What to expect when you’re expecting (to be excommunicated)

Judgment Day

This is another one of those posts where you come up with the title before you actually have anything to say. But here’s a few random thoughts.

1. It’s really ugly to say (in one form or another), about someone’s pending disciplinary council (DC): “they had it coming.” And yet sometimes people really do have it coming. That doesn’t make the sentiment any prettier.

2. “Decisions are made by local leaders and not directed or coordinated by Church headquarters.” Convening a DC =/= a decision. At the same time, coincidental timing sure looks suspicious, doesn’t it? Too bad the total lack of transparency does not afford us the ability to confirm or deny our suspicions. Those with ears to hear have already heard what they will on the topic.

3. If you couldn’t stand John Dehlin or Kate Kelly before the news of their pending DCs hit, don’t be crying crocodile tears for them now. No one believes you when you insist you’re praying for them, etc. Conversely, if you supported either OW or Dehlin before this happened, does their DC cause you to question your prior interests? What does that say about you as a person? [1]

4. When is it OK, if ever, for the Church to excommunicate people for apostasy? [2] It seems oft-repeated that KK and JD are not being disciplined for their ideas, but for their followings and their refusal to let go of those followings. Is that true? If it’s not true — what in the heck are they getting disciplined for??

5. If what’s posited in #4 has any merit (i.e., it’s not necessarily KK or JD’s ideas that are causing these issues), can you then with great satisfaction punch someone in the gut in Sunday School if they start crowing over these DCs as evidence that the ideas of these people were evil? At a minimum, can you clench your fists until the charcoal in your grasp becomes a diamond?

6. What does it mean to live authentically? Are you living authentically if you refuse the orders of the church you have covenanted to support? Are you living authentically if you give up your efforts to do what you believe is right for that covenant relationship?

7. Much is said about the (ironically) salvific effect of excommunication. It seems to me in the case of trials for apostasy that this claim is a little bit harder to support, but still possible. These DCs are clearly (to my unenlightened eyes) about restoring order in the Church and putting the kibosh on Ordain Women and the Dehlinites. And yet the injunction in these proceedings is to place the needs of the individual first and foremost. Is there any merit to a belief that church discipline is what people sometimes spiritually need the most?

8. How can any of us escape being sentenced to hell?

[1] It might say about you that you know where your true loyalties lie, with the True Church. Or it might say about you that you lack conviction and are a fair weather friend. Or both.

[2] A: whenever it chooses, I guess.


  1. #5 is a brilliant point. The logic is spot on and water tight. If the issue is their organizing and not their opinions, then the disciplinary actions don’t make their opinions evil.

  2. Of course, it could be the combination of both.

  3. I am not sure what your footnote one means. My stance, being authentic as I humanly can, is to follow my heart, my faith in the Gospel, and my promptings. and sometimes that means being patient and petitioning (maybe repeated) the Church. and wrt #5 they aren’t organizing to overthrow the church, they are organizing for support and discussion (and yes to petition the leaders with some numbers, but the number is so small compared to official church numbers as to be meaningless)

  4. Careful, they’re coming for you next.

  5. MCQ, they’re never coming for me.

  6. BTW, it seems to me that footnote 2, is problematic. If you believe in the church at all, you have to believe they have some sort of reasonable standard for objectively defining terms like “apostasy.”

  7. You think you have some sort of “get out of jail free” card? You better think again.

  8. Your if-then statement is not logically sound. Belief in the church does not require what you state. Nor is it even a safe assumption that an ‘objective’ definition of apostasy exists or is possible. In fact, knowledge about the locally-operated disciplinary councils of the Church leads me to believe that, in large measure, we are making this up as we go.

  9. MCQ, I have no get out of jail free card. They’re simply not ever going to come for me.

  10. GreyBarron says:

    Re #6: What does it mean to live authentically?: I am currently serving in a part of the world where it is a constant struggle to fill the MP callings. For example my ward currently lacks a HP group leader, Elders quorum president, YM president, ward clerks and secretaries. I am not the only Bishop in this situation in the stake. I have asked the current and previous stake presidents to let me ordain women or at least be able to call them to help. They have declined. I have asked them to send my request to the area president which they also declined.

    I am not trying to cause trouble, I am trying to solve a problem. There are lots of faithful, talented women in the ward who could help. I have been told no and that’s where I will leave it. I justify my decision by telling myself I can do more good serving out my term and doing the best we can with what we have than getting myself released or worse. Am I being authentic? Good question.

  11. GreyBarron, so why ordain them? If there’s work to do, divvy it up and get it done. Don’t let ordination get in the way of meeting the needs of your congregation. It would be inauthentic to let ordination be the obstacle which keeps able-bodied people from helping out.

  12. Mark Brown says:

    I’m not sure, MCQ. I know of stake presidents on both sides of these cases. If it were an easily discernible distinction, I would expect there to be overwhelming consensus among those who have the task of enforcing discipline.

    It is also worth wondering why Tom Phillips, the man who tried to sue Thomas S. Monson, has never been charged with apostasy or subjected to church discipline. That seems like a no-brainer.

  13. Is it independently confirmable that Tommy P is still a member? Just curious.

  14. it's a series of tubes says:

    Interesting question, Casey. If an enterprising ward clerk knew Tommy P’s birthday, that clerk could search for his membership record as the beginning of the process for moving his record into the clerk’s ward (without actually completing the move). If the search returned a record, then yep, we could know that he was still a member.

  15. GreyBarron says:

    Steve Evans: I have been told specifically that I cannot call women to serve or be ordained to any of the callings assigned to the MP as per the handbook. So are you suggesting that I do so? Here is what we do. Because we have no clerks or secretaries, the bishopric does all those duties. Because we have no Elders quorum presidency or HP group leadership and the stake does not get involved, the bishopric supervises. Because we don’t have a Sunday school or YM presidency the bishopric takes care of it. And don’t get me started on trying to activate the men as it has been 8 years of frustration!!!! I have fantastic, talented women in the ward. They do every thing that is asked of them and more. And they don’t care that they don’t have the priesthood because I have asked them. And my counselors are without equal. We get along fine as a ward because we all take up the slack. I didn’t mean to imply the work wasn’t being done.

    I am not stuck on women being ordained. If you notice, I asked they be called or ordained. It would help if we could use women as clerks and the SS presidency. Why can’t they serve in these callings? My SP will tell you I am not afraid of pushing the envelope but for the most part, I am obedient. I am not up to tearing the envelope.If you have any ideas to help, I’m listening.

  16. About your numbered points, Steve:
    1. Can one say now that he feared from the beginning that things would not end well for OW, even if he never said that before?
    2. What if the instruction was simply to review the definition of “apostasy” in the handbook, with no further explanation or detail? Does that constitute direction from church headquarters?
    3. If you felt concern that things would end up like this (see #1) but never warned anybody of your concern, is it still ok to feel that concern now? Or does your failure to convey your warning disqualify you from feeling compassion?
    4. The instructions define apostasy as “Repeatedly act[ing] in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders” and state that a disciplinary council is mandatory in cases of apostasy. I wouldn’t be surprised if the first draft of that included “notorious” but the non-lawyers wouldn’t have understood. I should hope that the priesthood leaders involved in those councils will follow the spirit, not knowing beforehand the thing they should do.
    5. I don’t think punching people in the gut in Sunday school is ever appropriate. Only at Scout meetings.
    6. We weren’t asked to live, but to die. See Bonhoeffer. Not to find ourselves, or our lives, but to lose them. See Jesus. If we were talking to Andy Dufresne, we’d tell him that we were getting busy dying. It’s not our problem if he didn’t understand.
    7. Yes. Some of us need reproof with sharpness.
    8. With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

  17. Many of the ideas I learned from John Dehlin’s podcasts have merit in their own right. Whatever happens to Dehlin won’t change that for me.

  18. Angela C says:

    “5. I don’t think punching people in the gut in Sunday school is ever appropriate. Only at Scout meetings.” Also at ward ball.

    “It might say about you that you know where your true loyalties lie, with the True Church. Or it might say about you that you lack conviction and are a fair weather friend. Or both.” When the space shuttle launches, it receives feedback about being off track by even the smallest amount, a millimeter or even less, because those minor corrections change the trajectory over great distances substantially. Religion is a long game, as is parenting, as is friendship, as is marriage.

    To me, this is holding up a mirror to us as Mormons. “I’m a Mormon” was our persona, our avatar, what we want to be, us on a good day. This shows us as we really are, for good or bad. Collectively, and individually. So far I haven’t seen anything too surprising. I’m no longer unsettled by who we are, and I gave up finding myself unsettling a long time ago.

  19. Stranger Than Fiction says:

    A little known fact, but an interesting one nonetheless is that if you’re facing excommunication it’s probably a good idea to be anywhere other than the Virginia suburbs. There’s a very real possibility your bishop may work for a three letter agency and be well versed in interrogation techniques. Which was actually the case with Sonia Johnson – her bishop was CIA. It is semi comical until you read her account which involved taking quotes out of context and being stuck in a room until she finally broke. She may have been abrasive and not terribly likable, but this quote seems spot on: “We are just beginning to see the conflict in the church over this issue because I was not the problem. They would like the members of the church to believe that Sonia
    Johnson was the problem. This was some aberration that grew up, and she was the problem and when she is gone there won’t be any problem. What they have to realize is that I am the symptom of a problem that is only going to get worse and worse and worse. They are just beginning to see the beginnings of it. Some reporter told me that someone in the church when he interviewed him said that the women’s rights issue is going to be the Vietnam of the church. In the next twenty-five years, it’s just going to split things wide open.” – ( Feminist Studies 8, no. 1 Spring 1982 p. 15)

    So… there’s that.

  20. “Convening a DC =/= a decision. At the same time, coincidental timing sure looks suspicious, doesn’t it?”

    Steve, not to nitpick, but the point of distinguishing “convening” a disciplinary council from rendering a “decision” in a disciplinary council is to suggest that the Church isn’t necessarily denying that SLC involved itself in the convening of these particular disciplinary councils, no? If that’s correct, then why talk about the “suspiciousness” of the “coincidental timing”, as if you’re offering up an “on the other hand …”? Seems to me you should just acknowledge that LDS HQ involvement in the convening of these DPs is EXTREMELY LIKELY, given that they haven’t denied it, and that no sane person could think the senior Brethren weren’t at least consulted (given the very high profile of Kate and John, and the PR nightmare that disciplining them could potentially create for the Church — just as it has).

    Aaron B

  21. Aaron B: and Kate’s parents were released from their callings and had their recommends revoked last week too (see yesterday’s Salt Lake Tribune trib talk discussion with Kate and John).

    And convening a DC may not be a technically be a decision, but when the prosecutor is also the judge you can bet what the outcome will be.

  22. Mark Brown says:

    Stranger Than Fiction,

    I regret that I have only two eyes to roll at your claim that bishops in the DC area use interrogation techniques they learned from the CIA. Yes, Johnson’s bishop worked for the CIA, but he worked for the human resources department, which is about as sinister as teaching 7th grade math. The rest of your comment, where you say that things were taken out of context and misinterpreted, is inadvertently hilarious.

  23. Re: 8, the phrase that keeps coming back into my head is “we are all apostate”.

  24. Stranger Than Fiction says:

    Mark Brown –

    I deeply regret than a sarcastic post in response to a sarcastic post was taken seriously.

  25. jackson, not sure what your point is, but ok.

    Aaron B

  26. Geoff - A says:

    I have been accused of apostacy and it is a very unplesant and stressfull experience. My bishop delivered me a letter, saying I was accused of apostacy, and to meet in his office at a particular time. On the date he said “do you agree with me that you are guilty of apostacy, if you do not agree with me it is obviously apostacy”.

    I just told him that because I am a HP it is not within your authority. The SP wouldn’t act either way, so we were left in limbo for 9 months.

    Katr Kelly doesn’t have the benifit of the priesthood.

    I am hoping that it is being initiated locally, and that when someone in SLC considers the ramifications, they will intercede. If it has been initiated by SLC, I hope that it is one or more of the more conservative apostles, and he will be overruled by the first presidency.

    If not elder uchtdorf talks on inclusion are going to look pretty weak.

  27. If Kate is “caring for an sick family member” who surely has someone who could care for this person for ONE DAY while she attends the council. Kate’s parents live in Provo. They surely can step in as she isn’t a primary care giver, right? I say her supporters put together a fund and get her out there. Her bishop said they would work with her! They can be flexible and I imagine they could even get the funds in two seconds to fly her out there. Kate, we will PAY for you to go out there if you simply cannot afford it.

    Come on supporters, get a little fund going and help her attend her meeting with her Bishopric. Why not? Why can’t she hop over there. It’s not a long flight. Four hours from SLC to Dulles. She can make it in one day and could stay at a friends house overnight. It’s totally possible and easy. Gather up some people to help make this happen.

    Otherwise, it’s pretty obvious that her “caring for a sick family member” and “not having money” is a pretty thin smokescreen.

  28. Grey: Why do people need callings or ordination to help out?

  29. Mark B., Bonhoeffer is a very good way to my heart.

  30. AB, nitpick away.

  31. Stranger Than Fiction, if I wanted to read paragraphs of quoted material I’d look it up myself. Knock it off.

  32. Local Leader says:

    To take a stab at question #4: It seems to me that if Kate Kelly had found a sympathetic priesthood older to actually ordain her an elder, and then she proceeded to baptize others or organize a branch, that would be the sort of apostasy that would be grounds for excommunication. But merely expressing a strong opinion and trying to persuade others, while ultimately remaining deferential to the authority of Church leaders? Not so much.

  33. John Mansfield says:

    Re #2: I’ve no idea what direction the stake presidents received, but I would bet Laurie Goldstein of the the New York Times knew about the latest letters to both Dehlin and Kelly before any one apostle or seventy did. There is nothing the least bit suspicious about the timing of Kelly’s leaders: April 5 she leads an action on Temple Square; May 5 her stake president places her on informal probation; June 8 her bishop calls for a disciplinary council. Dehlin was invited by his stake president for another of what he describes as near constant investigations by local leaders after turning down the request just months ago by his bishop to do so. Both stake presidents could be taking direction from someone, but it wouldn’t take extraordinary coincidence for the latest of Dehlin’s invitations to meet with a leader to come the same week someone else’s on-going church discipline proceedings reach a milestone.

  34. Steve,

    “How can any of us escape being sentenced to hell?”

    Thanks for saying what we are all thinking.

  35. Shawn H says:

    This explains why I don’t believe in the “sealing” power. We humans have a terrible time really knowing the will of the Lord. We can’t even figure out his will in our own lives most of the time, for crying out loud, let alone his will for other people. I don’t believe God will honor excommunications (or any other action done under the sealing power) done in error. If so, he would be relinquishing his perfect justice and mercy to the cack handed idiocy of us, his children. It may not help Kate or John as they go through hell, but it helps me remember that I’ve a perfect judge that will sort all this out

  36. Susan M says:

    GreyBarron: I’m a female and I’ve served as Sunday School secretary. It was in an inner-city, struggling ward. All I did was walk around to the classes and hand out the rollcall sheets. I think the Bishop was hoping I’d get the records into some kind of order (it was a giant mess) but I don’t think I ever did. I also can’t remember if I was ever set apart. I was new to the church and didn’t know anything about that stuff yet.

    This was also the ward where the Gospel Doctrine teacher gave a lesson on why he thought Christ was married.

  37. I was Sunday School President six or seven years ago, and we had a female Sunday School secretary, but the church has taken a step back since then and will no longer allow women to serve as Sunday School secretaries.

    It would be incredibly difficult to run a ward with only a few active priesthood holders. Yes, you can have women do many of responsibilities that men generally do, but there are many responsibilities that for whatever reason cannot be delegated to women. Perhaps the Sunday School responsibilities, though, could be delegated, using a bit of creativity (ie–asking someone to regularly do certain Sunday School related tasks that a Sunday School President or Secretary would typically do, but not actually calling them to be Sunday School President or Secretary).

  38. I echo what Cade said. I will offer air miles to cover the cost of a ticket for Kate to fly out to DC and back. I have friends in DC who would happily provide housing for her and transportation as well. I expect Kate has access to similar resources as well if she just moved from the area.

    Because her discipline (probation) started in her Ward in Virginia and the probation was not resolved, the disciplinary council would need to be convened with that same Bishop. He has stewardship and more importantly the historical background required to properly interact with Kate on this issue.

    As one who has participated in many disciplinary councils I would say that most Bishops will work to great lengths to accommodate the schedule and concerns of the individual for whom the council is convened.

    Unless she is deliberately focused on creating a bigger media storm by staging the poor woman tried in abstentia story, I have a hard time understanding why she cannot find an acceptable date for this council to convene and for her to attend in person.

  39. 1. Completely agree

    2. I’m not convinced that these two councils were coordinated, but I’m not sure that I would have a problem if they were as long as the ultimate decision is left to the local leaders. I think there are grounds to convene a council in both cases.

    3. I do think the actions will change the view that some members of the church have about Dehlin and Kelly. They both seemed to market the fact that they were in good standing, served missions, etc. My guess is this helped bring in some listeners/followers that would not have otherwise tuned in. Kelly said in her interview that she was resigning her position in O.W. It will be interesting to see if her replacement is a member in good standing. Is hate to see a repeat of O.W. publicizing a new leader and marketing her church credentials only to see a new council convened.

    4. I don’t think this is about to ideas. Both parties have stated that leaders told them that they could have whatever beliefs they want. But I don’t believe this is about their followings either. My guess is their activities and published statements will be the big issue at the hearings,

    5. Clench your fists definitely. The only punch worthy Sunday School experience I’ve had is when the teacher brought in a Glenn Beck book on the Constitution to reference during the lesson.

    6&7. What Mark B. said

  40. Kristine says:

    Maybe she’s nervous about attending a council with a room full of Mormon men, since so many of them feel entitled to publicly judge and condemn her, even without any formal stewardship. These sorts of comments are not exactly the sort of thing that would make me feel more certain that this is the sort of person who would have my eternal welfare in mind and treat me with the dignity and respect due an equal.

    The problems that Kate (and others) have pointed out with the way the disciplinary system works for women are being made abundantly clear by this process.

  41. Sure, people don’t need callings or ordination to help out in many ways, but there are a lot of things in the church where you do actually need callings or ordination to actually get things done. I don’t think solving GreyBarron’s problem is as simple as getting the women in his ward more involved.

  42. Kristine,

    I agree that women should be involved in disciplinary councils. But I’d hope that the men involved would be more charitable than the average BCC commenter.

  43. “Grey: Why do people need callings or ordination to help out?”

    If you can do basically everything necessary for a certain calling without being *actually* called to that job, then what exactly does that say about ordination/callings?

    I’m sure people can “help out” in a ward without being called – we’re all called to do that. But I do think it’s important for the Mormon paradigm to preserve the sense that being specifically called into a priesthood office confers something more than just the ability to “help out.”

  44. (I should have said calling instead of “priesthood office” – I mean callings under the directions of priesthood)

  45. Syphax, exactly!

  46. Kristine says:

    “But I’d hope that the men involved would be more charitable than the average BCC commenter.”

    Yes, and perhaps they are. But do note how many commenters (here and elsewhere) adduce their experience of having participated in DCs as warrant for passing judgment. It’s not comforting to those of us whose only allowed mode of participation is as defendants.

  47. Fair point

  48. “‘Don’ let ordination get in the way of meeting the needs of your congregation.” Do you actually hear what you are saying?”

    I’ll bite. Why is this so radical? Certain duties must be performed with priesthood ordinances and keys. But 90% of the wards needs can be met by men or women. People don’t need to be called to positions to serve. And women can be called to positions to help fill needs traditionally performed by the holders of the priesthood.

  49. Don’t feed the trolls, Marc.

  50. From John Dehlin’s Facebook pahe: “A quick update – My stake president has agreed to meet with me on June 29th, expressing a desire for de-escalation. The June 18th timeline has been suspended.”

  51. Elder Oaks’ most recent General Conference talk is fascinating with regard to GreyBarron’s situation. As a church, collectively, we probably aren’t ready to accept a lot of what he said and the implications (especially those my age and older, unfortunately), but it could be the foundation of some truly radical changes in how we address altering current policies and practices.

    The famous statement about what each new convert needs does not include a calling. The wording is “a responsibility” – and I would say that this wording is a better summary of what all members need, new convert or lifetime member. Offices and callings are important in wards that match the demographic model in which they function most smoothly – where it is important to have clear markers about who is to do what. Responsibilities can work, at the practical level, nearly as well in other congregations in which the real-life membership doesn’t match the full organizational tree.

    Sometimes, we ask too many questions – especially those who hold keys. If something isn’t forbidden in the CHI, we don’t need to ask about it if we have been given the keys to “direct, control and govern” (Elder Oaks’ words) within a particular sphere.

  52. Mike Maxwell says:

    It seems naive to assume the actions against John Dehlin and Kate Kelly was not a coordinated effort by church leadership. Sadly, I suspect that John is a bit more collateral damage and the real target is Kate. However, it would be a PR suicide mission just to go after Kate alone and as inept has church public relations seem to be, they at least must understand the heyday the NY Times and Huntington Post would have if Kate were singled out on this.

    While I am sympathetic to many of OW’s objectives, I did not agree with Kate’s methods and I believed she was courting the inevitable. Her activities marching on Temple Square and the subsequent media circus was something no organization was going to tolerate from its members. As some have said… “she had it coming.”

    However, I am really saddened by John’s situation. While John did not tout the mainstream LDS rhetoric, I never saw him in open rebellion the church. Quite the contrary, I know that his efforts have helped restore the relationship of many members, including myself, with the church.

    It will be incredibly interesting to see how this plays out. This is not the era of Sonja Johnson or the September 6. The church was still pretty obscure nationally and globally during those times. I do fear the church’s botched public relations efforts on Prop 8 are going to be repeated with this episode.

    These are growing pains of a church that is no longer an obscure “cult” living in high mountain deserts of the western United States. The 2002 Olympics, Mitt Romney, Book of Mormon The Musical, and the Internet have changed all that.

    Hang on people. We may have a pretty wild ride in front of us.

  53. Angela C says:

    Local leader: “To take a stab at question #4: It seems to me that if Kate Kelly had found a sympathetic priesthood older to actually ordain her an elder, and then she proceeded to baptize others or organize a branch, that would be the sort of apostasy that would be grounds for excommunication. But merely expressing a strong opinion and trying to persuade others, while ultimately remaining deferential to the authority of Church leaders? Not so much.” From all I have read from Kate she would never have accepted this or participated in this. She didn’t want to take the priesthood by force or through a back door. She wanted leaders to petition God to see if it was time for women to be ordained. Ask and ye shall be interrogated, knock and ye shall be knocked.

  54. GreyBarron,

    This is one of those situations where I sympathized with Kate Kelly, though I didn’t see her see her cause as a viable solution, because I don’t think it would fix the problems, part of me feels like if it happened before the people are ready it would make the situation worse. But, it doesn’t mean the problems don’t exist, and your situation is one of the most definable. In Northern California, there are a few stakes, notably in Oakland and Monterey, where they have been experimenting a bit with solving some of these issues without disregarding priesthood authority. Some of the callings that you have mentioned that you are lacking priesthood to fill fall under the priesthood duties umbrella, but have absolutely nothing to do with the priesthood, absolutely nothing, such as secretaries and Sunday School (though some may argue that if the secretary is to the bishopric, it constitutes that that calling is a part of the bishopric so it constitutes that those callings require a priesthood holder. I however do not agree with this since nothing a clerk or secretary does deals directly with meeting the spiritual and priesthood saving needs of the congregation, absolutely nothing.). When I was in Berkeley, they always had girls that handled the bishop’s calendar, though no girls had actual clerical or secretarial callings, but this calling was still a big deal to some people. And I had heard that in Monterey that they had called a woman to be SS president in one ward. If this one is true, and it was sanctioned, I don’t see the harm in you doing it either. And with YM, while you can’t call a woman to be an advisor or president for that auxiliary, could a woman teach their classes on Sundays, just wondering

  55. Kristine since your remark was clearly directed at me, among others, I’ll offer a response. Because you’ve misinterpreted or more likely I have not effectively communicated my intent. If you claim I am representative of the kind of leaders that Kate might face then allow me to elaborate what I see.

    I know no more than what she has written and stated in her interviews. I am more than willing to provide assistance to Kate even though I do not know her except as a fellow member in the body of Christ. I have not judged her but instead am asking the question behind her motives. Which I think is a fair question given how she has used the media in order to advance her cause. I agree with her premise that God could reveal to the Prophet that ordination for women is something that is missing. I agree that asking the question is totally appropriate. I don’t believe the answer has been definitively provided by anyone including Elder Oaks. However I don’t believe President Hinckley was inviting women or men to agitate. That is not how faithful questioning in God’s kingdom works. This is not a political process. There are proper ways to cultivate relationships in order to ask these questions. And no, unfortunately it is not usually done by directly moving up the line of authority from Bishop, to Stake President and beyond. I wish it did work that way. Sometimes it does when enough Bishops and Stake Presidents are raising concerns in their regional meetings and training.

    I am more than willing to accept that fear or resignation might be driving her decision not to pursue whatever means necessary to attend the disciplinary council. There may be other legitimate reasons but I would suggest she should work with her Bishop to find a path / approach to enable her to attend. I am concerned that her resignation (if that is what this is) to see the council as a predetermined diktat and not worth attending will be interpreted as intransigence and defiance. I think some leaders would see it that way but I would hope that they would allow the Spirit and not their perceptions to guide their conversations and decisions in her council. I am concerned with her version of the interactions between her and and her Bishop and Stake President. If this is the sum total truth then there are some in between steps that are missing from what I would expect. I would ask why they have not sought to talk more in depth with her and attempt to counsel together with her over their concerns. Maybe they did. Maybe an impasse was reached. Maybe Kate isn’t telling the whole story in her interviews. I don’t know. No one knows. But I would say that unless she has decided that the only possible outcome is for her to leave the Church then I would suggest that she should make every effort possible to attend.

  56. Kristine, how is this exactly the sort of thing the proves there is a problem with church discipline? Talk about jump to conclusions, which is exactly the tendency that lead to this whole OW mistake in the first place. I would surely hope if someone was organizing within the church to stage passive protests, specifically against the counsel of authorities, then organizing to duplicate the churches message with your own internal spin..I’m a Mormon(who thinks women should be ordained), then further organizing an elaborate set of missionary like discussions aimed spefically at the members within the church to persuade them you’re right and the brethren are in error and at every stage doing this with the coordination of outside media to add even more weight to your voice, I should hope that behavior gets you called to the carpet to explain yourself.

    You’ll notice I’ve said nothing against intellectuals, nothing about doubt, hardly anything at all about someone erring in doctrine.

    Your reply, in fact seems almost preplanned. As if this was expected and the ultimate response all along. “See well just string along incrememtally with our actions and if they ever respond with church discipline well point to the nature of the process itself as another sign of the problem.”

    Prove me wrong that the goal is not more headlines and attention to a misguided cause.

  57. Kristine says:

    Dq–your conspiracy theory would make ever so much more sense if I were a partisan or supporter of OW.

  58. Kristine says:

    OD–I wasn’t really arguing the merits of your position; I was just noticing how readily you (and other Mormon men) opine on what Kate ought to do–there is a certain amount of confidence that your opinions should be taken seriously because you (and others–my thought truly wasn’t particularly aimed at anyone in particular) are a man who knows how these things should work. A woman using that tone would be called presumptuous.

    It’s an aside, really, to the main discussion, probably not worth pursuing.

  59. Kristine makes a good point. The process is particularly intimidating for women. We are relying purely on second hand information.

  60. GreyBarron says:

    Ray: I am a great believer in giving responsibilities or assignments. And we get lots of work done by forming temporary committees.

    Em: A few years ago I had a nonmember family move into my ward. They were active, paid tithing and fast offerings, the oldest daughter attended seminary etc. They were not baptized because the father would not give permission. After I got to know them and talked to their former Bishop, I called and set apart the mother as a primary teacher and the older daughter to the Laurel presidency. The family is now baptized and I am good friends with the father. I have also given callings to women living common law, and with babies out of wed lock.

    Giving assignments in these situations is a bit different than doing it where one of the requirements is holding the priesthood. We are actually getting along fine with these priesthood callings vacant because the bishopric and others can cover . My problem arises because the SP’s want to know why they are vacant knowing full well why they aren’t. I ask to let me call women and they say no and around it goes.

    It appears to me that the callings of clerks, secretaries, S S presidency involve nothing more than what women are doing now. Even the WML could be covered by women because a member of the Bishopric presides at baptisms. Clerks and secretaries are not part of the bishopric.

    Your California examples are interesting but were they sanctioned. I am willing to stick my neck out but not far enough to lose it.

  61. Kristine, so I am mistaken then and you support the actions of the church in this regard?

  62. Kristine says:

    Dq–false dichotomy.

  63. Kristine, can you really fault someone for feeling like you’re playing a similar PR savvy game here? You say you don’t support OW, you don’t condone (?) presumed church action, but you don’t post in a way that defends the church, assumes the best of the church, or even offers up a paltry credible devils advocate defense of the church. I realize our society is often obsessed with idealized notions of unbiased reports and observers and the like, but is it clear to everyone but you that you and others line up against the body of the church on this issue?

    I don’t see seeking for understanding, I see a rush to assume the church is picking on the little gal and guy and we have to defend them from the unjust process (oh btw, the brethren get so much wrong in the past so how can we tell they’re not wrong here)

    Personally, I and others probably don’t care too much what you feel on various issues as we’ve all got our own ideas and were happy to debate the merits with you cordially. But at least for myself when I consistently see the brethren being attacked, it is an attack on my faith. It hurts all the worse when it comes from within. I realize the same can be said by those who support OW ( as well as those who don’t support them but still defend and line up with them…)

  64. DQ, you don’t have to support OW to really not like what’s currently happening.

  65. Steve, I see so many of the primary bloggers on this site claiming they don’t support OW but then going to great lengths to criticize virtually everything the church does on this issue, from actual policy, doctrinal talks, public relations, to now internal discipline, which is kept privet for very good reasons (ie none of yours or my business and involves more than you or I know).

  66. GreyBarron where are you? It sounds odd you are running into this problem….I thought one of the requirements for a ward was to have a certain number of active MP holders.

  67. The one has nothing to do with the other; that’s the point.

  68. Srsly, Dq, it’s possible to (a) think women are badly underrepresented in decision-making in the church, (b) not think ordination is the best way to fix that, (c) not think OW’s methods were the best way of advocating even assuming someone thinks ordination is the best way to fix that, and (d) think that excommunicating Kate Kelly is a horrible idea and even feel personal pain at the thought. These can all exist simultaneously in the same brain quite harmoniously. (Well, the personal pain part is inherently unharmonious, but you know what I mean.)

  69. melodynew says:

    Amen, Kristine.

    “. . . there is a certain amount of confidence that your opinions should be taken seriously because you (and others–my thought truly wasn’t particularly aimed at anyone in particular) are a man who knows how these things should work. A woman using that tone would be called presumptuous. It’s an aside, really, to the main discussion, probably not worth pursuing.” Bwaahahahaha! An aside. Perfect.

    Regardless of what discussion is going on here at BCC, your comment beautifully brings us to the fulcrum upon which the question of sexual equality rests. It’s worth pursuing, but when has this “aside” ever had a fair discussion within the church? Maybe just recently those discussions are beginning. Maybe.

    I woke up this morning (after doing my best over the last two days to free myself from unexpected angst about this situation) with an image of Kate (or any woman) sitting in a room facing 3-15 male judges in Israel. Court of love, my ass. The image is drenched, saturated with inequality. My hope is that the public attention this situation receives will help us as an organization look at ourselves again with fresh eyes and keep addressing the little “asides.” Maybe.

    Oh, and Happy Patriarch’s Day, everbody!

  70. melodynew says:

    Great post, Steve! Good questions.

    4. This is the one I’m stuck on. Still haven’t figured it out. I’m not comfortable with the idea of severing any soul from the body of Christ. Except for liars, rapists, murderers, child abusers, and the like. As per usual when I’m stymied about such things, I sent an email to my personal Doctor of Ancient Religion who responded in part thusly: “Remember that the Greek word apostasia doesn’t mean unbelief, and it doesn’t mean heresy. It means mutiny. Apostasy doesn’t require disbelief, only obstruction of the Church’s course . . .”

    Then I thought of my friend and her husband who are currently serving a mission in a foreign country. She doesn’t share my liberal views about church-related things, but we are very much sisters. I respect her opinions and her concerns, especially when they differ from mine. She told me about how difficult it is for missionaries to open a conversation with potential investigators because the people are quite content with their lives. With news coverage generated by Kate and others, potential investigators appear to have become even less willing to receive missionaries in their homes. “We know what you Mormons are all about and we want no part of it.” My initial response is, “Do you seriously think Kate Kelly or anyone else can stop the work of the Lord as far as missionary work is concerned?” But my friend makes a good point.

    So, although I don’t personally view Kate as apostate, her rallying of many other like-minded individuals for the purpose of attempting to redirect church policy or doctrine (albeit she asserts she’s only asking the prophet to ask God) meets at least one definition of apostate. Same for John Dehlin. Like I said, I’m still trying to figure this out. . . still looking for Jesus in the scriptures and in my heart to see what he might have to say about all of it.

  71. Cynthia, if you look at a spectrum of of support for the church and the Brethrens position and support for OW’s position many here would say that support OW but their support would still be closer to Ow’s along that spectrum than the brethren. I and other run of the mill Mormons would be on the brethren side of the spectrum. When Joseph says we leave neutral ground in the church, I think this is another way you can consider his thoughts.

    I think there are a lot of things that would be great if played a greater role (as it is now we all struggle with magnifying what we have as we should so I’m not hopeful it would help to add more responsibility in most cases). But I’ve got no interest to promote pressuring or adding to any potential criticism of how the church is operating.

  72. DQ, I guess I’m failing to see your point. That we’re not on the side of the Church? Come on. That’s a non-starter.

  73. Why can’t they handle a disciplinary meeting by video conference? It certainly seems likely we will get the audio and transcript anyway. (In this technological age I hardly think they can prevent it.) Perhaps they should even televise it. After all, they imply that this behavior is so unacceptable that they would consider voiding sacred covenants because of it. I for one would like to know the exact charges rather than dancing around that they did something…but nobody knows for sure what specifically… that crossed an invisible line. Suggestions are that these were not “personal” sins, but rather sins against the whole of the church. Aren’t there historical precedents for a public airing? Perhaps a public flogging or stoning would help. The church has a proud history of openness and handling dissent with constructive dialog and airing all sides before making a decision. Oh. Wait. Sorry. Don’t know what I was thinking.

  74. Andrew a disciplinary council is secret not sacred.

  75. Has no one else pointed out the violation of church policy wherein Kate Kelly’s bishop emailed notice of the probation and disciplinary council to her? Bishops and SPs are instructed that if they cannot hand deliver notification of proceedings, they must deliver notification via certified mail, with return receipt.

    Beside that point, I honestly can’t believe what I’m reading from people here that Kelly should be expected to pay on her own dime (or even worse, raise funds) to travel back to DC to be called before a disciplinary council.

    The Church Handbook of Instruction gives clear instructions to bishops in these types of situations. Knowing that Kate was moving (which Bishop Harrison did), he should have communicated with her new bishop, transferred her records, and allowed her new bishop to take whatever action he deemed appropriate. This course of action is clearly spelled out in the handbook.

    I’m surprised more people don’t recognize how unscrupulous Bishop Harrison’s actions are here. He had almost a year and a half to observe Kate’s “behavior” and take action. She was incredibly open with him about her pursuits. She interacted with him on a regular basis, with no indication that what she was doing possibly constituted apostasy.

    Instead, he waited until he knew she was moving (even going so far as to visit her at her home while she was packing), then afterward emailed her notice of probation and discipline.

    Furthermore, the handbook calls out apostasy as “Repeatedly acting in clear, open and deliberate public opposition to the church or its leaders.”

    I count one instance of Kate Kelly acting in clear, open and deliberate public opposition — last General Conference when she was publicly told not to hold the same demonstration as in the fall. This fails the test of “repeated” opposition.

    The handbook also states that discipline should not be held until the member in question has had “adequate time to give unhurried consideration to the consequences of the transgression.”

    Emailing a notification to a member who you have not previously notified of the possibility of discipline and who is navigating a cross-continent move hardly sounds like careful consideration of the above directive.

    If Bishop Harrison can’t be trusted to follow the Church Handbook of Instructions properly, how can he be trusted to hold a proper disciplinary council?

  76. Jay,

    I think we have different handbooks. The handbook does not insist on certified mail and specifies that move restrictions be placed on records while disciplinary action is pending. Kate Kelly has stated she was on informal probation before her move. Thus the move restriction on her records was standard procedure.

    I get that reasonable minds differ regarding whether church discipline is appropriate. But accusing the bishop of unscrupulous behavior and violating church policy is a little much.

  77. Marc,

    I’m looking at the 2010 version, which definitely references certified mail and hand delivery as the only notification options.

    Also, the handbook states that in the event of a member moving, yes a move restriction should be placed BUT the original bishop and new bishop should work in conjunction to decide the best course of action for moving forward with discipline. Harrison’s letter gives no indication that he followed that proper course of action.

  78. rameumptom says:

    Steve, great questions, as always. I agree with your question regarding using sisters to do work where there aren’t enough brethren. When I was a single adult (many years ago), the bishop had a “secretary” sister, who assisted with the membership records and finances. She just wasn’t directly responsible for them. I’m sure several positions could be created that could take some of the load off of a heavily loaded bishop.
    In the business world, it is called “creative accounting”.

  79. “I’m looking at the 2010 version, which definitely references certified mail and hand delivery as the only notification options.”

    It says a certified letter “may” be sent if hand delivery is impractical. It does not forbid other options of delivery.

    “yes a move restriction should be placed BUT the original bishop and new bishop should work in conjunction to decide the best course of action for moving forward with discipline. [The] letter gives no indication that he followed that proper course of action.”

    I am sure the letter from the bishop omits a lot of confidential details….which in my mind would include any conversations between bishops.

    My main reason for responding is that I thought you calling the bishop out by name (when he has not chosen to make this public), accusing him of unscrupulous behavior, and calling him untrustworthy was unfounded. There is no requirement in the handbook for transferring the records or for sending certified mail which your original post indicated. And the claim that Kate Kelly was never put on notice of potential disciplinary action is inaccurate.

    If you have inside information that I am unaware of then I apologize. I just think it is unfair to publicly accuse the local leaders of wrongdoing without basis. And yes, I think it is wrong to publicly accuse Kate Kelly of wrongdoing without basis as well.

  80. tkangaroo says:

    #5 – Can we also punch new sisters-in-law who crow about it on Facebook? Who then tell you that you obviously don’t understand the Deep Doctrines of the church and the true black and white of the Gospel. Ah, the clarity of youth.

  81. “May” and “must” – and “should” and “can” – and other such words are important and often get overlooked and/or conflated. That’s bad enough, but when accusations are based on misreadings of those words . . .

  82. I’ve heard from many, many sources that yesterday, though Father’s Day, became a realized opportunity for an Ordain Women hatefest in the PH/RS hour of many wards, given that in those wards the lesson from the Joseph Fielding Smith manual was on Priesthood keys. I’ve also heard that in some wards disparaging and derisive remarks about members who might have supported OW or shared some of the same concerns as OW were actually voiced from the pulpit in Sacrament meeting.

    I’ve been shocked to read and hear of the OW beat-downs that occurred in wards strewn across the country, a sort of glee or Schadenfreude that these uppity women (and men) with their hippy “protest” methods are being disciplined when “normal” Mormon women don’t care about or want the Priesthood or greater (or equal) input or participation in administrative and decision making processes. These OW troublemakers just had it coming. All that is left is for them to repent and rejoin the fold (though Kate Kelly’s disciplinary council has not yet occurred and she has not yet been convicted of apostasy and punished according, whether through disfellowshipment or excommunication — that doesn’t seem to matter: the mere fact that they’ve been invited to a DC on a charge of apostasy has been enough to label them and their cause and any Mormons who happen to support that cause or share some of their concerns definitively as apostate). It doesn’t reflect well on us at all. Zion is retreating from us as we celebrate this turn of events like this.

  83. John, quite right. It is worse than just poor taste; it is keeping us from being as one.

  84. I don’t believe I’m misinterpreting the use of “may” in that context.

    The Handbook indicates that official, written notice is to be presented to the accused by two Melchizedek Priesthood holders. This is the standard.

    In the event that the above is not possible, it says the bishop “may” send notification via certified mail, with return receipt.

    That is giving the bishop permission to step outside the bounds of the 2 MP delivery method, not a blanket invitation to use whatever means the bishop prefers.

  85. “May” implies permission given. That’s standard use.

    Thus, bishops are given special permission to step outside the normal rule (hand delivery by two MP holders) by sending via certified mail.

    What’s lost here is the intent of this rule. Why two MP holders? Why certified mail with return receipt?

    It seems to me that the Handbook is encouraging the “in the mouths of two or three witnesses” here. Multiple priesthood holders can attest to a successful delivery of the letter.

    A return receipt implies that the post office (while obviously void of priesthood authority) is acting alongside the bishop as a witness that the letter was delivered properly.

    Email falls outside these bounds. There is no proof of delivery. No guarantee that the receiver opened the email and received your message. Can you send a regular court summons via email? No, and for good reason.

    Are we picking nits? Absolutely. But I’m convinced there are other areas in which Kate’s bishop and SP failed to follow the handbook. This was just the easiest to identify.

  86. “That is giving the bishop permission to step outside the bounds of the 2 MP delivery method, not a blanket invitation to use whatever means the bishop prefers.”

    If “must” meant “may” then I’d agree with you.

    “Are we picking nits? Absolutely. But I’m convinced there are other areas in which Kate’s bishop and SP failed to follow the handbook. This was just the easiest to identify.”

    If you’re convinced that the local leaders are going rogue without any evidence there’s no point in continuing the picking of nits on this issue.

  87. Villate says:

    john f. – If it makes you feel any better, there was nothing of the sort in my ward here on the East Coast. I taught the 14-15-year-old Sunday School class and we talked about seeking counsel from priesthood and other leaders. I made a point of including YW leaders, RS leaders and parents as authorities. The kids seemed to accept it as a given that men and women were both “priesthood leaders.” We actually had a nice lesson in Relief Society about the difference between priesthood authority and priesthood keys, and about magnifying our callings. President Smith’s words in the manual were referenced, but Elder Oaks’ talk from the last Conference were referenced more. There was a mention of the controversy about ordination, but not more than a mention and no imputing of motives or impugning of characters. My husband said that priesthood was “the usual,” meaning that they mostly read from the scriptures and lesson manual. No beat-downs. It’s a shame that happened elsewhere, though. Like Steve said, it’s unhealthy for the body of the Church to be so divided, not to mention tacky to use church as a platform for one’s political and social views. :(

  88. Villate says:

    *Elder Oaks’ talk WAS referenced more* – sorry

  89. rameumptom says:

    John F, I also agree that we should not use the Church meetings for such attacks. Those should be reserved for out in the parking lot afterwards….

    Seriously, I taught PH in our Spanish Branch on Elder Oaks’ talk. I did not need to bring up OW at all. I spent time explaining keys, power and authority. The last 10 minutes I spent discussing women and the priesthood, as taught by Elder Oaks. I explained that the keys of the AP (ministry of angels, gospel of repentance and baptism) and that of the MP (key to the knowledge of God) are designed to give power and authority to both men and women. The sisters can have the ministry of angels, preach the gospel of repentance, be baptized for the dead, and serve in the temple. They cannot hold keys nor priesthood office, but there is great power extended to them in their callings, since they are set apart by priesthood keys and authority.

    I hope most lessons went in such a direction.

    On Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 3:13 PM, By Common Consent, a Mormon Blog wrote:

    > Marc commented: “”That is giving the bishop permission to step outside > the bounds of the 2 MP delivery method, not a blanket invitation to use > whatever means the bishop prefers.” If “must” meant “may” then I’d agree > with you. “Are we picking nits? Absolutely. But I” >

  90. Sigh, I’ve been requested to teach a joint priesthood / relief society lesson on what it means for priesthood holders to preside in the home. I’m not looking forward to trying to manage the commentary from those who will attend given some of the comments / likes on Facebook concerning the week’s events by members of my congregation.

    Fun times.

  91. “And with YM, while you can’t call a woman to be an advisor or president for that auxiliary, could a woman teach their classes on Sundays, just wondering”

    I think the YM would benefit greatly from having a woman teach their classes, even if it was once a month. The tone and demeanor of the lessons would change, and it would help to foster the notion in their minds of women in positions of authority, not just subjects of authority.

  92. If method of communication isn’t enough to get your goat, how about this:

    From the Church Handbook of Instructions: “Informal probation…does not affect a member’s standing in the church”

    President Wheatley’s letter to Kate dated May 22: “Because of this informal probation, you can no longer represent that you are a member of good standing in the church.”

    Still think Kate Kelly’s leaders are being fair with her??

  93. “Still think Kate Kelly’s leaders are being fair with her??”

    From the outside looking in, I can’t know whether they are being fair. I just don’t see any evidence that they are violating church policy or being unfair. The handbook states that a member’s privileges can be restricted during the period of informal probation. Ultimately that is what probation is–a restriction of privileges.

  94. “I just don’t see any evidence that they are violating church policy”

    Kate Kelly is a member in good standing.

    Church policy states informal probation does not change your standing as a member.

    Kate Kelly’s Stake President changed her standing as a member. He took away her good standing and forbid her from declaring that she was in good standing. That’s made very clear in the letter.

    He effectively disfellowshipped her. He placed every restriction that follows disfellowshipment on her, without a church court.

    So you tell me, what’s the point of holding a church court if SPs can just interpret the Handbook as to effectively disfellowship people?

    Furthermore, Handbook 2 states that leaders are not to deviate from the instructions found in Handbook 1 as it relates to disciplinary councils. Why even have a Handbook of Instructions? Why not call it the Handbook of Suggestions, or the Handbook of General Guidelines That You Can Change as You See Fit?

  95. tkangaroo asked, “#5 – Can we also punch new sisters-in-law who crow about it on Facebook?”

    Only at Scouting activities or ward dances.

    Kate’s leaders are not being fair with her, in my opinion, and who’s to say that it’s all being handled at the local level vs. directed from higher levels?

    I also think Cynthia L. makes a great point, and one that needs to be heard much more often as things continue to polarize, that it’s not a black and white issue. Sensitivity to gender equality issues in the church and pain at what’s happening in Kate’s case do not equate to a desire to march on Temple Square. There is in this, as in most human issues, a nuanced spectrum of opinion and a very fuzzy line between support, sympathy, and opposition.

    My opinion is that OW’s mission statement is a subtle, deliberately worded challenge, and in effect, “public opposition.” It’s tough for me to read it any other way unless I assume that they were simply careless in the words they chose. That does not mean that I think there are no problems with gender issues or that Kate “gets what she deserves.”

    As for my ward, we celebrated Father’s Day with a talk on Motherhood, of all things, of the most stereotypical, traditional, “kinder, kuche, kirche” kind. And the YW gave us all a chocolate necktie. Go figure.

  96. it's a series of tubes says:

    He placed every restriction that follows disfellowshipment on her, without a church court.

    James, if we are going to live and die by the handbook here, then you certainly know that your quoted statement is not true. 6.9.2 lists significant additional restrictions on disfellowshipped persons that go beyond what is contained in the SP letter.

  97. “Furthermore, Handbook 2 states that leaders are not to deviate from the instructions found in Handbook 1 as it relates to disciplinary councils. Why even have a Handbook of Instructions? Why not call it the Handbook of Suggestions, or the Handbook of General Guidelines That You Can Change as You See Fit?”

    On the above point we have an agreement. Leaders should not violate the handbook on disciplinary issues.

    I guess I would just go back to the fact that the handbook states that leaders CAN place restrictions on members during informal probation. So I do not see a violation. You seem to be arguing that the rule in the handbook is: leaders can place limited restrictions on members during informal probation so long as the restrictions do not come close to the same restrictions one would face if they were actually formally disfellowshipped.

    [Correct me if I am wrong, I am not trying to create a straw man.]

    I disagree. I think it reads a rule into the language that is otherwise not there. I think the handbook lays out the rights and restrictions local leaders have fairly clearly. If what you are arguing is that the local leaders are exercising unrighteous dominion, then that is a separate issue. I am not involved so I really do not know. But I do not see evidence for that.

    The only reason I even started down this rabbit trail is because I thought it was unfair to name the local leaders and call them unscrupulous and untrustworthy based on some selective quotes and inaccurate statements about what the handbook says.

    All that said, the restrictions mentioned in the letter do not equate with being disfellowshipped (As what it’s a series of tubes succinctly stated when compared to my rambling).

  98. I’m asking a series of questions essentially, that I believe should inform a leader who is leading someone through the process of church discipline. Namely:

    Why does the Handbook delineate between informal and formal probation?

    Why does the Handbook list certain restrictions in the informal section and different ones in the formal section?

    In conjunction with those two questions, why does formal probation require a formal church court, with paperwork and

    If you boil down the issue to those questions, to me at least it becomes clear that the church is trying to establish that there are more serious consequences in formal probation that require a more delineated process.

    When you skip the process that is clearly outlined to place a member under such serious restrictions, you are watering down and cheapening the formal disciplinary process for the entire church. The Handbook seems to be making a relatively clear delineation between different types of restrictions and the processes by which leaders are to arrive at those decisions.

  99. James, sincere question, since I have no idea whatsoever about your background:

    Have you ever been in a situation where you had to decide what “restrictions” a real member should receive through disciplinary action?

  100. Yes, Ray. Multiple times.

  101. Can someone please clarify something for me. I know that OW claims it has just asked the church to pray about the issue. And that’s fine (although I am sure the prophet has done so often). However, I have read more than once that Kate Kelly stated that nothing short of female ordination would be acceptable. Did she really say that? Where and when did she say it? (Link, please.) Because if that is what she said, then that is more than just asking the prophet to pray about it. That s telling God what He should do. And that is way beyond mere apostasy.

  102. Angela C says:

    “I am sure the prophet has done so often” On what basis do you conclude this? If so, why have none of the Q12 said so?

    “I have read more than once that Kate Kelly stated that nothing short of female ordination would be acceptable.” The statement was that they believed that nothing short of ordination would create true equality, not that it was the only thing they would accept. It was a “most direct route to equality” statement, not a demand. People with no power and no rights can’t make demands.

  103. The quote at issue:

    “Not only do Mormons believe the priesthood is the power of God, and can perform and officiate in miracles, but it’s also completely intertwined with the governance structure of the church,” she said. “There is no amount of incremental change, and no amount of additional concessions that the church can make to extend an olive branch to women without changing that fundamental inequality.”

    Kate Kelly

  104. That’s a toughie since it’s factually accurate.

  105. In terms of creating actual equality, I agree. I think sometimes defenders of the church get into trouble claiming equality. The Church treats men and women differently and teaches that gender differences are eternal. So men and women are technically not equal. And the argument that they are separate but equal is kind of a loser.

    The real question is whether the belief in eternal gender differences, or the different treatment of men and women based upon those differences, is discriminatory. If giving the priesthood to men is based upon the belief that women are inferior or because of some patriarchal desire for power, it IS discriminatory.

    If only giving the priesthood to men is based upon the Lord’s will, it’s not.

    That said, the priesthood getting untied from the administrative structure is kind of a separate issue from ordination and it would seem there would be workable compromises on that point. But I get that mere changes without ordination is a nonstarter with some.

  106. But let’s not kid ourselves, rightly or wrongly, ordination is a demand. To Angela’s C’s comment, OW may not have equal bargaining power, but it does not make ordination any less of a demand. To her credit, Kate Kelly has been quite up front about that.

    “It seems the thing that bothers many Mormon folks is our unequivocal stance as evidenced, by what I said in the New York Times: ‘There is no amount of incremental change, and no amount of additional concessions that the church can make to extend an olive branch to women without changing that fundamental inequality.'”

    “Never one for ambiguity, I think boldly asking for precisely what you desire shows great faith. It shows both faith in God that the church can be a more inclusive place, and faith in our leaders that they can adapt to the needs of their flock.”
    “We desire not only incremental inclusion and greater roles and responsibilities, but to be on complete equal footing with men. I have stated many times, unequivocally: we want women to serve in all leadership capacities in the church, including Quorums of the Seventy, and as apostles and prophetesses.”


  107. “We desire not only incremental inclusion and greater roles and responsibilities, but to be on complete equal footing with men. I have stated many times, unequivocally: we want women to serve in all leadership capacities in the church, including Quorums of the Seventy, and as apostles and prophetesses.”

    To Kate Kelly, as, it seems, to many others who agree with her, “equal” means “the same.” But it doesn’t. Although women in the Church don’t participate in priesthood offices, they do participate in the Church. I ave been reading Sheri Dew’s book, Women and the Priesthood. She mentions a friend of a different faith telling her she didn’t think much of Sheri’s church. When Sheri asked why, the woman responded, “Because women in your church aren’t allowed to participate.” After telling her friend about the callings she’d had throughout her life in the church, from the time she’d been the sacrament meeting pianist in the 8th grade up through her years of service in he Relief Society general presidency, the woman was surprised. She admitted that “though women were eligible for ordination in her church, there weren’t nearly as many ways for women in general to contribute and participate.” LDS women have just as much opportunity to serve as LDS men do; they are just different opportunities.

    President Hinckley once said, “People wonder what we do for our women. I will tell you what we do: we get out of their way and look with wonder at what they are accomplishing.”

    We don’t need priesthood ordination. We don’t need to be seventies or apostles or bishops or stake presidents. We have enough to do. Yes, it would be nice if the brethren listened to us a bit more, but that is coming. So let’s just accept the callings the Lord does give us instead of telling Him it’s not enough. Let’s not presume to tell our Heavenly Father what He should do.

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