Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Links to People Who Explain It Better Than I Do: Ordain Women, Excommunication, and Prophets

I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The Mormons (nickname). I love my Church and I'm proud to be a member --more than that, I'm proud to be a woman in the Church. I truly believe that the true Gospel of Jesus Christ is found in the organization of my church, that the doctrines of salvation are provided through the ordinances the Church provides. The gospel of Christ means everything to me!

For eight years, I've been following blogs and discussions online about feminism and Mormon women; At times (mostly at first) I've been right in the fray and most recently (since 2010?) I've just hid out on the fringes. I'm part of an LDS women's faith forum online that encourages us to share the gospel through social media, I used to edit (and helped create) a website purely discussing Mormon women, and I find myself constantly aware of all that is going on in Mormon feminist circles (although not as thoroughly as I once did).

There's been a lot of media attention upon some members of my church and especially upon a new organization called Ordain Women. This is a group of women (and men) who desire for all worthy females to be ordained to offices of the Priesthood. Only worthy male members may be ordained to the offices of the Priesthood in my Church. (I don't know if I've written about this? I've been avoiding it on purpose and have left my comments to Facebook). I saw this coming back in 2007. It did not surprise me at all, although I was surprised at how quickly they gained a following. I guess it shouldn't have, since they've been building this following since the '90's. Perhaps the '70's, if we were to go back further...? But I digress.

One of their most prominent leaders was recently excommunicated from our church. She claims she is devastated (I don't doubt it), and I'm not here to question her pain. I know why the Church did it (she's provided all the letters from her local leaders to the media) and I understand why they did. There is no mystery or secret, here. It's written plainly in those letters, church letters to OW, and many news releases from the church.

The gist is this (I'm simplifying for time): Members of our religion are absolutely allowed to question things, to ask questions, to seek counsel, to seek personal revelation, to seek answers, to work through hard things, to repent, to apply the Atonement of Christ to better their lives and rid themselves of sin. Christ restored His church through a 14 year old boy who took the time to ask a question! We love questions! However, we are not allowed to create organizations to protest the Church, to refuse the answers given by prophets with more protests, and to tell prophets they are wrong about the revelation they have received for the whole church. OW has done this, though. They have received the answers from the prophets/apostles and were asked to stop protesting. They didn't stop. Instead, they vamped up their media coverage, staged more protests, and began proselyting to gain more members.

For a better understanding about how this works (or should work), please read the following blog posts. They do a much, much better job than I do at explaining all of the nuances and details and frustrations of OW, excommunication in general, and why Prophets and Apostles are the only ones who make the decisions for the whole church.

At the end is a link to a video from one of our women leaders requesting kindness in the wake of this. Trust me, dear reader, I'm not gloating over the excommunication. I've seen excommunication in my life, and even though it can be a very merciful thing (releasing one from the responsibilities and consequences of breaking covenants), it is devastating and overwhelmingly hard --for the one excommunicated and for their loved-ones. I do not wish this on people who love the gospel. I don't want people to leave the Church. I've been accused of it in the past, and I need to set the record straight: I want people to stay and to do exactly what the rest of us are doing: learning, growing, and trying. Not one of us is perfect, not one of us is without questions or pain.

Mormonism, Feminism, and Being Snarky 

The Mormon Controversy and Why It's Hurting More Than Feminists 

Why I Love Church Disciplinary Councils

Finding Simple Truths Amid Chaos

What Next? How to Move Forward From Excommunication

Sister Oscarson video (it's short, about a minute)

1 comment:

cheryl cardall said...

I have to say I am grateful to Kate Kelly. Not because I agree with her because I do not. No I am grateful for her because she has made me dig deep, she has helped me solidify my beliefs and my own testimony of the priesthood. I would consider myself a feminist in the most conservative sense of the word. I believe there are some cultural things in the church that could change. I don't believe the doctrine of the priesthood should change. Equality doesn't mean our roles are the same. I know I have access to the power of the priesthood regardless of whether I hold an office in the priesthood