January 3, 2022 - Resignation and Contribution of Jeff Green
Sunstone is pleased to announce our partnership with Jeff Green.
After making a first donation in early 2021, Green has begun a new three-year agreement with Sunstone. The partnership with Sunstone aims to strengthen its mission and widen its impact within the community we serve.
Recently Green made international headlines (Salt Lake Tribune and Washington Post) when he announced his resignation from the LDS church. Because one of the goals of Sunstone is, “More than one way to Mormon,” we understand and honor the many paths individuals take who derive from the same heritage. Executive director Lindsay Hansen Park was able to walk with Green during this process and help navigate his resignation. This led to a meeting with Equality Utah.
Green says, “I went into that meeting unsure if diplomacy was the best avenue to create space for LGBTQ+ people within the church or even within Utah. I found that both Troy Williams (Equality Utah) and Sunstone are both interested in protecting the idea that Mormon experience is diverse and that navigating a complex heritage with love and understanding is important. It’s important to me support work that I feel are aligned with my values.”
As another piece of honoring Jeff Green’s own personal Mormon experience and upbringing, Sunstone is publishing Green’s resignation letter in its entirety, with his consent of course.
Green says, “I believe deeply in Sunstone’s mission. I think it has always appealed to the historically focused, the fringe, the questioner, and those who try to stay. I believe the borderlands of Mormonism is where change happens. I believe it's where inclusion widens.”
We feel honored for the opportunity to be included in his generosity and vision for a better Utah and a more inclusive community.
Read Jeff's resignation letter below, or view it as a PDF here.
December 23, 2021
Jeff T Green
Thousand Oaks, California
Subject: church membership resignation and reasoning
Dear President Russel M Nelson,
Although I have deep love for many Mormons and gratitude for many things that have come into my life through Mormonism, I have not considered myself a member for many years, and I’d like to make clear to you and others that I am not a member.
While I’ve left the Mormon church more than a decade ago—not believing, attending, or practicing—I have not officially requested the removal of my records, until now.
Please remove my records from the church. I no longer wish to be counted among the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
My membership number is: XXXXX
While most members are good people trying to do right, I believe the church is actively and currently doing harm in the world. The church leadership is not honest about its history, its finances, and its advocacy.
I believe the Mormon church has hindered global progress in women’s rights, civil rights and racial equality, and LGBTQ+ rights. As a result, the Mormon church has strained and divided millions of families.
Church leaders create unhealthy paradigms around gender roles (exacerbated by canonized doctrines on polygamy), which hurt all our ancestors and family members that have touched Mormonism. This paradigm, coupled with the sex-negative teachings and policies, has a series of immeasurably negative impacts on nearly all participating members and their neighbors and communities. Additionally, church leaders do not seek or promote informed consent from members regarding baptismal or temple covenants. Often people enter those commitments without a real understanding of what they are signing up for.
I feel for the members. I love many of them. Most Mormons are good people. Most Mormons are born into this religion and the church, and their families are completely enmeshed. It makes leaving difficult.
Deconstructing my belief in LDS church teachings many years ago was extremely difficult for me at the time and took several years of study and reflection. But ultimately, staying meant a less fulfilling life for me. It meant living inauthentically. I left because I wanted a life of honesty, morality, truth, and a desire to pursue a more socially just world—not because I desired a different lifestyle. Of course, believing Mormons (following the lead of Church leadership) often accuse those who leave of doing so for simple or petty or even demonic reasons—this is not my story. I stopped believing and attending out of principle. I am formally leaving now for the same reasons.
Whenever someone leaves a high-demand, insular religion—it brings some initial pain for all
involved. I feel deep empathy for those who have been ostracized from the Mormon community or who choose to leave because of their beliefs, values, or even just who they are. Leaving almost always means losing some amount of family harmony. And those who stay feel loss and pain for those who have left, especially when in the believers’ minds, they are losing family forever. I live with this discomfort every day.
I hope you will create more space for different views and beliefs among Mormons. A more
open-minded church membership could improve the lives of millions of people.
Additionally, related to helping people, the church has amassed a significant wealth. More than 100 billion dollars in assets under management (AUM) that is all derivative of the widow’s mite, which doesn’t even measure the real estate and less liquid assets. This money comes from people, often poor, who whole-heartedly believe you represent the will of Jesus. They give expecting the blessings of heaven. The church has been wealthy for many generations and yet doesn’t do nearly as much as it could. Given you claim to represent the will of God and act as a special witness of Jesus, the Mormon church should be doing more to help the world and its members with its wealth. Instead, I think the church has exploited its members and their need for hope to build temples, build shopping malls, cattle ranches, fund Ensign Peak Advisors investment funds, and own mortgage-backed securities, rather than alleviating human suffering in or out of the church.
I plead with you to consider the words of Jesus “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Thank you for your attention on this matter.
Good afternoon, good evening, and goodnight,
Disclosures: Legally, I am represented by Mark Naugle on this matter. Please contact him for any questions related to this request. This letter is my formal resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and it is effective immediately. I hereby withdraw my consent to being treated as a member and I withdraw my consent to being subject to church rules, policies, beliefs and 'discipline'. I want my name permanently and completely removed from the membership rolls of the church. I have given this matter considerable thought. I am aware that the church handbook says that my resignation "cancels the effects of baptism and confirmation, withdraws the priesthood held by a male member and revokes temple blessings."
My resignation should be processed immediately, without any 'waiting periods'. I am not going to be dissuaded and I am not going to change my mind. I expect this matter to be handled promptly, with respect and with full confidentiality. After today, the only contact I want from the church is a single letter of confirmation to let me know that I am no longer listed as a member of the church.
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