Feminist Mormon Kate Kelly appeals excommunication

Downtown Salt Lake City, home of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints headquarters, Salt Lake City, UT, March 23, 2012 | Photo by Julia Peterson / Flickr, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Kate Kelly, founder of the Mormon feminist group, Ordain Women, appealed her recent excommunication from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Wednesday by sending a formal appeal letter to the LDS stake president presiding over the area in Virginia where she used to live.

Kelly’s story made global news in June during her disciplinary process in which her lay-leaders, including her bishop, put her on informal probation, requesting that she halt her public involvement in Ordain Women, an organization Kelly founded that seeks equality for women in the LDS church.


Read more: Post excommunication; 2 Mormon feminists keeping on


Kelly’s Wednesday appeal letter, to the next-highest authority, the stake president, contained among other things, a chronology of where she felt like she was mistreated in her disciplinary process and a list of procedural errors which Kelly believes have occurred.

This appeal letter was submitted with over 1,000 letters of support, Kelly wrote, including a letter from her husband and a brief written by Ordain Women member Nadine Hansen.

Kelly has stated publicly that after appealing to the stake president she plans to continue the appeal process to the highest authorities in the LDS Church, the church’s governing body, the First Presidency.

Before her excommunication, Kelly’s leaders told her in a May 22 email letter that she was not required to change her thinking or the questions she might have regarding the ordination of women, but that she needed to make it a private matter and work through it with her bishop or branch president. They also asked her, among other things, to halt her involvement with Ordain Women and to take down the website.

Kelly could not do this in good conscience, she said in a June 21 letter to her leaders.

“I will continue to lead Ordain Women, the group I founded. I will not take down the website ordainwomen.org. I will not stop speaking out publicly on the issue of gender inequality in the church … I cannot repent of telling the truth, speaking what is in my heart and asking questions that burn in my soul.”

On June 23, she was sent a letter informing her that she was excommunicated.

In the excommunication letter, which Ordain Women and Deseret News, among others, published to the public June 23, her Bishop wrote that an excommunication almost always lasts at least one year, but if Kelly shows true repentance and satisfies a list of conditions she may be re-admitted.

Also, the letter said that Kelly had 30 days to appeal this decision by specifying, in writing to her stake president, alleged errors or unfairness.

Ordain Women spokesperson Nancy Ross said that aside from Kelly’s excommunication, there have not been any other disciplinary councils against others associated with Ordain Women that she is aware of in the organization.

“A lot of people are being called in to talk to their bishops,” Ross said, “but I’m not seeing those result in a lot more disciplinary councils.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints officially states that church discipline is an inspired process designed to help members be purified from sin and return to the church, and receive its full blessings.

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26 Comments

  • Steve July 24, 2014 at 7:29 am

    We’ll, that articles wasn’t biased at all…

  • Terry July 24, 2014 at 7:54 am

    Just more fallout from an organized Religion who is actually a Corperation .
    And other

    • Brian July 24, 2014 at 9:30 am

      In today’s world, how (exactly) can you be an “organized religion” without having a non-profit corporation attached to it? Are you even aware of the existence of the IRS and US laws? This sounds like the drivel spouted by denver snuffer… another apostate.

  • Voice of Reason July 24, 2014 at 8:19 am

    Please stop. This isn’t news. It has never been newsworthy. Anyone who thinks it is needs to reexamine their own life.

    • Dana July 24, 2014 at 8:48 am

      You call yourself the “Voice Of Reason” yet you want to shut everyone down??
      Are you the thought police? The “Official Church Censor?” That’s the problem with any organized religion…they don’t want the sheep questioning their so called “authority.” Organized religion can’t have you doing your own research or you’ll realize what a bunch of hocus pocus malarky you’re being fed. They just want you to pay your tithes and shut up.

      • Marcia July 24, 2014 at 4:11 pm

        Wow, as a believer that hurts. The more I research the more I believe God lives and loves us all. It’s not for everybody, but most organized religions do a lot of good for people. There are individual exceptions of course.

    • SING4MONEY July 24, 2014 at 10:47 am

      YEP..SHUT UP AND DONT TALK ABOUT IT.

    • Chris July 24, 2014 at 12:28 pm

      Who are you to decide what is “newsworthy”? If readers are interested in it, it is news. You are apparently embarrassed that your church is receiving unflattering attention. Looks like you are the one who need to reexamine your own life.

    • Flyaway July 24, 2014 at 3:00 pm

      Sounds like a statement someone would have made back in the 70’s when African Americans asked to be ordained into the Priesthood.

    • Marcia July 24, 2014 at 4:18 pm

      It is very newsworthy to me. I think it is interesting how people like Kate Kelly and others think and respond to opposition of their personal views.l Good dialogue, debate communication enhances our understanding of each other. Speak on!

  • Selfrightlus July 24, 2014 at 9:41 am

    Funny they don’t honor the priesthood. The don’t believe the core value of the authority. Yet want to belong to the kingdom of God thinking they can change his design. Just because it works with man and the falseness of our judicial system( where layers can lie and cheat their way of thinking on to a none worthy judge. You can not can the Nature and design of the plan which was designed before the world was. For God is a respector of no man or women. The only thing these women have brought in equality is the disrespect normally reserved for the opposite sex. They have take something worshiped and desirable to nothing more than being like the under class ( the male species) Bless me Fatherr I have sinned.

  • Debbie Snowcroft July 24, 2014 at 9:42 am

    From the article: ”

    Before her excommunication, Kelly’s leaders told her in a May 22 email letter that she was not required to change her thinking or the questions she might have regarding the ordination of women, but that she needed to make it a private matter and work through it with her bishop or branch president. They also asked her, among other things, to halt her involvement with Ordain Women and to take down the website.”

    So her excommunication had nothing to do with being “bad.” This was strictly a political maneuver by the church — and attempt to shut her up.

    Why would anyone even want to be a member of such a woman-hating, backward church?

  • Why oh why? July 24, 2014 at 11:06 am

    Why would she want to be a member of this church? I liken that to a Jew wanting to be a member of the Nazi party in WWII. Why?

  • Alvin July 24, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Of course she will appeal, she’s an attorney specializing in human rights. I thought her 15 mins of fame was over with already.

  • Real Life July 24, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Why, as a femininist, would you even want to get back into a group that shows absolutely zero respect for women? And does so in the supposed name of God? Wake up.

  • Rondo July 24, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    I read all the linked documents. Funny how they’re trying to treat this like a legal case. Reminds me of lawyers in the scriptures who tried to cross church leaders in their words.

    The whole thing reminds me of this scripture: they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people.

  • Incognegro (Josh Dalton) July 24, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Rome (CNN) — Mariam Yehya Ibrahim, the Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan because of her faith, arrived in Rome on Thursday, the Italian Foreign Ministry said.
    Ibrahim “will remain in Italy for a short time and then will travel on to the United States,” the ministry said.
    Sudanese authorities had said Ibrahim was guilty of rejecting Islam in favor of Christianity, but her conviction for “apostasy” and adultery was overturned last month on appeal, following weeks of international controversy.
    After her release, she and her husband, American Daniel Wani, were detained for two days, accused of falsifying travel documents after going to the airport in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum. They were trying to fly to the United States with their baby daughter, who was born while Ibrahim was in prison, and toddler son.
    Now their dream of starting a new life in the United States appears to be on the verge of becoming reality.
    Not only that, but Ibrahim and her family met with Pope Francis at his private residence in Domus Santa Marta in Vatican City.
    During the meeting Thursday, which lasted about half an hour, Ibrahim thanked the Pope for his and the Roman Catholic Church’s support and prayers, the Vatican said.
    He, in turn, thanked Ibrahim and her family for their “courageous witness and constancy of faith.”
    Francis also played with the children, 18-month-old Martin and 2-month-old Maya, and greeted the Italian diplomats involved in her journey to Italy.
    With this gesture, the Vatican said, the Pope “desired to show his closeness, attention and prayer also to all those who suffer for their faith, in particular to Christians who are enduring persecution or limitations imposed upon their religious freedom.”
    Ibrahim has said that her mother, an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian, raised her as a Christian.
    She remained steadfast in her faith despite the threat of a death sentence, saying at her sentencing hearing in May: “I am a Christian, and I will remain a Christian.”

  • Marcia July 24, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    I marvel that intelligent woman as Kate Kelly and the other Ordain Woman supporters have such a big blind spot. Excommunication was for drawing up a manifesto of her own doctrine and actively trying to promote it by setting up an organization, maintaining a website and organizing protests. This is far more than asking questions or pleading for more input. I also marvel at the blind spot some LDS men have when they disrespect women’s valuable input and forge ahead ecclesiastically puffed up in their leadership roles or in their homes. Fortunately, current prophets and apostles lead with humility and inspiration as do the majority of the Bishops and Stake Presidents I know.

  • God July 24, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    Sorry guys, I just wanted to let you know that all of the churches are equally true. So if you don’t agree with the one you’re in, join a different one.

  • PatriotJane July 24, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    It is over little girl. You lost. Go away.

    • D Hodja July 25, 2014 at 11:51 am

      Little girl? She is actually a grown women who happens to be well educated, a civil rights attorney, and well traveled. Your comment suggests your part of the problem. Perhaps it’s time to read some history and realize the same religion banned blacks from the Priesthood for 125 years. “little girl” demonstrates your the finished product of indoctrination that hurts others, with some education and trips outside Utah you might improve yourself.

  • JM July 25, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Yet, Swallow, Shurtleff, Reid, Hammons and Johnson all remain temple worthy and in good standing

    • Super Grover July 25, 2014 at 7:14 pm

      That’s an assumption, I presume.

  • D Hodja July 25, 2014 at 11:45 am

    Perhaps the real question we should all be asking is how an entire State and group of people has been indoctrinated to believe its okay that women aren’t treated equally.

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