Since November of 2015, when LDS leaders passed an anti-gay policy barring children of married LGBT couples from being baptized, the Mormon church has experienced a steady mass exodus, according to critics of the faith.
The controversial rule, adopted after same-sex marriage became legal in the US, said that if Mormon children of gay parents wanted to be baptized, they would have to denounce same-sex cohabitation and leave their family’s house when they turned 18.
Naugle – who left the church 15 years ago and now runs a website called QuitMormon.com – said that as of Monday, he had processed nearly 12,000 resignations since the mass departures began in November. Boosted by formal quitting ceremonies, like the one in downtown Salt Lake City on Saturday, Naugle said he now completes roughly 100 to 250 resignations a week.
“America is becoming less religious, and so is the state of Utah,” said Naugle, 31.
Despite intense backlash to the new policy – including concerns about a potential increase in depression and suicide among LGBT Mormons – leaders of the church, which is headquartered in Salt Lake City, have not shifted their views. As long as they continue to alienate the queer community, including transgender people, LGBT members and their allies will continue leaving in droves, critics said.
The mass resignations include some Mormons who have become inactive in the church for years, but want to formally dissociate, in part to ensure that the LDS church no longer includes them in statistics and stops encouraging them to return.