Kate Kelly: If staying in LDS Church doesn’t ‘spark joy,’ it’s OK to leave

When I was excommunicated from the Mormon church just over a year ago, I was widely quoted as saying, “Don’t leave. Stay, and make things better.”

Many felt that asking women to stay in a church that doesn’t value them as equals was confusing and dangerous. While probably true, at the time I was torn. I didn’t want them to succeed in forcing us out of a space we had fought so hard to claim.


What a fascinating article. I hope this woman has found peace now and the sense of value in her Church.

(Not only that, but some home organizing tips as well!~:D)

Thanks for posting this link of someone struggling with their Faith that found home in a new place.


I feel sorry for Ms. Kelly. I am not Catholic because it ‘sparks joy’ within me. I am Catholic because of a love relationship with Jesus and I am in His church. So if that is her litmus test, she will be searching in vain for that joy.

I agree with you. My thought is this transition she speaks of about joy will be a stepping stone to eventually a Church with the fullness of truth such as the Catholic Church.

It might seem from her thoughts she first needed to break free of the chains of what she perceived as males running the show and the women to something giving her joy.
It might seem also she needed to shed the guilt from leaving instead of trying to stay and help the "rights of women movement’ for lack of a better phrase to move forward.

Good stepping stone to realizing joy can be found in many places and truth could be found in the Church Christ founded, the Catholic Church.

I’m forever optimistic and hopes she does find peace wherever she lands. (I am biased though)


It would be extremely difficult for me to belong to a church that did not believe that Jesus Christ was truly God . Once I believed that, I would search out the Church that Jesus established.

Yup. You can find good people in a lot of places, but the facts of that denomination it’s origin and it’s beliefs would be a huge red flag fro me.
It’s not about feelings at all.
Seek truth.

I agree. With her line of thinking, is it appropriate to leave anything if it no longer “sparks joy”? Does that mean I can walk out on my family because they no longer “spark joy”? I’ve been super busy and stressed at work, can I simply walk out because it no longer “sparks joy”?

I am glad that Ms. Kelly has realized that the “middle way” she had been advocating for some time doesn’t quite work out very well. Honestly, I don’t understand why truth was never an issue for her. I left the LDS church because I discovered it was false. I entered the Catholic Church because I found Truth. It had little to do with “sparks of joy”.

The one thing that I did like about the whole Kate Kelly saga was that the inherent misogyny of the LDS church came out into the sunlight especially when her treatment at the hands of LDS leadership is juxtaposed against the treatment of John Dehlin. John Dehlin was more openly heretical than Ms. Kelly. Yet Ms. Kelly was excommunicated by her bishop a few weeks after she received her notice, but it took almost a year for Mr. Dehlin’s stake president to hold a trial before the stake high council and issue the notice of excommunication.

I agree that the “sparks of joy” statement may be difficult for many. Many of us don’t belong to a faith that teaches us to 'feel" the truth. Given where Ms Kelly is coming from it very well may be the best way for her to describe what it was like leaving the LDS.

I know in my life when things start to leave me without joy, I need to look at me to see what needs changing.

As far as the misogyny…it’s the LDS, how could it be any different?

While I applaud her departure from the LDS Church since I believe it to be an objectively good decision, her reasoning is as faulty as any active Mormon’s for keeping active:

The decision for a person to stay active in the Mormon church should be based on an honest evaluation of its benefits, and not fear.

No. The decision for a person to stay active in a social club should be based on its benefits. The decision for a person to stay active in a church should be based on what is true. Unlike many ex-Mormons here on CAF I never had any problem with the social aspects of Mormonism. I come from a long line of Mormons, I was born and raised in Utah, I’ve held callings of honor and prestige, I have a very large family, I’m a man. I’m comfortable in LDS churches, their form of worship is familiar to me, and I agree with most of their social teachings concerning sex and gender. If I could just perpetually turn off my brain I’d be blissfully happy in my LDS ward until the day I meet my creator.

Would she be happy with an all-male priesthood I wonder. Basis of 'sparks of joy" is a very iffy thing. Some/many? of us may face a crisis in our faith under certain circumstances i.e. dark night of the soul. Sparks may become dulled. Leaving doesn’t sound like a solution for Catholics. It may be more palatable if she left because of lack of truth. Sometimes truth doesn’t bring sparks of joy but it make you knowledgeable.

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