SALT LAKE CITY (TheBlaze/AP) — After much debate and weeks of anticipation, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has officially excommunicated the prominent founder of a Mormon women's organization, spawning an array of responses.
The group, Ordain Women, announced Monday afternoon that Kate Kelly's former church leaders in Virginia notified her of the move after heavily weighing the decision.
Kelly was under fire amid accusations of apostasy — charges waged against members considered to be continually advocating for ideals that oppose church teaching.
Here are just some of the responses from supporters and detractors alike:
May be quiet for a while. Processing the excommunication of Kate Kelly from the LDS church. Still writing though.— Hart St. Martin (@hartstm) June 24, 2014
It's sad that Kate Kelly was excommunicated, but it was justice. And through mercy she can return. 2 Nephi 11:5— Michelle Harris (@_Mychelley) June 24, 2014
Shameful day for organized religion. Don't give up, #katekelly.— Justine McGrath (@justinemcgrath) June 24, 2014
Listening to my coworkers say terrible things about Kate Kelly but I’m too angry to get involved in the convo. WWJD I GUESS? #standwithkate— Megan Gadd (@gaddmegan) June 24, 2014
Kelly has expressed sadness in the wake of the decision.
"The decision to force me outside my congregation and community is exceptionally painful," she said in a statement. "Today is a tragic day for my family and me as we process the many ways this will impact us, both in this life and in the eternities. I love the gospel and the courage of its people. Don’t leave. Stay, and make things better."
According to the Ordain Women website, Bishop Mark Harrison notified Kelly of the decision via email, detailing both the consequences and the conditions that she needs to consider if the can ever be re-baprised into the church.
Here are some of the contents of that email:
" ...our determination is that you be excommunicated for conduct contrary to the laws and order of the Church. This means that you may not wear temple garments or contribute tithes and offerings. You may not take the sacrament, hold a Church calling, give a talk in Church, offer a public prayer in behalf of the class or congregation in a Church meeting, or vote in the sustaining of Church officers. These conditions almost always last at least one year. If you show true repentance and satisfy the conditions imposed below while you are no longer a member, you may be readmitted by baptism and confirmation.
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."
Read the letter in its entirety here.
According to her organization’s website, Ordain Women “believes women must be ordained in order for [the] faith to reflect the equity and expansiveness of [its] teachings.”
Her organization says it is working to provide a forum for Mormon women to discuss inequality in a safe environment, pledging to put willing members in the “public eye” in an effort to urge the church to allow women into the priesthood.
Watch her speak about the excommunication below:
Before the excommunication, Kelly, an international human rights lawyer, said she stands behind everything she has done since forming Ordain Women in 2013. She said she has not spoken out against church leaders or church doctrine, only saying publicly that men and women are not equal in the faith.
Her group drew the ire of church leaders in April when they marched on to Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City and asked to be allowed in a meeting reserved for members of the priesthood, which includes most males in the church who are 12 and older.
They had been told previously they wouldn’t be let in and warned by church leaders to stay off church property to preserve the sanctity of general conference weekend.
Ordain Women pledges to continue its work.