, motivated crowd to downtown Salt Lake City

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Aug. 13, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — Tryston Kartchner decided Saturday was the day.

The 20-year-old West Valley man had stopped going to church two years earlier, but he had never taken action to have his name removed from the records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“I heard about the LDS Church Mass Resignation and decided to get it done,” Kartchner said. “My dad is super LDS, but I never really believed the teachings of the church. My mom is a lesbian, and she got kicked out.

“When I heard about the children of gay parents having to turn 18 and renounce their parents, I started doing research, and a lot of things started to surface. And I decided I didn’t want my name attached to that.”

Kartchner was one of an estimated 125 who filled out or at least picked up paperwork to resign from the church at the Saturday afternoon event.

A similar event in November, right after news broke of the policy about denying religious rites to minors living in gay households, drew about 2,000 to City Creek Park, and an estimated 1,500 turned in paperwork that day.

Those who stayed to hear speakers at this Saturday’s event numbered a few more than 100. Speaker and organizer Brooke Swallow-Fenton welcomed the modest crowd, reminding listeners that they were present to offer support those who wished to leave the LDS church, not to bash the institution.

Kate Kelly1
Kate Kelly, founder of Ordain Women, addresses crowd at the LDS Church Mass Resignation rally in downtown Salt Lake City Saturday, August 13, 2016. Photo: Nancy Van Valkenburg

Kate Kelly, a Mormon feminist and the founder of the Ordain Women movement, was excommunicated by the LDS church in 2014. Speaking to the crowd, she seemed almost wistful that she never got a chance to resign her church membership.

Kelly said she worries about women and girls who are still members in a church that will grant priesthood privileges to males but not to females.

“There are no women who can speak with authority,” she said. “What does that say?”

Besides women, the LDS church has discriminated against people of color and the LGBTQ community, Kelly said. Discrimination is fundamental to the faith, she said.

Kelly recalled her LDS mission to Spain, and the comfort she took in her belief that every question had an answer.

“Have an eating disorder? Read the ‘Book of Mormon,'” she said, laughing. “Getting a divorce? Read the ‘Book of Mormon.’ It was ridiculously haughty and dismissive.”

Kelly said her life now has a different peace and an authentic joy.

“We are here to honor your choice, your decision to take part,” she told the listeners. “We are here to honor your future.”

Speaker Ashley Wilkinson joked about her family’s reaction after she attended November’s Mass LDS Resignation and was photographed by multiple media outlets because she was standing by the mailbox where people mailed their resignation papers.

“My brother-in-law said I was no longer welcome in his home,” she said. “He said I started a religious war in the family.”

“I also started ISIS,” she joked, drawing widespread laughter from the crowd.

Wilkinson said after the husband she met at BYU came out as gay, she approached her bishop for a movement to champion love and acceptance, not just tolerance, of those who are different. He encouraged her to write up her thoughts, but the more thought and research she put into the project, the less interested she was in returning to church.

Her 13-year-old son recently commented that the further they got from their time in the church, the happier a family they became, Wilkinson said. She agrees.

Another speaker talked about the 12 stages of recovery after leaving the Mormon church, the last two being forgiveness and activism. One woman talked about Utah’s high level of anti-depression medications, and said she was medication-free just six months after leaving the church.

Speaker Katrina Whitney talked about losing her temple recommend as soon as she mentioned to her bishop that she was considering divorce. She came to label his action as spiritual abuse, she said, which she described as the denial of spiritual help and resources to a person in dire need.

“I think the church is causing a huge amount of harm to society,” Whitney said. “From here on out, I choose love … Without love, what good is religion?”

Swallow-Fenton, a key organizer of the November event, confessed she considered not speaking at this Mass Resignation because she is running for a seat in the Utah House of Representatives and wasn’t sure voters would appreciate her involvement.

“Then I talked to my husband, and he said, ‘What would Bernie Sanders do?'” she said, laughing. “I’m a Bernie nerd. And I think it would be horrible if politicians can’t talk about social problems because of churches.”

Swallow-Fenton encouraged everyone present to stand up for what they believe.

“Don’t be afraid,” she said. “I encourage you all to make some noise, in a positive way.”

This memorial was set up in honor of LGBTQ church members who reportedly committed suicide because the LDS Church had no place for them, organizers said. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Nancy Van Valkenburg
This memorial was set up in honor of LGBTQ church members who reportedly committed suicide because the LDS Church had no place for them, organizers said. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Nancy Van Valkenburg



  1. i would like to see kelly running her own church to see where she gets to. oh boy unhappy people everywhere she should join the presbyterian church i guess the room left by those who choose to leave is well desired by many other who are well intentioned and faithful and have not had the opportunity to recognize the holy ghost to lead them to the lds church. no other way to say it.

  2. ““When I heard about the children of gay parents having to turn 18 and renounce their parents, I started doing research…”

    Too bad Mr. Katchner’s research did not include reading the actual policy clarifications before going off to find other aggrieved party’s blogs for his research. No where does the Church teach or insist on renouncing one’s parents.

    Same goes for the silly misguided millennial hippies who can’t discern the difference between love and acceptance, and refuse to submit to logical truths that can’t be changed by referendum or popularity.

    And Swallow-Fenton, what a keen intellect there, “And I think it would be horrible if politicians can’t talk about social problems because of churches.” Churches and morals and beliefs have no place in the public square? She’ll go far with that platform.

    • It’s says disinvowle the practice that the parents are part of. But that means you can’t claim one of the as your parent. The child is missing out on “saving ordinances” because of the parent. The have to go though hoops when they turn 18 and talk to GA to get baptized then wait a year for temple ordinance and mission work. And yet to see what what do with kids in 10+ year when this happens.

      • He did NOT provide homes and support for all of the young women. Just this fact makes him a scoundrel, a liar, a cheat and a philandering fool. Kinda sounds like Donald Trump. Oh man, just like people keep joining the LDS church, people will vote for Trump. We’re in big trouble.

    • Disavowing the practice that holds your parents together along with being forced to move out of their home looks a lot like disavowing your parents. If you want to be picky about semantics so you can feel better about a policy that directly conflicts with Christs teachings (Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.), you are welcome to, however the rest of the world is not likely to sympathize with your view.

    • you seem to have misread miss Swallow-Fenton. She said that she would hate it if social issues cannot be discussed in a state where a church holds so much sway over the voting population. She did not say that a church should not be discussed, only that public servants ought to be more courageous about their principles and not worry that much about what religious beliefs their constituents vote in favor of

  3. Renounce parents?

    Where’s the journalism here? Mormons don’t ask members to renounce people or get kicked out. It’s a shame the article didn’t clarify the misunderstanding.

  4. What would Bernie do? He would buy a beach house with the Clinton pay off money. Y’all got burned by the socialist with the crazy hair.

  5. Italy: Muslim group demands legalization of polygamy as counterpart to legalization of gay marriage

    Over two years ago, Jihad Watch covered the story of the Muslim cleric in Germany who declared that Muslims in the West should “demand their rights” to practice polygamy.

    Now Westerners are again faced with the same demand, only made more strongly, and this time in Italy. It comes from the Union of Islamic Communities and Organizations, Italy’s largest Muslim umbrella group. The argument: if gay marriage, which Muslims disagree with, is a civil right, then Italians must accept polygamy as a civil right, too.

    This so-called civil rights call for the institution of polygamy represents far more than some pursuit of a status equal to that of gays. Polygamy is a degradation of women’s rights, and represents a rejection of democratic constitutions that uphold the principle of equality for women. This case for polygamy is an example of how Islamic supremacists use our democracies against us and encroach upon our freedoms in their pursuit of Sharia. Note also that Hamza Piccardo, the founder of the Union of Islamic Communities and Organizations, stated:

    “Do not underestimate the demographic action of polygamy. It would rebalance population decline and the consequent need for foreign labour.”

    Piccardo presents polygamy as a solution to labour shortfalls, when his real agenda of colonizing the West through the Islamic practice of hijrah has been glaringly revealed in his call for polygamy.

  6. The multi billion dollar real estate holding corporation posing as the lds church is in decline. This week the pew forum announced that retention among children-to-adult members has dropped from 70% to 64%. The truth is becoming known and so many are starting to realize the true benefits of these truths. As is indicated by the posts to this article, there are still hardcore believers but as the real truth about polygamy, racism, homophobia, dna, BofA, and more the hardcore believers are dwindling. This is wonderful news as it means fewer and fewer people will be damaged by the hurtful teachings of this cult.

  7. Since the Mormon Church teaches that it is lead by Jesus Christ, through a prophet who is the President of the Church, it follows that the Church is going to do what Christ tells the prophet to do. If you reject what the prophet says and you want to be a homosexual or want women ordained to the priesthood, or whatever other disagreement you have with the Church, you are rejecting what the Church says is the will of Christ. So why would you insist that the Church has to change to accommodate your personal sin? I have never understood why someone would wish to remain a member of a church that says it is lead by a Prophet of God when they are fighting against the teachings of that church. They appear to think that they can dictate to God what commandments He is allowed to give them. If the church changes its teachings and rules to make the sinners more comfortable in their sins, it is not a church of God. Rather it is a social organization designed by sinful men to make them feel good about their sins. God commands you to conform to His laws. If you refuse, you can whine and cry all you want about “fairness” and you will still have to pay the penalty. If a church tells you that you have to do what God says and you refuse to accept that, you might as well get out of that church. You are choosing to go to hell anyway and the other members of that church might not want you around to tempt them and their children.

  8. “I think the church is causing a huge amount of harm to society,” Whitney said.

    And the Mormon religion is causing a huge amount of harm to their members. By honoring a false prophet, teaching people to worship a counterfeit Christ, and by preaching a different gospel that will only lead people to their destruction, is the worst kind of harm that could be inflicted on anyone.

  9. The Church will baptize children of homosexual parents with approval of tthe First Presidency to make sure the parents and the child know what they are committing to. Stop twisting the policy to make people believe the Church hates gays. Also the Church doesn’t kick people out, they provide people with a path to full repentance. If you can’t understand the gospel then study it more instead of attacking it with misinformation.

  10. What does the BIBLE say? When was the last time you read it?

    Last time I read it all four gospels said Christ was GAY with
    12 boyfriends, er, apostates.

  11. Just look at Sodom and Gamorrah to see what God thinks and feels about homosexual acts. He commands us to obey his will, that is what repentance is all about. None of us are perfect, however we need to be trying, not just willingly giving in to our sinful tendencies.


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