not in Primary anymore

mourn with those that mourn


Today Kate Kelly, founder of Ordain Women, was excommunicated from the LDS church. Kate was informed in an email from her former bishop that ” our determination is that you be excommunicated for conduct contrary to the laws and order of the Church. This means that you may not wear temple garments or contribute tithes and offerings. You may not take the sacrament, hold a Church calling, give a talk in Church, offer a public prayer in behalf of the class or congregation in a Church meeting, or vote in the sustaining of Church officers.” (1)

In a church that puts so much emphasis on the importance of sacred ordinances, I am confused by the restriction of those same ordinances as a form of discipline. I see no reason that Kate Kelly deserves to have these things stripped from her. I am disappointed and angry that this was the decision made, and I am worried about what this means for myself and for other mormon feminists.

The responses I have seen from many (not all) church members has been anything but Christlike. How could anyone support forcing an individual out of the fold of Christ? How is excommunication anything to celebrate? I am positive that Church leaders realized that this would add fuel to the fire and would be used as ammunition against faithful, feminist sisters of the church–  and yet the disciplinary court pressed forward. Despite the backlash I have experienced from friends and family I will continue to speak out about feminist issues, including the ordination of women.

I have read comments from multiple individuals stating that Mormon feminism is driving people away from the church, and I couldn’t disagree more. My lovely feminist sisters and brothers are a source of spiritual strength and opened up a door that allowed me to feel safe in protesting the injustices that occur within my church. Last night I experienced the loving, accepting nature of the Mormon feminist community as I stood at City Creek Park with supporters of Ordain Women. The effect that Mormon feminism has had on my participation within the church has been only positive. The notion that Mormon feminist efforts have been harmful to the church is saddening.


Today I mourn with Kate and all of my feminist sisters. I am hopeful that this will not be the end of conversation.


46 Responses to “mourn with those that mourn”

  1. James

    It’s really quite simple. Do you support the prophet and the local leaders called by Jesus Christ or don’t you? Excommunication is sad, but when Kate writes that the only option is female ordination (see her “profile” on the OW site) and teaches this “doctrine” with a series of “discussions,” that is an act of apostasy. It is not a matter of asking questions as has been claimed, it is demanding a result. She and her organization are in direct conflict with the Lord’s prophets and apostles.

    • Katherine

      James, I don’t think the issue is as black and white as you made it. Surely if there is anything to be learned from the New Testament it is that all are worthy of the love and forgiveness of Christ. Christ left the 99 for the 1, he never shunned or excommunicated anyone. I say this in response to you because regardless of opinion towards current apostles or prophets, I do not think anyone should be excommunicated. I will not answer your question about myself and personal testimony, as I am not going to open up my relationship with the church for public judgement.

      • James

        I meant the question of testimony and commitment more rhetorically than anything else. I’m glad you didn’t answer because that most certainly is a very personal issue.

        Christ most certainly loves all. He welcomes all to attend his church. However, he does rely on his common judges in Isreal to make determinations of worthiness as well as to protect the flock. When on the earth, Jesus Christ wasn’t an appeasor. There were clear lines. I especially like how Elder Holland described the Savior in his most recent conference talk on this issue.

      • Truth Seeker

        I wholeheartedly agree, all are worthy of Christs love. But wasn’t it Christ that commanded excommunication be used?

      • Nouner

        Gwen- The church absolutely excommunicates people publicly, it’s almost always announced over the pulpit to at least a couple hundred people if not more. Hard to get less public than that

      • Dollie

        As human beings, we have choice. We decide who to listen to, whether others’ ideas of what is right, or our conscience. I am okay with being labeled an apostate by people who don’t know my heart as long as I feel that I am doing what Heavenly Father wants me to do.

      • Why would you care, since you've already judged, although that's not your job.

        WOW! So very like Christ.
        He was all about changing the norm.
        Or did you miss that part?

  2. Teresa

    Its so aggravating that Kate Kelly is excommunicated for advocating for something that is, what I believe to be, a good thing. I guess God hasn’t told the prophets and priests yet, but He will, we just have to give Him some more time. (Yes, I’m being a little snotty). Trust me, the Mormom Church will come around eventually, propelled by the “martyrs” of today. I don’t understand why god would allow worse sins to go unnoticed, undiscovered, or denied, in the same priests and prophets that made the decision for Kate. The system doesn’t make sense, which is why I have chosen to remove myself from it. “God” is far bigger than the priests or prophets give Him/Her credit for being. The leadership does NOT have a direct line to God.

  3. leana

    My love and morning with you. That there are any rejoicing in another sister or brother’s sorrow is wrenching, no matter where your thoughts lie on the doctrine involved. That we are all painted the same feminists frightens me to no end… That as we are women, and thinking women, we are judged to agree with all or none, that no question or deviation can be viewed with the least thought towards unity and compassion… But, as evident already in the contents, only in crowing and shots to get back in line or be damned… That is what worries me most of all in the whole affair. That any of us would crow and call ourselves Christian more than others…

  4. Anonymous

    Mormon feminists, if they want anybody to listen to them, need to clarify that Kate Kelly does not represent them (at least on the ordination issue). Follow the prophet, he knows the way.

    • Katherine

      You’re correct in that Kate Kelly isn’t representative of the entire Mormon feminist community, however I won’t be disassociating with Ordain Women just in hopes that people might listen a little better.

  5. Jewelfox

    I’m so sorry this happened to her, and I’m even sorrier for the many young Mormon feminists this will affect. You didn’t choose to have Mormonism as part of your spiritual identity, not the same way you choose what to have for dinner, and you don’t deserve to be treated like crap just for pointing out facts and sharing your feelings.

    If I could excommunicate anyone from Mormonism, it’d be the terrible people who comment here saying “apostasy” settles it all. Who appear to believe “obedience” is a virtue in and of itself, and are happily making Abrahamic sacrifices left and right of their own family and friends, without even listening to the host of angels pleading with them to stop.

    My heart goes out to you; my thoughts are with you; my prayers are for you, if you will accept them. May every good deity be there, for Kate Kelly and you all. May those who have turned on her and you, for voicing the hurts they pretend don’t exist, know what it’s like to lose a people and church that they care about. Sooner, rather than later.

  6. L.

    I am surprised to see so many people say that Kate Kelly hasn’t done anything to lead people away from the church, and then admit that they themselves are considering leaving the Church. This is all a result of her actions, and by saying that you are leaving, you are showing how correct the Church has been on their stance. I’m sorry to see so many of my brothers and sisters hurting. I hope the Holy Spirit will touch all of us and guide us in all we do.

    Please don’t leave, but please come back and align yourself to the Savior and His doctrine. Please don’t let anger, bitterness and pride prevent you from moving forward and aligning yourself with the doctrines and not criticizing the church.

    • dollie

      Why do you assume people who leave are angry/bitter/proud? The Mormon church is not the only way to God. And personally, finally coming to the understanding that I cant believe in God the way the Mormon church explains it has been freeing, beautiful, and has honestly made me a better person. I’m sure this isn’t the case for everyone, but what you are describing isn’t either. And yes, it took some time getting used to, but I would not go back now. There are other churches, and God is there too.

  7. katie

    When I heard over the news that Kate Kelly had received a notice for a court of love aka excommunication, my heartbroke that instant. I have not made a profile but I supported them I really prayerfully, studied it out in heart and mind, felt that her work was good and could only help the gospel to progress and grow. It saddened me that the pride of our fathers can’t humble themselves enough to truly seek, listen and hear what is needed. growing up in a church as is , is damaging and scares me causes me to pause whether or not I want to bring up my children in a church which fears losing an all male power hold instead of seeing what God can see. The added insight, strength, skills,talents and blessing of many faithful women who are willing to serve his sheep working together as one in equal partnership . Oh the possibilities. sounds like zion to me.
    This concept isn’t new or apostate. In the old testament we read of several prophetesses and deacons, in the new testament we read of women preaching and disciples of Christ, women blessing and annointing Christ esp. at a very important point in His life before His death. It was women who dressed Him , and women who saw Him first to whom He appeared to. Christ is no respecter of persons , for all alike unto Him.
    Joseph when organizing the Relief society had expressed to organize a society of priests…
    And President Hinkley said that its possible that this could change.
    What surprises me more is that we’ve become complacent. we aren’t looking for change or progress or more revelation even though we claim to be a living church.
    “We believe all that God has revealed, all that he does now reveal and we believe that he will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the kingdom of God.”
    why are we so adament then that it will always be this way? why are we not humble enough to listen to the brokenhearted. why are we not humble enough to listen to Gods will? He has already told us we are to prepare to be priests and priestesses and gods and goddess for the hereafter? why would this only include men to prepare hear? Why would women not need to prepare ??? I do not believe God is an unjust God, A sexist God nor a racist God. But a loving God who wants all his children to come hear to learn and receive the knowledge and strength to prepare them for the hereafter.
    It is quite possible an error of mans weakness/ traditions and not Gods will as was the case with “race and the PH” and as with ” polygamy” … and with such cases many inspired people stood up and cried unto the Lord and felt their answer was also to go to the church and ask and let their voices be heard.

    I mourn with those that mourn.

    • Nancy

      What precisely is good about telling the prophet you claim to support that the only option that is acceptable is the ordination of women? Either you believe in the Lord’s prophet or you don’t.

      • katie

        “… convince us of our errors of doctrine, if we have any, by reason, by logical arguments, or by the Word of God, and we will be ever grateful for the information, and you will ever have the pleasing reflection that you have been instruments in the hands of God of redeeming your fellow beings from the darkness which you may see enveloping their minds.”

        – Apostle Orson Pratt, The Seer, pp. 15-16

        “I think a full, free talk is frequently of great use; we want nothing secret nor underhanded, and I for one want no association with things that cannot be talked about and will not bear investigation.”

        – Prophet John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, v. 20, p. 264

        “… Now those men, or those women, who know no more about the power of God, and the influences of the Holy Spirit, than to be led entirely by another person, suspending their own understanding, and rinning their faith upon another’s sleeve, will never be capable of entering into the celestial glory, to be crowned as they anticipate; they will never be capable of becoming Gods. They cannot rule themselves, to say nothing of ruling others, but they must be dictated to do in every trifle, like a child. They cannot control themselves in the least, but James, Peter, or somebody else must control them. They never can become Gods, nor be crowned as rulers with glory, immortality, and eternal lives. They never can hold scepters of glory, majesty, and power in the Celestial Kingdom. Who will? Those who are valiant and inspired with the true independence of heaven, who will go forth boldly in the service of their God, leaving others to do as they please, determined to do right, through all mankind besides should take the opposite course. Will this apply to any of you? Your own hearts can answer.”

        – Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 1, p. 312

        “Mental laziness is the vice of men, especially with reference to divine things.  Men seem to think that because inspiration and revelation are factors in connection with the things of God, therefore the pain and stress of mental effort are not required; that by some means these elements act somewhat as Elijah’s ravens and feed us without effort on our part.  To escape this effort, this mental stress to know the things that are, men raise all too readily the ancient bar-“Thus far shalt thou come, but no farther.”  Man cannot hope to understand the things of God, they plead, or penetrate those things which he has left shrouded in mystery. “Be thou content with the simple faith that accepts without question.  To believe, and accept the ordinances, and then live the moral law will doubtless bring men unto salvation; why then should man strive and trouble himself to understand?  Much study is still a weariness of the flesh.”  So men reason; and just now it is much in fashion to laud “the simple faith;” which is content to believe without understanding, or even without much effort to understand.  And doubtless many good people regard this course as indicative of reverence-this plea in bar of effort- “thus far and no farther.”…This sort of “reverence” is easily simulated, and is of such flattering unction, and so pleasant to follow- “soul take thine ease”- that without question it is very often simulated; and falls into the same category as the simulated humility couched in “I don’t know,” which so often really means “I don’t care, and do not intend to trouble myself to find out.” Elder B.H. Roberts, The Seventy’s Course of Theology, vol. V (Salt Lake City: The Deseret News, 1912), pg. v.

      • katie

        “President Wilford Woodruff is a man of wisdom and experience, and we respect him, but we do not believe his personal views or utterances are revelations from God; and when ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ comes from him, the saints investigate it: they do not shut their eyes and take it down like a pill.”

        – Apostle Charles W. Penrose, Millennial Star, v. 54, p. 191
        “And none are required to tamely and blindly submit to a man because he has a portion of the priesthood. We have heard men who hold the priesthood remark, that they would do anything they were told to do by those who presided over them, if they knew it was wrong; but such obedience as this is worse than folly to us; it is slavery in the extreme; and the man who would thus willingly degrade himself should not claim a rank among intelligent beings, until he turns from his folly. A man of God… would spite the idea. Others, in the extreme exercise of their almighty authority have taught that such obedience was necessary, and that no matter what the saints were told to do by their presidents, they should do it without asking any questions. When Elders of Israel will so far indulge in these extreme notions of obedience as to teach them to people, it is generally because they have it in their minds to do wrong themselves.”

        – Apostle Charles W. Penrose, Millennial Star, v. 14, no. 38, pp. 593-595

        “If a faith will not bear to be investigated, if its preachers and professors are afraid to have it examined; their foundation must be very weak.”

        – Apostle George A. Smith, Journal of Discourses, v. 14, p. 216

        “We should be scientific – that is, open-minded, approaching new problems without prejudice, deferring a decision until all the facts are in.”

        – Apostle Hugh B. Brown, “A Final Testimony,” from An Abundant Life, 1999

        “There are altogether too many people in the world who are willing to accept as true whatever is printed in a book or delivered from a pulpit.”

        – Apostle Hugh B. Brown, “A Final Testimony,” from An Abundant Life, 1999

        “I admire men and women who have developed the questioning spirit, who are unafraid of new ideas as stepping stones to progress. We should, of course, respect the opinions of others, but we should also be unafraid to dissent – if we are informed. Thoughts and expressions compete in the marketplace of thought, and in that competition truth emerges triumphant. Only error fears freedom of expression.”

        – Apostle Hugh B. Brown, “A Final Testimony,” from An Abundant Life, 1999

      • katie

        It’s just not black and white.

        My favorite quote of the year is from President Uchtdorf, in the February 2012 Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting:
        “Unfortunately, we sometimes don’t seek revelation or answers from the scriptures … because we think we know the answers already… as good as our previous experience may be, if we stop asking questions, stop thinking, stop pondering, we can thwart the revelations of the Spirit. Remember, it was the questions young Joseph asked that opened the door for the restoration of all things. We can block the growth and knowledge our Heavenly Father intends for us. How often has the Holy Spirit tried to tell us something we needed to know but couldn’t get past the massive iron gate of what we thought we already knew?”

        Until you are willing to be confused about what you already know, what you know will never grow bigger, better, or more useful.
        ~ Milton Erickson Quotes

    • Truth Seeker

      And did Christ ever ordain any of the women that followed him? Were any of his 12 apostles female? Did He give women a voice in a Church leadership? And if not, is he a “sexist” for not doing so? It seems like current Church leadership is doing exactly what the Savior did while on the earth.

      • EM

        Truth Seeker-did Christ ever ordain twelve year old boys? Polynesians? How about Africans? Native Americans? Germans? Nope, nope, nope and nope. If our standard is “We only ordain those that Christ ordained” I suspect that would immediately eliminate you; are you a middle aged, first century, Jew? No? You’re out and so is every other priesthood holder you are familiar with. The fact (I know, facts. Ugh. Who needs facts when people can just spout nonsense on the internet?) of the matter is, NOTHING about how we currently confer the priesthood even remotely resembles “exactly what the Savior did while on the earth” NOTHING. I suggest, before you engage in any conversation on this topic that you at least marginally familiarize yourself with scripture. Come back when you know what you are talking about.

      • Locke

        It seems like a valid question when supporters of OW claim Church leadership is sexist and/or mysogynist. Yet they are doing what Christ did. So why aren’t these same criticisms being leveled at Him? OW claims that Kate Kelly’s prophesies must be right because God would never want this inequality. But if that’s true, why was their inequality in the Lord’s own church?

      • Stacy


        LOL! No one is saying that we should only ordain those that Jesus ordained, although that is a thoroughly effective straw man. The argument seems to be over what God’s will is concerning ordination now.

        How do we it’s God’s will that a 12-year-old be ordained? I think most people would respond, “Because a prophet said so.” There’s no need to confront historical practices in such a case because any historical practice that does not comport with what the current prophet says is not applicable.

        How do we know it’s God’s will that women be ordained? If your argument is “Because God isn’t sexist and only a sexist would oppose ordaining women,” then you do have to confront historical practices. If Jesus did something, how can it be unChristlike?

      • EM

        Locke and Stacy-I think you have missed the point. Truth Seeker asserts that “It seems like current Church leadership is doing exactly what the Savior did while on the earth”. This is an absurd statement when it is patently obvious to anyone that, in fact, current practices re: priesthood ordination bear no resemblance to what Christ did while on this earth. That is the entirety of my response. At no point do I assert that how we currently handle priesthood ordination is correct (or incorrect) nor did I conclude that current practices are (or are not) Christlike. I simply pointed out (and have now done so twice) that our current practices do not, in any way, reflect the practices of the early Church. “We do exactly what Jesus did!” is common argument among those who oppose any sort of change to our current practices and, as it is fundamentally flawed, it seems essential to correct such misconceptions when they arise. There may be myriad and sundry legitimate reasons why we choose to ordain an all male priesthood (modern revelation being the most compelling ) however “Jesus did it” is simply not one of them.

      • Truth Seeker

        Sorry, I thought this whole discussion and my questions gave you enough context as to what I meant by “exactly.” But apparently not. So let me clarify my statement: It seems like current Church leadership is doing exactly what the Savior did AS TO ORDAINING WOMEN while HE WAS on the earth. Now would you like to answer my questions?

      • Stacy


        It was “patently obvious” what Truth Seeker meant and your reading of it was “absurd.” I think everyone else understood exactly what she was saying.

  8. katie

    I apologize for my numerous typos. I should have proofread it before posting. I guess I was too caught up.

    • Stacy

      “Praying and asking an earnest question is tots the same as organizing a protest and demanding that the church change its policy.”

      • Truth Seeker

        These quotes support the counsel that we should gain our own testimonies of the prophets teachings; not that we should reject prophetic revelation we disagree with.

  9. katie

    One last thing . I struggled many years with the way women are treated in the church… it caused me a lot of sorrow. I eventually came to terms that as much as I loved the gospel I am not happy nor would I be. I slowly left and just stopped going. I then was introduced to some mormon feminists and they gave me hope. The many blogs and the sisterhood I found there gave me hope that God does hear our prayers, that He does love All his children and it gave me hope that this could be my church again. If anything ,Kate Kelly and the many others did not lead people astray But instead Helped them Stay, HELPED ME STAY and gave them strength & hope in the God we know and love that sees our potential AND wants us to use it instead of hiding it behind a bushel.
    Kate Kelly brought sheep back, the many sheep which were fleeing the church; she brought back. And now we hear The Church saying, we don’t want you sheep; we are happy with the 99.

    • Daddy

      That was well said. I think that is what the church is saying. Forget the lost sheep.
      When I was a boy, I did not know what women went through. My mother and sisters don’t feel opressed but I see it now. I noticed it when I had my first child. I realized that church was an unhealthy place for her. Then I realized how unhealthy it was for all of the women I loved.
      LDS PR says that 90% of the women don’t want the priesthood. What about the 10%? As Katie says, Christ would have responded to 1%.

  10. emmasrandomthoughts

    I’m not Mormon, but my thoughts and prayers are with Kate, her family, and everyone who mourns with her. I know how difficult this will be.

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

  11. Joe

    This debate reminds me of a scripture mastery (below). I feel terrible for Miss Kelly, I can’t imagine what she’s going through mentally or spiritually. What she may have not realized though is that her movement, as other similar movements and organizations, actually help the Adversary who is delighted to see and stir division and confusion among the members of the Church of Christ to the point that lead them astray. If the scriptures, the Prophet’s counsel, or praying about your doubts isn’t something you’re willing to accept or do to clarify them, then sometimes it’s better to doubt your own doubts than to let them doubt your faith and testimony.

    2 Nephi 9:28–29 (in the scripture Men = Men and Women)

    • Ray

      Why do you feel obliged to clarify that this warning applies to both men and women when it clearly just applies to men?
      Are we going to have to refer you to your bishop for trying to change doctrine to include women? Dangerous position to take:-[]

  12. katie

    The quotes were in response to a comment ” That you either believe in the Lords prophet or you don’t. ” they were not to provide reason to reject the prophet but support asking, seeking, and standing up for what is right.
    One can believe in a Prophet and still disagree because of the discerment of the spirit through personal revelation. Personal revelation is just that personal . The Lord chooses imperfect people and as such many time these imperfect people let their own desires or will be spoken. We have many examples of this through out LDS history from many Prophets and apostles.
    The quotes, I shared if anything encourage us to not be lazy and content with swallowing the pill “thus saith the Lord” and actually work out our own salvation. And help build up the kingdom of God. As such many of the supporters/ and leaders have actually encouraged some people to have hope that they might find a home again in the mormon church. they helped bring back lost sheep not destroy it.
    Again .
    “And none are required to tamely and blindly submit to a man because he has a portion of the priesthood. We have heard men who hold the priesthood remark, that they would do anything they were told to do by those who presided over them, if they knew it was wrong; but such obedience as this is worse than folly to us; it is slavery in the extreme; and the man who would thus willingly degrade himself should not claim a rank among intelligent beings, until he turns from his folly. A man of God… would spite the idea. Others, in the extreme exercise of their almighty authority have taught that such obedience was necessary, and that no matter what the saints were told to do by their presidents, they should do it without asking any questions. When Elders of Israel will so far indulge in these extreme notions of obedience as to teach them to people, it is generally because they have it in their minds to do wrong themselves.”

    It is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints and as members we make covenants to help build up the kingdom of God. Many take this responsibility seriously they seek and study and listen and they know that there are many things to be revealed… asking questions, voicing concern of civil rights and inequality is what the Lord asks to do our part. Let thy will be known. Ask and ye shall receive. Even if it is least of us, it still concerns our Savior and I’m sure He mourns with us as well. It is when we seek in earnest and ask unceasingly that the Lord knows we are prepared. Why are we content, why are we not wanting more when we know there is more to be had, more to be revealed, and much more work that could be done through willing and worthy members who have new perspectives, views, skills, ideas… how much more of Lords work could we do ?

  13. Angela

    I feel sorrow for Kate Kelly and for all who sorrow at the decision of excommunication. Excommunication is, of course, something serious, and I’m sure she is genuinely feeling sorrow and pain, herself.
    I’m just writing in response to one part of this article, the statement, “In a church that puts so much emphasis on the importance of sacred ordinances, I am confused by the restriction of those same ordinances as a form of discipline. I see no reason that Kate Kelly deserves to have these things stripped from her.”
    I think it’s important to remember that because these ordinances are so sacred, it is not just the blessings of those covenants that are withdrawn for a period during excommunication (it is always hoped that it will not be a permanent condition), but the responsibilities of those ordinances and covenants are also removed. If the outcome of a disciplinary council is excommunication, it is because the local leaders feel directed through the Spirit that the person in question is not at a place in their life, for whatever reason, where they can fulfill their covenanted responsibilities. By removing those responsibilities from them, it gives the person a chance to repent and return to full fellowship without the burden of compounded sin resulting from not fulfilling those temple promises.
    I do not intend to put words in anyone’s mouth (Kelly or her leaders), because none of us can know completely the circumstances of her disciplinary council. I am just speaking to the point that there is, in fact, a loving purpose to the removal of those covenants at excommunication, with the full hope of their restoration in the future. I certainly hope that will be the case for Kate Kelly.

  14. Milford

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  16. Anonymous

    I feel nothing but compassion for you all.

    You have been lied to by your leaders, so that you do not think for yourselves for any reason than to obey ambiguous laws.

    Please, don’t automacally accept every thing you hear.
    Including what comes out to the mouths of ‘elders.’

    Walk freely amongst the creatures of the earth, and do no harm.


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