Disciplinary council for the founder of the Ordain Women movement in the LDS church

Last week, I heard of the news that Kate Kelly and John Dehlin had received letters from their local LDS leadership that they will be subject to disciplinary councils and are facing excommunication for apostsy. Ms. Kelly is the founder of the Ordain Women movement and Mr. Dehlin runs the website Mormon Stories and recently posted an interview with Sandra Tanner, a long-time prominent critic of the LDS church. Mr. Dehlin has also publicly expressed his disbelief in some of the truth claims of the LDS church but still has a desire to be a member of the LDS church. Over the weekend, it appears that Mr. Dehlin’s stake president is backtracking a bit in an effort to de-escalate the situation. I have mixed feelings, and have one question and a few observations.


  1. From what I heard, Ms. Kelly’s disciplinary council will be before her bishopric (3 men) while Mr. Dehlin, as a Melchizedek priesthood holder, will be brought before a disciplinary council at the stake level (15 men). My question to Mormons and ex-Mormons who have been in leadership positions, is it correct that a woman, by virtue of not holding the Melchizedek priesthood, always has a disciplinary council before her bishopric and not before the stake high council?

  2. Ms. Kelly recently moved from her ward in Virginia to, I believe, Utah a few months ago. I understand her records have not been moved to her new ward and her disciplinary council is being called in her old ward. She is unable to return for her disciplinary council so she will not be able to present any kind of defense to her old bishop.

  3. When I was LDS, I often heard about how women are not treated any differently than men. However, my personal experience was quite different. Ms. Kelly’s treatment indicates to me, especially as compared to Mr. Dehlin, that there are indeed differences. Sorry, but I think that holding on to her membership record and holding a disciplinary council in absentia by a former bishopric is really not all that Christlike or fair.

  4. I also recently learned that there were a couple of opponents to the LDS church priesthood ban against blacks who were excommunicated. One of them, Byron Marchant, was excommunicated after he cast a dissenting vote at General Conference against sustaining a church leader. Mr. Marchant was initially called to a disciplinary council after he announced he was going to protest the priesthood ban. The council was postponed and Mr. Marchant cancelled his protest. He then cast a dissenting vote at General Conference and was quickly excommunicated. He was excommunicated about a year before the priesthood ban was lifted.


So is history going to repeat itself? Will Kate Kelly be excommunicated and the LDS church will ordain women to the priesthood in some form or fashion in a few years?

The LDS church certainly has precedent to ordain women in some fashion. LDS women in the early church did give blessings of healing to each other and to children. I am not aware that they ever gave blessings to men, but they did give blessings. This happened until the 1920’s - 1940’s.

Women also administer the priesthood ordinances of washing and anointing to other women in the temple. It seems that LDS women do receive the priesthood when they are endowed in the temple, even though it is not explicitly stated.

LDS women could be ordained to the priesthood. There is a framework for it in the temple and historical precedent for women administering blessings outside the temple. The LDS church could “return to its roots” in a sense and give LDS women the ability to bless each other and their children again.

My ex-wife was Mormon and I led her to the truth. Hopefully this action will enlighten these women to join the one true Christian church.

I don’t see how Kate Kelly is a Mormon apostate. (?)

But yes, Mormonism can and does change. They have an all lay priesthood and there really isn’t a sensible reason for women to not be included in their priesthood.

The most often given reason is that priesthood is a male role, comparable to mothering is a female role. Never made any sense to me, as fathering is a male role and that doesn’t change because a Mormon man has “priesthood authority”. Mothering wouldn’t change if Mormon women were priesthood holders.

I don’t either. I don’t see how asking for a dialogue on ordaining women to the LDS priesthood is apostasy.

I agree in that there is no reason to exclude women from ordination since women are basically given the priesthood in the temple endowment. If women are ordained, maybe male priesthood holders won’t have to sit in Relief Society meetings and the women can make their own decisions about their own organization. Heaven forbid women be allowed to make decisions for their own organization!

I never bought into the whole men have the priesthood and women have motherhood thing either. Motherhood is a woman’s role, but the male equivalent is fatherhood not priesthood. In the LDS church, men have priesthood authority and women just have to obey that authority. They even covenant to do so in the temple.

Kate won’t be excommunicated and the church will never ordain women, just as they won’t return to polygamy once it’s legalized. I also believe the church will never receive another revelation just because it has learned its lesson from having to disposition and rationalize prior revelations. At most, it’ll make declarative statements like the proclamation on the family and then vote to canonize it as doctrine. Gone are the days of revelations like the ones JS claimed he received.

As a side note…my interest in Kate’s story has more to do with the stake president in Virginia since he was my bishop for some time and was a contributing factor to my exit from the church.

The church is weak, caves to social pressure, and cares most about its public image. Kate will be fine.

With these disciplinary councils, I think the LDS church put itself in a lose-lose situation. If they don’t excommunicate Kate, they will look weak. If they do excommunicate her, they look like they are not really serious about their latest “big tent” moves to be more inclusive.

I think they will ex Kate because the powers that be do not like uppity women. There are so many LDS women who WANT to see her exed, including many of my TBM friends who spent many years in YSA wards and have careers. After all, she doesn’t know “her place” or “her role” as a woman because she is a successful attorney, wife and mother who speaks her mind. Honestly, it makes me wonder how many of the women of my last ward despised me because I am a woman with a successful career who probably made more money than many of the men in the ward.

I found this article from the NYT yesterday every interesting. It makes me wonder if some purging is going to happen to get members “back in line”.


Either way it goes, it is going to be a PR nightmare for them, and I’m sure they didn’t think they would have to go into “damage control” mode as fast as they have had to.

My personal opinion is (ready to roll your eyes…lol)… If they would just have had a closed door meeting with Kate, and even John, it wouldn’t have become as big in the media.

Think about it. A closed door meeting, even if they didn’t get what they wanted would have looked alot better than sending disciplinary council letters to people who are already outspoken individuals, and have an established following. They’re already miffed, let’s send a letter like this…of course they would go public with it.

At least at the end of a simple meeting, the news conference would have said something like, “We had a good discussion, but, unfortunately, couldn’t come to an agreement.”

They were asking for a PR nightmare when they sent those letters. It’s Mrs. O’Leary’s cow and the Great Chicago Fire Utah style.

I also believe you are right in the idea of scaring people to tow the line so to speak, but, unfortunately, in the information age we are in, people might start doing more research, and increase the exodus already in full swing.

My understanding is that Mr. Dehlin is being pursued because he is advocating the LDS Church change their doctrine on same sex marriage.

I agree this is a PR nightmare for them. It is akin to a Catholic Bishop denying communion to a politician who supports abortion and gay marriage. If Nancy Pelosi were denied communion it might make the news, but I guess Ms. Pelosi doesn’t have to worry about that happening.

I’ve never bought the idea that the Relief Society is a women’s organization, it’s a women’s program overseen and directed by the priesthood. Men can shut it down cold, they’ve done it in the past.

I agree I think Kelly will be excommunicated and Dehlin will not. With Kelly the church didn’t even follow it’s own rules for disciplining members, with that level of disrespect for Kelly I don’t see anything other than excommunication.

Yes, Relief Society, the largest women’s organization in the world where men make all the decisions. :rolleyes:

Kate’s disciplinary council was held last night but a verdict has been postponed. I guess her “bishop” needed to call the LDS PR department before making a decision.

There were quite a few gatherings of support for Kate. A friend of mine attended the one in Seattle.

She was excommunicated:



Thanks. I hadn’t checked this afternoon since we’ve been at the beach. No surprise. The suits don’t like women who speak their mind. I do feel bad for her and her family. They yanked her parents’ temple recommend because they support their daughter. Another example of the LDS church not really being all about families.

I think it’s a raw deal for her, and they had it planned that way from the start.

Why else put a hold on her membership records when she moved half way across the country? They stacked the deck so she wouldn’t show up.

I wouldn’t want to be in the PR department after this one. :shrug:

I also read on another site (trying to find it) that a lawyer friend of hers wrote a brief in support of her case, which included quotes from the “handbook” showing where they didn’t follow the rules set forth.

Found it!! :smiley:


Praying for her.

She did get a raw deal. The holding of her membership record was ordered from high up. You are right that it was all orchestrated from SLC. This excommunication is not a “local matter”. Same for John Dehlin and Rock Waterman. It was awful that in order for her to attend the council via Skype, she had to be alone in the room. No support allowed from her husband and parents.

The good thing for her is that she is no longer allowed to were garments or pay tithing. She’ll get a nice raise and be able to wear tank tops in the summer. She does need our prayers. I really hope that Kate and her family use this experience to see what the LDS really is about and completely leave.

Thanks for the link. It will be an interesting read.

I had no idea about the Skype part!! That is rotten.

I do feel sorry for her and her family though. She wasn’t questioning things to lead her out, she was questioning things in order to keep her in. Their answer was, “There’s the door…” Shameful really.

I am really curious as to what will happen with Dehlin next week. I think he has a better chance to not get exed. If the LDS church does not ex Dehlin, the unequal treatment will be blatant.

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