I post this story from the NY Times with some highlights.
Two Mormons who have gained national attention for pushing their church to ordain women to the priesthood and to accept openly gay members have been notified this week that they face excommunication for apostasy.
The two are Kate Kelly, a human rights lawyer who founded the Ordain Women movement, and John P. Dehlin, the creator of a popular online forum for Mormons and a doctoral candidate in psychology who has published his research into the problems faced by gay church members.
It is the first time since 1993, when the church ejected a handful of intellectuals known as the “September Six,” that it has moved so forcefully to quash such prominent critical voices.
The church’s public affairs office did not have an immediate response.
Disciplinary actions are typically initiated by local bishops and church authorities, but Ms. Kelly and Mr. Dehlin were notified of the action against them on two consecutive days, leading them to suspect that the move was coordinated by officials in church headquarters in Salt Lake City.
Mr. Dehlin was sent a letter on June 7 by the president of his stake, or church region, who he said he has never met, calling on him to either resign from the church or face a hearing before a disciplinary council. The letter, which Mr. Dehlin provided to The New York Times, said, “Because of the love I have for you, I have become concerned about some of your recent statements and actions regarding this church and your place in it.” It cited an Internet posting in which Mr. Dehlin wrote that he no longer believes many fundamental “truth claims” the church makes.
And this on Kate Kelly of the Ordain Women movement:
Ms. Kelly received an email on June 8 from her local bishop in Virginia informing her that she faces “disfellowshipment or excommunication, on the grounds of apostasy,” and calling her to a disciplinary council hearing on June 22. Disfellowshipment means limiting the participation of a church member, while excommunication is removing someone from membership.
Ms. Kelly’s stake president had warned her in a letter in May that if she did not shut down the Ordain Women website, dissociate herself from it and repent, she faced excommunication for “openly, repeatedly and deliberately acting in public opposition to the church and its leaders after having been counseled not to do so.”
The letter said, “you are not required to change your thinking or the questions you may have in your own mind,” but that she must keep her questions private and resolve them by talking to her bishop.
“I’m just really, really, really heartbroken,” Ms. Kelly said.
She said she told the stake president and bishop, “What you’re asking me to do is to live inauthentically, and that’s not something I’m willing to do. Because then I would have to go to church every week, but I would never be able to say what I really think.”
REMINDER: The Church does not comment on disciplinary actions against Church members because the process is confidential. If the disciplinary action becomes public it is because the person involved has chosen to take it public. You will only hear one side of the Church disciplinary process, the person who has decided to take it public. Church disciplinary work is intended to help a person repent and come back to the Church and is not “punishment.” It is an act of Christ-like love.