Mormon woman speaks out for the right of women to hold the priesthood in the Mormon church and then ... she's threatened with excommunication. But after watching HBO’s Big Love, we all knew this was coming, am I right? Hello, Barb!
Still, according to the AP, Kate Kelly, who led hundreds of supporters in a demonstration for women’s rights in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in April, was blindsided. Kelly’s bishop mailed her a letter stating that her disciplinary hearing is set for June 22 to decide whether she can continue to worship and socialize with her church body. As the leader of Ordain Women, she is accused of apostasy, which, in this case, basically means repeatedly asking for equal pastoral rights for women in public, which goes against church teachings.
This is the first such high-profile excommunication since 1993 when the LDS church disciplined six Mormon writers who weren’t so sure about church doctrine anymore, booted five members permanently and temporarily excommunicated a sixth.
"The LDS Church is not a democratic institution, and has never claimed to be," says Armand Mauss, a retired professor of sociology and religious studies at Washington State University. "So such actions are interpreted by church leaders as attempts to displace or undermine their legitimate authority over church policies and teachings."
Experts say the LDS church is cracking the whip to remind members of the boundaries that come with worshipping. But the church says otherwise.
In certain cases, local leaders step in to clarify false teachings and ensure other members aren't misled, the church's statement said. Disciplinary hearings only come after members are counseled and encouraged to change behavior.
"Some members in effect choose to take themselves out of the church by actively teaching and publicly attempting to change doctrine to comply with their personal beliefs," the statement reads. "This saddens leaders and fellow members."
For Kelly, if she is excommunicated the decision might not be a life sentence. However it won't matter because she is refusing to attend the hearing. Instead she plans to send nice notes to all of the Ordain Women members, sharing how they've inspired her and strengthened the movement with their faith.
"Disciplining arbitrarily and unfairly one person is not going to stop this movement," Kelly said.
Not everyone is meant to be on the right side of history, folks.
Image via Getty.