Lifelong members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mary Ann Benson and Pulitzer-prize winning cartoonist Steve Benson, oldest grandchild of President Ezra Taft Benson, left the church in November 1993.

It's become Red Square on Temple Square

By Mary Ann and Steve Benson
Special for The Arizona Republic

It was November 993. Over a month had passed since we told the Mormon Church to remove our names from its membership rolls. Church leaders had been imploring us to reconsider, warning of their "great concern" should we leave "the Lord's Church." We insisted that our decision was final. Church authorities eventually relented and decided not to banish us through excommunication, but instead they "allowed" us to leave.

One morning, the phone rang. It was the bishop of our ward, informing us that for paperwork purposes, church headquarters needed to know our reasons for departure. We did not feel obligated to give any reason, believing that our desire to leave should be reason enough.

But the bishop persisted, saying it was necessary for the "administrative action form" ordered by the head of the Mormon Church. Uncomfortable with the pressure, we waited a day, then phoned back. We told the bishop