“…A council of this sort is akin to…my own funeral”
June 11, 2014 5:15 PM Subscribe
High-profile progressive Mormons Kate Kelly, the founder of the Ordain Women movement
), and John Dehlin, most well-known as founder of Mormon Stories Podcast (previously and previouslier
), have been invited by the LDS Church to disciplinary councils that will most likely result in their excommunication from the church
The LDS Church has not commented (and typically does not) on these specific cases, but the representative Mormon Newsroom has published a post responding generally to questions regarding disciplinary procedures
Kate Kelly has posted the invitation to her disciplinary council from her Bishop
(similar to a pastor or parish priest in scope
) as well as an earlier letter from her Stake President
(who is the ecclesiastical head of a stake, which is similar to a Catholic deanery or a small diocese
) advising her of her informal probation from the church on the Ordain Women site. Also on the Ordain Women site, Kelly has written her thoughts
, of which a snippet is provided below:
Excommunication in our church is akin to spiritual death. The life-saving ordinances you have participated in like baptism, confirmation, and temple sealing are moot. In effect, you are being forcibly evicted from your forever family.
Given the gravity of the situation, I feel like being invited to a council of this sort is akin to being invited to my own funeral. Reading stories like this one in the New York Times are like reading my own obituary.
When all is said and done, and the deep mourning process for me and for thousands of Mormon women has passed, I feel confident that the joy I have experienced for participating in Ordain Women will vastly outweigh my sorrows.
(John Dehlin has not shared the full text of any letters received from ecclesiastical leaders, but he has written a short statement on Mormon Stories
, speaking to the impact to his family.)
For some progressive
Mormons, the disciplinary councils for these two echo back to the "September Six
", where six prominent Mormon intellectuals writing on topics such as (but not limited to) the feminine divine, women and authority within the Mormon church, and the legacy of polygamy and folk magic in the early church, were disfellowshipped or excommunicated from the church in 1993. Earlier that year, the LDS Church's then-Elder Boyd K. Packer (who is currently the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the second-highest governing body within the LDS Church
) gave an internal talk discussing the threat to the church from LGBT, feminist, and scholarly Mormons
, establishing the tension with which many progressive members still grapple to this day.