Here are the basics:
* You have the legal right to have your name removed from the records of the Mormon Church and demand no further contact from Mormon leaders.
* You do not have to sign anything except your original Resignation Letter.
* You do not have to meet with anyone at any time. There is no rule in the Church Handbook Of Instructions that states you must meet with the Bishop or Stake President.
* Your minor children ( In the USA, under Age 18 ) do not need to sign any paper - although in the USA the Church Handbook Of Instructions mandates that children under age 18 sign. While they are minor children and not legally obligated to sign any document - not having them sign the document could cause further delay in processing.
If you are attending an LDS Church owned school - including Brigham Young, BYU-Idaho (formally Ricks College) in Rexburg, ID; BYU-Hawaii in Laie, Hawaii; or the LDS Business College in Salt Lake City, UT - you should WAIT to resign until you have transferred your credits or graduated. See below for more details.
Here are the steps to resign/name removal:
1. Compose your resignation letter stating your current address, name, date of birth. Include any names of minor children under your care including their full names and dates of birth. Those between the ages of 10 and 18 do not have to legally sign the form - but not doing so may cause unwanted delay in processing.
2. Mail a copy of your letter to LDS Church Membership Records. You may also mail a copy to your local Stake President and/or Bishop (if they are known). Otherwise, simply mail to Membership Records.
3. As soon as you receive your "Please Come Back - This is an ecclesiastical matter" letter - you are LEGALLY no longer a member (Please note: This only applies to the United States of America. Please review your local laws on this matter). However, until you receive your final termination letter acknowledging that your name has been removed - you will still be considered a member of record. Therefore you should pursue your name remove/resignation until you receive this final confirmation letter.
4. Once you have received your termination or final confirmation letter - you should be completely free and consider that your name has indeed been removed. You will no longer be tracked and your membership records will no longer be sent to any local ward in the boundaries of which you live. NOTE: If you do not pursue the final termination/confirmation letter - then you will be considered a member and you will be hunted down indefinitely by the Church for reactivation attempts.
NOTE: Removing your name from the records of the Mormon Church will stop most all contact from local Ward members. If you live around Mormons it is inevitable that they will pursue you as a neighbor. This is an unfortunate side effect of being Mormon - every member is a "missionary". Also know that while your name is considered "removed", you will still be counted among the alleged "14+ million" members until you are 110 years old.
Other things to consider:
You do not have to meet with anyone. Many times Bishops and Stake Presidents will completely disregard your "no contact" and call you, mail you, or even show up on your doorstep. Any request for meetings should be denied. If the Bishop or Stake President shows up on your doorstep, you can take several actions. You do not have to answer the door. You can politely tell him to please observe the no contact request and to leave immediately. Or, you can do as one Ex-Mormon did and turn the hose on them (an extreme measure and while highly satisfying, is not recommended!)
If the Bishop or Stake President contacts or visits you, this can be a very emotional time for you. If you allow them inside your house, you are giving them a level of control over you. Gather your strength together and tell them NO. Ask them to leave. Do not allow them into your homes; do not allow them to set meetings where you have to go to the local Ward or Stake centers. Physically going to meet with the Bishop or Stake President places you in Mormon surroundings again giving them a high level of control over you.
It is understandable that some of you have had long standing relationships with Bishops or Stake Presidents. Some may be neighbors or even family. These are difficult situations but you are not alone. Many thousands have gone through the exact same steps you have. Register on the Ex-Mormon Forums and post in the Name Removal/Resignation forum - and get nearly instant help from those who have already resigned.
If you are attending an LDS Church owned university including Brigham Young, BYU-Idaho (formally Ricks College) in Rexburg, ID; BYU-Hawaii in Laie, Hawaii; or the LDS Business College in Salt Lake City, UT - you should NOT resign until you have finished school - or - you have transferred to another non LDS school. If you resign/name removal while attending an LDS Church owned college - you will be denied your diploma or a transfer of your credits to another school.
From the Mormon Honor Code:
Students must be in good Honor Code standing to be admitted to, continue enrollment at, and graduate from BYU. The term "good Honor Code standing" means that a student's conduct is consistent with the Honor Code and the ideals and principles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Excommunication, disfellowshipment, or DISAFFILIATION from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints automatically results in the loss of good Honor Code standing. Further, a student is not in good Honor Code standing if his or her ecclesiastical endorsement has either lapsed or has been withdrawn, or if the Honor Code Office has placed a "hold" on the student's records.
Note DISAFFILIATION! The LDS Church has a long history of making it extremely difficult for those who leave the Church to receive their accreditation from any of their colleges. Make sure that you have your transcript and credits transferred first - or - that you have received your diploma (if you are nearing graduation). Once you receive your diploma you are free and clear to have your name removed.
Minor children (under the age of 18) cannot legal sign anything. If you have requested on your resignation letter that your children's names are to be removed and the Bishop or Stake President states that your minor children must sign for name removal, do not acquiesce. While minor children can sign documents - and a Bishop or Stake President will demand it, your minor children do NOT have to sign. If they do not sign, however, it could delay the process.
You cannot be excommunicated. The current Church Handbook of Instructions states that any "Court Of Love" (LDS Church Courts) must be cancelled upon request for name removal.
Prior to 2005, some members were excommunicated without their knowledge rather than having their names removed. After the LDS Church was sued for this - the practice was immediately stopped.
If you are threatened with a court of love by your Bishop or Stake President, or if you receive a letter stating you must attend a court of love, contact membership records immediately by phone or by fax demanding your name be removed and that if they hold a court of love, you will sue.
If the Mormon Church holds a court and excommunicates you after you have sent your resignation letter, you have legal grounds to sue. Do not let them hold a "Court Of Love" for you - resign now.
In 1985 the Mormon Church excommunicated Norman Hancock after his submitted a letter of resignation to the church. Hancock filed an $18 million lawsuit against the church, saying a person has a right to voluntarily resign from a church. The suit was settled out of court and the settlement was sealed. An account on line reports that Hancock filed the suit himself, without the aid of a lawyer, after studying the Guinn case. The same account says that church lawyers started discussing with Hancock just how much money he wanted, but he told them he didn't want their money, that what he wanted was to have his name cleared. Church representatives agreed to change the records such that there would no longer be any record of an excommunication: the records would show that he resigned. The Hancock case shows that the church is willing to settle out of court when someone sues because the church excommunicates them after they've resigned their membership.