What do you have to do to return to the Mormon Church once you’ve resigned? How do you resign from the Catholic Church?
Baptism is permanent. It is an indelible mark on your soul, marking you as Christ’s own. Once you are Catholic, you are always a Catholic. You can never “resign.”
If a Catholic defects– walks away formally or just leaves-- apostacizes, etc, they can always return through the Sacrament of Reconciliation (and possibly some counseling and paperwork with their priest).
Now, on to the bigger question… *why *would someone who converted to the Catholic Church from the Mormon church be considering rejecting the Catholic faith?
You have to retract your vow to God that you would remain faithful to His Church to the end of your life.
I’m sure it happens. It just seems to me the Mormon Church makes it much more difficult to return to the Mormon Church, while the Catholic Church is much more forgiving and accepting of people’s foibles. The idea that you can just kind of lapse and then return seems more like the idea of the Prodigal Son than what the LDS Church sets up for its members who try to return, but I’m not exactly sure what the LDS Church requires for a member who has resigned. I know the LDS require rebaptism, but I wonder what a person has to do between the time they decide to return and the time they are rebaptized.
It also seems to me the Catholic Church must have some formal mechanism for leaving the Catholic Church. There are churches who require formal resignation from the previous denomination to become a member of their denomination. So I am wondering what the Catholic person has to do to make this formal resignation. Or does a Catholic just resign from the parish and that satisfies the requirement for their new church?
Great analogy! I think you’re right when you say the Catholic Church treats its children like the merciful father in the parable. As you know, the Catholic Church is a family, God’s family. Unlike man-made churches, you can’t ever resign. You just walk away, or run as the case may be. The Church is not a bureaucracy, like the LDS. There is no bureaucratic act that can make someone not be a catholic anymore. That is the power of the Sacraments, especially the 3 sacraments of initiation. Once you’re in you’re in, even if you’re not a very good member. If you walk, or run, away and want to come back, all you have to do is follow the prodigal son: repent, confess, receive God’s infinite love.
One more proof that the Catholic Church is the true Church of Christ: we reconcile the same way Jesus tells us to in the parable. Thanks for this wonderful insight. I’m sure I’ll use it for many years in giving homilies…
Apostles of the Interior Life, Rome
I hope you don’t mind my trying to answer your question, and using an actual personal experience to help answer.
As you may know, a person who was once baptized into the LDS church who decides at some point that they no longer want their name listed in LDS records as a member of the church, is asked to say that in writing with their signature so that they will really think about the decision they are making and so that what is recorded on earth can be recorded in heaven. (i.e. the written record is what is recorded in heaven) When they make that decision, it is as though they weren’t baptized, since what is thus “loosed on earth” by their written decision and the action of the church to do as they requested, is “loosed in heaven.”
I was once an LDS bishop, and a sister wrote such a letter and we were obliged to do as she asked, but I also wrote a letter to her asking that she keep in mind throughout her life that if she should happen to change her mind, she was loved by the members and she would be welcomed back and could contact the bishop of the area where she happened to live and become a member once more by being re-baptized. She called me about twelve years later and said she had the joyful news (for her and for me) that she had kept my letter and thought about it a lot over the years, and had recently felt the desire to be re-baptized into the LDS church. She had contacted the bishop where she lived, been interviewed and found worthy for baptism, and was now an active member.
If a person had just stopped going to church, they would not need to be re-baptized. That happens only if their membership was taken off the records because of their own decisions and choices and their personal written request.
Hello Catholic20064! I hope you’ve had a good week.
When speaking on how a person returns to the Mormon church, I think it is helpful to distinguish between the different types of “wayward” members.
A member who is inactive
A member who has been excommunicated
A member who has requested to be removed from the Church
A member who is inactive might never come to church. They may never attend any church activities. They may have no contact whatsoever with the church. Regardless, they would remain as members on the records whose baptism and any other ordinances would remain valid. For them to return, it would be a matter of repenting and coming back to church (assuming there is no serious transgressions).
For an excommunicated member, I will quote to some extend the words of Russell Ballard, an Apostle in the LDS church:
"*Church disciplinary action is not intended to be the end of the process—rather, it is designed to be the beginning of an opportunity to return to full fellowship and to the full blessings of the Church. Priesthood leaders try hard to be sensitive to the disciplined person’s needs for understanding, encouragement, counsel, and assistance. They work to see that he or she has regular visits with his or her bishop; that the person has mature, caring home teachers or other specially assigned individuals; and that his or her family receive the attention, counsel, and fellowship they need during this difficult time.
The desired result is that the person will make whatever changes are necessary to return fully and completely to be able to receive the marvelous blessings of the Church. When the person has progressed to that point, his or her current bishop or stake president has the authority to convene a new disciplinary council to consider what action needs to be taken—even if the person is now living in a new ward or stake or if a new bishopric or stake presidency is now serving.
After the rebaptism of a person who has not been endowed in the temple, his or her membership record shows the original baptism date, with no reference to the excommunication. A man who previously held the priesthood but was not endowed should generally be ordained to his former priesthood office. Again, his membership record will show his original ordination date, with no reference to excommunication.
A person who was endowed in the temple before being excommunicated may regain priesthood and/or temple blessings only through the ordinance of restoration of blessings. This is a special ordinance performed by a General Authority as directed by the First Presidency. Afterwards, a new membership record is created, showing the original dates of baptism, endowment, sealing, and (if applicable) priesthood ordinations—with no reference to excommunication.
Our Father in Heaven is pleased to restore former blessings to his sons and daughters when they have demonstrated sincere and complete repentance*" (Full article here).
- As I mentioned for point 1, a person who is inactive does not get taken off the member record, unless the person requests that this be done in writing. As ParkerD pointed out, once a person writes a letter asking to be removed from the church records, the consequences of their request is explained to them and they are given an opportunity to come in and speak with their bishop or to change their mind. Once the person has confirmed that they wish to be removed, then their names are removed and it is as if they were not baptized. They would need to be rebaptized in order to be members again.
So, there you have it. I hope this answered your question.
Good afternoon skallal. It is a pleasure to meet you!
The message of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is one of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and repentence through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Our scriptures (Book of Mormon, Holy Bible, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price) are replete with this message. It is the message of our prophets and apostles. It is also the message to those members who have been excommunicated or who have requested to be removed from the Church records.
Our First Presidency (the highest governing body in the LDS church) has said:
"*We are confident that many have longed to return, but have felt awkward about doing so. We assure you that you will find open arms to receive you and willing hands to assist you…We know there are many who carry heavy burdens of guilt and bitterness. To such we say, ‘Set them aside and give heed to the words of the Savior:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11-28-30)
We plead with you. We pray for you. We invite and welcome you with love and appreciation*.’"
The Catholic understanding of the Sacraments is much different than LDS. The Sacramental nature of the Church, and the role of grace in sanctification certainly accounts for the Church’s prodigal son approach. Until your dieing breath it is never too late to repent and be reconciled.
There is a formal act of defection that a Catholic can pursue, per canon law. This removes the canon law obligations only regarding the form of Catholic marriage. A Catholic remains Catholic canonically otherwise. A Catholic cannot ever formally “resign” from the Church. Again, that is totally alien to the concept of the indelible mark of Baptism.
The source material to read is a notification from the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, 13 March 2006, Prot. N. 10279/2006.
"1. For the abandonment of the Catholic Church to be validly configured as a true actus formalis defectionis ab Ecclesia so that the exceptions foreseen in the previously mentioned canons would apply, it is necessary that there concretely be: a) the internal decision to leave the Catholic Church; b) the realization and external manifestation of that decision; and c) the reception of that decision by the competent ecclesiastical authority *
Such authority determines whether that first condition exists.
The notification continues elsewhere: “7. It remains clear, in any event, that the sacramental bond of belonging to the Body of Christ that is the Church, conferred by the baptismal character, is an ontological and permanent bond which is not lost by reason of any act or fact of defection.”
That actus is mentioned in canons 1086, §1, 1117 and 1124.*
Well there you have it. Just walk away from the Catholic Church and the Mormons here have already told you what you need to do to get back in.
I hope you are not playing musicial Churches here and I can’t help but think you have not learned very much about the Catholic Church. Usually the only ones that leave the Original Church that Jesus founded are those that haven’t learned much about its history and teachings.
Whatever is the reason, you are free to make what ever choice you want to.
I know this is not answering your question. The LDS folks can do that.
Just a few thoughts from the peanut gallery…
Please pray on this some more. Do not be hasty. Take a few minutes and read Hebrews. It was written to struggling Jewish Christians who were under persecution and tempted to fall back into their old belief system. I think you might be able to find a lot of encouragement there.
Take some time and I will pray for you as well.
If you have committed a serious sin, such as abortion or murder, it requires that the mormon first presidency in Salt Lake City approve your coming back.
So let’s say this is not a problem, and you are re-baptized. If you have married since leaving or are engaged to be married, and wish to have your marriage sealed in a mormon temple, you have to wait a year.
I’m not going anywhere! I just was wondering what the difference was between the two churches. It seems to me the Catholic way is more Christ-like than the Mormon way. As a person who wasn’t given the option of simply resting on their records (I was told I had to resign or be ex’d by the Mormons after I became a Catholic), I was just wondering what the difference was in the Catholic Church. It doesn’t sound as if the Catholic Church would ever force someone to formally resign or be rebaptized when coming back. The Catholic Church’s way seems to follow the Prodigal Son example better than Mormonism does.
My wife was a Catholic before she became a Mormon. I wondered if she would have been forced to “resign” from the Catholic Church on becoming a Mormon, but it sounds as if it would be easy for her to return to the Catholic Church is she desired to do so.
You don’t have to resign or be ex’d from mormonism. You of course can resign, if you so choose, but it is not required. Also, the mormon policy is that if you are baptized by another religion that is apostasy, which is grounds for excommunication.
Being that you aren’t mormon anymore, I would say, who cares? A mormon baptism isn’t valid. Your name on their roles has no meaning.
You are not “forced to resign”. Once upon a time you could be a member of the LDS Church, and join another church at the same time, and no action was taken against you. Then the policy was changed, and it was decided that you cannot be member of two churches at the same time, which makes sense. So if you decided to join another church, then there were two possible ways that you could stop being a member of the LDS Church: resigning or being exed. And since resigning is a more dignified exit strategy, they offer you that option as a favor to you; otherwise they could just go ahead with a summary excommunication and have it over and done with! So that is done as a favor to you. But the real question is, if you have lost interest in the LDS Church to such an extent that you would want to join another church, what do you care whether you are still in the LDS Church or not, or how the option was presented to you to leave it? I don’t understand that.
Good answer, but it does cause me to pose a question to you.
If a person who is LDS joins another church (insert religion here), and he attends both churches somewhat faithfully, and the LDS leadership at any level was aware of this, would that generate excommunication or discipline?
I thought the answer to that was obvious. If you decide to join another church, you can no longer remain officially a member of the LDS Church; you either have to offer you resignation or be exed. In either case you would cease to remain a member of the LDS Church. You would not, however, be prevented from attending the LDS Church if you so wished; but you would not be enjoying the privilege of a baptized member.
Now I don’t know how strictly this rule is applied. It may be that some discretion is granted to the local leadership. If the local leadership feel inspired not to take action against such an individual, maybe they wouldn’t. I don’t know the answer to that for sure. But if the rule is strictly applied, then the answer to your question would be obvious.
I am LDS. There is a woman in our ward / congregation who was baptised LDS and was then baptised into another religion. She does need to be re-baptised LDS. That is what our church leader said.
I once tried to go back to the LDS religion. I had officially withdrew my membership from the Mormon church and when I decided I wanted to come back, they told me that I would have to go through a 6 month waiting period of some sort. I don’t know if that was just the case for me or if all people have to go through a 6 month waiting period.
That said, why go back to a false church? Why go back to a church that teaches such heresy? :shrug:
Mormons a false church? I was raised Catholic, baptised as an infant in 1965 went to CCD religiously, first communion, confession at age 9, confirmation at 13. Did I read all the books they gave me as a kid and teen. Yes, all of them multiple times. Did I go to church every Sunday. Through some of college.
I don’t go calling the Catholics a false church or any church for that manner. All churches have truth in them. I dont’ hate Catholics. I was raised as one and am now LDS.
I may disagree w/ doctrines of other religions, including the Catholics, but I do not call them false. I would wish you would not be so callous. Can’t you see the truths in all the religions? It’s there. What’s is so terrible about acknowledging what is true in other religions? It doesn’t take away from anyone’s current religion. I know JW and Islam and Baptists that I admire. That doesn’t make the entire church false. You can see from their fruits that there is truth in other churches. The truth may not be complete though.
In answer to your 6 month waiting period, it was to give you time to make sure that that was what you wanted to do, so the baptism wasn’t done rashly. It is pretty serious to have your name taken off the LDS records. So, to basically excommunicate yourself would require a waiting period. I don’t have a problem w/that. It’s like divorcing yourself from your spouse then one day knocking on his door and saying, “Let’s get married tomorrow!” You don’t just change your mind and jump on it the next day, not w/ something as serious as taking your name off the records.