Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Here's why Kate Kelly was not excommunicated for asking questions

Let me first say -- I feel bad for Kate Kelly. Excommunication from the LDS church is no small matter. Depending on how she handles it, it could have devastating, eternal consequences for her and her family. It's sad, it really is. For any church members to say that they are glad she is gone, or that they are vindicated by this decision...well, it's not a very good attitude to have, friends. We want for Kate what we want for everyone -- eternal life and exaltation.

The doctrine/lack of doctrine behind the issue of ordaining women has been discussed. A lot. That's not what I want to do here.

I have to bring to light, though, a facet of this sad event that is having far-reaching consequences -- most notably, a negative perception of the church that I love.

It saddens me to see that Kate Kelly's excommunication has turned into "Mormons can't ask questions or they'll be excommunicated." Some members of the church claim to feel "silenced" by this action against Sister Kelly. They say that the church is sending a message that if you ask questions, even sincere ones, you will not be permitted membership in the church.

Here's my problem with that: Kate Kelly was NOT asking a question.

I repeat: Kate Kelly was NOT asking a question. Not anymore. She was sharing a teaching, a belief.

From Ordain Women's mission statement: "Ordain Women believes women must be ordained in order for our faith to to reflect the equality and expansiveness of [the fundamental tenets of Mormonism]."

While other language on the website reflects the idea of "asking" Church leaders to prayerfully consider the topic, the fact is that they believe that women should be ordained. Not "We wonder if women should be ordained" or "We are exploring the idea of ordaining women" or "We doubt that God meant for His priesthood to be held exclusively by men." No. Their belief is set. In fact, each member profile on the Ordain Women website ends the same way: "I believe that women should be ordained."

This is not a question. This is a statement of belief. It is a teaching.

This is further supported by Ordain Women's six "discussions" that explain their cause and mission. They are trying to teach people. They are not seeking an answer. Rather, they have found their answer and are unwilling to accept any alternatives. They are demanding their solution. The very name of their organization is a command: Ordain Women.

Kate Kelly is not forbidden from wondering if women should be ordained. She is not forbidden from praying about the subject, or from discussing it with her family and friends and local leaders. She can even believe that women will receive the priesthood someday, when God reveals it. She can believe that, and not be excommunicated.

What she can't do is teach it as though it were established doctrine. Not without permission from the people who are tasked with keeping the doctrine in line with God's will. She taught it anyway. They asked her to stop. She didn't.

Here I must point out -- If any limit is placed on the questions we ask, it is this: that no person can receive revelation for an area outside their jurisdiction (for lack of a better term). Jurisdiction, for most members, means the member and his/her family. For a bishop, it means him, his family, and his ward. For the prophet (and only the prophet) it means the entire church. To sustain a leader of the church (a formal "vote," if you will, to show public support for a leader of the church) is to agree to be led by his/her counsel, and to respect his/her area of jurisdiction.

Kate Kelly was not, is not, never has been, in a position to receive revelation for the entire church. Not only that, but she sustained her bishop and stake president, along with the general leaders of the church -- the prophet and apostles. She agreed to respect them, and to allow their words and insights to help her find answers to her questions. But when they gave her counsel she didn't agree with, she refused to listen. That is not asking. That is demanding to hear an answer that she has already given herself. At some point, Sister Kelly crossed the boundary from honest questioning and well-intentioned doubting to preaching a doctrine contrary to the teachings of the church. She continued to do so after being asked to stop. This teaching needed to be dissociated with the official doctrine of the church. This is why she was excommunicated -- not because she asked a question.

Let me be clear: Mormons are not expected to believe anything. We are not expected to follow blindly. We are encouraged to ask for and seek truth. We are taught to ask with sincere hearts and unwavering faith. We are told that this sincere asking will bring us personal peace and guidance.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints does not prohibit, hinder, or in any way discourage questions. It just doesn't. And if Ordain Women really had been asking a question, Kate Kelly's story may have ended differently.



UPDATE, 6/30: To read the church's official statement on questions and doctrine, click here. 

UPDATE 2, 6/30: I so appreciate all of you reading and adding your comments. Please know that I'm having some problems with Blogger and comments right now; the latest comments are not being displayed for some reason. The comments ARE showing up in the backend, but are not being shown on the live blog. I'm working to fix this, but in the meantime, please only post your comment one time. Thank you!

317 comments:

  1. Exactly. With all the articles out there about this, it has actually encouraged me to ask more questions/seek for the truth!

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    1. I was just thinking the same thing! I am now stronger because I have sought out personal revelation on the matter. I have been "refined". :)

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    2. Good article. I do feel for her as clearly she was questioning things, and it could have started out so innocently.... and then got under the influence of Satan. The Church had to act and I know their hearts are sad. If you believe President Monson is a Prophet of God and we are told our living Prophet will never lead us astray, and if she fully understood the Gospel she would never have found herself where she is today. We know who is happy today, as he will do anything to lead us astray, and it can start as a innocent question. We all need to be diligent.

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  2. Thank you! You have put the feelings of my heart and mind into words that actually make sense. Thank you for bringing a touch of peace to my soul that I sincerely needed today. Someone very dear to me is suffering a crisis/ loss of faith due to the actions Kate Kelly and her crusade, and it's breaking my heart.

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    1. I share some of these same feelings, Tiffiny -- there are people I know and love who are feeling a lot of confusion over this and who are wavering and it breaks my heart too. Although I knew Kate, I didn't agree with the movement. I have a follow up, and share some of the same feelings as Katie. Regardless, this is a sad thing for everyone involved: http://latterdayjane.com/2014/06/24/a-snapshot-of-kate-kelly/

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  3. Great comments! Thanks for sharing that. I hope everyone reads this so they can better understand this situation!


    www.willivia.com

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  4. This may be the case with Kate Kelly, but what about have John Dehlin, Rock Waterman, and others done that is deserving of excommunication? And besides, what is wrong with stating your beliefs about something, even if they are different than what the modern church leaders believe, and even if thousands of church members happen to feel the same way? What would it be like if we belonged to a government that took away our rights and kicked us out of the country for writing blog posts that stated well reasoned beliefs and questions that the leaders didn't like? Do we not value free speech in this church? The leaders could be addressing these issues, but instead it feels like they are telling members to disregard their integrity and bow in submission to their authority.

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    1. Brandon,

      The case is the same with John Dehlin and Rock Waterman as it is with Kate Kelly. Each have set themselves up as a "teacher" of doctrine without the authority given them by proper channels. Each were asked to stop. Each refused, and disciplinary action has or will take place.

      It all goes back to Katie's original point. No one is being excommunicated for asking questions. We should all ask questions. That's how we learn. It's when we actively TEACH answers that contradict church doctrine that we get in trouble. And rightly so.

      As for your government analogy, you're comparing apples and oranges. The government (at least in the U.S.) answers to the voice of the people. The Church doesn't answer to its members, nor should it. The Church is not a democracy, it is a Theocracy. We all answer to a higher power. God leads the Church. We do not. He is the one who has the right to give authority to teach. We must not take that right upon ourselves.

      The prophet and apostles have their authority to teach from God. None of them are asking the membership to bow in submission to their authority, they are far too humble to ever dream of doing so. However, if we as members of the Church truly believe that they are called of God, then it is His authority that they hold, and we absolutely SHOULD bow before it. "Whether it be mine own voice, or the voice of my servants it is the same," (D&C 1:38).

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    2. It's Amazing To Me How The "Open Minded" Have The Narrowest Of Thinking

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    3. Speaking Of Brad Or Kelly Or Others Who Dont Look At The Big Picture And Get Stuck On Their internal hangups

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    4. Brandon, John Dehlin has publicly stated that he DOES NOT in fact believe the truth claims of the LDS Church. That means he does not have a testimony, but he still claims to be a member in good standing. His priesthood leaders, are rightly working with him to resolve that situation. And even though Dehlin will not admit it, he is teaching his own doctrine. Most of the garbage on his website is there to help ease people out of their faith and into a comfortable apostasy.

      I do not know much about Rock Waterman, but what I have read on his blog and of him, he is also preaching things outside of LDS Doctrine.

      The Church is a voluntary association, and as such gets to set its own rules of conduct, membership and behavior. It is perfectly acceptable for The Church to remove those people who refuse to abide by the rules set. The Church also is not a democracy. We raise our hand to sustain, not to vote on things.

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    5. The Lord will not bend his will or alter his church to suite man but will only do so to suit his purpose. He also will not let man lead his saints away. She had agency to choose. Now the Lord's anointed will judge her and carry out HIS will. It was the not the Church that excommunicated her, it was the Lord through his servants. So, if you really want to know why she was excommunicated, ask the Lord.

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    6. You're right, the church does have every right to excommunicate whoever they want. But when they excommunicate people like John, it's sending a message to the thousands (or millions?) or other church members who have doubts or questions about church doctrine or history that have been affecting their testimonies. John's websites have helped "save" these members; because of his websites (including staylds.com), thousands have chosen to stay in the church, despite their doubts, realizing that there are many ways to interpret Mormon doctrine.

      If John is excommunicated, many of these members will feel unwelcome. What John is doing is no different from FAIR and FARMS, only he's doing it a bit more honestly. :) What would solve the problem is if the leadership of the church received revelation and issued statements explaining some of these more contradictory and confusing matters, rather than leaving it in the hands of third party organizations which are only entitled to speak opinions and not speak for the church. They started doing so on their website, which is great, but excommunicating John seems like a counterproductive approach.

      Besides, since when did lack of belief in a particular doctrine not qualify one for membership?

      Remember, Joseph Smith said:
      “I did not like the old man being called up for erring in doctrine. It looks too much like the Methodist, and not like the Latter-day Saints. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be asked out of their church. I want the liberty of thinking and believing as I please. It feels so good not to be trammeled. It does not prove that a man is not a good man because he errs in doctrine.” (History of the Church, 5:340)

      And early apostle Orson Pratt said:
      “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 ever be grateful for the information and you will ever have the pleasing reflections that you have been instruments in the hands of God of redeeming your fellow beings.” (Orson Pratt (1853) The Seer. p. 15. http://www.archive.org/details/OrsonPratt)

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    7. Someone comparing Mormon struggles to a loss of civil liberties?

      I have just the post about that! :)

      http://ohwellmormon.blogspot.com/2014/06/take-it-easy-now.html

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    8. Brandon, I am not as familiar with the others that you mentioned. However, the questions that must be asked in each of these cases are these:

      1: Where they honest and sincere with themselves and others with the concerns they raised?

      If so, they would be willing to accept the answers that they were given.

      2: After receiving the answers, how did they proceed?

      If they accept the answers, life goes on normally and that is the end. If they rejected the answers, are they continuing to pursue an answer that they find less objectionable to what they believe? If this is the case, the answer to question #1 is likely no.

      Does this preclude them from being members of the church? No.

      So what does? When one is found in this position and then set out to actively persuade others to join your cause to in effect change the doctrines of the church, or lead others astray.

      Question #3 would be is this happening?

      If so, excommunication is not only appropriate, but necessary.

      Often times people assume that excommunication is a punishment to the individual, but as it says in the Doctrine and Covenants, most of the time it's to protect the body of the church from persons actively seeking to destroy it.

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    9. Perhaps it's up to us to have FAITH in the Lord regarding the things we do not understand. There is much we do not understand, nor will we understand in this lifetime. That is part of the test of mortality.

      And if people feel left out, I would encourage them to turn to the Jesus Christ and the Atonement for comfort and peace, not the labels people come up with, or the ideas that float around on the internet. Because God is our Father and loves us, he provides a way to overcome all, but we have to turn to HIM and not to the John Dehlins and Kate Kellys of the world.

      John Dehlin claims to have saved people, but if you really research it his website comes up in almost every anti or ex Mormon google search. John Dehlin is not saving people, John Dehlin is for John Dehlin and that only.

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    10. Of course, we don't know what's in their hearts, but I believe:
      1) Yes, they are honest and sincere and are acting out of integrity. But they have NOT received answers from the brethren on the matters they're questioning about. For a summary of the type of questions that the church leaders aren't answering, check out http://cesletter.com. They sought for answers through prayer, scripture study, the Spirit, through asking leaders, etc. The problem is that the questions remain unanswered. Or they are receiving answers that don't make sense, and require follow-up questions when then remain unanswered.

      2) The answers they "received" from their own study and personal revelation, they chose to share, in the hopes that it would help other members who are struggling with the same questions, because the brethren do not seem interested in answering these types of difficult questions. Is there anything wrong with this?

      People like John are not actively out to persuade anybody. They're just sharing what they've learned in the hopes that it helps someone else, and it has! They're not speaking for the church. They're stating their own opinions and only claiming it as such. Is this grounds for excommunication?

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    11. Brandon, you said it would be helpful if the church received revelation. I don't know if you are LDS, but that sounds like a criticism of God. The church does receive revelation and we make it easier to find answers than any other religion I know. Our website has volumes of information--all the magazines, all of the conference talks at least from modern times, an A-Z index of teachings, videos, even the actual lesson manuals the teachers use.

      It is very important to remember that Kate says in her bio and in many interviews that nothing but ordination will suffice. That is not a question. That is giving God instruction. I have studied her site, her missionary lessons, her interviews. I know less about the others, but I am seeing nothing faith-based, particularly since Dehlin openly admits to not having a testimony. Someone working to help those with doubts needs to first resolve his own doubts so he has the Spirit to guide him in the work. Encouraging people to post their doubts for others to read merely reinforces doubts and prevents them from following the correct process for overcoming doubt. It is fine to have doubts--but we have a moral and eternal obligation to follow God's teachings for resolving them.

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    12. Yes, the church website is very helpful. But it is somewhat insufficient at answering some of the more difficult questions of doctrine and history.

      I see doubt as helpful for reaching the truth. If we have doubts, but stuff them down instead of expressing them or searching for answers, then our testimonies remain weak, and we remain inauthentic. We may not believe in a principle, but do it just because someone else said it's a good idea. I don't think that's healthy, as it disregards our own connection to the Spirit and sense of integrity. It also reminds me of this quote by Joseph Smith:

      “We have heard men who hold the priesthood remark that they would do anything they were told to do by those who preside over them—even if they knew it was wrong. But such obedience as this is worse than folly to us. It is slavery in the extreme. 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 despise this idea. Others, in the extreme exercise of their almighty authority have taught that such obedience was necessary…
      “When Elders of Israel will so far indulge in these extreme notions of obedience as to teach them to the people, it is generally because they have it in their hearts to do wrong themselves.” (Millenial Star, Archive Volume 14, Number 38, Pages 593-595)

      Isn't the purpose of the LDS church to bring individuals to God? Isn't the purpose of almost every church to bring people to God? (Or is it just to gain followers?) If someone like John and Kate feel like they are connected to God, and they are acting out of that integrity in their lives, then shouldn't we be happy for them, even if some their beliefs run counter to our own? And shouldn't we welcome them into the faith, along with their doubts, if that's where they choose to belong?

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    13. I have actually read the CES letter, and interestingly have not been able to find anything contained in it that has not been answered or is flat out false.

      There are far too many things in it to go into detail here, but I was able to find appropriate answers to all of his concerns rather quickly. The point is, it's largely factually wrong and if he were truly sincere in asking, he could have answered his questions just as easily as I did.

      He too, by not being honest with himself, allowed his mind to be convinced he was right and not accept the truth when it was given. I suppose he expects a face to face visit with the prophet so he can boldly tell the people that he has following him that the church isn't true and he got that from the prophet.

      See what I mean? Knowingly distributing something that easily proven false raises false concerns in the reader, affecting the church as a whole. Many faithful members have been lost this way.

      Again, the problem isn't the questions and concerns, the problem is continuing on in a destructive manner after an appropriate answer is given in an effort to lead others astray.

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    14. If you have valid and well-researched answers to the questions in the CES letter, I'm sure that the author would like to hear them!!! As would John Dehlin and thousands of other church members. Why don't you publish a document and enlighten everybody? Please! I personally would like to hear some good answers, too. FAIR responded to some of the CES letter, which was great, but not all of their statements were substantiated (and also some incorrect statements) so he posted a rebuttal on his website, with more questions. I think this kind of dialogue is just what we need in order to get to truth -- questions, then answers to the questions, identifying possible issues with the answers, then more questions to find the answers, etc. Each round brings us more understanding. Questions are wonderful! Let's get to the truth behind the matter. I just wonder why the brethren don't seek revelation and answer some of these issues themselves, with the huge movement of people leaving the church over these kinds of issues. But who am I to question what they're doing...?

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    15. Sorry Kevin, but this seems a bit arrogant. You say "if he were truly sincere in asking, he could have answered his questions just as easily as I did." That is just how it sounds, arrogant, I am not saying you are, it just comes across that way.

      I am glad you assume that you were more sincere than someone else and God was more willing to give YOU answers as opposed to someone else.

      On the falseness of the CES letter, FAIR confirmed the truthfulness of 79% of it.

      Jeremy is also very open about mistakes he made and has been willing to fix errors. He has on his website a list of all errors that FAIR pointed out.

      Just because Jeremy is humble enough to admit he is wrong and abandon old beliefs does not mean he was not "sincere in acting"

      Sorry, I don't want to be rude. But, you do know that these ad hominem attacks on someone are really just a projection of one's own shortcomings right? So when a person calls someone not "sincere in asking" they are really just saying that they were not sincere in asking and were likely just looking for confirmation bias.

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    16. I can't really say well researched describes it... As most of it is from anti-mormon literature that's been recirculated for over a century, and answered several times over by general authorities and scholars, and just like those that came before them, they try to find fault and tear down those that try to help them. I have no interest in debating someone like that. It's quite literally like "trying to hold back the mighty Mississippi River with your own arm".

      Back to the original post, this is why they have to be separated from the church. Anything said to them other than what they have convinced themselves to be true, is wrong.

      Ever read the first chapter of Alma? You ought to. Not exactly the same, don't think anyone has been murdered, but the rest is.

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    17. Yes! I agree with Brandon, if you actually have answers to the problems the CES letter raises, thousands, if not millions of people are interested in hearing them. So please, take that light from under the bushel and enlighten us! Jeremy has shown that he is perfectly willing to change if you have real answers.

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    18. Kevin, I don't understand. You say that "anything said to them other than what they have convinced themselves to be true, is wrong", but Jeremy has humbly admitted to the mistakes in his article, and posted them, along with FAIR's response, which A.Gee pointed out, confirmed that 79% of what Jeremy wrote was true. Jeremy now wants clarification on the other 21%. An honest scholar will pull from all sources, not just those which are biased toward their point of view. There is some truth in anti-Mormon literature that can't be ignored, just as there is some falsehood. Most writings are that way, because people make mistakes and we don't know everything.

      I do notice, however, that you seem to be resisting these statements, holding onto the beliefs you have convinced yourself of, rather than being open to admit where you might have made mistakes. This is the exact thing you accuse Jeremy of, and it is a classic illustration of psychological projection. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection

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    19. A. Gee, my apologies for coming across as arrogant. It definitely wasn't my intention.

      To be honest, I myself have PLENTY of problems/issues/questions regarding the church and God in general that I have not found adequate answers for. If these were the questions I saw being asked in the CES letter, I wouldn't be able to find fault.

      The majority of the CES letter is just a tired retread of old tired arguments with little new.

      That said, my original comments are still valid, and to further discuss this detracts from the article we are discussing. But again, my comments were not intended to offend, measly to add to the discussion. If I offended you, I'm sorry.

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    20. God gives answers to those who are ready and willing to receive them in His own time and His own way. Many times I have been anxious for an answer only to have it revealed to me months or years down the road. It is not a race to gain the answers I am looking for. I have learned to trust in three things while looking for answers, the scriptures & other written works by the prophets of God, The leaders of the church (especially the prophet), and personal revelation, as the light of Christ is given to all men that they may know good from evil.

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    21. It is highly possible that the brethren HAVE asked the Lord about these specific issues, and that they seek inspiration for these issues daily. I can't imagine it is not something that is on their minds constantly. The fact is, everything happens within the Lord's time. Not ours. It's frustrating even in our own lives sometimes to wait on his time, but is something I am extremely grateful for. If we can put our faith in the Lord and his timing, all of these worries, questions, etc. will be answered in HIS time.

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    22. Brandon,
      I don't understand how you can read this article and then respond as such. Yes I bow to the authority of my leaders because it is the authority of God. Yes I can have a different opinion from those same leaders and even express my opinion but I cannot go around and put up a website, protest in from of church buildings and teach that my leaders are are wrong. God will not be mocked. That is called open rebellion of God and the individuals he has ordained to hold his authorty. Sure it is possible that she is right that women may hold the priesthood someday. But it's not the idea for which she is being excommunicated it is her actions. There is a huge difference. I don't know much about some of the other cases you refer to but I am familiar enough with thw process to know that they knowingly made a decision that put them in this position.

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    23. She did not have her "rights" taken away by a government. She had her Blessings taken away by a God who bestows Blessings upon those who are in accordance with His gospel. If you aren't in obedience, you don't have the right to Blessings.

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    24. Brandon - John Dehlin recently hosted on his blog a series of tribute posts from Sandra Tanner to her recently deceased husband Gerald Tanner. The Tanners are some of the most prominent anti Mormons in the vast anti Mormon empire - they have devoted their life to attacking the church and drawing people away from it. What right minded Latter Day Saint gives prominent oxygen to people like the Tanners? Only one who rejects the teachings of the church as John Dehlin publicly admits to. His blog essentially says - the church's stance on homosexuality and gay marriage is wrong and outmoded - he knows more than Christ and His Prophets and he, like Kelly, uses his blog to proselyte this view to as wide an audience as possible in an attempt to woo others to his viewpoint AND to put grassroots pressure on the church to change its doctrine. Is it any wonder that when he does this that his membership is now in question?

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    26. Kiwi Jeff, have you listened to the four Sandra Tanner interviews? If you haven't, why not? One thing I like about John Dehlin is that he tries to understand people and in so doing, the listeners (like me) are able to understand and have more empathy toward our brothers and sisters. If you want to call the Tanners your enemy, didn't Christ suggest that we love our enemies? The first step to love is understanding your fellow human being. Dehlin is just doing that. He interviews people from the full spectrum of Mormonism. If someone believes, why do they believe? If someone doesn't believe in the truth claims of the church, then why don't they and how did they get to that point?

      While I don't agree with some of the tactics the Tanners used to disseminate the information they uncovered on the difficult historical issues of the church, a lot of those issues have been corroborated by faithful historians (Richard Bushman) and the church itself (the new LDS topic essays).

      Everyone has a story and it would be good for all of us to hear other's stories to understand where they are coming from. There is nothing to be afraid of. If your faith is intact, then I doubt it will be shaken to understand where someone like Sandra Tanner, Rock Waterman, or Kate Kelly is coming from. Get to understand them and have empathy towards them-- they are your brothers and sisters. If your faith is shaken, then maybe it should have because there are some serious issues with it. Isn't that what faith is all about: you know the whole story, but still choose to believe. In this light, it's a win-win situation for you because you can understand and love people more (a suggestion by Jesus) and you can increase your faith by knowing all the issues with your religion.

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    27. Brandon...sorry I was not going to say anything.....I don't know what this John guy is doing...I actually just found out about this Kate person....guess here in the east we are the last to find out because we don't have a church channel...but I feel like I should tell you something, hope you don't get mad but I need to say it....does knowing about all the things you want to know more of will really give you salvation?(I mean is good to learn is a good thing to ask but sometimes we want to know more than what is needed) Will you be magically exalted after knowing all the things you want to know?...what about faith? I have millions and millions of questions too...they haven't been answered by church authorities, scriptures and all the rest but heavenly father has...and you know what he said..."my precious precious little child, is not the right time yet"...yes when the time is right all of our question will be answered, the heaven will open and we will gain knowledge of the things that happend, are happening and the more still to come. Do not trouble yourself with the things you still don't know, or can't understand...the time will come and you will. Personal revelation is personal and for your own self and you will receive it someday. I leave you with 2 scriptures that can answer any question you might have!! :) 1Nephi 11:17 and 13:22....there is only one thing you need to know and understand 100% he loves all of his children.

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    28. Once again Kiwi Jeff, the Tanners are children of God, why would we not give them prominent oxygen? I hope I would treat them with as much respect as any human being, including being willing to talk to them about their beliefs, especially if I run a podcast that interviews people related to Mormonism about their beliefs. I feel God would give them prominent oxygen, in fact he does. He cares as much about them as he does about anyone else.

      Dehlin has publicly stated that he doubts foundational church claims which according to Pres. Uchtdorf is fine. Basically you believe in Pres. Uchtdorf's words or you do not, if you don't that is fine, but don't pretend you do and then say someone should get kicked out because they doubt the claims of the church which is clearly exactly opposite what Uchtdorf said.

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    29. I am gonna apologize in advance for this long winded comment. I hope it comes across the way I intend. The internet is a hard place to have constructive dialog but I want to try. There is a comment that I will paraphrase into what it sounded like to me: "if people feel left out, I encourage them to be better at fitting in and believing the doctrine. it's your fault you are not comfortable." What I wish we could do as a church is stop being so afraid of people who think differently, or only believe half of what we teach, or NONE of it and they can still be welcome. I know a primary presidency who wanted to call a woman to teach a primary class and the Bishop was on board, and another member threw a fit. This woman had a nose ring. She was a convert. She didn’t fit the mold and parents didn’t want her to be an influence on their children. I have a problem with this culture in our church. If we believe that it's ALL true, then we surely can handle nonbelievers sitting next to us in church, trying to get comfortable, wondering, hoping, thinking about believing, asking questions out loud, voicing doubts and concerns, more visibly at different stages of testimony. Instead, we are very comfortable as a church with families more or less doing the same things, looking the same, believing the same. If you're not lock step marching, you're an outsider. Whether we like it or not, church is not particularly a safe place to admit "I have a real problem with some of the things being taught but I am still here." We SHOULD be able to handle this. But we don't. Some of us go to church despite it feeling uncomfortable and unwelcoming and stressful. And that requires a massive act of willpower and a more than few darn mustard seeds of faith. To go not because we feel uplifted, but to go despite the dissonance. Knowing there are others out there that feel that dissonance and are going, trying any way, praying speaking out makes church less lonely. Some will claim these people are leading astray. But you must know that there are those who stay in the church knowing people like Kate and other feminists want to stay despite their desire for change/answers/etc. Some folks are comforted at church because of people like her. The gospel of Jesus Christ and His saving atonement are true, the Book of Mormon true; our church culture and sometimes policies based on tradition, leave a lot to be desired. Some of us have to separate those two things in order to go on and I know that can be really hard for some of you out there to understand. (more below)

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    30. (continued) How is this a church with "room for all" when those who doubt are pitied, judged? We are so nice while doing it because we are Mormons! We are kind and it's all with incredibly good intentions, too. Another commenter below says to those who want to know if women will be ordained "get over it!" If you've never felt wronged, in pain at church, hurt by someone whom we are required by our beliefs to "sustain in their authority" then I can understand why this all feels so out of left field and easy to dismiss as apostate crap. But what I think is important for those who think OW ( to be clear: I am not with OW at all) are nuts, is that these feelings, the desire and even demand for change have arisen out of experiences where men, well intentioned usually, men do and say things that feel very wrong. And sometimes it isn’t just that they feel wrong, sometimes they *are* wrong. To speak up, to speak out, to voice concerns, to ask for better inclusion, to feel disappointed by the way you were treated as a woman, by men in authority, well, it is considered "a dangerous road" and you could lose your membership, your friendships, your temple recommend if you were to speak too loudly or publicly about your concerns, your observations, what you want to change. I would argue when it comes to matters of equality (in or out of the church) usually those who speaks out with the most passion, those who ask for change and inspire others to want change are always coming from a place where wrongs HAVE happened. Policies, all teaching materials, all worthiness are determined by men, and if this has ever been a bad situation for you, it’s scary. It’s totally OK if it feels fine to some women that they have little voice in these aspects of our church, you are lucky because that sure makes it easier! But for some, it feels sad and maybe even awful. Like when Sister Okazaki in the General RS mentioned in an interview how disappointed she was when the First Presidency wrote the Proclamation on the Family which was not revelation, rather, a statement, that they didn't include women in its drafting, it was surprising. Same thing happened when the first presidency reworked RS lesson manuals never having told the general RS presidency they were working on new manuals; and she had actually had inspiration on the topic but the women were never even asked for their input, what they felt the sisters in the church needed. Their input was not considered. You can argue all day long that that is what God wanted, but just maybe sometimes change is warranted in the way women's roles in the church are defined, and the way policy is created. (I swear I am almost done)

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    31. I believe whole heartedly that the general authorities are loving men who pray and seek the spirit. I also believe them human and capable of being insensitive and reinforcing traditions that keep women from shining in the church. I get not everyone feels this way. I get that many feel they are valued in church. But shaming those who do not feel that way is ugly. Maybe there *can* be more safeguards to protect women from abuse under the guise of priesthood authority. You can mock those who want things to get better as needing to suck it up but really, if twenty years ago women in our highest leadership positions in the church were disappointed by their treatment, it helps me know I am not alone. And I hope that things will get better. Jesus was perfect, but really, our church doesn’t function perfectly. I wish one person who is afraid of or annoyed or disgusted by what they perceive as an apostate feminist would ask her “What have you experienced or observed? What has been hard for you? What can our congregation do to make church a place where single moms, or non-believers, gay people, or whoever want to come because even if they don’t buy everything being taught, man, it’s so full of love? What can we do in our leadership meetings to make sure we are using the minds and inspiration of women in leadership roles? What are your concerns, I want to hear and I won’t think you’re a terrible person because I am not threatened by Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, or Mormons who have some different beliefs than me."

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    32. In the letter from John's bishop, he responds to the fact that John has asked to have his name (and therefore blessings, temple stuff, baptism etc.; i.e. totally wiped from the Church) removed from church records. He requested it.

      He's told that if he chooses to remain in the church, they'll need to discuss his standing within the church as his decisions and recent actions are contrary to Church guidelines.

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    33. "scooping it up" -- that was beautiful! This is my hope as well. Thanks for sharing.

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    34. Have any of you seen the scanned letter from the Stake President? I found it brought a different and necessary point of view to the conversation.

      http://www.scribd.com/doc/229280355/Stake-president-letter-to-John-Dehlin

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    35. Well that would be terrible, wouldn't it? But that's not the case. This is a private organization, and private organizations have rules. Things work differently with government than they do with private organizations. I don't think a person can say they should be run in the same way.
      When you make covenants as a member of the Church (like baptism, the initial ordinance that brings you into membership) you promise that you will do certain things. When you violate those promises and do so continually, you are released from those covenants so you are no longer responsible for keeping them (at least not to the same degree that you were as a member of the Church). When we look at Church membership as being solely about belonging with a group of people, excommunication seems unjust—it looks like Church leaders are saying "You can't be a part of our club anymore." But if we look at this from the perspective of Kate Kelly's excommunication being better for her in the long run (she is no longer obligated to keep the covenants she's been breaking, and therefore is not continually violating the laws that have been revealed by God through the prophets), then it seems like the best thing to happen to her. The Church does the same thing for people who sin grievously (such as by committing sexual sin) and are not willing to make changes. This is because it is the best thing for them eternally. Imagine that you're learning to drive a car, and you've practiced in parking lots and on city roads and highways. This is like meeting with the missionaries, learning about the Church, and beginning to keep the Church's commandments. Then you are given your license. This is like baptism or making any other covenant in the Church—they are both given on the condition that you will obey the rules that involve their use (or in the case of the Church, your membership). If you continually disobey the rules of the road, your license is revoked and you are no longer allowed to drive. Perhaps this is the best thing to happen to a potential driver—say they are consistently breaking the speed limit in the city or running stop signs. Laws involving those things are there for a reason: they are to keep everyone, including the people who keep them, safe. If a person were to stop obeying such restrictions on the road, they could run into other cars and injure themselves or others. Say someone is driving on the highway but decides that they want to drive outside of the lines or take a turn that doesn't exist. They could hurt themselves. To them that person from hurting themselves and others, we would revoke their license if they did such things. Excommunication and, conversely membership in the Church, are similar to owning a driver's license. A person promises to obey certain rules, they are given permission to participate in certain activities and privileges. In the case of the Church, those privileges involve taking the sacrament and having the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, and can, depending on the person's status as a member before excommunication, involve their being able to attend the temple and perform sacred ordinances there. For men, it can also involve holding the priesthood and performing its ordinances. The point is that when a person stops obeying the rules they promise to keep, they put themselves in spiritual danger. To reduce that danger, we release them from their covenants. (cont'd on next comment)

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    36. (cont'd) This doesn't really have anything to do with what Kate Kelly thinks or believes privately. It has to do with her actions. She has preached a doctrine that is not in alignment with the teachings of the Church. When members request permission from their bishops to attend the temple, one of the questions they are asked is whether they are affiliated with any group that is not in conformity with the teachings of the Church. Kate Kelly is, and therefore her spiritual standing is in question. She is not willing to abandon her alignment with that group or to stop teaching others doctrine that is incorrect in the eyes of the Church, and so she is released from her covenants to keep the commandments.

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    37. A few scriptures come to mind:
      Isaiah 5: 20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

      21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!

      2 Nephi 28: 31 Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.

      If one is searching for truth, that person should look to the source of all truth (scripture, our prophet, prayer), not a random person who claims a personal belief or doctrine. The Lord has always spoken through His prophets. Thomas S. Monson is His mouthpiece on the earth at this time. The end.

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    38. Brandon,
      In response to your question about the CES letter, I find this to be a really excellent resource. It's long, but I find those interested sincerely in the subject will gain a great deal from it.

      http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/eye-of-the-beholder-law-of-the-harvest-observations-on-the-inevitable-consequences-of-the-different-investigative-approaches-of-jeremy-runnells-and-jeff-lindsay/

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    39. Scoop it up-- I want a copy of your response. I have had the same thoughts but have not been able to articulate the way you have--thank you!!!

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  5. this was so well said! thanks for sharing!!

    madelineclawson.blogspot.com

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  6. The whole situation is sad. My heart feels bad for all of those that leave the church (excommunication or otherwise). It doesn't matter what is modern or "outdated". Do we believe that this is the Apostle's and Prophets church or that of God? If we truly believe that this is God's church that is led by Revelation through the proper channels, then why are we "demanding" certain things? God's house is one of order. Amos 3:7. We are encouraged to seek personal revelation James 1:5 but it is just that - personal. As stated in the article, we are entitled to receive inspiration and revelation according to our stewardships. Asking questions is good. I love questions. But we have to be careful that we are listening to the right source for our answers (Matt. 24:24). God will hold back revelation sometimes from his children because we aren't ready (3 Nephi 26:9-12) The scriptures are full of examples of this happening (in both the Bible and Book of Mormon).
    I will never profess to have all of the answers but I do know that God is at the head of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I know that because of my personal doubts and questions led me to ask God if it was his or not... if it was true... and he gave me that personal confirmation that it was. Likewise I have received a personal confirming witness for each of the Apostles and the President of the LDS church. So, even when I have my doubts and questions, I can go back on these confirming witnesses and say like Nephi when he was asked "... knowest thou the condescension of God? And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things". (1 Nep. 11:16-17).

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  7. Would you mind sharing the quote from exactly where she or anyone else says that "they believe woman must be ordained". I have never seen such on the website nor stated by her. I do believe she was rather aggressive in her approach as it also could have been carried out in more effective terms, but I believe in the sincerity of Kate Kelly as I do or Ordain Woman. I also don't doubt that they place faith in their leaders. Were there mistakes made? I'm sure. Can I judge the heart of Kate or anyone else? No. I'll trust that her local leaders did so in a manner they saw best fit. However, from Kate's experience to John's or anyone else's, it would be absurd not to say that the Church has a hard time dealing with the doubters and questioners of the faith. There words have said one thing, but there actions have also shown another. In any light, I hope and pray for the best in all of this.

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    1. copy and pasted directly from Ordainwomen.org first paragraph of their mission statement. "Ordain Women believes women must be ordained in order for our faith to reflect the equity and expansiveness of these teachings."

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    2. Beyond the belief that is so emphatically stated in their mission statement, I think an equally big issue is the 6 discussions they have created to persuade people to their belief. The topis are not intended to build people's testimonies, but to gain members for their organization.

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    3. Read her profile on the Ordain Women website. It's the last sentence of her full profile. "The ordination of women would put us on equal spiritual footing with our brethren, and nothing less will suffice."

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    4. Bryan - watch Kate Kelly's You Tube training on the 6 Discussions https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vTNzR50-jQ#t=124 She specifically asks her followers to use the 6 Discussions to spread the message of OW to friends, family, communities and fellow ward members or in other words proselyte their alternative teaching

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  8. There are break off groups of just about any religion. Kate did not believe in the core gospel standard of the Church of Jesus Christ that holding the priesthood is reserved only for worthy men. By going off and starting her own group, she actually went away from the church, and basically started her own splinter group. We are asked in the temple recommend interview if we side with the principles or opinions of any other religions that are contrary to our own beliefs. By actively teaching those opinions in an aggressive way, yes, she had already left the church before they had excommunicated her.

    I read another article a few days ago that really said it all from a different angle that I totally loved:

    http://thestyleofbeing.blogspot.com/2014/06/mormonism-feminism-and-being-snarky.html

    I also like this one:
    http://lemmonythings.com/2013/09/02/the-mormon-feminist-protest-and-why-i-wont-be-there/

    Basically, get over it. Just because Jimmy gets a popcicle and you got ice cream doesn't mean you need both. Both men and women are cherished and given gifts. Accept yours and make the world a better place. Don't tear down all that is good by throwing a temper tantrum over what you don't have.

    Thanks for writing about such a controversial topic. I live in Minnesota and had no idea this was all going down until my inactive father told me about it. I am embarrassed that anyone would bring such negative attention and shake the faith of so many with their own selfishness. Blah!

    Long story short, I like what you are saying :0}

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    1. The "popcicle and ice cream" metaphor would be more appropriate to this context if Jimmy gets to play musical chairs and you have to sit on the sidelines. It's not equal when one gets to fully participate and one is told want they cannot do despite sincere desire and aptitude for the game.

      I think you (and the author of this blog) are confusing God's words with how the men have (perhaps unknowingly) misinterpreted them. How convenient that this misinterpretation puts the power in the men's favor and shuts women up.

      Kate Kelly simply wanted to highlight this misinterpretation and remove the obstacles (man-made and imposed obstacles that are against the teachings of God) that prevent women from serving God and the Church with all their God-given gifts, despite their gender. The Church has admitted their past mistakes (black men were once forbidden to enter the priesthood), why can't they be wrong about this too?

      Again, Kate Kelly didn't teach something that is opposed to church teaching. From the OW website:

      "Ordain Women asserts that the fundamental tenets of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints support gender equality, including the ordination of women. We wholeheartedly affirm the words expressed in the following Church statement: “The Book of Mormon states, ‘black and white, bond and free, male and female; … all are alike unto God’ (2 Nephi 26:33). This is the Church’s official teaching.”

      Also, in answer to the question: "Don’t women and men have fundamentally different but equal roles?"

      "Many Mormons respond to questions about the inequity of an all-male priesthood by insisting that men and women have distinct but equal roles. Women have motherhood, they argue, and men have priesthood. What they fail to acknowledge is that fatherhood is the appropriate parallel to motherhood. Priesthood power is separate and distinct from parenthood and gender.

      "Rhetoric that uses motherhood to circumscribe women’s lives has been used throughout history to deny women access to the voting booth, political office, education, employment, and spiritual empowerment. Ordain Women does not question the importance of motherhood and fatherhood. Rather, we reject the use of motherhood to justify limitations on women’s authority in the LDS Church.

      "Equality is not about sameness; it is about removing obstacles to access and opportunity. We refuse to tolerate inequity in our secular institutions. Ordain Women asserts that we must also reject it in our homes and religious communities."

      Again, the "popcicle and ice cream" metaphor would be more appropriate if Jimmy gets to play musical chairs and you have to sit on the sidelines. It's not equal when one gets to fully participate and one is told want they cannot do despite sincere desire and aptitude for the game.

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    2. Hi Jen,

      Thank you for your comment. I just want to point out really quick that the question of women and the priesthood is not the subject of this post. I feel as though that subject has been addressed quite a lot by people who understand it better than I (including some who feel they have personally experienced gender inequality in the church, which I cannot say that I have).

      But anyway, the point of this post is to help people see that Kate's church leaders were not stifling questions, but rather acting according to procedure, in their decision to excommunicate her. I don't want my church to be misrepresented as an unfair or tyrannical organization. Regardless of your stance on gender inequality in the church (or mine, for that matter), I hope that I've at least helped you or others see that this was not a matter of asking questions. Members of the church are allowed and encouraged to ask sincere questions without fear of discipline. Kate's case does nothing to refute that.

      Thanks again!

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    3. " The Church has admitted their past mistakes (black men were once forbidden to enter the priesthood), why can't they be wrong about this too?"

      Not wrong, but all things are done in the Lord's time. This is God's plan. If she truly believed the doctrine she would know that God is the same. He calls Prophets, He guides through them. Now all the sudden she knows what God wants and what he meant and he didn't mean to call these men. She had good intentions but got lost along the way.

      "By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners."

      Gordon B. Hinckley, prior President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said:

      “Women do not hold the priesthood because the Lord has put it that way. It is part of His program. Women have a very prominent place in this Church. Men hold the priesthood offices of the Church. But women have a tremendous place in this Church. They have their own organization. It was started in 1842 by the Prophet Joseph Smith, called the Relief Society, because its initial purpose was to administer help to those in need. It has grown to be, I think, the largest women’s organization in the world... They have their own offices, their own presidency, their own board. That reaches down to the smallest unit of the Church everywhere in the world...

      “The men hold the priesthood, yes. But my wife is my companion. In this Church the man neither walks ahead of his wife nor behind his wife but at her side. They are co-equals in this life in a great enterprise.”

      I want to say, I do not feel excluded nor held back. I feel and know that I am equal to my husband.
      I also must mention my gratitude for the opportunity as a woman to bear children. A chance to bring life into this world, something no man can do. (And yes,I know not all women are able).

      If you ask to know if Pres. Monson is a Prophet of God with a sincere heart and pure intent the He will answer you. And because I know he is a Prophet of God I know I will not be led astray.

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    4. It is a common misconception that due to the men holding priesthood offices, women are left out. This is far from true. All women are equally blessed with the opportunity to receive the blessings of tge priesthood. The Priesthood is the authority of God on earth. Men are blessed with yhe administration of church duties while the women take care of the needs of the members through the Relief Society. Everything is done with the power and authority of the priesthood. As for when "Black" men received the priesthood, this was prophesied in Isaiah and were denied as a part of Cain's legacy, but that's for another discussion. I do not envy my husband holding the priesthood as I do not lack in being able to call on power of God (aka priesthood) when I need to. Kate Kelly was not excommunicated for asking questions, she was excommunicated because she had already chosen to not only leave the church but try to persuade others to false doctrine. If the prophet comes out tomorrow and says women may hold priesthood callings, I will pray to receive confirmation and follow the new doctrine and I'm sure Kate Kelly will be welcomed back with open arms. However I do not foresee this happening as events have already occured. This is my 10 cents.

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    5. Hi there! Can you tell me where in Isaiah you are getting that reference from? Thanks so much!

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    6. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/04/the-keys-and-authority-of-the-priesthood?lang=eng

      If you have not read/listened to this talk, I encourage you to do so. It helped me better understand the priesthood, and I'm sure it can help you. :)

      It's really late, and I'm certain that these thoughts won't flow very well, but I will try...

      To the comment about the the priesthood and motherhood not being equal because fatherhood is equal to motherhood... Think about how a husband and wife get to that point: the woman has to bear a child, which is something that a man cannot do for himself.

      Women have the "God given the power 'to be a creator of bodies ...' " Worthy men are given the priesthood. the power to act in the Lord's name.

      To the statement that said, "It's not equal when one gets to fully participate and one is told want they cannot do despite sincere desire and aptitude for the game." I say, "as various Church leaders have emphasized, men are not 'the priesthood.' Men hold the priesthood, with a sacred duty to use it for the blessing of all of the children of God." Holding the priesthood does a man no good if he does not use it for the blessing of others. The priesthood is not a "game" that a man can play by himself. It simply does not work that way.

      As far as equality goes, I really feel that it should more mean that things are balanced instead of the same. Men need women, and women need men. If everyone was meant to be the SAME, then we would be. There would be no differences, and there would be no genders.

      But, as the world is, there are men, and there are women, which means that not everything is meant to be the same.

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    7. One of Satan's more popular tactics is to get you to obsess over what you don't have so that you deny yourself the blessings and progress available from what you do have.

      God has given women a tremendous gift of being able to form and bear and raise children, (even those unable to bear because we live in a fallen world, can still mother). This gift brings happiness and holiness to those who exercise it, and can shape the very foundations of society and civilization for generations. Yet Satan would convince women to throw all that away in pursuit of something that he tells them is all about "making" Bishop so you can boss people around.

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    9. Most LDS people have not read Race and the Priesthood and need to do so. https://www.lds.org/topics/race-and-the-priesthood

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  9. My previous comments didn't show... I loved your blog. It was written beautifully! My only thing I would add would be, as women we are rarely limited to just receiving inspiration and revelation for our own families. Right now, I serve a few women as their visiting teacher, and am given the blessing to receive revelation to help me better serve them. As a stake girls camp director, I am given the gift to have revelation for how to serve over 500 girls in our stake best, as a choir director I am given revelation as to how to best teach my members there. Now, I don't have the right as a Yw camp director to rewrite the Yw values or Motto for the whole church, but I am not left without power or influence.

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    1. Nancy, great point and one that is not made often enough. Kelly's mistake comes from not understanding that God is a God of order and he establishes that order in His scripture. Over and over we see how God sets his people and his chosen leaders straight if they are wayward. That correction is made in The Lord's time and not when his people necessarily want it.

      The Children of Israel were slaves for centuries, all the while they were crying out that the time must surely be now for them to be set free. When the time was right, God raised up Moses and gave him power and authority to act in His name. This is God's established pattern.

      When Peter received his vision about taking the gospel to the Gentiles, he didn't act on it. God did not call upon a member of say, the church of Galatia, to correct Peter. God sent Paul, who shared authority to receive revelation concerning the running of the church. This is God's established pattern.

      When David, the leader of the Israelite Nation, committed his onerous sin, God did not send a member of his household or one of his soldiers as His emissary, He called upon Nathan, the prophet at the time. This is God's established pattern.

      If, as OW claim, the prophet is out of God's will by not taking the question of ordaining women to Him, then there are 14 other prophet, seers and revelators He would go to first to set the president straight. If all 15 of the Quorum were in collusion to ignore God's will...well, we'd have bigger fish to fry than the OW issue...but The Lord would still have several quorums of the 70 he would call upon for correction.

      This is God's established pattern. This is what Kelly does not understand. She can question, she can even discuss those questions and write letters to the First Presidency about her concerns. But then she is to wait upon The Lord and trust in Him to correct the wrong...IN HIS TIME...if there is correcting to do.

      When Kelly and all the others mentioned on this blog stepped beyond their area of responsibility and insisted that the church change to suit their "revelations" of the general workings of the church, they were acting outside of God's established order. When they rebelled at being reprimanded for doing so, that was apostacy.

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  10. Many Members like me tend to disagree with the way Kate Kelly protested during conference… but we also recognize the important issues that she is bringing up. One has to be somewhat blinded to think that there is no gender inequality in the church. I mean, it is only in the past year that they started allowing women to pray in General Conference. Many Bishops still believe that it is inappropriate for women to give the opening prayer in sacrament meeting.

    I imagine this is similar to what it must have been like in the 1970s. My father-in-law tells stories of speaking in favor of blacks getting the priesthood in 1975. He was laughed at and mocked in elders quorum. Byron Marchant and Douglas Wallace were both excommunicated for actively opposing the priesthood ban. We now know that they were in the right, as was Dr. Lowry Nelson. The Church was waaaay behind on that one.

    I’ve been an active member all of my life, but it has only been in the past few years that I’ve realized the church still has some real inequality issues today. The push for gender equality is an important matter that deserves attention. There are legitimate questions to be asked:

    Why does a woman covenant to obey her husband instead of being able to make the covenant directly with God? Why are women treated so unfairly when it comes to sealing ordinances (look at widows vs widowers)? Why can’t a woman confess her sins (which may include her most intimate and vulnerable emotions) to another woman instead of a man? Why are women who face disciplinary action judged by an all male panel? Why weren’t the general leaders of the Relief Society and Young Women’s consulted when the Proclamation to the Family was being drafted?… And why couldn’t they sign the document that definitively lays out a woman’s role in this life? Why are we still holding on to the eternal doctrine of polygamy? Why is the priesthood constantly preached as the male version of motherhood?… What ever happened to fatherhood? Why can a woman be excommunicated by 3 men (a bishopric), while a man with the priesthood has to be ex’d by 15 men (stake presidency and high council)? Why do our kids only memorize the names of male leaders of the church? Why is our theology (even in the Temple) void of any discussion of Heavenly Mother? Why in the temple sealing does a woman “give herself” to her husband… while the husband simply “receives” her?… Why doesn’t the husband give himself to her as well?

    The list goes on and on. I completely understand that most members do not view these as legitimate or important. But many of us ask these types of questions every Sunday.

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    1. Why Are Women Less Likely To Be Excommunicated For Adultry Than A Priesthood Holder..why Are The Elder Quorums Asked To Do All Of The mOving Instead Of The Relief Society..why Are Women Asked To Breast Feed Instead Of Men, Why Cant Men Have Babies With Other Men, Why Can'tWomen Have Children Without Men..All Of These Are Ridiculous Questions..God Has Order And We Need To Learn From Him Not Tell Him How To Do it

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    2. Wow... I am literally speechless.

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    3. Firstly...quiltsnquotes...you realllllly need to stop capitalizing the first letter of every word. Are you practicing headlines or something?

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    5. Jackson, I actually really appreciate your thoughts and questions here. It's guys like you who struggle and grow. People who are just fine with how things _appear_ in the temple aren't going to reach their full potential. Keep it up, bro. And hang in there.

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    6. You need to listen to that covenant better! It includes a HUGE caveat...AS HE FOLLLOWS THE LORD...he fails at his end of the bargain she's covered. Don't hitch yourself to an eternal loser that won't follow the Lord and you won't have a problem.

      Not to mention kate kelley has some serious nerve speaking for me!! I'm as fiesty, oppinionated, stubborn, and strong personalitied as they come, yet, have no problem following the more reserved, long suffering, quiet strength of the man I 100% gave myself to...because I chose carefully!! The last thing I need is more responibility and duties put on my already very full plate. I feel NO need to do it all, share the growth and service opportunities in life, it's not right to take all the men's opportunities either. These women need a hobby or something and to stop meddling in other women's lives.

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    7. I can relate with what you wrote above jacksonmn. I wonder similar things. If you haven't come across the following article yet, I recommend you check it out. I don't agree with the hostile tone in parts of the posts addressing this matter, but I do think the author brought up a lot of points worth considering and discussing further.

      Here is the link: http://youngmormonfeminists.org/2014/06/21/two-churches.

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    8. It is perfectly fine to have all of these questions. It was even fine for Byron Marchant and Douglas Wallace to oppose the ban on blacks holding the priesthood. Just as it was okay for Kelly to believe that women should hold the priesthood. However, your key words were "actively opposing." When we start acting out against the doctrine that we have been given, then we are pushing against what our Father in Heaven has given us. We are demanding that He be on our time table, rather than being on His. That is a very prideful attitude. We do believe that God has revealed many things, that He does now, and will reveal many more things in the future (Article of Faith 9). When we start saying that our Father in Heaven must reveal things to us now within our own interest and demands, and then reach out to those around us to agree and support us, then we are not being disciples of Jesus Christ anymore. As stated before, there is NOTHING wrong with having questions. You have many wonderful questions here. We are encouraged to pray, search scripture (the things our modern day prophets and apostles are scripture), and ask local leaders for help and guidance. Then, if we have ears to hear, we will hear and understand. I have had questions before. But if those questions start to make my spiritual sight murky, I ask myself if these things are pertinent to my faith and eternal salvation. All the keys we have now, all the ordinances necessary are available to both men and women. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has an order to everything, directed by our Savior. And if we believe that our Savior is head of this church, then our faith will lead us.

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    9. Women do not covenant to obey their husbands, they covenant to listen to his counsel, in direct correlation to how closely he is listening to God. Listening to counsel is not the same as obeying. I take it to mean that we promise to have an open mind and consider what our husbands have to say, and are able to then make our own decisions. If we aren't sure how well he is listening to God, we can ask God for ourselves whether we are right or wrong in our decisions to either agree with his counsel or not.

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    10. Every week we covenant to take upon ourselves the name of Christ. We, men and women, act in His name. When I go talk to the Bishop about something, I'm not bringing it up with the dude who lives down the street, I'm discussing it with someone who is standing in physical place of my Heavenly Father. My husband made some very serious covenants to obey God and to act according to His will. So long as he upholds that covenant, I will gladly uphold mine to listen to his council and obey any revelation he receives on behalf of my family.

      I come from a family where no one held the priesthood. My father was an atheist and a poor excuse for a human being at that. The families in my ward were traditional; the men worked (my mother was the only woman in my ward who was the breadwinner) and the women stayed home raising children. That being said, I have never experienced the inequality that is being claimed. Women in my ward were deeply respected, their council was widely sought after, their words and testimonies were precious. Husbands deferred to their wives on most decisions, other decisions being discussed together, prayed over together, fasted over together and made together.

      The point is, people aren't perfect. I'm not perfect, yet my husband hardly makes a move without asking my opinion and following it. We are equal, we are a team. We're yolked into the responsibility of raising our family and serving our fellow brothers and sisters together. I'm much more intuitive than he is and can tell when someone needs compassion and a blessing. He finds joy in being able to do something to comfort people by offering blessings. I find joy in knowing that my husband is so willing to drop everything and serve with love, especially since he's so eager for me to share my talents and love with others.

      I feel a deep sadness for these women, along with those who haven't experiences the Priesthood and Gospel as it's meant to be experienced. I know how fortunate I am, but I also try to remember that the behavior of others isn't a reflection of the love of our Heavenly Father, who does love us all perfectly.

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    11. I put some of these things in another comment, but I feel like they will help here, as well.

      https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/04/the-keys-and-authority-of-the-priesthood?lang=eng

      If you have not read/listened to this talk, I encourage you to do so. It helped me better understand the priesthood, and I'm sure it can help you. :)

      And, I feel that it is not so much that motherhood itself that people try to compare to the priesthood. It's really more what a woman is able to do to gain motherhood. Because women have the "God given the power 'to be a creator of bodies ...' ", worthy men are given the priesthood. the power to act in the Lord's name.

      This way, a woman needs a man, and a man needs a woman.

      As far as equality goes, I really feel that it should more mean that things are "balanced" instead of the "same." Men need women, and women need men. If everyone was meant to be the SAME, then we would be. There would be no differences, and there would be no genders, which would mean that there's no gender inequality.

      But, alas, there are men and there are women. And because of this, God has provided ways for us to need each other, for we cannot make it back to him without having our eternal companion by our side.

      As for the discussion of our Heavenly Mother, the Church is not completely void of it. From Hymn# 292 in the LDS hymn book:


      3. I had learned to call thee Father,
      Thru thy Spirit from on high,
      But, until the key of knowledge
      Was restored, I knew not why.
      In the heav'ns are parents single?
      No, the thought makes reason stare!
      Truth is reason; truth eternal
      Tells me I've a mother there.

      4. When I leave this frail existence,
      When I lay this mortal by,
      Father, Mother, may I meet you
      In your royal courts on high?
      Then, at length, when I've completed
      All you sent me forth to do,
      With your mutual approbation
      Let me come and dwell with you.

      Reason tells us that we have a Heavenly Mother. This gets into some pretty deep doctrine that has not been revealed yet, but the answer I have been given to this is because that Heavenly Father respects and loves His wife so much, He doesn't want to hurt Her good name.

      I mean, think about how many people say God name in vain, blaming Him and cursing Him for so many things. No good man would want that for his wife.

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    12. @jacksonmm - I have a few random thoughts I'd like to share. First, imo, the Lord cares much less about "equality" issues than He does about personal righteousness. I don't see anywhere in the scriptures where the Lord indicates that all people must be the same, or treated the same, or blessed with the same gifts. In fact, I see the opposite.

      I find in the scriptures that some of are blessed with more talents than others. But those who are will be held accountable for how they used those talents. I find that different societies will be blessed with the gospel at different times but each of them will be held collectively accountable for what they do with it. In the scriptures I cannot find a single instance of women holding the priesthood (and yes, I do understand that there were prophetesses and other righteous women).

      We need to stop insisting on being treated the same as everyone else. We're not and men and women don't have the same roles or the same burdens. "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" is an inspired document and describes some of those differences wonderfully.

      In the end, the Lord will hold priesthood holders accountable for what they did or didn't do with the priesthood they were given. Women won't be held accountable for something they didn't hold. I have some personal thoughts on how it might work out in the end but I won't share them here.

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  11. Also, for any who do not understand, excommunication is NOT a punishment. It is NOT a slap on the hand. When we are endowed, we make covenants and understand that God takes those seriously. When we go too far astray, we are breaking those covenants, and causing ourself to have punishments from god when we are on our final judgement day. Disciplinary action is a way to prevent someone from further breaking those covenants and causing them self more punishments. It is giving them a new starting point where the place they are at is so hard to return from. It is allowing them again to be baptized and be made pure and clean, washing off all previous sins. It is truly done out of love. If you aren't familiar with it, please read the following.
    http://m.deseretnews.com/article/865605558/How-LDS-Church-disciplinary-councils-work-changes-lives.html?pg=all&ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F%3Fref%3Dhttps%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F

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  12. If publishing your thoughts sets you up as a "teacher" that is unauthorized? What about this blog? Are you "authorized" to teach us? What makes you the expert on why all these people were excommunicated when Church PR rep Ally Isom said this is a private matter between them, their bishops, and God? What makes you more of an expert on their excommunications more than they themselves are? What about all the books published in the Mormon world that are not by prophets or apostles? Are they setting themselves up as "unauthorized teachers"? Deseret Book recently published a book titled The Lincoln Hypothesis that claims that God inspired Lincoln. This is nowhere in church doctrine or in the scriptures or anywhere, should he be excommunicated?

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    1. A Gee ...

      You have missed the point. What Kate Kelly and the others have done and are actively doing is preaching things that are contrary to the revealed doctrine of the LDS Church. Not to mention, in Kelly's case, she was asked by her priesthood leaders, who have stewardship over her, to stop. She did not do that. They have every right and the responsibility via the priesthood keys and power they hold to act according to the spirit to discipline, council and call to repentance.

      We have also been encouraged by the Church, specifically, Elder Ballard, to use social media eg: blogs, facebook, twitter, to spread the gospel, to share our testimonies and to teach the doctrine of Jesus Christ. If we are doing that we are not unauthorized teachers. Further, the author of this blog post is not trying to start her own movement and teach people over whom she does not have a stewardship -- you are not required in anyway to read this blog, or to even agree with it. She is stating her opinion, and it is completely in line with LDS Doctrine. She is also not claiming any authority to teach people.

      Finally, Ally Isom was correct, the disciplinary council is a private matter between the priesthood leader and the member. However, Kate Kelly chose to speak with the media and create a media circus about this, for her own gain. She made it public, it's out there, people are going to comment on it. Members of the Church have every right to defend their beliefs, what the author of this blog post is doing. Some of us, have even covenanted to defend our beliefs, and take that covenant very seriously.

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    2. The atomic mom, I appreciate the response. I have a few notes:
      Kate Kelly only came out to the media because her Stake President told her to, in fact he said that if she didn't, he would.

      No one has to read John Dehlin's blog either, or agree with any of it. John Dehlin also does not claim authority to teach people. He just interviews people and asks them about their stories in the Mormon church. Is this wrong?

      Ally Isom stated that there is no where in church doctrine that says women cannot hold the priesthood. So when you say preaching against "revealed doctrine" what do you mean?

      Finally, you claimed I have "missed the point" yet I made no point. I drew no conclusions. If you look at my post you will see I simply asked questions. The fact that you think I "missed the point" shows how asking questions can be called "wrong" when it is just asking questions. If you are in line with church doctrine and practice, then you have disproved this blog post, showing the church can excommunicate or tell people they have "missed the point" for simply asking questions.

      I don't want to be offensive or anything, I just wanted to point that out. Calling someone wrong (or "missing the point" which is the same thing) for asking questions in response to an article that says the church doesn't call people wrong for asking questions is a little ironic, to say the least.

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    3. I feel that is a fair question you brought up in your original post, A.Gee.

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    4. From what I've gathered, she didn't just post thoughts as thoughts, she posted them as demands to change doctrine and persuade others to join her movement. AtomicMom addressed this blog. A single book does not a movement make. They do not claim to be professing doctrine. As for "The Lincoln Hypothesis", the title alone gives it away. It is a "hypothesis," not to be taken as doctrine. I hope that helps.

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    5. Aria Tiki, I appreciate the response.

      John Dehlin has really only posted his thoughts on his website, and has in no way tried to get people to "join his movement." Most of his work has simply been asking people questions about their experiences with Mormonism, from faithful latter-day saints, to doubting members, or former Mormons. Almost the only thing he does on his podcast is ask questions of people.

      On the Lincoln Hypothesis: in the book the author bears his testimony at the end, which contains the usual things and also how he believes Lincoln was inspired of God. My point in bringing this up is to show that for some reason his non-doctrinal ideas are published by the church publishing house while others publish non-doctrinal ideas and get excommunicated for it. This confuses me.

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    6. Excommunication is rarely simple and never lightly done. I'm not even sure Dehlin has been excommunicated at this point. It is a decision made by the leaders of an individual through prayer to know the Lord's will regarding a situation. There is no cookie cutter answer.

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    7. Just read a few of the comments and want to say. I have a strong testimony of the Priesthood. I've felt it's power in blessings and rebukes. The Lord, Heavenly Father Above decides, not me who he wants to give those keys to and when. In this case I agree but not always. I don't always agree but none the less it's his will and not mine. Bottom line is when I've studied, pondered, prayed with an open mind to know his will and accept his teachings I've felt the burning in my heart, mind and soul that only comes from the Holy Ghost if it's right. You too are encouraged to do the same. No doubt the group of leaders who come to the decision, pray daily, read scriptures daily, ponder, ask questions are honest in their everyday activities, kind, giving people who would rather not have to pronounce the Lord's decision. I assure you they have a connection and love for the Savior and mankind like no other group on earth. Those who can honestly say they have put the time, effort and love into seeking the truth, with the desire to really know his will, not just what makes sense to you or even have an understanding of why, will find the peace that comes with truth.

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    8. A.Gee
      John Dehlin has stated publicly that he rejects fundamental church teachings and no longer believes in the church. That is his core belief and so it guides his motivations. If he is benignly interested in merely publishing dialog as you claim, why does he publish a peon to the work of Jerald Tanner by his wife Sandra Tanner - two of the most prominent anti-Mormons in the long history of anti-Mormon writers?

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    9. Kiwi Jeff, thanks for the response. Some tidbits:

      On having doubts about the fundamental claims of the church, according to President Uchtdorf, that is no big deal. "Join with us" "Regardless of... the strength of your testimony" is what he said. So you can't have it both ways, you can't say you accept people with doubts, and then be excommunicating people that doubt aspects about the church.

      He interviews anybody related to Mormonism. Is it wrong to talk to people who don't believe in the church? Are not Sandra and Jerald Tanner God's children as well? If the church is true why not be willing to talk to anyone about their beliefs? If you are completely certain of your physics theory, you don't just talk to the people who agree with you, you are willing to talk to anyone. If you are a physicist are you scared to talk to someone who believes in Hollow earth theory because it will shake your belief or understanding of Newton's Laws or the Theory of Relativity? This is why generally people only talk about hollow earth theory with other people who believe in it, because it isn't true and they don't want their ideas shattered by logic. While Newton and Einstein were willing to address the opposition of their critics, as did those that believed in those theories. So if the church is what it claims, why would talking to Sandra Tanner be a threat? In fact if the church is true should not talking to Sandra Tanner be encouraged? Did not Joseph Smith say that "Mormonism is truth" and that we embrace truth from wherever it comes? I see nothing wrong with talking to ANY of God's children and trying to understand them.

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    10. A. Gee

      Dozens of LDS scholars have spoken to and responded to the Tanners and utterly refuted their false claims over and over again. If Dehlin was truly interested in dialog he'd have given equal time to them as a balance. You have tried to paint Dehlin as nothing more than an innocuous story teller. He publicizes his disbelief in the church, he openly challenges its teachings even on the Word of Wisdom, he criticizes its stand on homosexuality and makes his blog a forum for others who dissent and to make public their dissent. He has given strength and encouragement for people to leave the church as a number of gay children of LDS members who link up with these communities come to see the church as wrong and then evil, leave the church and openly oppose it. For Dehlin to be even an indirect party to this trend goes completely counter to the church's teachings and its saving mission. It is not conduct in keeping with someone who holds the Melchizedek Priesthood and who made covenants on the temple to support and sustain the kingdom not fight and undermine it. When asked to desist, he blithely and blatantly ignores the counsel given to him by his leaders and carries on. He leaves the church no choice but to formalize officially his departure that he has effectively already made by his new beliefs. People ought not be surprised.

      It is very sad and tragic. I know people prominent in OW who also bitterly oppose the church's views on homosexuality - they genuinely believe they are enlightened and the church leaders are fuddy duddy old men out of touch with the modern world.

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    11. If Dehlin has stated, publicly or not, that he does not believe in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, then why would he continue to be a member of this church? If he didn't want/care to be a member, then why should someone else be?? Just a thought. I have no idea who he is or what he's published, only responding to all these comments about excommunication and wither he should/should not be.

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    12. A. Gee
      " you can't say you accept people with doubts, and then be excommunicating people that doubt aspects about the church."

      Again, nobody has been excommunicated for any doubts they have. Ms Kelly repeatedly rejected the petitions of her priesthood leaders, publicly protested against the policy and the church, she rejected the living prophets and their counsel - and here's the biggie - she actively solicited and recruited others to reject the living prophets as well. She set up a website and went to the press in an effort to pull others away from the leadership of the church and toward her personal agenda. She published a tract and held public vigils and protests.

      I wish her all the best - I really do - but she forced this issue. The church reluctantly did what they needed to do. I've sat in many councils such as the one Ms Kelly declined to attend. I am confident that she was treated with every courtesy and consideration - and that in the end, those who made the decision to have her excommunicated, did so at the clear direction from the Lord.

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  13. Just wanted to add a stand alone comment here... this was an excellent blog post, and you touched on an issue that needed to covered. Our Church was founded because Joseph Smith asked a question. Questions are good, having a tantrum because you didn't get your question answered the way you wanted is not ok.

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  14. "When we believe ourselves in possession of the only truth, we are likely to be indifferent to common everyday truths" (Eric Hoffer). Equal rights for men and women, including women's right to be ordained if they so desire is just that--a common everyday truth that I personally perceive, in time, will become self evident. One need not ask for permission to recognize and begin to declare one's truth. The idea that an adult woman must 'ask for permission' to speak about and teach a truth that is revealing itself (and thereby has become self-evident) to her is an unnecessarily limiting belief in-and-of-itself. Although I understand and empathize with the church's quandry (of believing itself to be in possession of the only truth), I honor Kate Kelly for her willingness to consciously and courageously give herself permission to reevaluate this belief (and empower others, by her example, to do the same). In my experience, by doing so, she has successfully reclaimed her essential Spiritual Authority (independent of the ritual of ordination).

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  15. Replies
    1. Jared, the 6 discussions are a series of talks with points (think "missionary discussions") created by Ordain Women to explain why ordination is necessary and right. They released it as a marketing and informational tool online.
      ~Latterdayjane.com

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    2. Jared - they are found here http://ordainwomen.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/6-discussions.jpg

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  17. I agree with the authors argument that the reason the church subjected her to a court of love was because she was challenging their authority. They made it clear that if she didn’t stop with the challenge they’d be forced to kick her out of the church. She didn’t stop the challenge and according to the church’s teachings they had to let her go. All this seems like a basic reasonable understanding for the name removal; it wasn’t about simple questioning.
    This where the author gets it wrong in my opinion …
    “Let me be clear: Mormons are not expected to believe anything. We are not expected to follow blindly. We are encouraged to ask for and seek truth. We are taught to ask with sincere hearts and unwavering faith. We are told that this sincere asking will bring us personal peace and guidance.”
    The first statement, “not expected to believe anything” is too cute by half. Of course the church leaders expect Mormons to believe certain things.
    Dallin Oaks stated that it was wrong to criticize the leaders of the church even if the criticism was true.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxyiHLg59ks
    This statement might not be problematic for a majority of believing Mormons, but it does strike the outsider observer as cultish in its application. Any organization that can’t withstand even healthy critiques probably isn’t healthy. Mormon’s are expected to act as though their concerns over abusive authority are not legitimate topics of conversation. Acting a certain way (keeping the admonition to not criticize) doesn’t mean that person believes in an opposite way; and acting against ones beliefs because they are commanded to sustain their leaders does not jive with Mormons “not expected to believe anything”.

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    1. I would like to see the context of that clip, considering it's only 13 seconds long as does not include whatever question prompted that statement, what Elder Oaks's words were leading up to that statement, or what his words were after that statement.

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  18. The author wrote: “We are not expected to follow blindly.”

    I know the church teaches that members must pray for testimony, this is well documented. But in practice this isn’t always the case. Members at a young age are taught to proclaim from the pulpit that they know the “church is true”. And while it is cute to see a little kid go up to the pulpit with mom or dad and be coached to bear their testimony, it is in fact conditioning the child to follow blindly. Kids are enculturated almost from birth to believe blindly; it is only when they question the beliefs that they are firmly encouraged to pray for their own testimony. It’s fine to blame this phenomenon on the culture and point out the difference between Mormon culture and Mormon doctrine. Claiming that Mormons aren’t taught to follow blindly does seem disingenuous despite the etiology of the pedagogy.

    What happens when members don’t have a testimony and their family and Ward are pressuring them to go on a mission, what then do they make of lack of belief? Kids are encouraged to say they believe even when they don’t think they do believe.

    “Do not be afraid to bear your testimony. You will find that the more you share your testimony, the more it grows.”

    https://www.lds.org/youth/article/questions-about-bearing-your-testimony?lang=eng

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  19. The author wrote: “We are encouraged to ask for and seek truth.”

    Sure, it is well documented that the church encourages its members to ask for and seek truth; but an honest observer would acknowledge that there are limits to the truth seeking. One General Authority said that “Some things that are true are not very useful.” Truth easily found on the Internet is a liability for many believing Mormons and BKP understandably doesn’t want the uninformed member to risk belief over these truths. Members are encouraged not to seek answers on the internet because they might find things that are true but could damage their already fragile belief.

    https://byustudies.byu.edu/showtitle.aspx?title=5472

    The author wrote: Whenever church truth claims are refuted with the truth, the member is then told that the only way to understand the contradictions is based on faith (believing blindly).

    The author wrote: “We are taught to ask with sincere hearts and unwavering faith. We are told that this sincere asking will bring us personal peace and guidance.”

    Of course this is what Mormons are taught; what this statement leaves out is that when a Mormon discovers that their sincere heart and unwavering faith brought them up lacking belief or peace or guidance then they are told that they did it wrong or that they must want to sin. The only acceptable outcome for the troubled believer is to believe no matter what otherwise they are the problem, not the belief system.

    Like I said at the beginning, claiming that Mormons are not expected to believe anything is just too clever to be believable.

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    1. Agreed - the following Pres. Uchtdorf quote addresses the matter of the treatment of members who leave the Church by members who stay. He says:

      "The search for truth has led millions of people to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, there are some who leave the Church they once loved.

      One might ask, “If the gospel is so wonderful, why would anyone leave?”

      Sometimes we assume it is because they have been offended or lazy or sinful. Actually, it is not that simple. In fact, there is not just one reason that applies to the variety of situations.

      Some of our dear members struggle for years with the question whether they should separate themselves from the Church.

      In this Church that honors personal agency so strongly, that was restored by a young man who asked questions and sought answers, we respect those who honestly search for truth. It may break our hearts when their journey takes them away from the Church we love and the truth we have found, but we honor their right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience, just as we claim that privilege for ourselves"

      https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/10/come-join-with-us?lang=eng#5-10791_000_17uchtdorf

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  20. http://m.sltrib.com/sltrib/mobile3/58109080-219/church-women-mormon-lds.html.csp

    This isnt about Kate Kelly..... it IS ABOUT THIS

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    1. Are you trying to say it isn't about Kate Kelly, it is about women getting the priesthood?

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    2. Very interesting article, Derek. Thanks for sharing. I believe there are valid points being made on both sides of this situation. Personally, I am heartsick that Kate has been excommunicated.

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  21. While I generally agree with the post on Kate, I disagree with the next to last sentence in the post, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints does not prohibit, hinder, or in any way discourage questions. It just doesn't."
    The statement is correct at face value, the church itself doesn't discourage questions. However, that is misleading in light of the issues at hand and in practice in the church. When was the last time you heard a question in Gospel Doctrine class asked that was anything but main line Primary stuff? Why? And if you did, did the feeling in the room get all tense and awkward? Why?

    From my experience, members are marginalized and looked at as doubters and are judged to be sinning privately or not saying their prayers or reading their scriptures if they question. There is severe peer pressure to not question. We may say we accept questioning and probably the leadership does for the most part, but we as members don't really. And even if the leaders welcome questions, we don't ask because we don't want to be seen as doubters and we want the leaders to see us as perfect as possible. I think this is a problem in the church.

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    1. It doesn't take a lot of effort to see that the point does contain some truth to it. Just scroll through and skim the comments left in this section. Many are emotionally charged and divisive. Some comments above (and in all threads regarding this matter) implicitly push the underlying message that anyone who even remotely agrees with any point brought up by OW and Kate Kelly, is not only an apostate, but an arrogant fool who believes they know more than God....so many assumptions are being made in so many of the comments above. The gospel truth of Christ does not discourage genuine questions, but the body of Christ as is establish by modenr-day LDS church does when we use passive aggressive comments and name calling to insult anyone who does not agree with our own beliefs.

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    2. Quiz, which one is the Book of Mormon, and which is the First Book of Napoleon?

      ****************************************************************
      Before you take the quiz: The First Book of Napoleon was published in 1809, the Book of Mormon in 1830.

      Sample 1

      And behold it came to pass, in these latter days, that an evil spirit arose on the face of the earth, and greatly troubled the sons of men. And this spirit seized upon, and spread amongst the people who dwell in the land of *******.

      Now, in this people the fear of the Lord had not been for many generations, and they had become a corrupt and perverse people; and their chief priests, and the nobles of the land, and the learned men thereof, had become wicked in the imaginations of their hearts, and in the practices of their lives.

      Sample 2

      Now their rulers and their priests and their teachers did not let the people know concerning their desires; therefore they found out privily the minds of all the people.

      And it came to pass that after they had found out the minds of all the people, those who were in favor of the words which had been spoken by ******* and his brethren were cast out of the land; and they were many; and they came over also into the land of ******.

      ANSWER

      Sample 1 is the First Book of Napoleon

      Sample 2 is the Book of Mormon

      Congratulations!

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    3. I think making such sweeping generalizations is foolish at best...I'm not quite sure how you all grew up but my own experience seems to have been far different. We were truly...TRULY...encouraged to ask anything we wanted. If the teacher or parent didn't know or was uncomfortable providing the answer we were referred to the Bishop. We were also always encouraged to study and pray for our own answers. Now obviously this isn't the case in all places...but we have to remember that while the Church is the church of Christ...it is filled with PEOPLE. Flawed, imperfect, horrible, wonderful...people. Claiming that the Church is flawed because a Sunday School teacher stumbled when you asked a question they couldn't/wouldn't answer hardly seems fair...or accurate.
      I am not a "Molly Mormon". I wondered at and asked aloud many questions that might shock more moderate congregations. But I was never once shot down or scolded for it. One of the reasons I love this Church so very much is exactly BECAUSE of that. Because I can ask...I can question. I can delve and research and study and pray. Dig deep and revel in the nougaty goodness found at the core of the doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Am I confused at times? Of course. Do I always get a satisfactory answer? Not always...but I can accept that I'm not ready for the answer yet. I can accept that GOD knows a bit more than I do and that maybe theres a reason we don't know everything.

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    4. Unknown, my gospel doctrine class often discusses these hard questions. We have often times over the past 15 years discussed the idea of ordaining women to the priesthood. We also have discussed many other sensitive topics (divorce, same sex attraction, polygamy, suicide, heavenly mother, excommunication, prejudice, etc); at least once a quarter these topics come up. No one berates the questioner; the room does not tense up; we listen, ponder, and have a reasonable discussion facilitated by the gospel doctrine teacher. I can honestly say that neither my family nor my ward leadershave ever marginalized any question that I have ever asked.

      In fact, our past three bishop's have often held firesides (Bishop Discussions) for various groups to address some of these ideas. One that stands out was about suicide. A prominent 15 year old committee suicide, devastating our entire town. There were lots of questions, heartfelt discussions, and even though we were free to discuss, not all of our questions had answers.

      When we continually seek answers to difficult questions, we may need to ask if we are looking beyond the mark. Here is an analogy to describe this idea: when hiking in the mountains, we take a map and a compass to guide us. While travelling, we use guideposts along the way to keep us on track (large prominent trees, rock formations, portions of the mountain). These guideposts can help us to keep on track and avoid pitfalls like cliffs, rivers, scree, wildlife. If all we did was just walk in the direction of our goal, we would quickly find it very difficult or even impossible to continue.

      On a slightly different note, I would like to point out that just because the church encourages personal revelation does not mean that all revelation is equally weighted. While God loves all His children equally, not all children are given the same responsibilities and duties. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints is not a republic. It's a theocracy. That means that we have an organized heirarchy with levels of responsibility and jurisdiction.

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    5. Happens all the time in my Gospel Doctrine class. And the only time the class gets all stiff and tense is when someone is actually preaching instead of asking. Which happens every now and then. It's pretty easy to tell when someone is wrapping a sermon up in a question mark and when someone is asking.

      A month or so a ago, someone in High Priests asked the honest question: Why is faith necessary? Why not knowledge? We had a good 40 minute discussion on the topic. No one "stiffend up."

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  22. Excellent points made here, Brandon!

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  23. I share your concern that people mistakenly view Kate Kelly's excommunication as an attempt to silence questions. I worry that one of the consequences of this action is that people will be afraid to express doubts and ask questions, when it is my firm belief that this is one of many paths to truth and a stronger testimony. However, I do think that this post both minimizes legitimate fears some people have about their standing in the church and overstates the reasons why Kate Kelly may have been subject to discipline.

    You state that the problem with Kate Kelly and Ordain Women supporters is their belief that women *should* be ordained. You suggest that because this belief is contrary to church doctrine, then stating that belief publicly (or maybe even just having it, it's not clear from your post) is grounds for discipline. If this were true, that is troubling to me. As much as church materials have been standardized over the years, the beliefs of individual members are incredibly varied. As a Sunday School and Relief Society teacher for many years, I'm regularly surprised by things I hear from class members that aren't necessarily consistent with things that the majority (or at least the majority as I perceive it believe) or even that are different from things taught by General Authorities (because lets not forget, even things taught by General Authorities don't cross that bridge from personal belief to doctrine). The church would be a very boring place if we all believed exactly the same things, especially given how relatively little Truth with a capital T we know for sure in comparison to the universe of things we don't know. For many people, including people like me, it would be a scary place. I believe women should be ordained. That doesn't mean I have "found [my] answer and [am] unwilling to accept any alternatives." It's just what I believe based on my own experiences and study and personal revelation so far. Sharing that belief, with a family member or in church or in an OW profile is not the same as teaching it as though it is doctrine. Nor is trying to explain to others how I came to that belief. I've had several lengthy conversations with my mom about this very topic during which I tried to get her to see the issue from my perspective. Is that grounds for excommunication? I would say of course not!

    And I believe the leaders who excommunicated Kate Kelly would agree with me, which is why I think that you are wrong about the reasons for her excommunication. I think the reasons behind her excommunication were in some ways simple and in some ways very complex and beyond the scope of this comment, but I don't think it was as simple as she believed that women should be ordained and she taught that belief. I don't think it's because she demanded an answer she'd already decided for herself (listen to her interviews, she's explained that she knows that the answer might be no, she just has a ton of faith that the answer would be yes). The truth is, I don't know exactly why she was excommunicated. None of us do. But it does a disservice to the church when you make it so simple, because by your logic then every women who posted a profile on OW and every person who ever disagreed with a church leader and dared to voice that disagreement out loud runs the risk of being disciplined.

    Finally, I'm sorry that my first comment on your blog is a critical one. Sometimes it takes seeing something I'm passionate about being mischaracterized to get me motivated to actually type something up. Although we clearly disagree, I admire your will to defend the church and your willingness to engage a difficult topic.

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    1. Hi Sandy,

      Thank you for your comment. We are certainly similar in that we get "fired up" when we feel things are being mischaracterized. I felt the church was being mischaracterized as intolerant of questions, which was the spark for my post.

      I think if you'll go back and reread the post, you'll see that I do think that it would be perfectly acceptable for Kate to have the belief that women should/will be ordained, and to discuss that with her family and friends and even ward, without facing any discipline at all. I totally believe that. Consequently, I don't think that everyone with an OW profile is deserving of church discipline; they were merely latching on to a forum that made them feel safe in sharing a belief that is not widespread in the church. (Why the church itself is not more of an open forum for discussing such issues is a much bigger matter that goes far beyond the purposes of my post.)

      Kate's true error was in teaching her doctrine of ordination for women as though there was no question. You seem to disagree with that by stating that she realizes she might be told no, but the fact is that Kate *was* told no -- by her bishop, by her stake president, and by Elder Oaks in his most recent priesthood session conference talk. I argue that Kate could have had a more appropriate response to this "no" that wouldn't even necessarily include abandoning her beliefs (though it would include abandoning OW and the website, since that is what her leaders -- whom she sustained -- asked her to do). It seems that is what you have done. You have held on to the belief that women should be ordained while still having faith that for some reason, church leadership has declined that request. I admire you for doing that.

      Thanks again for the fairness you displayed in your comment. I appreciate your thoughts!

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    2. Thanks for your response and your clarification. I have to disagree, though, that Kelly's error was continuing to advocate for female ordination after purportedly receiving "no" for an answer. As I see it, we (or Kelly) haven't actually received an answer to the question "should women be ordained?" Kelly's bishop does not have the authority to answer that question, nor does her stake president. I don't know whether an apostle and member of the quorum of the 12 has the authority to answer that question for the whole church, but I do know that Elder Oaks didn't with the talk you reference.

      This is a question I've thought about and prayed over for years. My prayers are especially fervent leading up to General Conference. So I listened intently when I hear a talk on this subject and I study it intently in the days and months that follow. I think that Elder Oaks taught some very important things about the priesthood with his talk. But nowhere did he indicate that the Lord could not reveal that women should be ordained. He did not try to explain why women don't have the priesthood. He did not indicate that the brethren have prayed about this issue and received an answer. OW isn't asking the leaders to ordain women without permission from the Lord (despite the "grammatical imperative" in the group's name). It is asking the leaders of the church to sincerely ask the question. Of course, the brethren aren't obligated to spell out the exact steps they took and the answers or impressions they received. But if they really did receive an answer such that it is inappropriate for us to keep answering the question (wouldn't want to pull a Martin Harris!), I would hope they would make that clear before resorting to excommunication. No one's salvation should be in jeopardy because of a misunderstanding.

      As to the argument that discipline is appropriate because Kelly chose not to follow her local leaders' instructions to take down the website, I don't see how that can be right. Sustaining our leaders does not require doing everything they say. I know a woman whose bishop told her she needed to lose a substantial amount of weight because her obesity meant she wasn't keeping the word of wisdom. I know of women whose bishops told them they needed to repent after they were sexually assaulted. Is it a sin (or apostasy) to disregard such "counsel"? Well-intentioned leaders are wrong all the time. And sometimes they're right, but that still doesn't mean that not following their counsel warrants discipline in all circumstances. I write a blog about complicated issues in the church. I write about changes I'd like to see in the church. If my bishop asked me to shut it down, I don't know that my conscience would allow it, and I simply don't see how that constitutes apostasy. That's the situation Kelly was in, the only difference is that she had a larger audience for her message, and employed stronger advocacy techniques.

      I agree with you that Kelly could have done things differently. I don't agree with every action OW has taken. But I don't think that the reasons for her excommunication are as clear-cut as make it, and if they are, then people have a legitimate reason to be worried about how tolerant the church is of free thought and expression.

      Thanks again for discussing this. Productive conversations between people who disagree on this issue are rare, and I am happy to at least attempt one here.

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    3. Sandy, thank you. I am with you 100%

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  24. I appreciate that you have shared your thoughts on this, but I disagree a bit with the heart of your post. I feel like what you've done here is create a hair-splitting distinction between questioning the Church and teaching a belief, and that unfairly diminishes the value of Kate Kelly's ordeal. I don't think it matters whether she asked questions of the Church or spread her beliefs to others; either way, she was excommunicated for holding a view that the Church did not want to espouse as its own belief. The Church has every right to disagree with Ordain Women and to defend their doctrine, but many people feel that excommunication was not the Christ-like or compassionate way to go about this. I think that if you're eager to find holes in the argument against the Church right now, it's helpful to read about why everyone is so upset in the first place. Yes, it's reductive for Facebookers to comment tersely, "I guess we can't ask questions anymore!" but the real heart of the animosity toward the Church is that Kate Kelly was excommunicated for holding a belief, and many of us who are on her side question why she was excommunicated (for spreading feminist views in the Church) while so many gospel doctrine teachers, Relief Society commentators, and priesthood holders regularly hold and teach beliefs—during church—that are in direct and hostile opposition to actual LDS doctrine. I've heard teachings and listened to testimony that interracial marriage is wrong, that gay people are sexual predators, and that sexual impurity before marriage ruins you for life, even after repentance—even though that's not what the Atonement teaches us. All of these things are wrong, and those of us on the side of Kate Kelly have to wonder why those things—repeated all too frequently—aren't beliefs that warrant excommunication but believing that there is a sound and well-recorded legacy of female priesthood gifts woven into LDS discourse and doctrine, is. That's what we're upset about—not some reductive squabble about language. As a student, I've been trying to look at both sides from a scholarly and objective perspective, but sadly I'm finding that a lot of LDS believers' arguments are a bit specious and kind of lean on the "well, TECHNICALLY" side of things rather than on what's really bothering people about this.

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    1. Did these people who taught incorrect beliefs in church actually band together and (twice) publicly protest in Temple Square during General Conference, publicly drawing attention to their criticism of the church and its leaders? I think the public protest thing takes he is relevant to her excommunication but people don't seem to be discussing it here.

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  25. I completely agree with everything you said. Thank you for sharing.

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  26. Ordain Women made an ultimatum on the Lord. They tried to tell him what equality in the church means, and how he has to do it to satisfy their demands.

    “Women must be ordained.”

    Does that sound like people seeking an answer? Or does that sound like people who have already decided what the answer should be and it is the Lord’s place to agree with them?
    http://thoughtsofasimplecitizen.blogspot.com/2014/06/one-mans-thoughts-on-ordain-women.html?m=1

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  28. Dear everyone on all sides of the Kate Kelly spectrum: COMPASSION goes a long way. Let's not judge others, or assume to know their hearts and intentions. I've tried so hard to stay quiet this week as I've read all the many links everyone has shared, but I saw thecomment on this article today that suggested Kate, and all the women who agree with her, just "get over it" and I can't stay quiet anymore. I can think of nothing less Christ-like than that suggestion. Remember that everyone lives a life made up of many varying experiences that make them who they are and cause them to believe what they believe. For some, it is easy to never question, to accept that everything is black & white, to never experience shades of grey. For others, it is not so easy. To be happy that Kate has been excommunicated, or feel vindicated by her suffering---that is when you totally miss the point.

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    1. You're spot on with this! I knew Kate, and share some of the same feelings as you: http://latterdayjane.com/2014/06/24/a-snapshot-of-kate-kelly/

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  29. Thank you for your article. It hits the exact way I feel. I also feel bad for Ms. Kelly and her family, but I don't want people to think asking questions was what got her where she is today.

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  30. Question: are the excommunicated still referred to as "brother" or "sister"?

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    1. Everyone, even those who have never heard of the church, are considered "brother" or "sister". We all share the same Father in Heaven, which makes us all spiritual brothers and sisters. I imagine that her friends will continue to call her "sister", but those who aren't will refer to her by something else. Hope that helps.

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  31. Excellent post. Thank you so much.

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  32. I knew Kate a long time ago. So far, I have only shared the fact that this is a very sad event, and that I don't follow the movement. I have an update coming soon, and we share a lot of the same feelings on this matter. I really appreciate your writing and sharing this! Here's my original post, if you're interested in reading: http://latterdayjane.com/2014/06/24/a-snapshot-of-kate-kelly/

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  33. This is amazing. It is well said and right on.
    great job!! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I hope sooo many people really this. I hope it can help change hearts and bring about understanding to those who need it.

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  34. I would just like to point out one basic thing that all these people have in common. They lack a testimony of the prophet of God. Either Thomas S. Monson is a prophet and speaks for God and leads His church, or he isn't. There cannot be a middle ground. God already promised that He would never let anyone lead His church that would lead us astray. That is all I need to know. I have a testimony of the prophet. I have a testimony of Jesus Christ. Everything else is gravy. Thank you for your blog post. I have tried to avoid the media hype, but found myself being frustrated at a woman who claimed to want more part of the gospel only to drag it through the mud and media. I will try to be more sympathetic to her.

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    1. And I would just like to point out that you do not know if Kate has a testimony of the Prophet, or not. That is completely personal, and is between her and the Lord. I don't mean to be confrontational, but I find it incredibly unfair to EVER state that another person does not have a testimony, as if you have the authority or understanding to declare such a thing. Just because someone else's testimony might look differently than yours does, does not make it invalid by comparison. Again, I am sad for Kate that so many people now feel entitled to judge the inner workings of her heart and soul, as if we can somehow know exactly what lies there.

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    1. Emric

      I know people prominent in the OW movement. They have gone beyond the "perhaps Pres Monson should ask the question" phase. They believe women should be ordained to the Priesthood and are using the media, the internet, social media and their own discussions to disseminate their views on a mass scale to put pressure on the brethren to change to their point of view. In a sense they are saying we don't accept that the answer is no and we will keep doing what we are doing until we get our way. That's not the way the Lord and His church operates.

      The "less valiant in the pre-existence" line was the speculation of a handful of church leaders that got accepted by some (certainly not me) in the church. If a person believed that still, then set up a website and produced 6 discussions around that and protested outside the meeting of the Genesis branch (the black branch that meets monthly for their own testimony meeting in SLC under the direct direction of the 1st Q of the 70) then yes, they too should be excommunicated.

      OW claim priesthood ordination of women - specifically a deacon and apostle in Romans 16 and yet the KJV text says no such thing - OW have used a contorted interpretation of scripture to support their view. Likewise the prophetesses in the Old Testament - God used their gift of prophesy to do great work but there is no evidence they were ever ordained to Priesthood nor ever officiated in any of the ordinances of the Mosaic Law.

      Women did give blessings in the early days of the church - they were often in desperate isolated circumstances far from men with the priesthood. They were prayers of faith and were honored by the Lord just as if the priesthood was used. My mother did the same when we were little because my Dad was a non member - there is nothing to prohibit such blessings today and they will be honored by the Lord and need no formal priesthood ordination for their efficacy.

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    2. Yes, Mr. Delton, everyone should be free to believe as they choose, it so states in the Church's Articles of Faith. Members, however, cannot live and act contrary to the Church's teachings and remain in good standing. You can question, pray, ponder, debate, discuss, search, analyze the principles and teachings of the gospel, but you cannot demand or protest your will upon God. You either believe the Gospel or you don't, if you want to pick and choose, you are welcome to join a faith that is more suited to your beliefs. However much you disagree, we believe that this organization is led by Christ Himself, and when you truly believe this, you are less inclined to demand your will.

      And no, the church does not teach that dark skinned people were less valiant in the pre-existance. Every human here on earth today (whatever their religious affiliation) is here because they were a valiant spirit and chose to follow Jesus Christ's plan. The especially strong spirits were saved for these, the last days.

      If someone that claims to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day saints feels that they are better in the sight of God than anyone else, because of skin color, spiritual beliefs, socio-economic status, or anything of the like, then they need to humble themselves and take upon them the true name of Jesus Christ, for that is the true spirit of this Gospel.

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  36. Thank you so much for saying beautifully what I could only stumble through trying to say. As a convert at age 17 and a woman now of 60 I can not even find the words to express how fulfilled I feel as a woman in the the Lords Church. The talents, gifts, knowledge, love, and on and on would have never been realized in any other way if it were not for the Gospel! And as for the priesthood.... I will tell you I never feel more love, pride, or appreciation for what the priesthood does for my good husband when late at night he will change into his white shirt and tie to go out in a rainy night to give a family a blessing. I think he is never more handsome in that moment and it's unimaginable to think that divine roll of his could possibly make my life any richer if somehow tomorrow it became mine.
    And perhaps all this "stuff" with Kate Kelly will only make those who truly love the PriestI loved your 5 points on Kate Kelly! Thank you so much for saying beautifully what I could only stumble through trying to say. As a convert at age 17 and a woman now of 60 I can not even find the words to express how fulfilled I feel as a woman in the the Lords Church. The talents, gifts, knowledge, love, and on and on would have never been realized in any other way if it were not for the Gospel! And as for the priesthood.... I will tell you I never feel more love, pride, or appreciation for what the priesthood does for my good husband when late at night he will change into his white shirt and tie to go out in a rainy night to give a family a blessing. I think he is never more handsome in that moment and it's unimaginable to think that divine roll of his could possibly make my life any richer if somehow tomorrow it became mine.
    And perhaps all this "stuff" with Kate Kelly will only make those who truly love the Priesthood realize and even greater sense of just how equal and balanced a loving Fathers plan is for all his children!!!!hood realize and even greater sense of just how equal and balanced a loving Fathers plan is for all his children!!!!

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  37. Amazing. So perfectly, wonderfully, CLEARLY said. Love this!

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  38. I stumbled upon this on Facebook and I am blown away. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, put there it is. Thank you for posting this. You have a gift of communication.

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  39. I enjoyed the comments on asking questions and trying to impose your will on God. I wonder how people would react if we were still living the Gospel as preached to the Israelites in the desert. At that time anyone who opposed God as strongly as some these people mentioned have done was put to death by God - no appeal, no court of judgement - and this could include children because they happened to be there. We have advanced a long way in the Gospel and it looks like we have a ways to go. I admire and appreciate my lady for her ability to use the priesthood when she needs to. She admires and appreciates my efforts to be a worthy priesthood holder. Together we are forming a bond that will, hopefully, wisely use the priesthood in all its aspects.

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  40. People get overly obsessed with church doctrine, interpretations, teachings, personal revelations, etc, etc. No person on earth runs this church, nor can alter or add to it, that all comes from a higher power and there are people called to positions to communicate clearly how to keep running things to finally reach our goal. Kate, I hope, will someday return as also whoever else has been excommunicated once they realize how they had wandered off from Christ's church and/or carried others to confusion. Our job as members is simply to pray for them and love them as much as any other current LDS member. We can't focus on clearing up a simple and clear gospel...it would be like trying to clear up a telescope that we keep fogging up and running to "make things clearer" as we waste time on that rather than living what we know to be true and helping those near us and those we encounter on a daily basis.

    This was a great way to explain whay happenned in Kate's situation. Now that's it's said, I too pray for all those, who I know first-hand, suffer from excommunication. It is not easy for leaders to make that choice, and they carry it forever, so if I were one to think I could've judged better or question it, I'd be saying I receive clearer revelation than those called there.

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  41. Great article. One of the very best I have read on this 'ongoing' topic. Time for me to stop reading about apostates. This was a fabulous end to my reading. Thank you.
    And in the last days.....even the very elect shall fall.

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  42. From the time I was little, my teachers and leaders have asked, "When did you gain your testimony of ____?" (A certain principle, Jesus being our Savior, etc.) They did/do NOT say, "Well, we taught you that in nursery so you should have had a testimony since then." We do not follow blindly at all! Excellent post that explains and puts into words everything I feel!

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  43. Brandon, Rock Waterman has publicly accused the Twelve of practicing priestcraft and leading the church astray, and he also teaches his followers to not obey the Word of Wisdom, which is spreading false doctrine. John Dehlin runs numerous blogs, forums and podcasts all devoted to tearing down church doctrine and history, twisting it and perpetuating false doctrine in its place, and he also actively encourages people to openly oppose the church's teachings on LGBT issues. Whenever you recruit followers to your cause and lead them in open, public, defiant opposition to the church and its leaders, you're committing apostasy. Each of these people - Waterman, Dehlin, and Kelly - have been given multiple warnings that they're breaking their baptismal and temple covenants, and that they need to humble themselves and repent for their behavior. They've each refused any and all attempts to help them, and instead, retrench and escalate their behavior. They've left their leaders no choice but to intervene and prevent them from leading others astray, and that's why the disciplinary councils have been convened. Excommunication is a last resort, designed to help people repent and return to full fellowship. Excommunication is a last resort, designed to help people repent and return to full fellowship. I hope and pray that these people soften their hearts and return to the fold, but the decision is theirs.

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  44. What catchese as funny
    Is how far this has escalated. A believe is someone's own. To share it would be nice but to try to change people's faith to follow others is clearly not apart of the believe of that Church. As a Member of The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints I believe everyone is entitled to their opinions and should be able to be without further argument. For this Brandon fellow, why comment to argue. People like Sosyer Kelly get unhappy when things don't go their way. That's that, and it should have been left there. Nobody has the right to rain on the Church for their decision. It's their decision and if people or members don't like it, they have a choice.

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  45. The word you were looking for instead of "Jurisdiction" is "Stewardship". Great article. My heart is broken for Sister Kelly, she loved the gospel, she served a mission and was married in the temple to her sweetheart. I appreciated her courage. Her actions didn't effect me in any way. I trust the Savior and know of his indescribable love for us. I understand his gospel of love and fellowship. I send Sister Kelly, my sister in the gospel, my prayers of wholeness and understanding as she embarks on the next journey of her mortal education. 

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  46. Brandon what questions do you feel are not answered? This is probably not the place to answer them but send me an email if you would like me to take a crack at them

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    1. The Letter to a CES Director (http://cesletter.com) has a pretty good summary of the unanswered questions that many people in the church wrestle with. FAIR attempted to answer them, which helped, but many of their answers weren't quite satisfactory or brought up other questions.

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  47. I think that there are a few things that Ms. Kelly does not understand that are essential elements of the gospel. The relationship between a man and a woman is sacred and ordained of God. Only a man and a woman together can gain eternal life, neither without the other. Women have their own divine connection with Heavenly Father and full access to the Priesthood. When this relationship is understood and practiced, a woman will not feel the need to be ordained, but will realize that she is able to receive every blessing and right of the Priesthood. A man absolutely cannot receive his full divine potential without a woman and vice versa. It is a complementary and equal relationship. The Church is often criticized for its stance on same-sex marriage, but how can it be asked to change when it goes against the very core of its beliefs? However, every human deserves to be treated with love, compassion, and respect. That does not mean that every behavior and decision is acceptable to the Savior. When members are baptized, they make certain covenants with the Lord. There are consequences when these covenants are not kept. It in no way means that Heavenly Father and the Savior do not love this individual. Excommunication is always a last resort. When a person is repeatedly opposing and living contrary to the teachings of the gospel, there is little alternative than the revocation of their membership. With the Church's vast missionary program, you can imagine that they hold a person's membership in high regard. One of the missions of the gospel is to bring others unto Christ, so obviously they do not delight in the excommunication of even one of His children. Also, I think that there are a lot of misconceptions about excommunication. When a member is excommunicated, it does not mean that they are no longer welcome at church. They are still welcome and are even encouraged to attend their church meetings. There is a tremendous hope that the excommunicate will repent and begin living in accordance with the commandments. In most instances, other members of the church don't even know when someone is excommunicated, it is something very private between the member, the Lord, and their Church leaders. I as a member do not understand every part of the gospel, but I am humble enough to accept that I may not have all of the answers I seek at this time, but that it will all be revealed unto me in His own due time.

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    1. Private? Obviously, it's not private. People who are excommunicated are essentially put on trial by their stake leaders. If they do decide to continue attending meetings, they're not really allowed to participate. They can't take the sacrament, which turns heads. They can't give prayers if called on in Sunday School or Relief Society, or Priesthood, or wherever, which turns even more. Even if it's not broadcast publicly, it is certainly not private.

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    2. I agree Kellie, there are a select few who are privy to this information, but certainly not the majority. I have been in this position myself, and it is a sad and humbling experience, but it's part of the repentance process. It may turn heads to not take the sacrament, but there are a lot of reasons that a person isn't worthy to take the sacrament, besides excommunication. There have been times that my kids have pointed out to me that so and so did not take the sacrament, but I have been very clear to them that it is absolutely none of our business, and hope that most others would feel the same. I just meant that it is not usually posted on Facebook or announced across the pulpit.

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  48. http://johnadamscenter.com/2014/06/ordain-women-lets-call-a-spade-a-spade/
    This article is quite excellent in that it takes the points made in this blog and explains them a bit more clearly using specific examples and quotes. It is quite worth the read.

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  49. Thank you for a well-written post, Katie.

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  50. After reading this article, I realize how lucky I am to be a member of a church that ordains women. Hopefully Kate Kelly will realize how lucky she is to no longer be a part of the LDS Church, for her sake I hope she finds the same testimony I did, it's not the true church and God is not a sexist!

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    1. I guess it ok in your church to blatantly declare that someone else's church is not true?

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    2. Well, the LDS church does it all the time.

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    3. What we say is that " We are the only church on the with given authority by God through a prophet to act in the name of god. The priesthood power. No other church has been given it by god. We know God lives because prophets for 4000 years have seen and prophesied about him. We don't choose our prophet by a vote. We didn't have a group of men get together and decide that God the father, Jesus Christ and threw Holy Ghost were one person. Prophets testified of them having separate and distinct personages. This church is organized and called by the same name christ established in the new testament." " if a church bears Noah's name..it is noahs.. etc

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  51. ABC: Can the rule [for women and the Priesthood] change like it did for the blacks?

    Hinckley: Yes, but there's no agitation for that. We don’t find it. Our women are happy. They’re satisfied. These bright, able, wonderful women who administer their own organisation are very happy. Ask them. Ask my wife.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=782529748435060&set=a.460661753955196.104296.460660493955322&type=1&theater

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  52. Joseph Smith:

    "Elder Pelatiah Brown, one of the wisest old heads we have among us, and whom I now see before me, has been preaching concerning the beast which was full of eyes before and behind; and for this he was hauled up for trial before the High Council.

    I did not like the old man being called up for erring in doctrine. It looks too much like the Methodist, and not like the Latter-day Saints. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be asked out of their church. I want the liberty of thinking and believing as I please. It feels so good not to be trammeled. It does not prove that a man is not a good man because he errs in doctrine.

    The High Council undertook to censure and correct Elder Brown, because of this teaching in relation to the beasts. Whether they actually corrected him or not, I am little doubtful, but don't care.”

    Source: http://tinyurl.com/k7w9pf6

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  53. Ugh! Who cares if Kate wants Jedi powers. There are 4-5 active LDS out of 7 thousand million human beings on the planet. We pretend that the church is a global power house. It's just not. Excommunication means absolutely nothing.

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    1. 4-5 million active members *

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    2. To the "4-5 million active members" it means a great deal.

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    3. There are 15 million members. For only being180+ years old since it's reestablish n't on the earth. That is a huge number.. and compared to.other religions we are the fastest growing.. why. Because of its fairh. Hope. Charity and all teachings founded by christ. It brings peace.

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  54. Replies
    1. http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-actual-message-of-book-of-mormon.html

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  55. As I read the continued comments I am appalled at the one thing in common I missed until now. Both sides are guilty but I notice that every anti-Church-action remark seems to contain words to the effect - I think. It is great that you think (on either side) but how many have said I prayed and received the answer that......? How many of us have gone to the Lord and asked Him if He had expressed an answer or was willing to reveal an answer to the Church Leaders? Let me put it in the proper words. I testify that this is the Church of Jesus Christ and that that means He is the one in charge of the church that I belong to. I testify that as a member of this church I have covenanted almost weekly to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ no matter what I think of them. I testify that I have agreed to seek personal revelation for my guidance and that revelation affecting the church as a whole is only to be brought out through the Prophet. I testify that whatever disagreement I may have with the Church is part of the trials of my faith and that I have agreed with the Lord to accept these trials and to try to learn from them. I testify that those things I don't know about or am having trouble with will be cleared up for me in the Lord's time - if this was not so then I would never grow in understanding and patience and all other attributes I need to reign after death in my (if I am true and faithful) Kingdom with my wife by my side as my helpmate, my companion, my counsellor and my equal. I testify that I am nothing without my wife for she completes my priesthood as I complete hers - priesthood being the authority to act in the name of a kind and loving Father. This testimony I bear in the name of Jesus Christ, my Saviour, my Brother, my Friend.

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  56. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  57. She was asking a question it right there on her site to ask the prophet to prayerfully ask the lord if there is a change in policy just like blacks. They wouldnt give her the time of day. And made seem she was demanding the priesthood which she never has.

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  59. This article just is bogus. Of course she believed women should be ordained or else why start a movement just like i know many many members believed blacks should have the priesthood before 1978 and protested to deaf high up ears.

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  60. I would assume then that the poster and the pro-lds people her would like to conveniently ignore this quote by an Apostle from the church. Not only is it okay to question, but it is also okay to have an opinion:
    “I admire men and women who have developed the questing 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… This free exchange of ideas is not to be deplored as long as men and women remain humble and teachable. Neither fear of consequence or any kind of coercion should ever be used to secure uniformity of thought in the church. People should express their problems and opinions and be unafraid to think without fear of ill consequences. … We must preserve freedom of the mind in the church and resist all efforts to suppress it.” — Hugh B. Brown

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    1. Kate Kelly's actions demonstrate that her "opinion" is no longer an opinion to her, it is a truth that she has decided upon and will not back down from until LDS leadership accepts her (the OW movement) views. She has become a law unto herself, preaching unaccepted doctrine as truth. She brought this upon herself. Blaming church leadership for her actions is absurd. She cannot receive her own revelations and whims, declare them as doctrine, then demand that the entire foundation be moved to accept her point of view--enlisting other like-minded people in an effort to campaign the issue into doctrine. That is not how a church of continuing revelation operates.

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  61. The priesthood is the power and responsibility to act in God's name and with his authority and power. This power is limited in its scope to the stewardship that we are assigned and can only be delegated to us by those who hold priesthood keys. As Elder Oaks pointed out last conference, women as well as men can receive this power to fulfill their various responsibilities in church service. However, only those who have been ordained to an office in the priesthood can hold priesthood keys, and for the time being at least, only men are ordained. If you truly believe that the priesthood is the power of God and that priesthood keys are the way that God delegates that power, then you must trust in those who hold those keys to act in God's name in how they administer and delegate that authority. It is not for man (or woman) to decide how God's kingdom will be run. If you don't believe that those who hold the priesthood keys, specifically the prophet who holds all of the keys, is truly acting in God's name, then what value is there in ordination to that priesthood?

    This is the true crux of the issue. Will women hold the priesthood some day? Maybe. But it won't be because man (or woman) demands it of God. Is there anything wrong with a woman wondering and praying to try to understand if and when she may hold the priesthood? No. Should we be judgmental of those who feel this way? Absolutely not! Should it be ok to discuss your feelings on the matter with family, friends and church leaders? Of course. However, openly criticizing and directly opposing those who hold the sacred priesthood keys that you so desperately covet, only shows a lack of respect and understanding of what the priesthood truly is and puts you in opposition to God. This is where church discipline comes into play.

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  62. One important thing to understand is that we should be converted to the "Gospel of Jesus Christ" not just the church as an organization. When you understand that it isnt man's church, its the savior's church, and you place your faith in the redeeming love of Jesus Christ. You will gain that testimony that the prophet of the church is a prophet of god. That he speaks to our father in heaven and leads the world, not just the church, by God's will not his own.
    Some members of the church, even strong ones, can fall away from the church for that very reason. They become members of the church, and not necessarily converted to the Lord's gospel. When you have a true faith in Jesus Christ and know that he answers prayers, then you also gain the faith and understanding that those anwers come from him. We just have to be willing to exercise that faith and trust in the Lord when we get those answer. Not all anwers are what we want to here, but they are always what is best for us. It is only when we place our unconditional love and faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that we are able to fully take advantage of his devine atonement and return to live with him. I know that this is his church and he is at the head of it.

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  63. I asked God if I should have the priesthood and she said Yes!

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  64. So much has been written, discussed, and worried about in all this. I just want you to know this is the best blog post on the subject of the women demanding the keys of a The Priesthood that I've read. Thank you so much for sorting and prayerfully writing this wonderful and insiteful post. ❤️

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    1. Susan -- in this sea of comments, this means a lot to me. Thank you for saying so!

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  65. The church is anti-intellectual, and actively discourages questioning authority and critical thinking. Virtually anything negative about the church is labeled as "anti-mormon", even if it's true. If you cannot see this you are truly blind.

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  66. It seems to be true that Kate Kelley was excommunicated for having a belief. I would hope that any belief that agreed with the words of Jesus however would not lead to excommunication.

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  67. Again. It's not the fact that she believed that. It's that she was preaching that as an active member of the church
    The WHOLE FOUNDATION of our church is believing in modern revelation given to man from a prophet of god. If you don't believe that. You don't believe in the lds church.
    It Is THAT SIMPLE.

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  68. Well said, Katie. She absolutely was NOT excommunicated for "asking questions" or for her beliefs. There are people throughout the church who have beliefs that aren't in full companionship with the church's teachings. Her excommunication had nothing to do with her BELIEFS. It had EVERYTHING to do with her ACTIONS. She was making demands-- she was very deliberately and defiantly doing exactly what she was asked NOT to do and was recruiting others to follow HER and going to the media to try and muscle the church. The whole thing is very sad. She could have remained in full activity, had her temple blessings intact AND STILL had her personal beliefs, hopes etc if only she hadn't been so defiantly acting against the church, rallying others to join her fight, bringing her protest onto church property during conference despite a very loving and polite plea by church headquarters to not do so, bringing the media into it to try and force change with social pressure, etc. Those acts are the VERY proof that she was not merely asking questions, and sadly, she's leading many away with her.

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  69. Thank you for your focus on this subject. I, too, am unhappy that my church is being portrayed as oppressive and guilty of "thought control." I have never felt that I couldn't ask sincere, searching questions. We ask questions of the Lord every day...because we are confused or ignorant of something or because the yearning in our heart and soul is desperate for knowledge. As far as Ms. Kelly goes, however, I am not as sad for her as I am for the possible thousands of women and young women who might, at the moment, be on the edge of doubt...who might be questioning their own shaky testimony. The consequences of those women (and men) swayed by Kelly and her group will also have eternal consequences for them and for their families. And the saddest thing is that there were church leaders who were trying so hard to counsel Ms. Kelly...and no one can tell me that she did not know from Day One that this would not be the result of her actions. I do feel badly, because as a daughter of God Ms. Kelly is my sister, but it bothers me a lot that her media persona is so disingenuous...because I cannot believe she actually thought there would be a different outcome. If you are truly a converted member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, then you know that you do not counsel the Lord...you wait upon His word...

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  70. For those who feel women may not need to hold the priesthood at this time, but feel there could be more fulfillment for some women and increased effectiveness and completeness in the Church functions and mission if women were treated a little differently in the Church, take a look at this article. Without trying to change the Church Handbook the author asks us to consider a different paradigm. Forget trying to prove to the world (or ourselves) that there is "equality" between men and women in the Church because that is just not true and is based on a worldly hierarchal / power model anyway. Instead, consider a model based on mutual voluntary “cooperation” (rather than power) between men and women, each with different roles. The article also presents numerous elements of church life where women could be given more responsibility, more visibility and more respect without changing the Handbook, though some change in Church “culture” would be required. It’s kind of long, so you can skip to Part IV The Cooperative Paradigm and Part V The Internal Shift, if you just want the main take-aways.
    http://www.fairmormon.org/perspectives/fair-conferences/2012-fair-conference/2012-to-do-the-business-of-the-church-a-cooperative-paradigm
    Some readers will be thinking such grass roots ideas are contrary to the order of the Church and God and that everything must come from the top down. Oh, wait. I thought you said it was OK to ask questions. ;) Many great ideas have been generated at lower levels in the Church "with our own free will." Just take a look at the article. Then ask yourself what your conscience says about each idea. You might be surprised.

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  71. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28

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    1. I am not going to argue. My point in the discussion ends here. if you say there is no answer to the priesthood issue then you've never looked into it. There are plenty of teachings, but I'm afraid only those open to being taught can learn from the holy ghost.

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    2. Thank you! Another rational human being.

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  73. Perfect. Absolutely perfect. Thank you so much for posting this.

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  74. For anyone to think that as this article states that Kate Kelly wont receive eternal life, please read the Holy Bible:
    John 3:16
    New King James Version (NKJV)
    16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. No where in the Bible does it talk about "exaltation" to become a god...Praise Jesus always...God bless you Kate...

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  75. Thank you so much for posting this. I appreciate faithful women standing up for the church amidst all the other bad press and twisted words. This is perfect.

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  76. Oh man. It is this kind of narrow-minded thinking that makes our current society suck ass. Kate Kelly was most definitely asking a question. While it was about fundamental parts of your church, it was a question!! This doesn't mean that she lacked the same beliefs as the mormon clan, she was simply asking why women can't participate too. It is quite obvious that the LDS church is a sexist religion- with the women barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, and the men "up on the stand" in suits looking to be congratulated for their high ranking.

    Let me spell this out for you. I believe that the sky is blue. However, I may decide to wonder why? (Keep all your scientific explanations to yourselves people this is just a hypothetical). Why is it blue? Could it possibly be red one day? Does the fact that I am wondering this mean that I am trying to present a different theory or teaching? No. I am simply asking a goddam question.

    Kate Kelly was asking a question. She is a woman that doesn't understand why her religion treats her like it's the 1920's, and wants to have equal rights. This is not something to exile her for, let the woman have her opinion.

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Your turn.