Excommunicated

nEIGbW8As I’ve dived in to blogging and writing on gender equality issues, I’ve faced some level of pushback. Or, maybe, pushback is too strong. More like raised eyebrows, pointed questions and, too often, silence.

One thing I have not faced:

Excommunication.

But that’s exactly what a Mormon gender equality advocate named Kate Kelly has now experienced. According to this article, Kelly was recently excommunicated for encouraging others to rethink how the church handles gender and leadership. Her church ban is scheduled to be in place for one year.

The email she received contained the following proclamation:

“In order to be considered for readmission to the Church, you will need to demonstrate over a period of time that you have stopped teachings and actions that undermine the Church, its leaders, and the doctrine of the priesthood…”

“You must be truthful in your communications with others regarding matters that involve your priesthood leaders, including the administration of Church discipline, and you must stop trying to gain a following for yourself or your cause and taking actions that could lead others away from the Church.”

Though it sounds like something from medieval times, excommunication is a big deal in the Mormon faith. According to this article:

Mormons who are excommunicated lose all their ordinances, such as the one in which she and her husband were sealed for eternity in the Salt Lake LDS Temple in 2006. [Kelly] previously described excommunication as a kind of spiritual death. “You are being forcibly evicted from your eternal family.”

In response, Kelly sounds both grieved and resolute:

“Mormonism doesn’t wash off,” she said. “But it will seriously negatively impact my worship, my connection to the community, my participation in rituals.

“I think it’s a hideously painful blow to any woman has ever looked around her and recognized the plain and simple truth that men and women are not equal in our church.”

Indeed.

Though I am not a Mormon, I say keep it up Kate (and others). And here’s hoping the church revisits this decision.

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