Excommunication All the Rage!

It's appalling. Many progressive members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint are finding themselves unified with ex-Mormons and anti-Mormons to do what they've mastered over the last few years: use national media to shame the Church. By airing personal grievances about the recent need for disciplinary actions regarding two activists’ members in sore need of rebuke the idea is to portray the male hierarchy of the Church as antiquated, uninformed and lacking compassion for its female members.

It’s no secret that to capture the attention of mainstream media all one need do is be extreme. Like bees to honey then, they come in swarms, especially if you place Mormon, women and inequality in the same space. Or like they say, if you build a good enough story they will come -- and oh my, the architects and storytellers are out in droves. So much so, that you'd think excommunication was all the rage!


But it's not -- it's very serious business and no truly faithful Mormon thinks otherwise. 

Excommunication is the most severe form of censure the Church metes out to one of its own and is never done lightly. Nor is it done as a form of member control. However, if you're anti-Mormon, apostate or simply uniformed it’s very likely you see LDS Church discipline as a negative -- the exact opposite of its intended purpose

The Lord has plainly taught, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9)

Sadly though, it seems like many with disgruntled feelings toward the Church, who enjoy talking about it publicly are taking advantage of this 'extended' Mormon moment, if you will, and telling their stories to anyone who will listen; members and media alike.

The strategy is employed to press for hoped cultural and/or doctrinal change within the Church reflective of a world that rejects moral absolutes and religious authority. The way it works is that by crafting a highly manipulative narrative intended to embarrass the Church you can get the leadership to act in opposition to the accusations made; so as not to prove them right. I realize this may sound ridiculous to some, even juvenile, but as one who has followed the ongoing saga for quite sometime, in my opinion, this seems to be what's happening. The pattern can be found consistently throughout the conversations they employ, broadly -- look for it at your own risk.

But here's the problem from how I see it and why this never works: the head of the Church is Jesus Christ and He makes sure His Prophets' don't fall for this type of manipulation -- ever. And to those who advocate with personal interpretations of LDS Church History to prove otherwise, from everything I can tell the Church disagrees with you. What we have then in seeing these various groups unite in opposition to the Church is a broad-scale public tantrum; it’s that simple. And this time they've made sure their reach includes the Church's core community of faithful, conservative members by judging them divisive for standing with the Church and its leaders. Their tales have taken in some members but not most – and many are finally speaking out.

Members of the Mormon faith believe that God has a prophet upon the earth today who speaks His will and directs the Church through inspiration. To those who are asking the question: What did Kate Kelly do? Or John Dehlin for that matter, understanding this might help you to put two and two together and see the bigger picture of what's currently happening within the LDS Church.

Sure, people may have whatever opinion they choose... talk about it, create social media to advocate for it and even recruit others to adhere to their personal opinions. But as any child could probably figure out, super fast, you cannot be considered in harmony with a group you intend to try and force change or disagree with their core tenets. 

When it comes to membership in the Mormon faith where we hold such a bold conviction as having a prophet upon the earth, then this type of rebellion is easily perceived as not just fighting against the Church but God Himself. Yes, the majority of Mormons, like me, see it that clearly; I’ve spoken to many of them and most don’t see how any other idea can be justified.

With the age of the Internet, social media has provided the means for all types of advocacy like nothing before in the history of the world. This shouldn’t surprise us then that that which is adversarial to the work of God would find its greatest channel to influence through its power.

From what I've observed over the last few days it's become very apparent that large numbers of supposedly ignorant Mormons hearing these stories (some for the first time), meant to broadly influence the conversation, are rejecting them as representative of what mainstream Mormons are thinking and feeling -- and they're saying so. Though not through national media as ‘our’ thoughts are not nearly as sensational (thus marketable to consumers) but among one another, through blogs, forums, Facebook pages and various other social networking platforms. 

In the case of the recent calls for disciplinary action, few that I've discussed the decision to excommunicate Kate Kelly from the LDS Church with are surprised. However, this is not a judgment of her personally but rather a clear recognition of blatant apostate-acts easily discerned by covenant members of the Church who take seriously how they live their faith and keep sacred covenants.

One thing that has come across loud and clear is that Kelly does not reflect the sentiments of mainstream Mormon women in regard to female ordination, or share her feeling that her loss of membership has to do with asking faithful questions as a woman in the Church. Rather, most see her claim that all she's doing is faithfully, and innocently, petitioning the Prophet as has been done in the past, as disingenuous. 

However, and I can assure you, that these feelings have nothing to do with gloating (currently a widespread accusation) but rather come from a deep sense of relief that from what many have been silently witnessing over the last year or so is finally being called to accountability -- as most feel it should be. The majority of LDS women whom I’ve had contact with are mourning these necessary actions, but trust that the Church had no other choice as Kelly has consistently rejected all attempts by Church authorities to cease her actions contrary to the doctrine of the Church.

Again, Kelly’s actions have nothing to do with it being okay, or not, to ask questions within the Mormon faith. But this is the story that is being perpetuated by progressive members, and others, for reasons stated above. If you've been persuaded to believe that this is the heart of the matter I beg you to do a little more research about what apostasy is and why it is imperative that it be called out wherever it is found in the Church, in order to protect the integrity of established doctrine and the tender faith of members. 

Asking questions, even uncomfortable ones, does not define apostasy. 

These things cannot be taken lightly and this is why we are observing such polarizing opinions within the religion. And really, from a faith standpoint, we believe that in the “Last Days” many will be deceived, even the very elect (the brightest) and so to suggest that there are wolves among the sheep is far from far-fetched and/or unrighteous. Elder Richard C. Edgley taught:

“There are the so-called learned people who have let their intellect undermine their spiritual moorings and who would also attempt to lead the faithful away from those who are appointed by the Lord to lead. There are those who feel that our leaders are out of touch with the realities of the day. They would attempt to lead members by substituting their own knowledge for the revelations from God to His prophets. And unfortunately, there are those who would so follow. Christ warned, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Matt. 7:15.)

Let us never forget, this Church was founded on one deep and very sincere question where no answer was currently found. To those pounding the key to suggest that faithful questioning within the LDS Church is not welcome that is a blatant falsehood. What is not welcome in the Church are all advocacies contrary to the doctrine found in Holy Scripture and that taught by those whom we sustain as prophets, seers and revelators.

This month Mormons commemorate the Martyrdom of our founding Prophet, Joseph Smith Jr., 170 years ago, June 27, 1844. His life was taken for what the answer to that one vital question revealed: the declaration of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is, in my opinion, an insult to many faithful members of the Church who have had their own disconcerting questions and like Joseph have taken them to the Lord in faith, to suggest such a false accusation against the Church.

Even with all of this, and with emotions flying high, as covenant members of the Church we are challenged to seek a higher response to these chaotic times, which I am sure will increase in frequency. We are being asked to have patience with one another; not to judge individuals but actions; and to show compassion and love for the "one" who has lost their way. The point is, that excommunication is a gate to a return to Christ and His people. It is a call to repent and to become one again with the body of the Saints. What it’s not is a permanent placement into outer darkness.

I had an interesting exchange with Kate Kelly only a few weeks ago – the first and only. Following a meeting that Mormon Women Stand had with LDS Church Public Affairs, she reached out to me through the MWS Facebook page. She extended an invitation for me to participate in a public panel with her, where we could discuss our differences in hopes of modeling a positive dialogue between two people who strongly disagree. I politely declined and let her know that I would not be having a dialogue with someone whose actions were contrary to the Church.

For me, how she goes about advocating her beliefs has never been about simple differences of belief or faithful questioning; it is out and out rebellion against God. Frankly, I want to be divided from everything about Ordain Women.

With that said, during our brief encounter I was direct in sharing with her how I feel about Ordain Women. But what happened next totally surprised me when I felt genuinely impressed to invite her to “Friend” me on Facebook. I found myself sincerely caring about her and desired to develop a friendship, privately, but not to debate our differences. Rather, I told her that I was offering my hand of friendship to bring her back into the fold because right now “you're heading in the wrong direction.” Sadly, I have yet to receive her request.

I think most of us have appreciated these inspired and timely words from Sister Bonnie Oscarson, when many of us are sorting out tender feelings with a sincere desire to act in ways pleasing to God.

“All of us as sisters in the gospel have the responsibility and privilege to support and nourish one another. We have all committed to be disciples of Jesus Christ and this discipleship should be at the heart of all that we do.”

May each one of us, as reminded, open our arms to those who are confused and struggling at this time, for whatever reasons the recent events have affected them and caused pain. The gospel of Jesus Christ is more than a bandage; it is the answer to mend all of our broken hearts. That we, as children of covenant, with power, will administer it among one another is my personal prayer.

tDMg




40 comments:

  1. These most recent excommunications were wholly appropriate.

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    1. I also sustain the decision made by inspired priesthood leaders. And frankly, I don't think (in this case) she gave them any other choice. :(

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  2. You were surprised you could care about someone you didn't agree with??

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    1. No. I'm sorry if that's the message you took away.

      I was surprised by my sudden instinct to reach out to someone I strongly disagree with, consider (is) an apostate, and to try and pursue a genuine friendship in order to help them repent -- especially in light of the fact I had bluntly refused her personal invitation and frankly told her why. Go ahead and think less of me, if you will. But for me, it was a moment of personal gratitude because I felt the Lord was with me, and guiding me to reach out and extend charity to someone in a highly rebellious state. It was a lesson in true charity and I was happy to be proven faithful in such a moment -- not easy with a person so destructive to the Church and to the tender testimonies of so many led astray by her leadership.

      I hope in sharing that experience here, others who strongly disagree with her apostate actions will still hold in their hearts charity for her soul, her family and those her leadership is affecting. To me, in all of this, each of our great challenge is to act according to the Spirit as we strive to become more Christlike. I hope I passed the test in that brief encounter.

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  3. I read a blog post the other day that made it sound like it is bad to take a stand against these apostate actions. I also have read may posts talking about how those of us who disagree with the Ordain women group aren't "free thinkers". They accuse us of trying to squelch thinking. That is not the problem here. The problem is that many people are being led away because they do not understand the full story. Because the church leaders involved do not speak about the particular disciplinary action, they are only hearing one side of the story. The media paints those involved as innocent victims without hearing the other side of the story. I can love those whose opinions are different from mine, but that doesn't mean that I cannot speak up. My voice is just as valuable as their's. My opinion is of equal weight. When I disagree, I'm not a hatemonger, I'm someone who feels the need to speak up to try to defend the church's position. I wish they could see in to the hearts of those church leaders and understand how difficult this situation is for them. I wish they could understand, as you said that excommunication isn't a final act of hate, but a disciplinary action used to encourage a wayward child to make a course correction. Great article, I hope many people will read it and understand the message.

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  4. I wish you peace. I have spent so much time revolting over so many of your blog posts and representations. I have spent so much time being so angry with your words. I realize now that the fault was mine. You are entitled to your assertiveness in voicing what you believe to be true and where you believe God wants you. Christ was solemn and methodical in dealing with us, slow to respond and thoughtful in his words. I am so far from perfect and sinful in my desire to be abrasive and harsh in my judgement of those who share your opinion. I apologize for my angst against you, but please know that Christ is at my helm as well and I feel no shame for disagreeing with your mindset. I wish you peace as you call for the repentance of others, as you clearly feel your actions are perfectly aligned with God.

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    1. Erin, do you feel that way only about Kathryn or do you feel that way about the church when they say the same things she does? I don't see Kathryn calling other people to repentance, she just reiterates what the doctrines of the gospel is.

      What it comes down to, is either one agrees with the Church or disagrees with it, there is no gray area here. We either stand with the leaders or we don't. If one disagrees, that person needs to figure out why and find answers.

      I have always stood with the church, but at one point I had a question about one point of controversial doctrine and I didn't have peace, I was troubled. I was also scared because my testimony was becoming shaky. I prayed, fasted, read the scriptures, researched lds.org, and I went to my church leaders; eventually I gained a better understanding about the doctrine that had once troubled me. I found answers to my questions and my testimony about this point of doctrine was strengthened, as well as the whole of my testimony. I was able to see more clearly, I had peace again and my testimony was stronger than ever. I hope this makes sense.

      There was also another avenue to go about getting my answers, I could've gone to those whom also struggled with the same questions I had, those who were now heading on the road to apostasy and even excommunication. I knew better, I needed my testimony strengthened, not weakened.

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    2. @jrlang - I am not posting your response to Lavinia because you did exactly what I noted in this post:

      'And to those who advocate with personal interpretations of LDS Church History to prove otherwise, from everything I can tell the Church disagrees with you.'

      If you'd like to resubmit your comment minus this type of response, as well as not advocating on behalf of a person who was just excommunicated from the Church for apostate acts I'd be happy to reconsider publishing it.

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    3. Kathryn, I am sorry that you feel threaten by the truth. What I stated did not include personal interpretations of LDS church history...just LDS church history. President Hinckley stated that our history is an open book. I think that the biggest fear that most people have is that the church can sometimes be wrong and perhaps that means everything they believe in is wrong. This is not what I am saying. The church has made mistakes in the past and have been wrong. The church leadership has acknowledged this (to some degree or another). Unfortunately, this has not trickled down very well and many members still believe that the church and every action it has made has been correct and directly influenced by God.

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    4. Not in the least, jrlange. However, this blog is written to strengthen faith and not cause doubt. Your last comment was clearly crafted to undermine, in my opinion. If individuals would like to know the current position of the Church with the most recent clarifications, and not interpretations, of LDS history, etc., I recommend they visit the 'Topics' section of LDS.org.

      You are free to quote anything from that source here and I am happy to post it.

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    5. Kathryn, my response was not intended to cast doubt but to increase understanding and to reduce judgment.

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  5. Thank you for articulating what so many of us are feeling. Well done!

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  6. Thank you Kathryn, another wonderful post. I'm grateful for all you share, so clearly and so eloquently. You are the voice of the majority of us faithful women in this church. The world, and apparently even some members, don't understand how The Lord's church is ran, and it's a shame because they are missing the point of the Gospel and just how amazing the Church is and all of the wonderful things it does for, not just members of the church but for the world.

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  7. You said that Kate Kelly "reached out" to you and invited you to "have a positive dialogue between two people who strongly disagree." You declined because you "would not be having a dialogue with someone whose actions were contrary to the Church."

    I am impressed that Kate extended an invitation to civilly come to more understanding. I'm confused as to why you declined. Do you never associate with anybody who disagrees with the Church? You must live in a very insular world if so. None of us is perfect. Dialogue is healthy. I am sad that you passed up an opportunity to "be the bigger person" and set a good example for all Mormons.

    As a member of the Church who has often felt pain, I know that the best friends are the ones who offer me love in they way I need it and ask for it, not in the way they imagine is correct for me. As the Primary song goes, "I'll walk with you, I'll TALK WITH YOU. That's how I'll show my love for you."

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  8. Ashley,

    Why would you be impressed with someone who desired you to come to a better understanding of their opinions contrary to the doctrine and leaders of the Church -- even if requested with smooth words? I don't really see that as a thing to be praised -- it's what she does and she was hoping to use me to further her cause -- perhaps give her credibility.

    Look, the Church won't talk to her either. Are they setting a bad example? Does that make them un-Christian in your mind, too? If so, then you might want to reconsider your position. And please, try not to confuse showing compassion toward those with genuine faith struggles with those deemed apostates. Not a good idea, in my opinion.

    And if you read all that I wrote in this post, my refusal was to NOT discuss 'publicly' our differences about female ordination -- her advocacy, of which she was excommunicated. I, in fact, reached out to her in return and invited her into a personal friendship, which she has not responded to, yet.

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    1. Actually, yes, I would be impressed that they put forth the effort and considered my confidence valuable. And yes, I think the Church should have met with Kate. Heaven knows she asked many times. If someone is ignored long enough, they will be heard in one way or another. I feel like much of Kate's more "activist" actions would have been avoided if the Church had sat down with her and had a conversation. Talking only to people you agree with just creates an echo chamber and doesn't do much healing.

      So in that same vein, I am trying to understand that you were following your own conscience, and I am glad you reached out in another way. I just fear that after rebuffing her attempt, it was too late.

      And trust me. I have considered, and reconsidered, and reconsidered again, and this is where I stand. Thanks for your reply, and best wishes.

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    2. She wasn't requesting my "confidence" she wanted to take the conversation public. On the other hand, I was offering my friendship, which would have been confidential.

      Please don't blame the Church not giving her credibility by meeting with her as a reason for her apostate acts. You make her sound very spoiled, actually. They refused to meet with her because her acts were/are divisive to the Church and she is leading away members. They made the right decision, clearly, as she is now not a member of the Church any longer.

      Please don't continue to advocate for an apostate. Love her, yes, but don't hurt her any further by encouraging her current actions. You're not helping her, at all. I think it's referred to as 'enabling' and that's never a good outcome.

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    3. As a point of clarification, if you're going to try and brand someone with a scarlet letter, you might as well use the right shade. Kate Kelly was not excommunicated for apostasy. She was excommunicated for "conduct contrary to the laws and order of the Church". Not apostasy. Subtle, but important distinction.

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    4. Ashley: Kate did meet with leaders of the church--just not the ones she was hoping for. Her Bishop and Stake President met with her several times to discuss her feelings. And in my humble opinion---An apostle of the Lord gave her a 15 minute talk especially for her and it wasn't good enough. Do you honestly think that she would have stopped her actions against the church if she had a face to face meeting with President Monson? No, because he would have said the exact same things that her Bishop, her Stake President, and Dallin H. Oakes said--they all told her 'no' and that wasn't the answer she wanted.

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    5. What is your interpretation of President Uchtdorf's talk (which one could argue was also especially for Kate Kelly), where he encouraged questioning and explicitly admitted the fallibility of church leaders and mistakes in the history of the church? https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/10/come-join-with-us

      Unwavering faith is a gift that many of us do not have, and we all have our own journey to take. One cannot impose their faith or conviction on another - we all have to build our own testimonies. Many commenting on this post seem to disagree with the quote in the top caption of that talk - "Regardless of your circumstances, your personal history, or the strength of your testimony, there is room for you in this Church" - saying that there is not room in this Church for those who doubt, at least those brazen enough to doubt publicly. I hope we all can respect those individual journeys and support and love the journeyers without judging them for having an imperfect testimony.

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    6. I don't know all the details (not sure any of us do) and I'm not sure excommunication was the only possible answer... and I also don't see excommunication as the end, but I don't know if this was an issue of merely publicly expressing doubt. I think it was more an issue of someone publicly making demands of the Church.

      We're all individuals commenting here, so I can't speak for everyone, but my personal concern over the issue is a deep lack of true doctrinal understanding on the part of the OW movement. This misunderstanding has led them to believe that equality between the sexes has to do with who receives the Priesthood by ordination and who doesn't.

      Let's look at the beginning of their mission statement:

      "The fundamental tenets of Mormonism support gender equality: God is male and female, father and mother, and all of us can progress to be like them someday." Okay, this part is fine.

      "Priesthood, we are taught, is essential to this process."

      Okay, yes, it is. It is essential that it be present in the process but that doesn't mean it's essential for everyone to receive it. "And no man taketh this honor unto himself except he that was called of God, as was Aaron."

      "Ordain Women believes women must be ordained in order for our faith to reflect the equity and expansiveness of these teachings." Here we go with the demands. In all politeness and courtesy I respect that they believe this way but respecting them doesn't somehow make their belief correct. Equality is a great goal but the issue is blurred when some people think equality is based on something that it isn't. The Lord does not (hard to give enough emphasis to that "not") view his daughters as inferior because they are not ordained to the Priesthood (at least in the way OW is demanding); He simply sees men and women as having different tools to help all in the plan of salvation.

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  9. Helaman 15:3

    On another note, are we sure the Church won't talk to her?

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    1. The Church has made it very clear.

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    2. I think what I meant was, "The Church won't talk to her *at all* in even a loving, compassionate way? Or the Church won't talk to her in a way that just puts them in her snare?" I do think it's maybe a no-win situation where maybe she has been talked to in a loving, compassionate way but she doesn't see it as counting as being talked to unless the people that talk with her convert to her views. But I don't know all the facts. I'd be willing to talk with her via e-mail or whatever and discuss the matter and all its nuances; but, if what Ember is saying is correct, then she doesn't want to hear anything that doesn't agree with her.

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    3. Her local leaders did talk to her, and advise her. This is the proper chain of authority in the Church.

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    4. I thought that might have been the case. That's why I wanted some clarification. To just say you refuse to talk to someone is problematic, although things could very well get to the point where talking no longer does any good.

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  10. I found this to be spot-on with my feelings on the matter. I believe she laid a snare -- and continues to lay them. Any further engagement (from the Church or other opposers) will only add fuel to her fire. She can say, see?!? Look at what a victim I am! I simply cannot see how people are falling for her tactics because they seem so very obvious to me!!! And so very apostate. But something makes me feel that even though this is all so calculated and manipulative, she actually has NO idea what she is really doing -- like she has been that deceived and isn't herself. I see Satan's pattern all over this. I actually cried for her when I watched her MSNBC piece. I think this situation is just so, so sad. I was asked to not ask my (my very nice and civil) questions or comment on the Ordain Women site, so I've come here. My heart is so heavy. However, this has renewed my testimony of the Church and of a living Prophet. More harm would have come if the Church suddenly DID say women could hold the priesthood right now. Then I would believe we had a fallen prophet, I'm afraid. Anyway, I'm rambling. Thank you for your bold, thorough, and loving words.

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  11. Feminists in general think that they can take the obligations of men and cast them as a "right" that they can choose to have, or not, as they see fit. If equality is the goal, then they should be advocating for all women to be REQUIRED to have the priesthood at age 12 along with all the other obligations of the priesthood including the commandment to serve a full-time 2 year mission. Faithful membership requires ALL MEN to recieve the priesthood. Is this what the Mormon Feminists want for women? If not, then it's not equality.



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    1. Yes, I think a lot of this has to do with how "equality" is defined. And, yes, thinking you're not equal with somebody else because you are not given a responsibility they are required to receive may not be the best way of looking at "equality." It's like being in a race and being told by the organizer, "The goal is to get to the finish line and I will do everything I can to help you get there, and everyone that makes it wins. By the way, the men in the race must each carry a piece of dead weight of 50 pounds or more." And then some women look at that and think, "So you're saying I'm not equal to the men? I demand that I be put under the same obligation! Only then will I have the equality I deserve."

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    2. This is a perfect analogy, in my opinion, for this situation. As a very busy woman in the church, I don't understand why a woman would want more responsibilities then she already has. Personally, it's all I can do to keep up with the responsibilities I have already been given.

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    3. "Faithful membership requires ALL MEN to recieve (sic) the priesthood."
      Mmm.... That's NOT true. Men are *expected* to receive the priesthood, but they are not forced. IF revelation ever comes allowing women to receive the priesthood, I don't see any reason to believe it wouldn't be in the same manner as missions (where women can choose it, but it's not expected of all).
      You can't claim things already ARE equal now (where everyone agrees expectations are different for men and women), yet simultaneously claim that the only way for things to be equal in your futuristic dystopian view of OW's goals is to have the EXACT SAME expectations for men and women.
      "Is this what the Mormon Feminists want for women? If not, then it's not equality."
      Why do you feel you can define what is or is not "equality" for someone else? You don't want OW members forcing their view of equality on you (since you probably believe you already have it). So what would make you think that you can force your view on them? Why does it have to be all or nothing?

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    4. Yes, we know that men aren't forced to receive the priesthood. Yes, we know they still have their own personal choice in the matter. BUT, men cannot receive the temple-specific ordinances without having first received the priesthood, while women do receive the temple-specific ordinances without having first received the priesthood. So, in a sense, receiving the priesthood is optional for a man but only if he has no interest in progressing towards exaltation. This is just like saying baptism is required for everyone, but only in the sense that it's required for entrance into the celestial kingdom.

      "So what would make you think that you can force your view on them?" If mentioning a view is the same thing as forcing a view and forcing a view is bad then OW should maybe not mention their views. But maybe it's really okay for someone to point out that the worth and equality of individual souls is not based on whether or not they are required to receive the priesthood. If people understood this they could relieve themselves of the stress they are experiencing by incorrectly thinking women will finally "become equal to the men" if they are ordained to a priesthood office.

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  12. "Asking questions, even uncomfortable ones, does not define apostasy." This is what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about - it's what the Church is all about. It's only when this questioning turns to the disaffected side of the religion and only seeks answer through the works of excommunicated or soon-to-be excommunicated members, then we have to wonder. As the wife of a "progressive," I thank you for your words. We grieve for those who have chosen the path the moves them away from us.

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  13. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9)

    Perfect. Thank you for your thoughts.

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  14. Beautifully written. The former missionary and temple goer (Kate Kelly) should know better and that's what is so frustrating to us faithful members. I am reminded of Aaron and Miriam in the old testament. They didn't want Moses removed from his high calling, they just wanted to be equal. After all, they were older and wiser. well, it didn't go well. The Lord met them both at the tent door. Aaron got an earful and Miriam got leprosy. She was cured only because of Moses' prayers. The valuable lesson here to Ms.Kelly and her followers is don't attempt to counsel the prophet because you are ultimately counseling the Lord and he doesn't need your counsel.

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  15. I know our Church is true and correct. Our Prophet does what GOD directs, not man.

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  16. Lavina,
    Your response to the challenge you faced is exactly what I've been teaching folks on this and similar issues. It seemed to me that the talks in April Conference were themed on it.

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  17. I am troubled by those within the church who are having a hard time with this.

    We are learning that the sifting of the wheat from the tares is well under way.

    The scriptures are to be likened to our lives. If we use them we can learn many things here. 

    1) We can rejoice in a soul being shown eternal truths even though it be through tears or pain...Alma rejoiced upon learning that his son, who was leading others astray, was stricken. Mosiah 27:19...he became dumb, that he could not open his mouth; yea, and he became weak, even that he could not move his hands; therefore he was taken by those that were with him, and carried helpless, even until he was laid before his father. 20 And they rehearsed unto his father all that had happened unto them; and his father rejoiced...

    2) After her excommunication (progression stopped) she did shed tears. However she said "I have no plan to change". Mormon 2:13...for their sorrowing was not unto repentance, because of the goodness of God; but it was rather the sorrowing of the damned, because the Lord would not always suffer them to take happiness in sin. 

    3) Her actions caused/ing church dissention. Alma 46:7... And there were many in the church who believed in the flattering words of Amalickiah, therefore they dissented even from the church; and thus were the affairs of the people of Nephi exceedingly precarious and dangerous...

    4) By her agency she chose excommunication. Alma 29:4 ...he granteth unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life; yea...according to their wills, whether they be unto salvation or unto destruction.

    5) She rebelled against the Lord's instruction and was so rejected...King Saul thought he was doing a better thing by sacrificing spoils to the Lord after his victory (which appeased the voice of his people and his personal wants) but we learn in the Prophet Samuel's unmistakable words that the Lord commanded Saul's obedience...
    1 Samuel 15:22...Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee...

    6) We must be unified or we are not the Lord's. D&C 38:27 Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine. 28 And again, I say unto you that the enemy in the secret chambers seeketh your lives.

    7) She believes what she is teaching to her own detriment...Alma 30:53 And I have taught his words; and I taught them because they were pleasing unto the carnal mind; and I taught them, even until I had much success, insomuch that I verily believed that they were true; and for this cause I withstood the truth, even until I have brought this great curse upon me.

    8) It is sad to have a soul cast out. But as we have a duty to reason with, and strengthen the saints; if you dispute the excommunication process, or any of God's commands, Alma 33:2 ...ye do greatly err, and ye ought to search the scriptures; if ye suppose that they have taught you this, ye do not understand them.

    Excommunication is not solely a punishment. It is scriptural doctrine to lead one back to the truth and protect others who follow it. In fact, an excommunicated person is encouraged to still humbly attend their meetings....If a MAN were leading this group it would have been the same result.

    There have been many scriptures shown here (and countless more that could) so I close in Jacob's words. 2 Nephi 9:40 ...Do not say that I have spoken hard things against you; for if ye do, ye will revile against the truth; for I have spoken the words of your Maker. I know that the words of truth are hard against all uncleanness; but the righteous fear them not, for they love the truth and are not shaken.

    And finally, yes, it was the Lord who commanded she repent...
    D&C 1:38 ...whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.

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  18. "She was excommunicated for "conduct contrary to the laws and order of the Church". Not apostasy. Subtle, but important distinction."

    Semantics...conduct contrary to the laws and order of the Church IS apostasy.

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