Kate chooses apostasy

I’ve truly hoped that Kate Kelley would follow the counsel given her by her bishop and other leaders. Sadly, she’s chosen the path of publicity and written an op-ed for the UK’s The Guardian.

In it, she gives only her view of the whole story, making herself out to be a victim of an evil patriarchy. The comments clearly show support for her and disdain for the Church.  She has shown her true colors in this: she’s a political activist for feminist action first, and a Mormon last.

As I said, I had hopes that she would follow and keep her covenants. Instead, she’s chosen to follow the convictions that the world has given her to politicize things.

Clearly she is daring the Church to take full action on her.  She will end up a footnote in history, as she will be forgotten, even as Sonia Johnson is barely remembered today.  The Church has grown since then and will continue growing.

It is sad when people choose to disobey the gospel and the Lord’s chosen leaders. Regardless of our desire to see women gain more opportunity in the Church, there is a right way and a wrong way.  There is a correct method to righteous sexual relations and there is wrong sexual relations that lead to discipline.  There are boundaries we are expected live within.

It is sad when a person thinks him/herself greater than the Lord’s Anointed prophet. Clearly, the teachings in D&C 1 and elsewhere simply are ignored or not understood by such people who choose to be apostates. And this article written by Kate is a clear sign of apostasy.

67 thoughts on “Kate chooses apostasy

  1. Too bad for her. It truly is sad to see a member going down that road. Like you said, she soon will be forgotten and the church will keep on going.

  2. This op-ed contains several outright lies, several half truths, and lots of facts left out. This saddens me.

  3. Well to be fair she would never be known if she hadn’t so publicly apostatized. So if publicity is her goal, then I suppose this is preferable to faithful anonymity.

    I think we all know he reality that there are many so-called liberals who remain in the faith solely to change it as they see it as a way to help bring social change in the broader culture regardless of their indifference or agnosticism toward our faith.

    Whether she is one of these, I can’t say, but the evidence based on her public actions at least would lean more for than against unfortunately.

  4. So sad Kate chose this path, but clear she wants it. A very sad person indeed.

  5. When the body is injured we hurt, but part of healing is the removal of material that is now foreign to the body. I am sorry for any who make themselves incompatible with a return to relative wholeness and health, but a splinter, unremoved, will fester. I do not believe it is a matter of political leaning. Some of the best saints I know are politically liberal, but first of all they honor the Truth that trumps all worldly opinions. Among my several offspring political leanings vary from right to left, but all have chosen to raise their children in the Gospel light. When we are willing to put ourselves outside the guidance and protection God offers, we may earn the fleeting attention and praise of the world. I call it a bad bargain.

  6. I wonder if she would have eschewed this course of action if she were invited to give her opinion directly to our leaders. I’m not necessarily disagreeing with you but how else can she communicate with them? It wouldn’t kill anybody to have a conversation.

  7. @annegb — we have been asked many times by the brethren to address our concerns with our local leaders, because there is no logistical way that the general leadership of the Church can meet with everyone who has a problem. Local leaders are called and have been given the keys to lead our wards and stakes. They also have the gift of discernment, and have the right to give council to members of their units. God knows the desires of all of our hearts — so it should not matter if the council, advice, answers we seek come from the bishop or stake president or the prophets and apostles via Conference talks or Ensign articles and similar.

    Furthermore, Kate Kelly HAS been given an answer to her “questions” (read: demands) several times over — via Conference talks, and via the public statements made by the Church, addressed directly to her and her followers. She is not willing to accept that the answer is NO, so she doubles down and keeps up her public protest. Brother Otterson, is his letter of a few weeks ago, also explained who the Church meets with and who they will not meet with. They will not meet with people or groups who are engaged in apostasy. The demands and actions of Kate Kelly and her followers violate the revealed doctrines of the Church. Not to mention they actively and openly preach these things, to people online and now, with their discussions, in people’s homes.

    As I see it, the bishop in this matter has been very patient, kind and has been very willing to accommodate Kate’s schedule, and she refuses and calls it a kangaroo court. People have offered to pay her way back to Virginia so she can attend this hearing, but again, she refuses the generosity of others who *do* want her to have her due process and a chance to defend herself. In stead of being humble about this, she has doubled down, and has escalated the issue in the media for her own gain. That’s not indicative of love for anyone but herself and her cause.

    As for having a conversation, Kate Kelly only wants to have her demands met, and that’s it. No conversation there, just a tantrum.

  8. Anne gb, Raising a public ruckus can get you a hearing in many venues but it becomes counterproductive for the leadership of any major operation from government to religion to grant a personal interview with those willing to be persistently obnoxious. The leaders of the Church have addressed the issues raised by KK through an agency designated for such such enquiries and actions. In my few encounters with General authorities I have found them to be warm and concerned, but they must carefully consider the time they have available to deal with various issues. The loudness or persistance of the petitioner should not be a determining factor. Personally I’d love to ask some celebrities, some politicians and some journalists some questions, but I fully expect that I would, at best, be given a polite brushoff. From hints you have offered I imagine you would like a chance to get some answers to your personal concerns from someone with authority to give a definitive answer, but so would we all. Fortunately I have frequently been forced by circumstances to take my concerns and questions directly to God. As a result I barely bother anyone with less authority. Once a leader asked me what I would say if he directed me to return to my abusive, adulterous husband. I replied that my decision had come as a result of personal revelation. He smiled ruefully and nodded. Not long afterward he approved my temple recommend, which I assume meant he found my answer acceptable for my particular situation.

  9. Well, even more disturbing is that in this article she states that because of her supporters, “I can more clearly see the face of God, and SHE is beautiful. Well, last I knew, God had not changed His gender. Could it be that she hates “patriarchy” so much that she would love to see the whole demise of the human race after all “maleness is eliminated?” When you seek to turn away from God and the teachings that for generations have been proclaimed by the mouths of the prophets and apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, what have you chosen instead? Only to be under the direct influence of the adversary. Defiance, rebellion, disobedience to Gods laws have been going on for a long time now, and that is because as Elder Lawrence Corbridge stated in his talk this past General Conference, “Truth will always be opposed.”

  10. Anne, do you think it’s possible the men we sustain as prophets have judged this circumstance to be not about a conversation or a meeting, but actually recognize it for what it is – an escalating PR game.

    Someone who wants a sincere conversation does not escalate to the point of church discipline.

  11. Wow. just wow! I am amazed by how well all of us are at judging people. Apostasy? How about waiting to let Kates bishop make that decision? Even then, men are not perfect and do at times make mistakes. I thought I would try reading this blog for a week. Now that I have I get the gist of it. Its an Echo chamber.
    I think all sides would do well with a little humility. My self included. I pray for the best for every one.

  12. You really don’t have to go to far in the blogosphere to find a blog where the “echo chamber,” as you have it, is echoing an entirely different opinion.

    [In fact, tonight, I found out that I am one of "millions" of "minions" blindly following the leaders of my church against Ms. Kelly. (Because millions are engaged in this? That's hardly the case. I didn't quite get it, but I guess generally choosing to heed church leadership = blind minionship.)]

  13. I remember when Sonia Johnson was in the news. Kate Kelly is really spouting the same message, although she uses priesthood ordination in place of the ERA. History will never stop repeating itself. I only hope that Kate doesn’t continue to follow Sonia’s footsteps until she finds herself on the pathway of lesbianism.

  14. Anajoy, apparently the entire Internet has exploded because Mormonism-the good, the bad and the ugly (especially the bad and the ugly according to the world), makes great fodder for name-calling-not only is it “blind obedience, but also “toe the liners” (those words were Kate’s herself), “dangerous conformists,” “religious zealots,” the “errant judgers” etc. Wow, when did judging something as “wrong” become a criminal offense? I guess it is only wrong to judge when it goes against what one agrees with, everybody else is shown the door. When it comes down to protecting my family or my children against what I consider wrong I will speak out every time. I am NOT gonna let people push me around and say that I can’t because when it comes down to living the commandments and following the counsel given by prophets and apostles down through the ages, that is what I am gonna do, and do every time. I will not judge Kate as a person, I do not know her, she could be at face value one of the nicest people you would ever meet, but she makes it very clear as to who she is loyal to, and her BEHAVIOR in this regard is wrong, and I have every right to say so.

  15. I think Kate’s last name is spelled “Kelly.”

    Kate is choosing to use the platform her personal history granted her to advocate for challenging male patriarchy in all the world.

    As I posted on the Guardian page, God the Mother may be beautiful, but if truth is reason, we’ve also a Father there.

    Possible outcomes from this Sunday:

    Determination that Kate no longer resides in Vienna, and decision to refer the matter to the ward in which she is staying. A challenge with this is Kate’s willingness to continue relocating in order to avoid the conversation. But this would illustrate that it is Kate who is fleeing, not the Church attempting to try her in absentia.

    Determination that Kate has been actively advocating against the Church, including inciting others to advocate against the Church. If the bishop of the Vienna ward determines that he still retains jurisdiction because Kate’s residence is still technically in Vienna, he might have to decide on some appropriate action. Options include continuing the probation, escalating to disfellowshipment, or escalating straight to excommunication. While technically there is also the option of removing the probation, Kate’s article in the Guardian and refusal to accept offers of help getting back to Vienna don’t augur well for her being restored to full activity as an outcome from Sunday’s council.

    Determination that Kate is merely exercising her free agency, but making the decision that Kate continue to be asked to refrain from using Church channels to communicate a message that is not in keeping with Church doctrine. Again, I don’t see the council deciding that probation was an incorrect measure, though that is theoretically a possible outcome of the council’s deliberations.

    I do notice that the next discussion hasn’t been posted on the website associated with Kate’s organization. However this delay is similar to the delay that occurred last week, so I don’t know what purpose Kate’s organization has in delaying release of the discussion.

  16. Hi all.

    I have read some very good points as well as some good advice from many of you and am grateful you’ve shared it. I thank you all.

    One of the false narratives that Ms. Kelly uses to force her viewpoint is to bring Babylon into the church. By that I mean that she uses the sophistries of men to agitate for institutional change within the LDS religion. Has she already forgotten that the church is not governed by the desires of its congregants, righteous or unrighteous? Apostles and Prophets are chosen by God to represent God to the people, not to represent the people to God. The Church is governed by Jesus Christ through His Holy Priesthood. If He wants women ordained He will reveal this to his ordained and authorized servant The Prophet and The Prophet alone (currently Thomas S. Monson); and He will reveal it on His own timetable.

    Ms. Kelly’s desires are known by the Church leaders. They are not new either to the 21st, 20th, or 19th centuries. I’m going to hazard a guess that the matter was brought up as far back as the pre-existence. It’s not novel or unique. The ninth Article of Faith states:

    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. (Articles of Faith:9)

    So to be clear, Ms. Kelly has not received revelation that women are or should have the Priesthood conferred upon them.

    I suspect that the long road to apostasy for Ms. Kelly started when she decided to use her law degree to become a “human rights” attorney. Certainly this is a vocation that is not only a made up one but also a politically liberal and quite progressive one.

    Without getting too much into politics a progressive is a socialist/Marxist/communist and can be found in both mainstream political parties as well as others. However, progressives are found far more frequently in the Democratic Party. (During the 2008 Democratic primaries, Hillary Clinton proclaimed that she “was an old-fashioned early 20th century progressive,” a la President Woodrow Wilson, a hideous anti-constitutionalist.)

    See:
    http://yuuuup8000.blogspot.com/2013/06/early-20th-century-progressive-hillary.html with some other references within. Google or Bing will yield much more

    The reason I had to bring this up is that Ms. Kelly uses some of the techniques delineated in Saul Alinsky’s book, “Rules for Radicals.” Perhaps it’s required reading in law school from the ’70s onward but I don’t know. (Pres. Obama has certainly been influenced by it and Hillary Clinton’s senior thesis at Wellesley was about Saul Alinsky.)

    Ms. Kelly uses the techniques that community organizers use/used to bring about the civil rights movement, anti-war movements, Chicano movement, feminist movement, gay rights movement, “social justice,” “economic justice,” “racial justice,” “educational justice,” “you-name-it justice,” and “gender equality.” The list goes on. Ridicule is one of the techniques, garnering power is another but I didn’t intend this post to an exhaustive treatment of all of the flaws and sophistries she uses.

    So t wasn’t just a question that Ms. Kelly had in her mind that started the road to apostasy. She wanted a show of force. The issue could have been solved privately by fasting and prayer, earnestly asking God the Father the appropriate question(s) she had.

    I know without one iota of doubt that she was not given the green light to “community organize” like minded brothers and sisters, teaching them her ideas, then setting up lessons and asking people to conduct these lessons in their homes in order to create a grassroots movement that, by force of numbers, would compel the Brethren to make structural and administrative changes to the Church that would take years and a re-education of 15 million members.

    If she had the companionship of the Holy Spirit she might’ve been reminded of the ninth Article of a Faith. And everything she claims she loves about her “cherished” church would still be the same.

    I would assume that being educated Ms. Kelly would know that when she prayed to Heavenly Father that her Heavenly Mother also heard her prayers (as well as our Savior). After all, they are ONE. She is a Goddess. She has the same ability as God the Father and Jesus Christ to have all things before her.

    We have so very little ability to comprehend what Celestial life is about. Joseph Smith lamented that there were so many things that he could not teach us because of our lack of devotion and preparation. As I understand it the whole church is still under condemnation because we won’t read the Book of Mormon.

    I, for one, don’t feel sorry for Kate Kelly. Her opinion piece in the Guardian was, as noted above, filled with inaccuracies and only presented her side. She set up straw man arguments from which she drew false conclusions. Very public pieces like this tend to stir up the anti-Mormons and cause both the church and its members to be persecuted. The quicker this thing is adjudicated the better off we’ll all be.

  17. “It is sad when people choose to disobey the gospel and the Lord’s chosen leaders.”

    You need to reacquaint yourself with the definition of the word “gospel.” It isn’t a net that captures everything we think and do in the Church. Nor is it in anyway synonymous with the word “Church.” In fact, it actually has almost nothing to do with Church. And you can’t disobey the gospel, because it the gospel isn’t really a commandment.

    We defile the word gospel every time we use it in such a loose and lazy manner. Christ was very specific about what the word means. It is indicative of collective spiritual disease when we apply it in such a broad manner.

    “And this article written by Kate is a clear sign of apostasy.” That may be so. By our definition of the word “apostasy,” I’ll have to agree with you. However, there were men who were excommunicated for supporting and speaking out about the racism in the Church before 1978. Now they are vindicated. The fact that they have slipped into the dusty filing cabinet of institutional history is a shame. They were heroes. As well as apostates. That fact that one can be both is very telling.

  18. jman,

    Those men speaking out about racism were in essence saying that The Lord was a racist. Racism wasn’t the issue. Men and women who publicly agitate for change in the church have crossed a line. When The Lord revealed to Spencer W. Kimball that ALL worthy male members may have the priesthood conferred upon them, the agitators were not vindicated. They serve as an example of men who did not trust God’s judgement or His timing, and felt they knew better than Him, and had a need to correct Him, and have since faded into obscurity.

  19. Jman:

    Two things. First, the Gospel is both the good news of the Atonement and the mechanism by which we accept it. This you can disobey the Gospel by deviation from the path of acceptance. Second, read the Book of Mormon, particularly 3 Nephi, where there are those who need corrected because they wanted to stop living the Mosaic Law. They were correct (more or less) in their understanding of the doctrine, but they were wrong in the timing and needed correction. Same with those excommunicated before 1978. All this must happen in the Lord’s timetable, and apostacy pushing for change before the Lord’s timetable is still apostacy.

    It is likely that we disagree on female ordination (I’m against it, you seem for it), but the example of the scriptures should preclude any lionization of pre-1978 apostates (and the apostates now, regardless of how the future unfolds). Even if they were right in the doctrine, they were ultimately very, very wrong.

  20. “Apostles and Prophets are chosen by God to represent God to the people, not to represent the people to God.”

    In the Old Testament days, prophets represented God to the people. The Priest represented the people to God. Our Prophet is also the “Chief High Priest.” This places President Monson as the “go-between.” I see it as a bit of a conflict of interest, but that is just my opinion. At any rate, the situation isn’t a clear-cut as you would think.

    “Ms. Kelly’s desires are known by the Church leaders. They are not new either to the 21st, 20th, or 19th centuries. I’m going to hazard a guess that the matter was brought up as far back as the pre-existence.”

    You really believe that we debated female ordination in the pre-existence?

    “So to be clear, Ms. Kelly has not received revelation that women are or should have the Priesthood conferred upon them.”

    Actually, Brigham Young allowed for the scenario where an average member can receive revelation for the church/world. He/she just isn’t allowed to share it with others. So, Ms.Kelly may be right in that God wants women ordained. She is just wrong in thinking she has the authority to reveal this information to others. According to BY’s teachings.

    “I suspect that the long road to apostasy for Ms. Kelly started when she decided to use her law degree to become a “human rights” attorney. Certainly this is a vocation that is not only a made up one but also a politically liberal and quite progressive one.”

    It is “made up?” How so? She is doing it, isn’t she? All professions are “made up!” We see a need and we create a profession to meet that need. Plumbers and electricians work in just such “made up” fields. This is ridiculous. And one could say that that professional athletes the church is so proud of showcasing in the “I am a Mormon” ads have potentially chosen apostasy, because they frequently miss church and therefore risk a loss of the spirit.

    Why start at Ms. Kelly’s decision to become a human right attorney? Maybe her apostasy started when she realized their was injustice in the world as a young girl, and felt a desire to do something about it. Her career choice didn’t spring out of nothing. No one’s does. If we need to start tracing the origin of her apostasy, maybe we need to go back deep into her childhood?

    “15 million members”

    We need a better way of determining membership because I can almost guarantee you there are not really 15 million members. From my experience, it is closer to 5 million. I would define member as someone who actually participates. In all the wards I’ve lived in, only about 1/3 of those who are actually on the records come out on Sunday regularly.

    “I would assume that being educated Ms. Kelly would know that when she prayed to Heavenly Father that her Heavenly Mother also heard her prayers (as well as our Savior). After all, they are ONE.”

    This is new doctrine to me. I would imagine that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young would agree with you, though. But in their version, the word Heavenly Mother would need to be pluralized.

  21. Hi jman,

    You write “there were men who were excommunicated for supporting and speaking out about the racism in the Church before 1978.”

    I assume you mean there were individuals who were excommunicated for speaking out about the racism (rather than excommunicated for supporting the racism). No doubt you, like me, hit send and then realized your English error.

    Please illuminate us on the topic of these individuals.

    I suspect we will see that there are ways and ways to advocate for change. It is not so much the topic of one’s advocacy that elicits a charge of apostasy, but the means. Then again, local leaders are the ones who make the decisions, and some local leaders are unique. I was once told a story about a bishop in the South who was disciplining members who wouldn’t give up sugar. But as I don’t know that story to be true, I present it merely as a rumor that, if true, would illustrate my point about the variability in local leaders.

  22. anajay,

    You use the term blind so willingly, yet you obviously don’t see. After the first protest there would be no court or problems. The issue is not her ideas. The issue is that after being given several very public answers and being told specifically NOT to protest on Temple Square by the Church, she still organized others and continued on doing exactly what they told her not to do.

    I’m sorry, but with the first of her organization stepping up from that line, this was inevitable.

    Then leaders tried to quietly and descreetly have her come in. She chose to make a spectacle of it, and refuses to even show up, mocking the process. Again, her choice.

    I think anyone who expects the Church to do anything other than excommunicate her, regardless of her message, are the ones who are blinded by ideology and are unwilling to see what the real issue at hand is.

    There are many ways to advocate for change in the Church, she has chosen a confrontational and incompatible means that any member who understands the way things work knows how it will end.

    My prayer is that she doesn’t take her followers with her, though many will I suppose, and follow her blindly down that path that leads away from the Church.

  23. “I was once told a story about a bishop in the South who was disciplining members who wouldn’t give up sugar.”

    Hogwash. Down here in the South, we know what to do with bishops who try to take away our shugah.

  24. “Hogwash. Down here in the South, we know what to do with bishops who try to take away our shugah.”

    LOL

  25. “However, there were men who were excommunicated for supporting and speaking out about the racism in the Church before 1978. Now they are vindicated. The fact that they have slipped into the dusty filing cabinet of institutional history is a shame. They were heroes. As well as apostates. That fact that one can be both is very telling.” JMan – if I had lived in, say, 1925, and been a member of the church, and formed a group that essentially said: The prophet doesn’t receive revelation because if he did, he would know that God wants all men to have the priesthood, including blacks,” would I be apostate or a hero? I would be apostate because I would be assuming a mantle of revelation that was not mine to assume. I have absolutely no doubt there were members who lived, prior to 1978, who thought, hoped, wished, prayed and begged God for the priesthood to be given to all worthy men. THOSE are the heroes. People who stood up and said “It has been revealed to me by Almighty God Himself that church leaders are unrighteous, blind and uninspired who can’t receive revelation like me” would be apostate. There is a huge difference.

  26. “We need a better way of determining membership because I can almost guarantee you there are not really 15 million members. From my experience, it is closer to 5 million.”

    “Almost guarantee”? Okie dokie.

    In your “experience”? How have you personally experienced 5 million members?
    Pray tell.

  27. I am not judging Kate. I am judging her actions, as they are clearly pushing towards apostasy. She declared that she is choosing her path, rather than submit to the “patriarchy” that she clearly despises.
    I actually had hopes that she would listen to that counsel and would avoid major consequences in the disciplinary hearing. I do not see that now occurring. Meg has noted the possible outcomes. The most likely would be change of venue or excommunication at this time, I believe.

    There is a pattern for sharing desires and concerns. My stake president is very engaged in listening to the members. He mentioned to me once about asking one of his higher ups about the timeframe of calling a sister as stake Sunday School President. The response was, “perhaps someday, but not yet.”

    So, the Brethren ARE listening and paying attention. They just do not have time to specifically answer every question out there. The thing is, Kate is not asking very many questions. Instead, she is making demands, specific demands, for ordination. She has stated that anything less is unacceptable. How do you communicate with someone who is not interested in having a real discussion?

    Meanwhile, Brother Otterson met with several sister bloggers and organizations recently to discuss their concerns, etc. These groups were not demanding anything. They were asking for more opportunities for sisters to serve and grow. The recent changes (women praying in Gen Conf, 19 year old sister missionaries, General Women presidency photos, etc) all demonstrate that the Brethren are making what changes they can now under the approval of the Lord. Yet, they are also cautious. They want to make sure they are doing God’s will, and not their own will (or anyone else’s).

    Apostasy, like adultery, is about boundaries. There is a safe zone within which one can criticize and discuss, just as there is a safe zone to date, kiss and hold hands. Yet, once one moves across the line into sexual relations outside of marriage, then the door for disciplinary action is opened.

    We (as a Church) are not against Kate or anyone else from having personal beliefs, sharing those beliefs, or asking for consideration. We are against political activism, demands being made at gunpoint, or attacking key doctrines of the Church (sacred patriarchal order maligned as an evil patriarchy)

  28. I posted this elsewhere, but it seemed relevant here. Kate Kelly was on the FMH podcast yesterday and had this to say in connection with a question about what people should do who are upset about her pending discipline and whether they should stay away from Church:

    “I don’t want anybody to do anything on my behalf, but if you feel harm, if you feel sorrow, if you feel unable to attend church then you shouldn’t, and that’s just a self-preservation, mental health perspective, but don’t do anything on my behalf. Don’t not go because of me, in fact I would encourage you to stay if at all possible, but stay and raise hell.”

    There was a pause and then she says:

    “No, I’m at the hell point, I’m being excommunicated here.” (Everybody then laughs.)

    So, in short, she is encouraging people to stay in the Church specifically to be disruptive and follow her path back out of the Church. It doesn’t seem like this is the sort of thing someone who merely has a question to ask would really do.

    She did concede that the facts are not in her favor in retaining her membership. She’s done everything that they’ve accused her of doing. She disagrees that her actions constitute apostasy, but qualifies this by feigning ignorance of what the Handbook actually says on the issue. (Pssss … Kate …. if you are reading this, I did a guest post on it here, called “Apostasy for Dummies.” It quotes for the Handbook that you are so found of claiming you don’t have access to. Just wanted to help you write your legal brief.)

    Kate has also promised to publish her written defense online, which I look forward to reading. I suspect that I’ll even write a guest post on it if there’s anything interesting about it at all – keep an eye open for that Geoff.

  29. Jman,

    “Actually, Brigham Young allowed for the scenario where an average member can receive revelation for the church/world. He/she just isn’t allowed to share it with others. So, Ms.Kelly may be right in that God wants women ordained. She is just wrong in thinking she has the authority to reveal this information to others. According to BY’s teachings.”

    Not sure you have that right. Consider Joseph Smith:

    “I will inform you that it is contrary to the economy of God for any member of the Church, or any one, to receive instructions for those in authority, higher than themselves; therefore you will see the impropriety of giving heed to them; but if any person have a vision or a visitation from a heavenly messenger, it must be for his own benefit and instruction; for the fundamental principles, government, and doctrine of the Church are vested in the keys of the kingdom.

    -History of Church 7 Vols. 1:338, 339″

    I would also suggest D&C 28.

  30. Jeff G:

    I think you are talking past Kinglamoni (this is one of the few things he and I agree on). We cannot receive spiritual confirmation as to what the Church can do, but we can receive it for ourselves as to whether we are to follow the Church’s program. The classic example is Nephi receiving revelation to kill Laban even when the general principle is “Thou shalt not kill.” Nephi wasn’t entitled to speak out in favor of killing, and he generally kept what he did to himself, but the Lord (as a higher authority) circumvented the lower authority of the Mosaic Law.

    The problem is that too many people are too believing that revelation comes easily, and are too quick to receive confirmation bias for what they think to be revelation. ‘I feel something, and I pray about it, and I still feel it so God must be telling me that what I feel is an eternal truth!’ Revelation circumventing the established order of the Church is (a) very, very rare; (b) never authorizes express conflict against the established order, but rather an inapplicability of the established order to a particular situation; and (c) very high risk — you better be absolutely certain that what you are receiving is revelation (and, in my experience, the Lord will give you a Gideon-type experience if and when such an event takes place).

    If you follow the terminology of those going astray, however, you will notice that the enlargement of soul and enlightening of understanding is indistinguishable in some people with an intellectual exercise — I know something that I didn’t know before, so it must be true. What it comes down to, I believe, is that too many people just don’t know the mechanism by which revelation is received, how difficult it is, how much effort is involved, and how careful we must be in what we ask and how we live our lives. We live in a simple world, but revelation is not simple. It is hard, and it is meant to be hard (piercing the Veil is not an idle accomplishment).

    I have known people who have prayed about the Book of Mormon and gotten the answer that it was not true. I have never known a person who studied the Book of Mormon, conformed their lives to its teachings, followed the promise of Moroni, lived the commandments, and made its truthfulness a matter of serious personal prayer over a significant period of time who ever received any other answer than that it was true.

  31. “We cannot receive spiritual confirmation as to what the Church can do, but we can receive it for ourselves as to whether we are to follow the Church’s program.”

    With that I 100% agree. But Jman (not kinglamoni) said, “an average member can receive revelation for the church/world.” Not the same thing at all.

  32. What struck me was how Ms.Kelly keeps saying she is not being heard. I am pretty confident that the church leaders fully understand her concerns and have heard her through her organization. She has made it clear what she wants. The church has made it clear that is not an option. She has been heard and answered. Is she saying that if she asks enough times, she will get what she wants?
    I find both her and her organization dangerous because they are starting with a premise that many women can relate to. That is that men sometimes treat women as if they are not as knowlegeable, somehow lesser, or only emotional beings. Many women have been treated that way by a man in the church. Because of this, many of the things Ordain Women talk about can be appealing to women who feel they have been mistreated and others who care about them. There is no doubt we (as a people and as a church) can better show how we value and respect women and their leadership potential. But, we fall into a trap thinking that there is only one way this can happen and/or that it will happen very quickly after some decision is made. The Lord tries our patience. Of that, I am sure. But, don’t let others’ mistakes and misleading arguments lead us to take our focus away from the good of the gospel and the many blessings that being obedient to the prophet brings.

  33. Its interesting that we recently read Bro. Otterson attributing the primary cause for female consternation in the Church at the feet of fallible (with good intentions) local leadership. But we also hear that the same men are charged with the final word in determining the eternal fate of members in their stewardship.

    On the one hand, the local leaders know the local members in a way that GA’s could not. On the other hand, decisions such as these are going to vary depending on the region. Its a tough balance, and I don’t claim to have all the answers. It would be nice, however, if the final decisions were to require more than a few signatures.

    Thinking about it the other way around: I served my mission in So. Utah among a variety of different polygamists. A lot of those I met, who left polygamy, still had a connection to the BoM and JS. Naturally they were interested in joining the Church. But, every former polygamist who wanted baptism had to be interviewed by a DL, ZL, mission pres. and an Apostle. (at the time Elder Wirthlin did all of them personally). I know time and distance can be an obstacle, but I worry about regional bias in these cases. At the very least, a FP signature would ensure a lower margin of error.

  34. Jeff G,

    Nope, Brigham Young:

    “Should you receive a vision or revelation from the Almighty, one that the Lord gave you concerning yourselves, or this people, but which you are not to reveal on account of your not being the proper person, or because it ought not to be known by the people at present, you should shut it up and seal it as close, and lock it as tight as heaven is to you, and make it as secret as the grave. The Lord has no confidence in those who reveal secrets, for he cannot safely reveal himself to such persons” (DBY, 40–41).

  35. Interesting. I guess there isn’t much of a practical difference between the two accounts, especially if one accepts a directional rather than a propositional view of revelation. Indeed, I think a directional view of revelation very nearly harmonizes the two accounts.

  36. My big complaint about the priesthood is not that I am not ordained, but that those who are don’t always use it as I might prefer.
    I love the idea of having a chauffeur to drive me places and spare me the chore of parking or maintaining the vehicle. I wouldn’t mind if they drove differently than me, but if they never show up or take me to the wrong destination I would probably decide to drive myself. I think that some women have decided they would rather not depend on a system that requires them to wait while those who are ordained to serve them let things slide. But earth is a place for training and learning. When those who are in training to rule and reign fail to act, or worse, do actual damage, they are responsible to God. I rejoice when things function well, but as a daughter of God I have so many ways in which I fail to meet my potential that I recognize the need for patience. I have seen many truly excellent men who started out as fumblers who had a willingness and humility to learn. I do not want to disregard a system with such power to change the lives of those who are willing. Meanwhile I am taken care of by my Father when others fail.

  37. People are talking past each other here. I see a lot of confusion because of that.

    In many circles, “dialogue” means “listening to me” and “listening to me” means “doing what I tell you.”

    Once these simple language barriers are overcome, understanding follows.

  38. From the helpful Wikipedia article on Dialogue:

    “Dialoguers agree to leave behind debate tactics that attempt to convince and, instead, talk from their own experience on subjects that are improvised on the spot.”

    It might be interesting if we could implement a scoring system on comments and posts that allowed readers to opine whether the writing is polemic or dialogic.

    “The dialogic work carries on a continual dialogue with other… authors. It does not merely answer, correct, silence, or extend a previous work, but informs and is continually informed by the previous work. Dialogic literature is in communication with multiple works. This is not merely a matter of influence, for the dialogue extends in both directions, and the previous work of literature is as altered by the dialogue as the present one is.”

  39. Jman has a point, a lot of us received revelation telling them that Dehlin and Kelly were apostate, we just lacked the prophetic authority to declare it to the world until church leadership acted on it.

  40. jman,

    I want you to know that I read your “rebuttal” of my post above. I sense a bit of anger or irritation, whether with me personally or withe he Church I cannot tell. But there was one thing that I wanted to clarify.

    I wrote:
    “I would assume that being educated Ms. Kelly would know that when she prayed to Heavenly Father that her Heavenly Mother also heard her prayers (as well as our Savior). After all, they are ONE.”

    You wrote:
    “This is new doctrine to me. I would imagine that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young would agree with you, though. But in their version, the word Heavenly Mother would need to be pluralized.”

    I am not trying to make new doctrine here. Heavenly Father’s name is Elohim. The ‘im’ suffix is plural. It’s just like the words Urim and Thummim. These are both plural words (in Hebrew).

    If Heavenly Father’s name is plural, then who is it plural with? I’m not a scriptural scholar but after a number of years of study, prayer, temple worship, General Conference, and listening to the faithful hoi polloi, it started to sink in that ONENESS, UNITY, ONE FLESH, etc., had implications far beyond just “being one in purpose.” I submit that He is one with his eternal companion, His Only Begotten Son, the Holy Spirit, and others.

    Does it stand to reason that if Heavenly Father and Others can move all over the universe that exalted women can’t as well? Those who are ONE have one thing in common: they all share the Priesthood of God; male, female, father, son, mother, daughter, brother, sister. So it’s not hard to imagine that Elohim hears our prayers.

    This concept of umbrella-like coverage of the priesthood is one reason that Ordain Women is such a pity. Women in the church not only have access to the priesthood but they also officiate in priesthood capacity in some temple ordinances. There are other circumstances in which women can invoke blessings through the priesthood without a male priesthood holder being present.

    I understand that many women through marginalization, unfaithful husbands, bad marriages, marriage to a non-member, abuse, etc., believe that some of their problems would disappear if they themselves held the priesthood outright. But whether they ever will hold it in mortality is up to God and it might just be the case that it depends on how well we all, as ONE, obey the commandments and are faithful in all that we have been asked to do.

  41. Herb, you make some great points. We do not know for certain whether Elohim means God and those in communion with Him, or just God by himself. I would venture that when the scriptures tell us that the “Father, Son and Holy Ghost are one (God)” that it literally means that in all ways, except physicality. I have no problem with praying to Heavenly Father, in the name of the Son, and having that prayer answered by the Holy Ghost, an angel, a human, Heavenly Mother, etc.

    But this is a personal thing. It is not something I would teach as doctrine, although I may share such concepts and beliefs with others for their consideration. This is very different from the person who demands that their personal views be the doctrine of the entire Church, which is where Kate and John are in their lives.

    If the Lord were to reveal that women were to receive THE priesthood, or A priesthood of their own, I would have no problem with that. I just want it to come from the Lord in HIS time frame, and not some artificially constructed social device. Right now, the Methodist Church risks being broken apart over ordaining gay ministers. Some want to leave it to the local churches to decide for themselves, however the more conservative churches in Africa, South America, and Asia (where most of their growth is occurring) do not want anything to do with such evil. It looks like the Methodists may break into two groups, just like the Episcopalians have done.

    We do not have to fear about such divisions. We do not vote for change. We have prophets that seek the mind and will of God, and do not move on something until the Lord reveals His will in regards to it. Yes, a few will fall away, who have embraced the world’s politics, but the majority will remain faithful to their testimonies.

  42. In the spirit of that “13 Lies” blog from 8 months ago that’s floating around these days, I decided to look through this Guardian op-ed

    Lie: “On Sunday, I will be tried in absentia”
    Truth: Kelly surely has the means to attend and has had multiple offers to pay her way.

    Lie: “I face potential excommunication for the simple act of opening my mouth and starting a conversation about gender equality”
    Truth: Kelly faces potential excommunication due to starting a group whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

    Lie: “My grave situation is another example of how silencing women has long been a top communications priority”
    Truth: Any person who starts a group whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and refuses to disassociate themselves with such a group is subject to a church disciplinary council at the local leader’s discretion.

    Lie: In the Mormon church, all positions of authority and leadership require ordination to the priesthood
    Truth: Relief Society Presidency, Young Women’s Presidency, and Primary Presidency are all clear positions of authority. The Young Women’s and Primary Presidencies could be favorably compared in function to youth ministers of other denominations and these roles existed far before the push in mainstream Christianity for women to hold positions as pastors/priests.

    Lie: “This means that no women can lead any official rites and ceremonies”
    Truth: Women do lead some official “rites and ceremonies” in the temple.

    Lie: “There is no specific Mormon church doctrine explaining why….”
    Truth: Many doctrines are not accompanied by explanations. This does not make them less true.

    Lie: “Last month I moved away from Virginia and, after I left, I was placed on ‘informal probation'”
    Truth: The letter released by Kelly to media from her bishop confirms that she met with her bishop and stake president on May 5, 2014 and at that time was put on “informal probation”. http://www.scribd.com/doc/229282164/Letter-confirming-Kate-Kelly-placed-on-probation

    Lie: “My beloved church is considering forcibly ejecting me for living out what I was taught in a primary song as a child: “do what is right, let the consequence follow”.
    Truth: Kelly is not doing what is right. She is openly rejecting the doctrine of the church and has started a group whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

    Lie (by implication): “Far from being censured, the valid questions we are asking should be taken seriously at the highest levels of our institutions, no matter what creed or faith”
    Truth: Any member’s good standing in the LDS church is not in question when that member as an individual asks questions. However, when a member starts a group, teaching the same questioning as if it were doctrine, then the problem arises.

    Lie: “Instead of being punished for speaking out, we need to be listened to and taken seriously.”
    Truth: Kelly’s church discipline is not for speaking out, but for the manner in which she did it.

    Additionally, it is difficult to understand how someone who claims to love the church can take sideswipes at God the Father “I can more clearly see the face of God, and She is beautiful” or imply that her personal opinion is of no value to the church while her money is: “Under this directive, I am not even allowed to speak when spoken to in church. I am, however, encouraged to continue to tithe” (in her letter she was also encouraged, among other things, to continue wearing her temple garment) or directly attack the words of the leaders of the church written in: The Family A Proclamation to the World: “[Religion] can encourage men and women to re-think outdated gender roles and help us all become more accepting and inclusive.”

  43. ” re-think outdated gender roles and help us all become more accepting and inclusive.”

    This is really progressivism in a nutshell: the rejection of all the wisdom of the past in exchange for warm, gushy, “inclusiveness”. Complete and total poppycock. No civilization will long survive conservation of many values of the past, and the Family Proclamation speaks directly to this point in its last sentence.

  44. Michael,
    The Proclamation itself is progressive and fairly egalitarian, compared against Mormon teaching of the preceding 100 years. And I would say you misfire when you paint mainstream Mormons as religious traditionalists. In fact, your average Mormons is highly progressive – as long as the change at least looks like its coming from the top. Maybe call it top-down progressivism? Opposed to horizontal progressivism?

    Its helpful to remember how radical Joseph was. Not anyone’s idea of a traditionalist.

  45. “The Proclamation itself is progressive and fairly egalitarian”

    Then why do progressive Mormons revile it, lambast it, speak evil against it, and constantly complain about its contents?

    Sorry Christian J. I call bovine fecal matter. What was progressive in the 19th century is now tantamount to Neanderthal thought crime in 2014. (Among numerous examples, Brandon Eich could serve as Exhibit A.)

  46. The Proclamation may be traditional compared to Western society, but I was comparing it to the history of Mormon teaching. It was in fact an update. The principles therein have not always been taught in the Church.

    That its not progressive enough for many feminist Mormons, does not make it traditional.

    I still hold that your average active Mormon is not traditional, since they place a much higher value on the words of living prophets – be they conservative or progressive teachings.

  47. I think you guys need to define your terms.

    Was Joseph Smith a progressive? In many ways yes, and he was perhaps a radical for his times. Was the Church in general in the 19th century progressive? Definitely. Utah was among the first areas of the United States to give women the right to vote. Utahans generally were progressive until the 1950s and voted for the Democrats overwhelmingly until then.

    Is the Proclamation progressive? If you apply the same definition as I use above, i.e., looking at the platform of early 20th century progressives, the answer is maybe. But if you apply the definition of “progressive” as “believing in what liberal Democrats believe in 2014,” the Proclamation definitely is NOT progressive and is instead highly offensive to modern-day progressives.

    Are modern-day Mormons traditional? Definitely. We are among the dying groups in the United States to believe in traditional man-woman marriage, two-parents homes, women who (generally) stay at home and men who (generally) go off to work. This is what Towns is referring to as “traditional.” Are modern-day Mormons “conservative,” in that they want to conserve these types of values? Definitely. Are modern-day Mormons “progressive” in that they believe that human beings can eventually progress to a better world? Definitely. The caveat is that most Mormons believe things will get worse before they get better and that better world will not take place without direct divine intervention.

  48. But you know, the more I read and the more I study the writings of folks like Russell Kirk, the more convinced I become that ‘modern’ ‘civilization’, in its vapid and rapid rush toward “progressiveness”, is also leaving behind many things of precious value. Things that we humans learned the hard way through centuries of refinement and experimentation.

    Here’s a good quote by Edmund Burke that pretty much sums up my feelings on the matter:

    “An ignorant man, who is not fool enough to meddle with his clock, is however sufficiently confident to think he can safely take to pieces, and put together at his pleasure, a moral machine of another guise, importance and complexity, composed of far other wheels, and springs, and balances, and counteracting and co-operating powers. Men little think how immorally they act in rashly meddling with what they do not understand. Their delusive good intention is no sort of excuse for their presumption. ”

    Burke was referring to the “moral machine” of humanity. I see the Church as an absolutely indispensable bulwark against foolish change. Consider these postings that the Church has published on its website; nothing could be more conservative in nature and thought:

    http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/why-religion-matters-the-ground-we-walk-on

    http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/why-religion-matters-the-twinned-life-of-family-and-faith

    http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/homage-to-the-home-why-society-needs-strong-families

    http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/the-mormon-ethic-of-community

    In the parlance of my halcyon days of youth in the deep south, “Ain’t nothin’ progressive ’bout preservin’ the nucl’ar family.”

  49. Pingback: At Their Own Word: The Mormon Newsroom on Church Discipline | Wheat and Tares

  50. Well, it has now hit ABC news and other places now. I tried reading some of the comments at ABC news article, and sadly we see that Kate has caused major harm to the Church’s PR with hundreds of attacks on the Church and Mormons in general.
    http://abcnews.go.com/US/mormon-crackdown-sheds-light-thriving-lds-bloggernacle/story?id=24212297

    However, I know the Church looks at the long run, not the short term successes. In a couple years, these issues will almost be forgotten. But for now, the feathers are out of the pillow, cast to the wind, and Kate will not be able to find them all and retract them. Fortunately, repentance does not require a full restitution in such things, as it would be impossible for her to make good on the Church’s reputation after what she has done. I hope she does repent and come back, preferably sooner than later, while she can be a force for good within the Church, rather than as a footnote in history outside the Church.

  51. I havent read all the comments on the ABC website, but I suspect much of the vitriol existed before Kate formed her organization.

    There are simply a lot of folks who find Mormons variously stupid, evil, bigoted, etc. Many of the more vocal commentators are former Mormons.

    I do think there are many young people who cannot understand why excommunication might be a useful tool in the surgeon’s kit. They are unburdened by the caution of yesteryear and haven’t been harmed by the lack of caution unique to modern youth (no desire to be discriminating in anything, except in clothing, make-up, and hairstyles).

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