- Associated Press - Sunday, April 6, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - About 75 atheists, most of them former Mormons, marched around Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Sunday during the faith’s general conference.

Many mailed resignations to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the end of the walk that was dubbed “the Mormon exodus and mass resignation event” by Atheists of Utah President Dan Ellis.

“It’s our right to resign from the LDS church and support others who would like to,” he told the crowd.

The peaceful march took the atheists through some 100 Mormon faithful singing “‘How Great Thou Art,” a hymn praising God, The Salt Lake Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/1kgzHCL ).

Afterward, the demonstrators gathered at a nearby park to hear David Silverman, president of American Atheists. The group will hold its national convention in Salt Lake City from April 17-20.

“You are making it easier on closeted atheists who are afraid to leave this church,” Silverman said. “Embracing reality means not fearing dissent.”

Among the marchers was Katerina Hayes, 31, of Salt Lake City, who has two small children.

“I feel like I was forced to join the church by my parents,” she told The Tribune. “If I ever join a religion, I think it should be my own decision.”

Utahn Robert Fraham, 78, who was baptized into the Mormon church at a young age, said he was sending in his resignation.

“I’m an equal-opportunity blasphemer,” he said. “I don’t think the Mormons are any worse than other religions. All those deists are idiots.”

The Mormon church’s general conference, which ended Sunday, brought more than 100,000 Latter-day Saints to Salt Lake City to find out church news and soak up words of guidance and inspiration from the faith’s top leaders.


Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, https://www.sltrib.com

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