Of course it saddens us greatly when a member of the Church decides they don’t want to be a member any more. We believe that the source of true happiness is from having a close relationship with our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. We believe that our religion most closely mirrors the Church as originally set up by Jesus Christ Himself while He was on the earth. When someone decides to separate themselves from the Church, we sorrow at all they might be missing. However, we do not force them to remain a member.
I have heard stories of those who have left the Church only to have church leaders come after them to drag them back, using force and threats. Most of these stories have been related on the Internet or talk shows by persons I have never met. I have never personally heard of this happening. If it were to occur, it would be carried out on an individual basis by one corrupt leader, and not sanctioned in any way by the Church. Any Church leader who would behave in such a way is acting on their own and will be dealt with in a church disciplinary court. The Church never forces a member to stay. If you want to leave, all you have to do is tell your bishop, and he will see to it that your name is removed from the records. It’s as simple as that.
Now, I can’t promise that you’ll be safe from concerned visiting teachers and home teachers. Every attempt will be made to help you feel more comfortable and to answer your questions. But if you explain that you feel good about your decision, you will be left alone and you will not be forced into staying. The Lord is bound by the rules of free agency, just as we are. He cannot force anyone – He gives us choices and allows us to decide for ourselves. This is the whole pattern upon which the Plan of Salvation was built. It is absolutely contrary to the will of God that anyone be forced into doing something they do not want to do.