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About 1,500 resign from LDS Church at event prompted by policy change on same-sex couples

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Posted at 4:45 PM, Nov 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-15 17:52:45-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Mormons who are unhappy with the recent change in LDS Church policy regarding same-sex couples and their children gathered for an event in Salt Lake City Saturday afternoon, where a reported 1,500 people left the LDS Church as part of a mass-resignation.

For some, the new policy regarding same-sex couples and their children was the last straw. Participants turned in letters requesting they be removed from LDS Church records, and attorney Mark Naugle tell FOX 13 News there were 1,500 resignations requested at Saturday's gathering.

“This is going to be hard for a lot of people,” said Lauren Elise McNamara, Organizer of the LDS Church mass-resignation event.

Hundreds filled out forms, resigning from the LDS Church.

“We want to keep the energy as loving as possible, and that's going to be hard because a lot of us are angry,” McNamara said.

Right outside the LDS Church's world headquarters, members turned in their resignation forms.

“I'm resigning today with everyone else, and so is my husband,” McNamara said.

The event was sparked after the LDS Church announced its updated policy that children of same-sex couples cannot be members of the faith until they reach the age of adulthood, move out of their parents home and disavow the practice of same-sex relationships.

Friday, the LDS Church clarified that the policy applies to children whose primary residence is with a same-sex couple, and that children of same-sex couples who have already been baptized will not have their membership activities or priesthood privileges curtailed.

“I had said I’m done, but I wasn't ready to do the paperwork, and then this hit and I said: 'It has to happen now, I can't wait any longer,'” McNamara said.

That’s the reason many were there.

“I’ve been a member my whole life, and it's just kind of the final straw for me,” said Connie Walker from Provo.

To make the process of leaving the LDS Church easier, notaries and lawyers were on hand.

“I never would have imagined it would have been at an event like this, where we could do it with other people, to show support and love for each other, because for me, that's what really matters is love and to accept people for who they are,” said Matthew Rogers from Salt Lake City.

While hundreds came to resign, others came to show support.

“I'm here because I left in isolation," said Jessica Myer of Provo. "It was, it was like a really hard decision to make. It was really important to me at the time. It was really hard, and I wanted to come out and support and make it not so hard for people."

This all happening the day after the LDS Church's First Presidency gave clarification to its members, calling for all children to be treated with respect and love. But those attending the resignation say the new policy does the opposite of that.

“I feel that it puts a pit between our relationship, and that it's only harming families, versus helping,” said Eric Brewster of Layton.

In response to the resignations, the LDS Church released this statement to FOX 13, saying in part: "We do not want to see anyone leave the church, especially people who have been struggling with any aspect of their life. The church exists to build people and help them heal."

But, still, some are walking away from the LDS Church for good.

“I would say, actions speak louder than words,” McNamara said.

Once the LDS Church receives the resignation letters, they will inform those who resigned that their request is being processed. It is important to note that, according to a poll from the mass resignation Facebook page, only about 4 percent of those attending the event are active members of the LDS Church.

See below for the full statement from the LDS Church regarding Saturday's event:

“We don’t want to see anyone leave the Church, especially people who have been struggling with any aspect of their life. The Church exists to build people and help them heal, and there isn’t one of us who doesn’t need help at some point in our lives. We hope that today's guidance from Church leaders and the additional commentary will help provide understanding and context to some who may be considering resigning their membership. It’s extremely important that our members read what leaders have said, and do not rely on other sources or interpretations or what people think they have said."