Excommunicated

. . . our determination is that you be excommunicated for conduct contrary to the laws and order of the Church.

Comments

  1. I feel foolish for holding out a glimmer of hope that this wouldn’t happen.

  2. And with that, many little glimmers of candlelight are blown out.

  3. Not shocked, not angry; disappointed. I had hope. I love her, she is one of my brave sisters in the gospel. Godspeed, Kate Kelly. (Hugs)

    Hello medium tent Mormonism…. Is it feeling a little cramped in here to you guys??

  4. Where does the conversation about women in the church go from here? That is the most important question right now.

  5. JonathanM says:

    I feel angry that the Church I love with a passion has once again turned its back on reality. When will we learn?? Is the Church interested in converting or keeping within its ranks only those willing to keep their minority views to themselves? This question has now been emphatically answered in the affirmative, and a very depressing one it is. Joseph and Brigham (and even Hugh Nibley) would turn in their graves.

  6. Lisa M. says:

    This is really straight forward. Her issue isn’t with church headquarters. It is with Heavenly Father. It is with the Savior. It’s the Savior’s church and His doctrine. Why aren’t there female members of the Godhead? Is that going to be the next beef people have with the Savior’s church, that He was sexist?

    Elder Ballard, in General Conference “Beware of False Prophets and Teachers), was crystal clear (below). To suggest that there aren’t false teachers and prophets is naive and almost seems purposefully ignoring the facts.. Even further, to act surprised that she was excommunicated is even more naive.

    “When we think of false prophets and false teachers, we tend to think of those who espouse an obviously false doctrine or presume to have authority to teach the true gospel of Christ according to their own interpretation. We often assume that such individuals are associated with small radical groups on the fringes of society. However, I reiterate: there are false prophets and false teachers who have or at least claim to have membership in the Church. Beware of such.”

    He continues:

    “Therefore, let us beware of false prophets and false teachers, both men and women, who are self-appointed declarers of the doctrines of the Church and who seek to spread their false gospel and attract followers by sponsoring symposia, books, and journals whose contents challenge fundamental doctrines of the Church. Beware of those who speak and publish in opposition to God’s true prophets and who actively proselyte others with reckless disregard for the eternal well-being of those whom they seduce. Like Nehor and Korihor in the Book of Mormon, they rely on sophistry to deceive and entice others to their views. They “set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion” (2 Ne. 26:29).”

    KK and JD have published and actively proselyted their “cause” and to say that it is merely asking questions is disingenuous and dishonest at best.

    I suspect deep down many of those who have been deceived will one day come to the knowledge that their actions drove them away from the church and pure doctrine, not the other way around.

    It is up to all who follow blindly OW or JD to re-evaluate and ask, “Is it possible I’m wrong on this one?”

  7. It’s a good question, Ronan, but a tough one to answer. I feel like the church’s action in this shuts down the conversation in a lot of ways. It’s very disappointing and discouraging that there wasn’t room for her in the church with her unique perspectives and views. I didn’t always agree with her, but I think we were a better church for having her as one of us.

  8. If you are having difficulty opening Kate’s letter, it is also posted here:

    http://www.theculturalhallpodcast.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Notice-of-Decision-Confidential-page-001.pdf

  9. Does KK’s excommunication mean that those supporting, affiliating with or agreeing with KK or OW can’t get a temple recommend?

  10. Where does the conversation go from here? With no firm ground, no clear rules, no final answers, but it is possible to start a “what not to do”:
    1. Do not address the Church or the general authorities directly. Avoid “you should” or “you are wrong” or “you must change”. Avoid “you” and “they” and stick with first person–I think, I feel, I want.
    2. Do not develop a following. It may not matter whether the following is intentional or requested, or not. In the best case, say what you want (subject to 1) but don’t be quoted.
    3. ??
    I would observe that there’s nothing new about this. Consider several decades of high visibility church discipline and you’d reach the same conclusion.

  11. The full letter is worth the read. The point I’m struggling to understand (and I suspect many others are also struggling with this) is that when you have questions, what do you do? Holding them in and staying silent doesn’t resolve anything. So people with questions need to be able to talk about these things and share their concerns. But where is the line between sharing your views, which needs to happen, and proselytizing them, which is clearly not allowed? Basically, where is the safe place to continue this conversation for those who need to do so?

  12. MOQT:

    There is no safe place to express questions and concerns. That was the message sent. When the leaders claim they speak for God, then there is simply no room to question them in their mind. So conform or go some place else.

  13. Bah. There are all sorts of forums for discussing questions and concerns. You’re in one of them.

  14. MOQT: I think that the message that’s being sent here is that there’s a difference between sharing views, on the one hand, and creating a pressure group and engaging the media to advance said group on the other. Comparison with sunstone is apt here: so far as I know, most people are not generally excommunicated for attending sunstone conferences, saying things at sunstone conferences, etc.

    To me, the real message here is that grassroots organizing (and it seems hard to view OW as other than grassroots organizing) is not viewed as a legitimate means of attempting to change what is perceived by church leaders as doctrine. This may in part be because it is viewed by church leaders as pressuring them to do things that they believe that they cannot do in good conscience; it may also be because of a fear of schismatic tendencies. (In a great many cases where churches schism, that schism was predated by the existence of internal, but critical, grassroots organizations. See, for instance, the ‘Prayerbook Society’ in the Episcopal Church.)

  15. That makes sense, Mike – no grassroots organizing. And of course, there’s always BCC. But I’m also wondering about discussing concerns through official channels, with people who actually have the power to effect change. I can’t figure out from the information I’ve heard if it’s acceptable to talk to church leaders about these things. Kate said they never responded to her emails to talk to her about it, but then based on the full email from her bishop, it sounds like they did talk to her a number of times. We probably aren’t getting the whole story, hence my confusion, but I wish things were clearer.

  16. The decision to excommunicate Kate is sad on so many levels and it will be seen as a symbolic statement by many on all sides of the question about how women are treated / empowered within the Church. Yes it will have a chilling effect. Yes, some of the more fundamentalist among our members will wield it as a club against those who have a more moderate perspective on our faith.

    But I do not believe the message here is that questioning is forbidden. Some will latch once again onto the misguided and inaccurate phrase, “when our leaders speak, the thinking is done.” A statement that was well explored on this forum several years ago and found lacking. The conclusion that statement proclaims could not be further from the truth on which our faith is founded.

    We should continue to ask questions and seek answers. But taking an activist stance to push for revelation is evidently not the path to pursue. As others have stated, it never was.

    And before anyone leaps in with the “oh, so it’s all about tone” attack, there’s a very real difference between tone and grassroots activism.

  17. It’s worth nothing that nowhere in the letter does it mention the word apostasy, although that’s the charge levied against Kate in her summons. So, I guess you can indeed be kicked out of the church just for being a rabble-rouser. Steve Evans, be warned.

  18. rameumptom says:

    Ronan, good question. I do not think this shuts down the discussion. This does shut down the political protests, and forces the members to seek better avenues for discussion, with faith that the Brethren are being kept informed of the discourse and are listening.

    Excommunicating Kate is sad. In the councils I’ve been in, we’ve never celebrated a disciplinary action. They all are to be mourned. I don’t think anyone wanted to ex Kate, though I believe that with her insistence on rebelling, it was necessary. As I’ve said elsewhere, it was like excommunicating Oliver Cowdery, no one really wanted it to happen. Today, People argue over the procedures of it, but Joseph Smith upheld the council’s decision. When he did return, Oliver accepted the responsibility of his own apostasy with grace and humility. That is exactly what I’ve seen in those who return. They don’t argue over whether every procedure or event was done by the book or correctly. They only seek to return into the fold and be a part of the Lord’s Church. I hope this for Kate.

  19. Hey there, friendly neighborhood dictator Steve here. Just wanted to let you know that I recognize how totally raw everyone’s emotions are over this issue right now, but if you think BCC is the place to vent some spleen you are sorely mistaken. So…..watch it, everyone. Please.

  20. Does KK being excommunicated make it more likely that John Dehlin will a face similar end?
    Will this bring similar heat onto Tom Phillips?

  21. So we have Kate Kelly stating in a December 2013 that she met with her local church leaders who assured her that she was not under threat of church discipline for her actions associated with OW.

    Then we have her bishop stating in her excommunication letter that it was that very December 2013 meeting which set off the chain of events surrounding her insubordination.

    Something doesn’t add up here.

  22. The bottom line for me in all of this is that clearly a change in perspective on women’s issues is not something the church is seriously interested in considering. I am sad about Kate’s excommunication, but sadder about the fact that, while it’s all well and good to have my private quiet fears and doubts, these are things not to be discussed–precisely BECAUSE they are not things that are going to change. I need to work through my faith crisis quietly and get on board with the status quo or quietly exit. (and be pestered by missionaries and HT/VT for the rest of time)

  23. The discussion of women’s opportunities within the church is hardly muted by Sis. Kelly’s excommunication. Just because OW’s tactics cross boundary lines hardly means that changes within the church won’t be ongoing, or that issues shouldn’t be discussed. There’s no danger in asking questions. I think the danger comes from deciding we have the answers, or that we’re owed immediate answers. Plus, I think it’s essential we be willing to accept answers we don’t like.

    Suppose Pres. Monson had contacted Sis. Kelly and said “Sister Kelly, we have read your strong arguments, we have prayed and pondered, we have met in council, and we feel that God’s will is that women should not at this time be ordained to the priesthood. We also feel that the actions OW is taking is hindering the work of the church, and we ask that OW desist from publicly challenging the church leaders on this issue.” What would have happened then? Would Sister Kelly and her associates been satisfied, or would they simply have shot back “Yes, but were there any women on that council?” Obviously, the answer is there’s no way to know, because the brethren didn’t treat OW that way, but if they had, would it really have made a difference?

  24. “What would have happened then?”

    Second Coming?

  25. “Suppose Pres. Monson had contacted Sis. Kelly and said ‘Sister Kelly, we have read your strong arguments, we have prayed and pondered, we have met in council, and we feel that God’s will is that women should not at this time be ordained to the priesthood. We also feel that the actions OW is taking is hindering the work of the church, and we ask that OW desist from publicly challenging the church leaders on this issue.'”

    Martin, in the case of a “no” answer in that scenario, why would he have said that and not this:

    “Dear Sisters. We as the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles fasted and prayed together for the last month pleading for the mind and will of the Lord on this matter. In solemn assembly, and through the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, we feel that we did not receive approval from the Lord for women to be ordained to the Priesthood at this time. We do not know why this is the answer that we felt came to us after our efforts in fasting and prayer on this issue. But please continue to ask. Continue to pray for the things you seek. We firmly believe that as you knock, it shall be opened unto you; as you seek, you shall find. It is our experience that revelation, especially on such weighty matters, only comes through painstaking effort at discerning the will and mind of the Lord. Please do not cease in your righteous efforts to petition the Lord for priesthood responsibilities, if it is the desire of your heart to share in them; you will never be condemned for asking questions. Continue to pray for it. Things have often changed through the prayer of the honest in heart.

    We would request that as we continue to work together to seek the mind and will of the Lord about this matter, you would kindly set aside your media campaign on this issue. We would greatly prefer to make this a matter of in-house contemplation, discussion, and cooperation. We understand that you took the media approach because you felt that we would not enter into discussion with you about this issue without such outside pressure. But we assure you that this matter also weighs heavily on our minds as well since we only wish the best for the women and men of the Church and, most importantly, to do the will of the Lord, whatever that might be, once we have specific guidance from Him. We feel that using methods such as demonstrations and protests, together with the coordinated media campaign, has the potential of casting the Church in a bad light or possibly weakening the faith of some members who might be struggling at this time.”

  26. Kristine says:

    Pretty sure if we were in a universe where such a response was possible, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

  27. Next, on Arrested Development:

    Lucille: Michael, this crazy point you’re trying to make about respecting authority is absurd. And one day you’re going to wake up and find out it has caused you nothing but trouble.

  28. John f: I would like to hire you as the new director of Public Affairs, Congratulations!
    Not that my opinion means anything, but knowing I want you there should make you feel good, so there’s that.

  29. From your mouth to God’s ears and hopefully back out of His mouthpiece John.

  30. John F., I think that’s a lovely answer. I’m not a member of OW, so I can’t speak for them, but an answer like that would have been enough to satisfy me for now. I will continue to pray for better things for women in the church anyway, but an answer like that would have given me so much more peace of mind, assurance that the Lord is aware of his daughters, and confidence that the brethren are listening to the members’ concerns and seeking for all that the Lord will yet reveal. But as it is, I mostly feel that the answer has been “this is the way it’s always been, so that’s the way it is,” which is not very comforting.

  31. john f. – What an excellent response. If only that is the way it was handled.

  32. john f, that is the most depressing thing I’ve read all day, because it just makes so much sense.

  33. LiteralHipster says:

    Yes, it is sad that one particular bishop has decided that what Kate has done is worthy of TAKING AWAY HER SAVING ORDINANCES. But at least the general authorities (allegedly) did not instigate this process or endorse the verdict, right? Even if you believe that, from what I understand the First Presidency can reject an excommunication verdict if they want to. So far, it looks like they won’t do this. Letting a woman be ex’d because she is advocating for gender equality? I’m sure the media won’t be all over that…

    john f. – That is exactly what the prophet should have done. Isn’t that what we always say a prophet should do – to give us the will of the Lord concerning problems of our day? Or at least say that the Lord hasn’t spoken on the issue yet? Or for that matter, just say anything at all? It seems the PR department is now God’s mouthpiece.

  34. John Harrison says:

    john f is gunning for Otterson’s job…

    Clearly he is better at it.

  35. I know everyone likes John F.’s response (and part of me likes it, too), but there are some very good reasons the leadership couldn’t do that. One of the main issues at hand here is that she was trying to use the media to force the leadership to pray about a petition on her timeline and according to her narrative. They obviously found her narrative, methods and timing unacceptable.

    This excommunication is much less about the fact that Kate Kelly desired answers to a certain question, and more about how she went about it, her very clear desire for the leadership to accept her counsel, plus her refusal to follow theirs.

    I sympathize with those who ask by what means they can open a dialog with church leadership. Hopefully, the church will better answer that. But I believe the excommunication was at least part of the answer: “Not that way.”

  36. I have what might be a dumb question. What authority/process cancels her ordinances? I know that her bishop made the decision but then what happens? Is it really just a matter of paper work? I had to be sealed to my family inside the temple by someone with authority to do so. Can it really be undone by a change of my records if I were to be excommunicated? It just feels like to me that at the very least someone would need to go to the temple and cancel the sealing. If this has already been covered somewhere, can someone point me in that direction? Thanks

  37. Mark B. says:

    Nope, Monica. That’s it. The report of the council’s proceedings are sent to the Office of the First Presidency (after any appeal to the Stake Presidency) and the records are changed to reflect the decision of the court. I always used to think that the bishop should at the very least have to put on a black cap when pronouncing a decision to excommunicate someone, sort of the way English judges used to when imposing a capital sentence, but that’s not part of the procedure.

  38. Monica, to be clear though the sealing is never broken as a result of excommunication. All other ordinances revoked and can only be restored through rebaptism, confirmation and then restoration of blessings which must be authorized by the First Presidency.

  39. Kristine says:

    “One of the main issues at hand here is that she was trying to use the media to force the leadership to pray about a petition on her timeline and according to her narrative.”

    If your daughter is really, really hungry and exhausted and asks you more loudly than you’d like in public whether you will PLEASE give her something to eat, since she hasn’t had nourishment for, like, 175 years–do you slap her and tell her to go away because she didn’t ask nicely enough? Or, like every even slightly humane parent, do you kindly give her what she needs and remind her later that in our family we always say please and thank you?”

  40. Christopher S says:

    Monica’s comment is very interesting. I had never considered this before. Temple sealings must be performed by someone who has had the sealing power delegated to them. I am not 100% sure how this is done, but my understanding is that it is by the laying on of hands by someone who has that authority (I’m assuming a Temple President). Can someone correct me if I’m wrong here?

    Considering the power to perform sealings is the same (or, at least, appears to be the same) as the power to undo them (see Matthew 16:19), how do we allow people to undo sealings without having been delegated the sealing power by the laying on of hands by someone holding that authority? Am I misunderstanding something here?

  41. My thoughts and prayers are with Kate Kelly, her family, and her supporters. I know they feel this deeply, and I hope that they find comfort and peace.

    Our Lady of Consolation and St. Teresa of Avila, pray for us.

  42. Christopher, my understanding comes only from personal experience, so I may be incorrect in some detail. At least back in the late 80s, temple sealers were set apart by Apostles (perhaps it can also be done by a Temple President?) I only know this because we happened to be in Utah when my grandfather was being set apart as a sealer in the Cardston temple. He and grandma had traveled down there for that purpose. The six of us spent about 10 minutes with my grandparents and President Hinckley in his office before the setting apart.

  43. I teach my son to exercise the Priesthood–
    1. To heal.
    2. To carry heavy things.
    3. To treat women respectfully, not condescendingly.
    4. To show up when everyone else is busy.
    5. To act as Jesus did…when it’s hard, when it hurts, when no one’s looking.
    6. To forgive without forgetting, to be wiser than before.

    I don’t need a man to teach my son those things–and thank God I finally feel that way, given the reality of our lives. I don’t think about what I “lack”–I literally don’t have the heart to wish for things that aren’t. And so, with our reality, I prepare my son. We don’t wait for Priesthood leaders to swoop in and “save the day.” I realized God was depending on me to help my son become a Priesthood holder. He didn’t “get it” just by turning 12. But he may grow into it, if he acts on a desire, and if I show him what it means.

    I think I understand why Kate Kelly helped launched Ordain Women–maybe because she recognized the irony of someone like me preparing my son for the Priesthood and not “having” it myself. And yet I don’t even think about it because I float along the perimeter, in my own world of survival.

    As for the outcome of this controversy–seeing what (apparently) makes you “not a Mormon” has given me a great gift–the realization that some of “what we do” is someone’s else’s well-meant prescription to get us closer to God–doesn’t mean it works, doesn’t mean it doesn’t. In the end, it’s my road, and I won’t be compelled by anyone.

    (Before someone shoots down my comment and says the Priesthood is much more than what’s in my list–let me save you time. I’m merely trying to point out some irony and add a perspective I haven’t read.)

  44. anonymousforthisone says:

    If feel nothing but sadness when part of the body of the saints is cut off. It is tragic. My family has dealt with disciplinary councils and the questions that emerged from them were along the lines of–“Does this mean I’m a single parent in an eternal sense?” “Did our sibling not love us enough to make things right with the Lord?” “Is my child no longer sealed to me?” These are heartbreaking issues that have nothing to do with the Handbook of Instructions. I grieve for Sister Kelly and her family.

    I am also sad for the priesthood leaders who convened this council. While it may be less socially acceptable to discuss their perspective, the reality is that virtually all the “optics” of this situation are squarely on Sister Kelly’s side. OW has courted a sympathetic press with major national and international attention in her favor. Sister Kelly or whoever is managing PR for OW has chosen to publish any and all correspondence relating to this matter, even that which is theoretically supposed to be confidential. What this means is that it is easy to attack or assign motives to Sister Kelly’s priesthood leaders who, if they follow policy, are constrained from discussing their side of the matter in public. Their names, ward, stake–all in the press. I worry that this will be open season on them and their families from individuals/activists/antagonistic anti-Mormon elements who are less nuanced in their understanding of the situation than the commenters on BCC. Their ecclesiastical decisions may impact their work situations, their children at school, their spouses–and that can’t be something they took on lightly.

    Some might say that they’ve brought it on themselves by failing to moderate their position on Sister Kelly, but I believe that is an overly simplistic perspective. We cannot know what was in their hearts or what process they undertook to arrive at their conclusions because they are bound by confidentiality. Sister Kelly is not. As long as she can make her case to the public at large, she will most likely seem more sympathetic. It is easier to reduce this situation to the most digestible talking points and sound bites than to wrestle with its complexity. Unfortunately we live in a society that thrives on sensational statements taken out of context with a media that loves to create compelling, controversial stories, even when all sides aren’t known. I can’t fairly evaluate Sister Kelly’s situation because I don’t know all the facts–but I can’t pass judgement on her leaders either because they cannot offer testimony in their defense.

    I believe everyone loses if this becomes a “Sister Kelly is a martyr and the organizational church is evil” narrative because thoughtful discussion goes out the door. Extreme elements on all sides will become more entrenched in defending their versions of the narrative. Any hope of thoughtful discourse on these very significant, important issues most likely ends. No one wins.

    I hope I’m wrong and people surprise me….I would be overjoyed :)

  45. Meg Stout says:

    In D&C 132 it mentions that there is never but one person on the earth with the keys to perform the sealing ordinance.

    All of the temple sealers (except President Monson) are operating without the keys, but using the sealing power that has been conferred on them by being set apart on behalf of the one who does hold the keys. This is exactly analogous to those who operate with priesthood power by virtue of being set apart on behalf of the one who holds the keys for the congregation (e.g., bishop, stake president). This interpretation has been confirmed to me by those who are aware of the policy regarding this matter. This ability to extend the available pool of talent despite authority only lying with one person is exactly analogous to the story of Moses and Jethro, where Jethro urged Moses to allow others to assist in judging Israel.

    As for excommunication breaking sealings. It doesn’t. If you have been excommunicated and then divorce and die in an excommunicated state with the marriage null and void, then the sealing isn’t valid. This is illuminated by President Spencer W. Kimball’s critique of Joseph F. Smith’s marriage to Alice Kimball [Rich], whose first husband had robbed banks, shaming the Church in a manner that led to the harsh anti-polygamy legislation of the 1880s. It wasn’t that Alice couldn’t remarry after her divorce from bank robber, but Joseph F. Smith proceeded to seal her children by Rich to himself. Spencer Kimball indicated that the children were still legitimately born in the covenant, even though their father had been excommunicated.

    It’s not a terribly safe place to live, excommunication, if you wish to dwell with your family in eternity. But one individual’s sin only has power to affect their own ability to return to God, not the status of those to whom they are sealed.

    An interesting point I’m not certain of is the status of future children born to a couple where one of the two is excommunicated.

  46. marginalizedmormon says:

    I admire people with passions, even if I don’t agree with them, and I am mourning. I am a woman who hasn’t felt the need for OW, but I feel betrayed by how they have been treated (OW). I am not a non-orthodox Mormon (like Dehlin), but I feel that he was doing Christlike things, and, therefore, I mourn.

    I find myself feeling very grateful that it is not possible for me to return to Utah (too far away, etc., etc.)–that I will never be able to attend conference or be on temple square again. It’s a blessing to me. I could not bear it. If I saw any of those men I would want to turn and run, in fear. It has come to feel like an inquisition to me.

  47. Eric Russell says:

    What I haven’t seen mentioned in all these discussions is the real possibility that the excommunication – while certainly disappointing for KK personally – could be a good thing for feminism within the church in the long run. In my experience, OW is extremely unpopular among the general membership of the church and, for whatever reason, women have a particular disdain for OW. OW may have appeared to gain momentum by roaring its engine loudly, but it was really just spinning its tires and digging itself deeper in. It wasn’t going anywhere.

    I think there’s a not-unsubstantial and ever-growing population of moderate members who could support OW ideals but not the organization or its movement. Now that OW is likely permanently tainted with KK’s excommunication, the organization could take this opportunity to reorganize – soften its rhetorical edges, remove KK, and modify its name – all without changing its fundamental ideals or goals. If it did, I think it has the potential to reach a much wider audience within the church and achieve its goals more quickly.

  48. Sorry for being late to the conversation, but I wanted to address Mike’s comment about Sunstone. IIRC, Elbert Peck was threatened with church discipline, but President Hinckley intervened and stopped it. There have been conference talks by at least one of the apostles (I believe it was Elder Ballard, but am not sure) warning members not to participate in symposia or any other unofficial forum.

  49. “any other unofficial forum”

    A source would be nice. Elder Ballard asked members explicitly to participate online.

  50. Steve, can you provide a URL to that? There must be more given we Mormons are often slavish about attending these events.

  51. Eric, you are correct. I asked my wife and she agrees. KK and the OW stuff is just not discussed or even mentioned in her Relief Society and Home Teaching sisters. It is a big nothing.

  52. Steve is referencing Elder Dallin Oaks’ talk in General Conference, April 1989 during the Saturday afternoon session.

    https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1989/04/alternate-voices?lang=eng

    It’s worth the read to recall exactly what he said. Because he didn’t say members should not participate in symposia or other unofficial forums. What he said was:

    In most instances, alternate voices are heard in the same kinds of communications the Church uses to perform its mission. The Church has magazines and other official publications, a newspaper supplement, letters from Church leaders, general conferences, and regular meetings and conferences in local units. Similarly, alternate voices are heard in magazines, journals, and newspapers and at lectures, symposia, and conferences.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not attempt to isolate its members from alternate voices. Its approach, as counseled by the Prophet Joseph Smith, is to teach correct principles and then leave its members to govern themselves by personal choices.

    Of course, the Church does have a responsibility to point out what is the voice of the Church and what is not. This is especially necessary when some alternate voice, deliberately or inadvertently, communicates a message in a way that implies Church sponsorship or acquiescence….

    …Members of the Church are free to participate or to listen to any alternate voices they choose, but Church leaders should avoid official involvement, directly or indirectly.

  53. marginalizedmormon says:

    @rabid rabbit–

    but why the disdain?

    Why the putting down of women by other women?

    I am completely neutral, though I have no interest in the priesthood at all–

    I am neutral in that I refuse to get ‘caught up’ in either ‘side’–

    I just won’t; I can’t–

    If *we* as members of the church, whether we are one one ‘side’ or another or are neutral–

    cannot be peaceable followers of Christ, then what is the point?

    Why the need for vitriol?

    Why the need for so much politicalization of church?

    It’s not just those with concerns about how women are treated (or whatever it is; a young woman who is intelligent and sensible has tried to explain it to me, and I am beginning to understand; gender relations in the church are just not a safe or happy place for many young women)–

    but why so much anger from those who ostensibly don’t want the priesthood towards those who have some kind of hope or dream or plan?

    It just doesn’t seem saintly. Or seemly.

    My young friend says that women are as much of a ‘threat’ to gender respect as men–

    and I can see this now. I have been on some ‘conservative’ blogs and seen the absolute scorn that many of the mainstream women have for women who see the need for OW.

    I don’t want to align myself with such ridicule and unkindness.

    So, I find myself alone, not on either side certainly, but not wanting to be part of the ‘mainstream’–

    anyone who ‘delights’ in excommunication needs to look at his/her soul.

  54. Chris Kimball says:

    Regarding the symposia message (OD at 2:08pm and others), there followed a number of years of gingerly sorting out what was meant by “Church leaders” who should avoid official involvement, and what it means to be involved “indirectly”. Most clearly the General Authorities, and then how far do you go? Many thought (still do for all I know) that Stake Presidents, Mission Presidents, Temple Presidents, and Bishops were included. Also BYU (and other Church school) faculty. It starts adding up to a lot of interesting people.

  55. “So, I find myself alone”

    Generally speaking, there is the 20-25% max at each extreme and the 50-60% minimum spread across the area between the extremes. We hear the cacophony of the united voices at each extreme (the dueling piccolos) and miss the quieter instruments that play counter-harmonies throughout their lives.

    People who scream, “Kate/John/Denver/Rock/whomever did absolutely nothing wrong, and the LDS Church’s actions are evil,” and, “Kate/John/Denver/Rock/whomever are evil apostates, and we ought to celebrate excommunication if it occurs,” are the extremes. I am convinced the very large majority of church members are somewhere between those extremes – and most are largely unaware of these cases entirely or simply figure every case will work itself out in the end.

    I am torn and saddened by all of this, but I know I’m not alone by not identifying with either extreme.

  56. marginalizedmormon says:

    I’m glad you’re not alone; my particular group of friends are all rejoicing over these excommunications. But in my family, I am not alone. So, yes, you are correct in that.

    I also fear that I might have shot the messenger.

    I have had to pull away from many friends, because they have such extreme views, and, frankly, I can’t support them in that now. I think I knew I was more moderate, but it always worked before, and now it isn’t working.

  57. I saw television coverage years ago of people (Christians) gathered outside a prison, holding a joyous, raucous party as someone on death row was executed.

    Although I understood those emotions intellectually, I thought it was one of the saddest things I had witnessed in my life – no matter what the person had done. I still feel that way, nearly 20 years later – about that moment and any others remotely like it in spirit.

  58. I feel like crying. May God help us through this horrible time.

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