How to Prepare a Letter to Leave a Church

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Everyone has periods of doubt in their faith. This is normal and even healthy because it can invite you to examine your faith and reconnect with your Higher Power even more strongly. However, if you find that your current church is not for you, you may have to resign formally so the church will take your name off their membership rolls. How this is done varies according to your church and even the preferences of your religious leader.

1 Investigate the process for leaving the church

Investigate the process for leaving the church. For example, if you are leaving the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, you will have to mail a letter to your bishop, your stake president, and the Membership Records Department in Salt Lake City, Utah. (see ref 1) In many other sects, such as independent Baptist churches, you simply have to write a letter to your church office. (see ref 2)

2 Type your address

Type your address. Skip a line and type the date. Skip another line and type the church representative's name, title, and church office address on separate lines. If the letter must go to many different people or offices, only type your religious leader's name and include a CC line under the inside address and include the names of all of the other parties to whom the letter will be copied. The CC line lets all of the involved parties know that you mailed the copies to each office. This may prevent unnecessary phone calls informing you that you need to mail additional letters. (see ref 1)

3 Type Dear Mr./Ms./Rev

Type "Dear Mr./Ms./Rev. (Religious leader's name)" followed by a colon. Again, only address the letter to the main religious leader in your church.

4 Are leaving the church

State that you and your family are leaving the church as of today's date. List all of your names. That is all you need to type. Avoid explaining your rationale. The letter is not the place to do that. You should have discussed your doubts or doctrine problems with your religious leader before you made the decision to leave. (see ref 2)

5 Close the letter by typing Respectfully

Close the letter by typing "Respectfully," and skip three line spaces. Type your name. Print the number of copies of the letter that you will need to mail, plus one for your records. Sign your name on each letter above your typed name.

6 Mail the copies of the letters

Mail the copies of the letters to each office, if applicable.

Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.