Disillusioned Mormons Sign 'Declaration of Independence From Mormonism'

Maybe it was the Mormon church largely funding California's anti-gay marriage Proposition 8. Maybe they just really liked the Tony Award-winning Book of Mormon. Either way, a group of 150 Mormons quit the church in a mass resignation ceremony to express their displeasure with the religion.

The Salt Lake City-based event was organized by Zilpha Larsen, who explained her motivation.

It's been a hard journey and this is a symbolic end. I just hope that it boosts people up and helps them feel more comfortable in their decision.

Indeed, some participants said that the group effort gave them the courage to leave the church.

Ditching the Church of Latter Day Saints is a bigger deal than abandoning other religions. In order to officially no longer be Mormon, members have to submit a letter asking to be removed from church rolls. Some now ex-Mormons said they worried about repercussions, as those who leave the church are often shunned.

When asked why they decided to denounce their Mormon faith, answers varied. Some spoke of the history of polygamy and sexism, while others referenced more recent political affiliations, like the fight against gay marriage. Participant Robin Hansen said that in promoting obedience, the church has created a "culture of abuse."

Church spokesman Michael Purdy was fairly blasé about the whole thing.

People make their own decisions about the direction they will follow in life. While there are very few who take this action, it is sad to see someone choose to leave. We wish them well.

Of course, the Church of Latter Day Saints can stand to lose 150 people. They currently claim 14.4 million members worldwide.

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