How to have your name removed from the records of the LDS Church
The LDS church does not allow their Church Handbook of Instructions to be distributed to the general membership of the church. When it was recently put on the internet a representative from the Church Office Building quickly called the person who had it online and asked them to take it down so that people couldn’t see its contents. The Tanners were recently sued for a similar violation. In other words, the church does not want some of the members to see the policies by which they are governed.
This makes it difficult for those leaving the church to find out how to have their records purged. Numerous stories have been posted on internet bulletin boards and mailing lists about how the process has been other than pain-free–sometimes taking years and threats of legal action to finally become officially non-Mormon.
The information below is straight from the 1999 version of the Church Handbook of Instructions. It should be helpful to those trying to quickly get their names removed. This portion is published below under the fair use provisions of the copyright law.
Request for Name Removal
If a member requests that his name be removed from the records of the Church, a disciplinary council may still be necessary if he has committed a serious transgression. Name removal should not be used as a substitute for or alternative to Church discipline.
Removing Names from Church Membership Records
An adult member who wishes to have his or her name removed from the membership records of the Church must send the bishop a written, signed request (not a form letter). A request that Church representatives not visit a member is not sufficient to initiate this action.
The bishop makes sure that a member who requests name removal understands the consequences: it cancels the effects of baptism and confirmation, withdraws the priesthood held by a male member, and revokes temple blessings. The bishop also explains that a person can be readmitted to the Church by baptism only after a thorough interview…
If the bishop is satisfied that the member understands these consequences and is not likely to be dissuaded, he completes a Report of Administrative Action form and forwards it to the stake president. The bishop forwards the member’s written request and membership record with the form.
If members of the stake presidency concur after reviewing the matter, they ask the bishop to send the member a letter stating that his or her name is being removed from the records of the Church as requested. The letter should state the consequences of name removal. It also should state that the request for name removal can be rescinded only if the member sends the stake president a written request for recision within 30 days (the stake president’s name and address should be included). If the stake president does not receive such a request, he submits the completed Report of Administrative Action form and other documents requested on the form. Instructions for submittal are on the form. The person’s name is then removed from the membership records of the Church.
A minor who wishes to have his or her name removed from the records of the Church must follow the same procedure as an adult with one exception: the written request must be signed by the minor (if over the age of eight) and by the parent, parents, or guardians who have legal custody of the minor.
If two or more family members want their names removed from the records of the Church, they need to prepare only one written request.
If a member requesting name removal threatens legal action against the Church or Church leaders, the stake president should follow the instructions on page 151.
Name Removal and Church Discipline
If a member requests name removal and a bishop or stake president has evidence of transgression that warrants convening a disciplinary council, he should not act on the request until Church discipline has been imposed or he has concluded that no disciplinary council will be held. Name removal should not be used as a substitute for or alternative to Church discipline.
If a member requests name removal and a bishop or stake president suspects transgression but lacks sufficient evidence to convene a disciplinary council, the request for name removal may be approved. Any evidence of unresolved transgressions should be noted on the Report of Administrative Action form so priesthood leaders may resolve such matters if the individual applies for readmission into the Church.