Featured guest David Silverman, President of American Atheists, will deliver a speech to the newly resigned attendees at City Creek Park following a march around Temple Square.
“This is about supporting our members and others who want to leave the church but are afraid to do so,” said Dan Ellis, President of Atheists of Utah. “The goal of the event and the march around Temple Square is to let others know that there are plenty of people leaving the LDS Church, and that many of those former members are also atheists who are leading happy and fulfilling lives without religion.”
The local group, Atheists of Utah, independently hosted a similar event in 2012, which drew about 100 participants. The mass resignation on Sunday, with support from American Atheists at the national level, is expected to be even larger. Any ex-Mormon, atheist, or Mormon considering resignation is invited to attend and show support for those turning in their resignation letters, and any Mormon ready to resign is invited to do so. Information about preparing a letter of resignation is available on http://www.MormonResignation.com.
“It can be a pretty rough deal for a lot of people who have a lot of familial or business ties with current members. Being viewed as an apostate here, where your whole life can be enveloped by the LDS Church, can be a frightening proposition,” said Ellis. “I personally know at least six people who still go to church every Sunday and even hold official church callings who are non-believers, but fear [to] let other people know about it.”
“Showing these ‘church pew atheists’ that it’s okay, and indeed wonderful, to be honest about who they are and what they believe is why we are bringing our 2014 National Convention to Salt Lake City,” said Silverman. “The pressure from the Mormon church to stay silent about doubt is fundamentally immoral—it is bad for the members and for society at large, benefiting only the church and its hierarchy. That is why we’re organizing this mass resignation. We are saying to closeted atheists, ‘Utah is home to over a million atheists who live their lives without worrying about shunning or other types of discrimination. If you know you’re not a Mormon, be truthful and say so, resign, and come to our convention the weekend of the 17th. Freedom of thought and expression is a great reason to celebrate.”
The American Atheists 40th National Convention will take place Easter weekend in Salt Lake City. The convention will feature such speakers such as former NFL punter Chris Kluwe, Survivor®: Philippines winner Denise Stapley, Grammy-nominated Spin Doctors bass player Mark White, Academy Award-nominated director of The Simpsons Movie and Monsters, Inc David A. Silverman, NASA and SETI-renowned astrobiologist Dr. David Morrison, Reverend Barry Lynn of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, Maryam Namazie of the Council of Ex-Muslims, popular bloggers PZ Myers and Greta Christina, and American Atheists President David Silverman. The convention will also feature a costume dinner, live music, stand-up comedy, an art show and silent auction, national and local exhibitors, and childcare options for attending families. The convention takes place the weekend of April 17-20, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
2014 National Convention Promo Video: http://tinyurl.com/AAcon14-promo-video
Schedule of Events:
11:00 - 11:30am: Gather at City Creek Park, Salt Lake City, Utah
11:30 - 11:45am: Atheists of Utah President Dan Ellis—Welcome Speech
11:45 - 12:30pm: March around Temple Square, hand-deliver resignation letters
12:30 - 1:00pm: American Atheists President David Silverman—Closing Speech
1:30 - 3:30pm: Meet for lunch at CAFE 540
Facebook event for Mass Resignation: http://tinyurl.com/mass-resignation-2014
AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that defends civil rights for atheists, freethinkers, and other nonbelievers; works for the total separation of religion and government; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy. American Atheists was founded in 1963 by Madalyn Murray O’Hair.