I’m perplexed whenever I see LDS suggest to inactive LDS that they should resign from the church. This usually comes about when the inactive LDS has for all practical purposes left the church and abandoned the faith, but just hasn’t officially resigned (this happened to Kullervo and Katy on this blog several months back). Or occasionally when a Bishop wants to improve the activity rates in his own ward.
The reason I find this strange is in light of what I understand about LDS theology (and as always PLEASE correct me if I’ve got this wrong). It’s my understanding that Outer Darkness is reserved only for those that have had a testimony to the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith as a true prophet but have rejected that testimony and have left the church. Basically, Outer Darkness is for those who resign from the church. It’s also my understanding that real physical actions here on earth are of great importance. Baptism, for examples, needs to be physically performed for a person to receive salvation, it’s not just the state of a person’s heart that is important. So it would seem to follow that a true and real physical act of resignation is necessary to nullify a baptism.
If resignation is the only way a person can end up in Outer Darkness, then the LAST thing a loving person should suggest is that someone resign from the church. It’s the ONLY one way ticket to total separation from the Father. It’s basically telling a person to “go to hell”. At best, if someone is engaging in anti-Mormon activities I could see suggesting to their bishop that they be excommunicated, but why tell them to resign?