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electech98

Letters Of Withdrawal From Church Membership

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Ditto what True Freedom said. It sure is difficult to leave & especially for someone like you Wings, who has so much extended family in it. I give you credit for mentioning the name of the group you escaped. I haven't really publicly said the name of the bible cult I escaped...I'm such a damn wuss. I just don't have it in me at this time...but I am preparing for a blog that i will put up soon. People like you inspire me to have some courage too, so thanks!
Oh, please PM me if you want to chat ever. the cult I left had a mixture of reformed & baptist leanings so we'll probably have some things in common anyhow.


Thank you, it's appreciated! I certainly feel very weak most of the time, but have been lucky enough to find other supports.
 

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So, does anyone have any good examples of letters? Ones that you yourselves have submitted? Maybe this would be a good place to put them for all to glean off of, in case others like me have yet to go forward with withdrawing their membership.

 

 

Does it have to be a letter? Why not a post card with a smiling animal that says "Bye bye muthafucka!" or something.

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You know... with all this talk of people in the church with the power to discipline... it got me thinking about the lucifer effect. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucifer_effect its really quite creepy.

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So, does anyone have any good examples of letters? Ones that you yourselves have submitted? Maybe this would be a good place to put them for all to glean off of, in case others like me have yet to go forward with withdrawing their membership.

 

 

Does it have to be a letter? Why not a post card with a smiling animal that says "Bye bye muthafucka!" or something.

 

I just left. Never said bye.

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You know... with all this talk of people in the church with the power to discipline... it got me thinking about the lucifer effect. http://en.wikipedia..../Lucifer_effect its really quite creepy.

Wow..interesting!

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So, does anyone have any good examples of letters? Ones that you yourselves have submitted? Maybe this would be a good place to put them for all to glean off of, in case others like me have yet to go forward with withdrawing their membership.

 

Thanks!

 

Jeremy

 

Jeremy, I don't know if you would consider this a good example of a letter, but this is the one I sent my pastor. I posted this a long time ago. I wrote and sent this letter in 2008. It was the best I could do back then. I was still very nervous about what was happening to me, but I knew I had to get out......

 

Here is the link to that letter.... Hope it helps you a bit! Margee

 

http://www.ex-christ...r-to-my-pastor/

Thanks Margee! I remember reading your letter a while ago. As the leadership at the church knows I no longer believe, I wouldn't be able to use many of the points in your letter, but it is good to see the evolution in thought that you had over time, from that letter on until now. :)

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Has your pastor or anyone else besides your wife and father tried to talk to you about it, Elechtech?

 

Thanks again T2M, laughing lots. I'm probably going to print your version and hang it up for giggles!

There have been a few of my friends who have wanted to talk and listen to what I had to say, and those conversations for the most part have been great. The few friends that were actually interested in hearing me out, not preaching to me, are friends who I hope to keep for a lifetime. Some of them are going through various faith struggles too...not to the degree I have, but it at least makes it easier for them to understand where I am coming from.

 

The pastor is less interested in hearing my side of things and truly considering them, so much as he is interested in hearing me out and criticizing my reasons and calling into question my motives or trying to find some hidden sin that led to all this. Because of this, I don't plan on meeting with him in person any more in regards to faith or lack of it. One lunch with him was all that was needed to confirm this. He has acted this way before, when I had made it known it was our intention to move to a different Reformed church in town last year. I was guilted into staying, as he called into question my motives about wanting to leave a church family I had made membership vows to, etc. As we are all taught that the leadership was to be obeyed because they are the men called by God to lead His people, I didn't resist the rebuke and relented on my stance about leaving.

 

There are others like my mom and sister who are very sad and angry at my decision, but they have made it clear they don't want to discuss the reasons why I want to leave because they don't want to "debate" me. So, it's mainly swept under the rug.

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My withdrawal was pretty difficult and painful... but as I said, my immediate family was good to me throughout.
 

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Wow, I'm really sorry to hear that, Wings. When the "life of faith" is the absolute most important thing to someone, it doesn't matter if they alienate their own flesh and blood for the sake of following the script. Their own scriptures tell them to expect division for the sake of believing in Christ. So they will always, always think they are in the right even if they drive you away for the rest of your life. Until something happens to them that starts planting that seed of doubt in their mind, they will likely never understand your position. And that's a fucking shame.

 

By the way, if you have some time, take a look at these videos by ThermainTrees on Transactional Analysis, for a better look at how people treat each other especially when it comes to disagreements about faith (especially the last video in the playlist):

 

It might not also be a bad idea to become familiar with issue of codependency and its various forms, to see if you can spot any patterns within your family and how they treat you, the unbeliever: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codependency

 

Recognizing such issues with how people treat other people who are different or who don't agree will hopefully come in handy in how we deal with those people personally. I do hope it helps you in some small way, at least to encourage you a bit.

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My withdrawal was pretty difficult and painful... but as I said, my immediate family was good to me throughout.

Went home this weekend to visit my parents/siblings and we had a great Friday and Saturday. When Sunday morning rolled around my mom said, "you should probably get ready for church."

"Mom, I'm not having this fight with you again. I'm not going." Well, that ended in a big shitstorm which left my dad screaming at me, "our house, our rules! You can leave if you don't like it." So I did. 6 hour drive back to my own place and we haven't talked since.

Damn, it hurts.

 

I know it would've been easier if I just went, but I'm 28 and it's like they just want to pretend that I never left.

 

I tell them repeatedly that I don't believe it, that I don't want to go, that it gives me anxiety. Because it's so cult-ish, I start to feel physically ill when I think about facing everyone and sitting through it again. My parents know all this... and they are these otherwise amazing, generous, loving people... who turn into completely different control-freak monsters when it comes to church. I said to my dad, "Why should I go? You know I don't believe any of it. I've withdrawn my membership. I do not belong and I do not want to go. You just want me to go because it makes you look good?" And he yells, "YES!" and then sputters, "and it's good for you."

I want to be respectful and go with them while I'm there-- but I also need them to respect how firm I am in this decision to leave. I'm standing my ground on this one until they take me seriously. Guess I'm not going home anymore. Definitely a tough one, cause we've otherwise been very close and they're willing to throw away our relationship over it. Very frustrating start to the week.

 

I know how you feel. I'm sorry your parents have such trouble accepting your decision. :(

 

After I went to college whenever I went back to visit my family I stayed at a hotel to avoid such situations. At least, until in a fit of rage my step father had a heart attack. He then spent about a year on a heart pump, and the doctors gave him "anti-psychotic" medication to keep him from going into another paranoid religious rage.

 

When he finally passed away I had the strangest feeling. I felt joy of having his tyranny of my family ended, and also guilt at my joy. His tyranny of my family was so deep that I literally felt like years of weight were lifted from my shoulders. I no longer feared going home.

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Thanks for the vids and info, Elechtech. Definitely gonna check it out.

SilentKnight- wow, that sounds so sad and frustrating. I'm really sorry that you and your family went through this but also that you're in a better place now. I can imagine the guilt, but glad you can go home now. Hope that things are better now!

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Thanks for the vids and info, Elechtech. Definitely gonna check it out.

SilentKnight- wow, that sounds so sad and frustrating. I'm really sorry that you and your family went through this but also that you're in a better place now. I can imagine the guilt, but glad you can go home now. Hope that things are better now!

 

Thanks.

 

IRL when I tell people I know pretty well about my life growing up, the usual reaction is "How did you end up so normal?"

 

Especially the part about Having had 3 "dads" in my life, two dead by suicide and one dead of heart attack. I'd imagine people who don't know me think I'm making up crazy stories.

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Hey all,

 

Just thought I'd share the letter I wrote that I will be submitting shortly. Comments and suggestions are always welcome! Hopefully it encourages others as a way to stand up for your decision to withdraw from membership within a church:

 

To the Consistory and Spiritual Council of <church>, Bakersfield, CA:

 

I am writing this letter to notify you that I, Jeremy <last name>, with sound mind and body, hereby withdraw from membership in <church>, Bakersfield, CA as of August 2, 2012. In so doing, I hereby renounce my signing of the Constitution of <church>, performed when I became a member.

 

<church> (hereafter “<church>”) has been my church home for over 10 years, and I am grateful for the opportunities to befriend many great people during that time. While I was a fully-committed Reformed Christian, <church> provided the right spiritual and intellectual home at a time in my life where I craved deeper understandings of Christian doctrine in conformance to my belief in the Reformed / Calvinistic view of God and the Bible. Much of the journey has been a growing experience for me and my family, and I am grateful for the friendships and bonds created during that time. It is from within this body of people that many of my greater life experiences have happened: meeting my future wife, getting married, having children, serving as a deacon, and more. I can’t express enough my gratitude at the warmth, joy, and love shown to us by many of the members of <church> over the years. But sometimes things change with certain people over time due to maturity, growth, self-examination, and critical observation.

 

After much study and time to reflect, I have come to the conclusion that I am no longer a believer in specific foundational tenets of fundamentalist Christianity, especially those that are required for continued membership at <church>. I do not believe the Bible to be infallible or inerrant. I believe the Bible to be a fallible collection of writings, written by fallible men over many centuries attempting to define what they thought of as “God” and the actions of “God” through the lenses of their society, culture, history, and their struggles to make sense of life and create moral societies (as they understood morality). I believe many of the writings in the Bible are inconsistent and even contradictory both internally and externally; that is, many writings in the Bible are not in accord with other writings in the Bible on a good number of smaller and larger statements of fact, and many writings in the Bible are inconsistent with historical, archaeological, astronomical, biological, cosmological, and moral realities that have come to light over time. Thus, I cannot believe the collection of the books of the Bible to be a perfect, infallible, or inerrant product of a perfect deity if these inconsistent writings are to be taken in a literal, fundamentalist sense. As such, I take issue with many doctrines and claims of literalistic and fundamentalist Christianity, including the statements of the confessions of <church>. Accordingly, I do not agree with the confessions of <church> as found in the Heidelberg Catechism, The Canons of Dordt, and the Belgic Confession of Faith.

 

This being the case, I therefore withdraw my membership from <church>, effective August 2, 2012. I do not hold to the Constitution of <church> and I renounce my signature on said Constitution. I also renounce my affiliation from the <denomination> (hereafter “the <denomination>”) denomination.

 

I do not submit to any authority of any pastor, elder, or deacon at <church> or in the <denomination>, or any Classis, Synod, or other church body contained therein, and I do not consent to any disciplinary action taken on the part of the Consistory or the Spiritual Council of <church> or any organized body in the <denomination> against me. As a free citizen of this nation, it is fully within my civil rights to withdraw my membership from any organization I have joined previously, if I no longer adhere to the organizations goals, standards, practices, and/or confessions. As such, do not attempt to contact me for any purpose relating to discipline, including trying to bring me back into the “fold”. Please do not contact me, my family, or my friends in any way that would be seen as coercion or harassment; do not attempt to keep my family or friends from making personal contact with me; and do not make any attempts to get me to reverse my decision. Do not engage in any action that would besmirch my personal or professional reputation. If you must make an announcement to the congregation regarding my departure, it should be an announcement of disassociation from <church> and the <denomination>, and not of apostasy.

 

Because of confidentiality problems in the past with certain leadership in the church, let me make clear that this letter and the contents herein may only be kept on record by the Consistory of <church> and may only be seen by the members of the Consistory. I do not give the Consistory permission to show this letter or give this letter to anyone outside of the Consistory of <church>. Only the members of the Consistory of <church> may see this letter, but I do not give those members permission to disclose or disseminate this letter or its contents to anyone outside of the Consistory of <church>.

 

I thank you for the years of service and friendship afforded through membership at <church>. I wish to maintain as many friendships as possible (if those friendships are true), so it is with clear discretion and sensitivity that my withdrawal from membership must be undertaken, as outlined above.

 

May truth always prevail in our lifelong struggle to pursue it.

 

Most sincerely,

 

Jeremy <last name>

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Great letter, Jeremy. Thanks for sharing. Something that's been standing out for me in these is the listing out of specific problem doctrines. I don't understand why this is necessary. I find it provocative and inviting of further conversation. I would personally approach things much more generally if I did not want to engage in further discussion.

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Hey Jeremy, thanks for sharing and I hope this goes well.
 

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Hey all,

 

Just thought I'd share the letter I wrote that I will be submitting shortly. Comments and suggestions are always welcome! Hopefully it encourages others as a way to stand up for your decision to withdraw from membership within a church:

 

To the Consistory and Spiritual Council of <church>, Bakersfield, CA:

 

I am writing this letter to notify you that I, Jeremy <last name>, with sound mind and body, hereby withdraw from membership in <church>, Bakersfield, CA as of August 2, 2012. In so doing, I hereby renounce my signing of the Constitution of <church>, performed when I became a member.

 

<church> (hereafter “<church>”) has been my church home for over 10 years, and I am grateful for the opportunities to befriend many great people during that time. While I was a fully-committed Reformed Christian, <church> provided the right spiritual and intellectual home at a time in my life where I craved deeper understandings of Christian doctrine in conformance to my belief in the Reformed / Calvinistic view of God and the Bible. Much of the journey has been a growing experience for me and my family, and I am grateful for the friendships and bonds created during that time. It is from within this body of people that many of my greater life experiences have happened: meeting my future wife, getting married, having children, serving as a deacon, and more. I can’t express enough my gratitude at the warmth, joy, and love shown to us by many of the members of <church> over the years. But sometimes things change with certain people over time due to maturity, growth, self-examination, and critical observation.

 

After much study and time to reflect, I have come to the conclusion that I am no longer a believer in specific foundational tenets of fundamentalist Christianity, especially those that are required for continued membership at <church>. I do not believe the Bible to be infallible or inerrant. I believe the Bible to be a fallible collection of writings, written by fallible men over many centuries attempting to define what they thought of as “God” and the actions of “God” through the lenses of their society, culture, history, and their struggles to make sense of life and create moral societies (as they understood morality). I believe many of the writings in the Bible are inconsistent and even contradictory both internally and externally; that is, many writings in the Bible are not in accord with other writings in the Bible on a good number of smaller and larger statements of fact, and many writings in the Bible are inconsistent with historical, archaeological, astronomical, biological, cosmological, and moral realities that have come to light over time. Thus, I cannot believe the collection of the books of the Bible to be a perfect, infallible, or inerrant product of a perfect deity if these inconsistent writings are to be taken in a literal, fundamentalist sense. As such, I take issue with many doctrines and claims of literalistic and fundamentalist Christianity, including the statements of the confessions of <church>. Accordingly, I do not agree with the confessions of <church> as found in the Heidelberg Catechism, The Canons of Dordt, and the Belgic Confession of Faith.

 

This being the case, I therefore withdraw my membership from <church>, effective August 2, 2012. I do not hold to the Constitution of <church> and I renounce my signature on said Constitution. I also renounce my affiliation from the <denomination> (hereafter “the <denomination>”) denomination.

 

I do not submit to any authority of any pastor, elder, or deacon at <church> or in the <denomination>, or any Classis, Synod, or other church body contained therein, and I do not consent to any disciplinary action taken on the part of the Consistory or the Spiritual Council of <church> or any organized body in the <denomination> against me. As a free citizen of this nation, it is fully within my civil rights to withdraw my membership from any organization I have joined previously, if I no longer adhere to the organizations goals, standards, practices, and/or confessions. As such, do not attempt to contact me for any purpose relating to discipline, including trying to bring me back into the “fold”. Please do not contact me, my family, or my friends in any way that would be seen as coercion or harassment; do not attempt to keep my family or friends from making personal contact with me; and do not make any attempts to get me to reverse my decision. Do not engage in any action that would besmirch my personal or professional reputation. If you must make an announcement to the congregation regarding my departure, it should be an announcement of disassociation from <church> and the <denomination>, and not of apostasy.

 

Because of confidentiality problems in the past with certain leadership in the church, let me make clear that this letter and the contents herein may only be kept on record by the Consistory of <church> and may only be seen by the members of the Consistory. I do not give the Consistory permission to show this letter or give this letter to anyone outside of the Consistory of <church>. Only the members of the Consistory of <church> may see this letter, but I do not give those members permission to disclose or disseminate this letter or its contents to anyone outside of the Consistory of <church>.

 

I thank you for the years of service and friendship afforded through membership at <church>. I wish to maintain as many friendships as possible (if those friendships are true), so it is with clear discretion and sensitivity that my withdrawal from membership must be undertaken, as outlined above.

 

May truth always prevail in our lifelong struggle to pursue it.

 

Most sincerely,

 

Jeremy <last name>

 

FTW!!

 

Fuck em!!!!!

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Wow. This thread opened my eyes to something I've never experienced. Sorry that you all have had to endure abuses as described.

 

Wings - so sorry to hear about your weekend. Hopefully, they'll come around from their selfishness.

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Wings - so sorry to hear about your weekend. Hopefully, they'll come around from their selfishness.


Thanks Jeff!

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Great! I'm sure their world seems turbulent because of the change, but good that they are at least coming around and not shutting you off. Hope it continues to get better.

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Does this sound better / more concise? I think there's got to be at least a LITTLE bit of information as to why I am withdrawing membership, without going into terribly much detail:

 

To the Consistory and Spiritual Council of <church>, Bakersfield, CA:

 

I am writing this letter to notify you that I, Jeremy <last name>, with sound mind and body, hereby withdraw from membership in <church>, Bakersfield, CA as of August 2, 2012. In so doing, I hereby renounce my signing of the Constitution of <church>, performed when I became a member.

 

<church> (hereafter “<church>”) has been my church home for over 10 years, and I am grateful for the opportunities to befriend many great people during that time. While I was a fully-committed Reformed Christian, <church> provided the right spiritual and intellectual home at a time in my life where I craved deeper understandings of Christian doctrine in conformance to my belief in the Reformed / Calvinistic view of God and the Bible. Much of the journey has been a growing experience for me and my family, and I am grateful for the friendships and bonds created during that time. It is from within this body of people that many of my greater life experiences have happened: meeting my future wife, getting married, having children, serving as a deacon, and more. I can’t express enough my gratitude at the warmth, joy, and love shown to us by many of the members of <church> over the years. But sometimes things change with certain people over time due to maturity, growth, self-examination, and critical observation.

 

After much study and time to reflect, I have come to the conclusion that I am no longer a believer in specific foundational tenets of fundamentalist Christianity, especially those that are required for continued membership at <church>. I take issue with many doctrines and claims of literalistic and fundamentalist Christianity, including the statements of the confessions of <church>. Accordingly, I do not agree with the confessions of <church> as found in the Heidelberg Catechism, The Canons of Dordt, and the Belgic Confession of Faith.

 

This being the case, I therefore withdraw my membership from <church>, effective August 2, 2012. I do not hold to the Constitution of <church> and I renounce my signature on said Constitution. I also renounce my affiliation from the <denomination> (hereafter “the <denomination>”) denomination.

 

I do not submit to any authority of any pastor, elder, or deacon at <church> or in the <denomination>, or any Classis, Synod, or other church body contained therein, and I do not consent to any disciplinary action taken on the part of the Consistory or the Spiritual Council of <church> or any organized body in the <denomination> against me. As a free citizen of this nation, it is fully within my civil rights to withdraw my membership from any organization I have joined previously, if I no longer adhere to the organizations goals, standards, practices, and/or confessions. As such, do not attempt to contact me for any purpose relating to discipline, including trying to bring me back into the “fold”. Please do not contact me, my family, or my friends in any way that would be seen as coercion or harassment; do not attempt to keep my family or friends from making personal contact with me; and do not make any attempts to get me to reverse my decision. Do not engage in any action that would besmirch my personal or professional reputation. If you must make an announcement to the congregation regarding my departure, it should be an announcement of disassociation from <church> and the <denomination>, and not of apostasy.

 

Because of confidentiality problems in the past with certain leadership in the church, let me make clear that this letter and the contents herein may only be kept on record by the Consistory of <church> and may only be seen by the members of the Consistory. I do not give the Consistory permission to show this letter or give this letter to anyone outside of the Consistory of <church>. Only the members of the Consistory of <church> may see this letter, but I do not give those members permission to disclose or disseminate this letter or its contents to anyone outside of the Consistory of <church>.

 

I thank you for the years of service and friendship afforded through membership at <church>. I wish to maintain as many friendships as possible (if those friendships are true), so it is with clear discretion and sensitivity that my withdrawal from membership must be undertaken, as outlined above.

 

May truth always prevail in our lifelong struggle to pursue it.

 

Most sincerely,

 

Jeremy <last name>

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That's better, electech.

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Did you send it?

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I'm going to print it out, sign it, and probably give it to a deacon or elder at church on Sunday.

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I'm going to print it out, sign it, and probably give it to a deacon or elder at church on Sunday.

All of the best on that. Let us know how it all pans out.

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Good luck! Thinking of ya!

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