150 Mormons Leave Sect But Mitt Romney Stays

Mitt's Mexican cousins. Notice anything odd about the ratio of men to women?

The courage recently shown by 150 ordinary Americans whose action could, and likely will, cause them to lose everything and everyone they held dear in their lives, is awe-inspiring.

What bold and risky move did these people take? They left the Mormon sect.

A group of about 150 Mormons quit their church in a mass resignation ceremony in Salt Lake City on Saturday in a rare display of defiance ending decades of disagreement for some over issues ranging from polygamy to gay marriage.

Participants from Utah, Arizona, Idaho and elsewhere gathered in a public park to sign a “Declaration of Independence from Mormonism.”

…The Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is known for its culture of obedience, and the mass ceremony was a seldom-seen act of collective revolt.

Author Martha Beck has written extensively about her own decision to become an “apostate,” as Mormons call the people who leave the cult. She described the threats toward her family in her book, Leaving the Saints: How I Lost the Mormons and Found My Faith. These included promises to make her husband unemployable, ostracize her children, and more darkly, alert the “Danites,” a type of Mormon assassins whose existence, like polygamy, the church denies.

If you’ve read the book — and if you want to know more about the Latter Day Saints I highly recommend it, along with Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven — you realize how extraordinary was the move by these 150 people who could no longer go along with Mormonism’s bizarre teachings.