Monday, June 23, 2014

The Mormon Church and Kate Kelly

The Mormon church has made headlines again, only this time no one was running for office. The latest news centers around Kate Kelly, a devout Mormon and feminist who started rallying the church to start ordaining women. She started a group, Ordain Women, and has been recruiting followers to pressure the Mormon church since then. She has also been leading peaceful demonstrations demanding more gender equality in the church's doctrines.

Last month, Kate was to be told the church's leaders were going to decide whether or not to allow her to remain a member. Although she submitted a rebuttal and letters from supporters on her behalf, a three-member male judge and jury decided her fate: she was officially "ex-communicated" as the media is describing it.  Before we discuss sexism and gender issues, let me state that allegedly she is not the first feminist to forcefully break from the church, and that there was a male who was recently ousted for challenging the church as well.

Now let's visit gender issues. It's a shame that a woman can't voice her opinion to a congregation and its leaders. Its a tragedy that the church has decided to eliminate her as well. But the Mormon church is known for its strident ways and its ability to absorb literal translation of the Bible, especially with respect to Women's roles. What's worse is that on the Mormon's website is  a message from the church's Young Women president, Sister Bonnie Oscarson, preaching about compassion and understanding for fellow female members who may go astray. Here is a portion of that message:

“All of us as sisters in the gospel have the responsibility and privilege to support and nourish one another. We have all committed to be disciples of Jesus Christ, and this discipleship should be at the heart of all that we do. Each of us is in a different place in our spiritual journey. Some may struggle with testimony. Some have questions or wrestle with the pressures and trials of life. Those who are struggling for whatever reason should be able to find within our sisterhood a spirit of warmth, inclusion, and love."

It's important to state that the committee who eliminated Kate Kelly has given her the opportunity to return in the future. However, she would have to give up her campaign and distance herself from the group she founded. Tough call, especially since Kate Kelly's only crime was merely to help women progress in the church's hierarchy. 

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