The Curious Case of Kate Kelly

>> Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I’ve been mulling over this situation for quite a while, reading lots of opinions both for and against Kate Kelly and her Ordain Women movement. This video by finally pushed me over the edge and I decided I couldn’t put off writing down my thoughts on the matter.

While it is always sad to see a fellow saint leave, whether through their own choice or excommunication, I'm finding it hard to have sympathy for her situation. What I continually see from Ms. Kelly is manipulation of facts and appeals to perceived inequalities. She presents half-truths as fact, and manipulates readers and listeners to try to convince them she was severely wronged. She very expertly presents enough truth to make it seem plausible that she's been wronged somehow, while leaving out key factors to the public that completely change the situation.

 Before you read further, it’s important to take all of this not in the context of your own or my beliefs, but on the beliefs that Ms. Kelly claims to hold. There will likely be things you disagree with, but remember that I’ve based my article on things that she believes based on her active membership in the LDS Church. Please also consider that I’ve tried to establish context for beliefs here, but I’m hardly the authority on Church doctrine. A better resource to clarify that doctrine can be found at and

A few things that really bother me about this video:

1. She claims that "all men are ordained." This is a half-truth. The full truth is that all worthy men can be ordained. No man has an inherent right to the priesthood. All priesthood holders are interviewed before they receive the priesthood, every time they "move up" in the priesthood, and should be interviewed regularly by their various ecclesiastical leaders to ensure they are living worthy of the privilege of holding the priesthood.

1a. On a related note, Ms. Kelly doesn't seem to understand that holding the priesthood means nothing if one is living unrighteously. I say this because her actions appear to be saying she knows better than a prophet of God, so to many members of the Church she appears to be trying to satisfy her own agenda, displaying signs of pride and unrighteous dominion. D&C 121: 35-37 reads:

  35 Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—
  36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
  37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.

Ms. Kelly has blatantly disregarded the requests of her church and her church leaders to cease her efforts. As has been stated again and again by many people, asking questions Is. Not. Bad. Continuing to push your agenda after you've received answers from men you hold as prophets of God who speak for God on earth is bad. When Joseph Smith was translating the Book of Mormon, his friend Martin Harris wanted to take the manuscript to a different city to show it to others he knew. Martin persisted in asking Joseph to pray and ask God to allow him to take the manuscript. God told Joseph no twice until Joseph asked a third time, and Joseph was finally given permission, despite being told no twice already. Martin Harris took the manuscript and lost it. When he returned and Joseph discovered what had happened, Joseph feared he had lost his own soul. He didn’t believe he could ever be forgiven for what had happened. After a time and much repentance, however, Joseph was forgiven.

When we presume to know better than God, the end result is not a pleasant one. Ms. Kelly is using the exact tactics that would render the priesthood entirely useless to her, were she to be ordained.

2. She uses examples in her past to imply that she's currently a fully faithful member of the Church. That's all fine and dandy, but where's the current evidence? In my experience, the people who most strongly speak against the Church are former members. People who, like Ms. Kelly, have been baptized, who may have gone on missions and have likely been to the temple and possibly even sealed.

If she is as faithful as she is trying to show everyone she is, then she would have a stronger understanding on how revelation works, because that's exactly what she claims to still believe in. Instead, she's showing through her actions that she no longer believes key doctrines of the Church, that she knows better than the prophet, and by extension of the beliefs she claims to hold, that she knows better than God.

What concerns me most about her efforts isn't that she wants equality for men and women in the church. What concerns me most is that she is claiming to believe one thing, while going directly against what she claims to still believe.

If she still believes that the prophet speaks for God but doesn't believe he's right in this instance, how can she possibly trust a single thing this or any prophet has spoken as the mouthpiece of God? Does that not fundamentally shake her faith in prophets? It's something I don't understand about this situation, and smacks of hypocrisy because of it.

3. She says this is the moment when we become a 21st century church or keep on “with these 15th century tactics of targeting heretics and radicals." Her word usage and association here is brilliant for her cause, and it’s intentionally used here to elicit an emotional response. Christianity has a sordid past, and she takes advantage of the word association to excellent effect.

However, should a church be condemned for sticking to their doctrine, when in fact said doctrine does nothing to belittle or marginalize women like Sister Kelly claims? Should that church not go after a heretic that is actively leading members of the church away from the doctrine the church teaches? defines a heretic as “someone who believes or teaches something that goes against accepted or official beliefs.” By all accounts, Kate Kelly is currently a heretic.

Keep in mind that the Church has an incredibly strong organization for women within their organization, the Relief Society. I participate in meetings where we decide on things for my congregation, and I cannot imagine making those decisions with only the input of men. I’m rather comfortable saying that the women in my congregation are more important to making decisions than the men are. I know my bishop would never make decisions that affect our ward without first consulting the Relief Society leaders in my ward, because I see him consult them every single week. And I know my experience doesn’t necessarily speak for everyone, but please understand that my experience with women in the church does not mirror what Kate Kelly claims in her organization or to the media.

Finally, I’ve included a link to the letter Ms. Kelly received from her leaders regarding her excommunication. Some may be under the impression that the meeting regarding her excommunication came on with no warning, or that they scheduled the meeting when they knew she wouldn’t be there. This letter clarifies both of these matters and shows that the meeting regarding her possible excommunication was not done with spite or hate, but with the utmost love and concern for her as a member of the church. Read the letter.


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