40 years ago today - May 17, 1982
Former Mormon Ed Decker writes to Victor L. Brown, Presiding Bishop: "The Mormon excommunication system brings a stigma with it that generates an aroma of 'stink' about the persons requesting separation. It has caused divorces, economic hardships, social shunning, and many other problems-all in the name of righteous judgment. We are at the point that we must require some system that will allow a decent withdrawal of membership. Item 4, page 72 of the General Handbook of Instructions allows for such an act of free agency. Yet, to the general membership, excommunication has to fall into the categories of Moral Transgression found on the preceding page of the handbook! Not only are we dumped together as having some kind of secret sins too awful to mention to decent people; but categorically have no honor or witnesses (unless approved by the court) on your own behalf within the trial procedures." The Church later allows members to resign without excommunication.