Matthew Lawrence, 28, of Santa Ana, California is just one of approximately 500 people who have contacted Signing for Something ( http://www.signingforsomething... )in the last few days to announce his resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because of the Mormon Church's handling of and involvement in the gay marriage issue. Matthew is gay and is the son of Gary Lawrence, 67, who is the "State LDS Grassroots Director" for the state of California. (See http://yesonprop8.blogspot.com... ).
Matthew Lawrence, in an e-mail interview with this diarist, said that although he is "extremely upset and frustrated" with his family and that he has "cut off communication with them," that "at the end of the day, I do love them." The elder Lawrence was also the Mormon Church's point man for the Prop 22 campaign in 2000. Matt says, "I love my family so much, but it's hard to not take this personally. We had a brief falling-out over Prop. 22, but that got mended. But two anti-gay initiatives in eight years, it's impossible not to feel attacked."
Matthew was particularly hurt when "my father said that opponents of Prop. 8 are akin to Lucifer's followers in the pre-existence." (Printed in Meridian Magazine online, and reported in the Salt Lake Tribune http://www.sltrib.com/utah/ci_... and other newspapers). Matthew's plea to his father and others is "We can all agree to disagree and respect each other's informed opinions and decisions, but don't put me and Satan in the same sentence please."
"This issue isn't about gay marriage," writes Matthew. " This is about certain religious factions that believe homosexuality is disgusting, immoral and wrong and needs to be stamped out. . . . It's a problem to be 'fixed.'" Matthew writes that his family sent him to multiple counselors during his youth, and even sent him to live with relatives in Utah which he writes was an attempt to "straighten me out" by living with what he describes as "homophobic cousins." He said while in Utah it wasn't unusual for his cousin to call him a "faggot" at school and that his "aunt and uncle did nothing to discourage his behavior."
Matthew is at least a third or fourth generation Mormon, and said that even after he stopped attending church (about the time of his return from exile to Utah) that "I even found myself defending the church for years and trying to dispel the notions that polygamy was still practiced or any of the other misconceptions. And deep inside, I still believe certain truisms that can be found in nearly any religion, such as treating our earthly brothers and sisters with love and respect."
Gary Lawrence served as a Mormon bishop while Matthew was a child, and is the President of Lawrence Research, http://www.zoominfo.com/Search... . Matthew said that from his father he learned "the value of hard work and not making excuses. My father has worked hard his entire life and has done whatever it takes to provide for his family. He truly was a loving husband to my mother, which is why it saddens me he would work to deny others the same happiness that his family provided for him."
Matthew says that about 95 percent of his family supported Proposition 8, but that "a few cousins that are strongly opposed to this Proposition and have let me know that they support and love me" and have insisted "that they get a wedding invitation if I ever marry in the future."
But, as for his father, Matthew says, "My dad keeps telling me it's not too late to 'change.'"
Below are comments from other Mormons who have finally decided to give up on their church, and have their names purged from the rolls:
I have great love and affection for the members of the LDS Church, in particular the members of XXX Ward. I want to thank you and acknowledge all of the love and support that has been shown to me over the years. I truly appreciate it.
I am now requesting that you remove my name from the membership of the LDS Church. While it saddens me to do so, I can no longer be a member, even in name only, of a church that seeks to deny people the benefits of marriage. The LDS Church has been active in the fight to deny homosexuals the right to marry in the state of California and elsewhere and it deeply disturbs me that the LDS Church is using church funds and member's tithing to support this hateful campaign. Even though I am not homosexual, I can no longer have my name associated with an organization that seeks to deny people a basic human right. This issue is not a religious issue, it is a human rights issue and the church should stay out of politics and instead focus on supporting the thousands of members of the LDS Church whose marriages are in danger.
My family is one of the oldest Mormon families in Utah - one of my great-great-uncles actually drove Brigham Young's wagon part of the way on the trek to Utah. . . . . I always considered myself culturally Mormon, due to my historical family connections with the Church. Now, I'm not so sure that I can even keep that bond. From our history, Mormons should know all about religious persecution - and look what the Church is doing now! Persecuting people just like Mormons were persecuted over 150 years ago! Jesus would be ashamed. Read more of this letter at:http://signingforsomething.org...
I have thought about this a great deal, and I cannot in good conscience be affiliated with any organization that would use its resources to strip a minority group of its civil rights. Having been raised a Mormon since birth, my family has instilled in me a truly Christian sense of ethics and morals. This religiously motivated attack is profoundly immoral and is in direct contradiction to the teachings of Jesus Christ - love, compassion, freedom, unity, inclusion, and equality. Read more of this letter at:http://signingforsomething.org...
I consider Propsition 8 to be contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ and no longer wish to have my name associated with the LDS church in any way, shape or form.
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matthew 25:40
These things I command you, that ye love one another. John 15:17
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Galatians 5:14 Read more of this letter at:http://signingforsomething.org...
I'm disappointed and ashamed to be a member of this church right now. . . . I wish I could understand, in any rational sense, the reasons a Christian would want to deny an entire group of people something that they themselves hold so dear. My Mormon upbringing always taught me that the things I value most in my life ought to be shared. . . . I couldn't feel more disappointment and distance from those who fought so hard to pass this amendment. And why are they standing quietly by as families around the world are torn apart by poverty, war, famine, environmental injustices, AIDS, or any number of social and political issues that seem so much larger and truly threatening to families? This isn't a version of Christianity I recognize or want to be a part of. Read more of this letter: http://signingforsomething.org...
[W]ith the church's recent involvement in the passage of Prop. 8, I felt that now was truly the time to resign . . . . And now it looks like most of my immediate family feels the same way . . . . my personal involvement with the church of today is through, and not a moment too soon. Read more of this letter at:http://signingforsomething.org...
There are dozens more resignation letters, and hundreds more letters from Mormons stating their opposition to the Mormon Church's position available at: http://www.signingforsomething... These voices need to be heard.