Episode 112: Kate Kelly on Being Disciplined by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


Join Lindsay, Jerilyn and a studio audience as they speak with Kate Kelly, founder of Ordain Women about her reaction to the news that she will be disciplined by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

14 thoughts on “Episode 112: Kate Kelly on Being Disciplined by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  1. I just wrote a piece of non-scholarly poorly-written material from my non-formally educated mind. But it reflects some thoughts that I hope are useful.

    Membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints


    Social Activism

    Recently local leaders of The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter Day Saints have taken a position to try two individual members, John Dehlin of Mormon Stories fame and Kate Kelly of Ordain Women, for their membership in the church. It is local leaders that conduct Disciplinary Councils in the church. My purpose in sharing this is to share my feelings and experience with membership in the church, activism and the cost for both.

    First of all let me say how very saddened I am to hear about anyone being tried for their membership in the church. I have sat in on disciplinary councils and believe me, I’d rather be doing almost anything else. Some have joyful outcomes but most, when membership is taken away, leaves a very dark hole in one’s spirit. This said, there is still the great hope that that individual will use the experience to make adjustments in their lives and come back into full fellowship or be found without need for further action by their local leaders. A recent example of coming back into full fellowship is a brother that is in my “Gospel Essentials” Sunday School class who had been excommunicated for some time and lost his family while spending some time in prison. He was able to come back into full fellowship. I attended his new marriage to a wonderful lady with plans to get a temple sealing within a year. What joy it was to see the repentance process work for him while attending their wedding. He now knows and has great joy in the promise that he will soon receive all of the blessings this life has to offer and if he stays faithful to the end he will receive all of Heavenly Father’s blessings in the next life as well. Repentance truly is a beautiful process that can work for anyone humble enough to try and do it.

    When an individual joins the LDS church and becomes a member either by growing up in the church or through the miracle of conversion (I consider myself a convert even though I grew up in the church. Others might have had a different experience.) they take on responsibilities by covenant. One responsibility is to follow the Priesthood leadership. Members can disagree with their leadership as long as they do not organize and try to draw others members away because of those disagreements. When an individual or organization draws away from Priesthood leadership, they stand in rebellion and can be challenged for their membership. There would be no real organization in the church if just anyone could lead the membership of the church in whatever direction someone might feel inclined to. What would be the need for Prophets or Presidents? Heaven is a top-down organization with Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost at the head. In the church we have the Godhead’s living representatives to lead the church. We as members are to follow as the Holy Ghost directs us. I also recognize that the leadership is human and are trying to work out their own salvation as all members of the church are. They make mistakes upon occasion as Pres. Uchtdorf pointed out in the October 2013 General Conference title, “Come, Join With Us”:

    “And, to be perfectly frank, there have been times when members or leaders in the Church have simply made mistakes. There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles, or doctrine.
    I suppose the Church would be perfect only if it were run by perfect beings. God is perfect, and His doctrine is pure. But He works through us—His imperfect children—and imperfect people make mistakes.”

    Nonetheless, they are those God has chosen. They did not choose to be the leaders. No one that I know in the church if they really knew what a general authority’s life is like would choose to live the life of a general authority. I believe it to be very similar to sitting in on a daily disciplinary council only with a magnifying glass on your every move. They have great joy and great sadness not to mention giving worldly pursuits up to serve God and the human family 24-7. They take their responsibilities very seriously.

    Social Activism and the church.

    I remember when my wife and I lived in Tucson, AZ. It was not long before moving there that the church went into the current 3-hour block program for meetings. The counsel from the brethren was that now Fathers would have to shoulder more of the responsibility for taking care of young children during meetings and that we might even see babies in Priesthood Meeting. We had a new baby at this time. There was a new calling implemented to help parents during church meetings called a Nursery Leader. My wife and I were called as the very first Nursery Leaders in our ward. So what does this have to do with activism. I noticed when I would take our infant son to Priesthood meeting that occasionally I would need to change a diaper. Unfortunately there was nowhere in the restroom or anywhere else in the church other than the women’s bathroom or the floor to change him on. In order to solve the problem I petitioned the brethren that in order to accommodate fathers and so that men could better perform their new duties at church that it might be a good idea to have changing tables in the men’s lavatory. Not long after, we had a changing table in the men’s lavatory and it caught on church wide. Evidently others felt the same way.

    What would have happened do you think if I had organized a group of mostly Priesthood holders and some women and sent a petition off to the brethren in SLC stating that the church has misled me in my new calling as the Nursery Leader and as a father because they did not have the foresight to have changing tables in the men’s lavatory and I was not going to participate in my new calling or have home teachers or visiting teachers come to my home until the problem is solved? I might even have said, “Why would you mislead my family into thinking that I could possibly perform this calling without changing tables in the first place? If you want to see examples of this problem, take a look at my sons diaper blowout in church during Sunday School Gospel Doctrine class. See the other members gagging next to me. I had no where to go and they are all sympathetic to the cause. By the way I have some 3,000 signatures of fathers and some women that agree with me and it is growing and I have started a blog “Mormons Against Men Changing Baby Diapers in Church without Changing Tables”, and have a Facebook/YouTube following graphically showing the problem. Take this issue to the Lord, the council, or whoever makes these decisions. Until then I am not sure of my testimony, of the truthfulness of anything church related especially the Book of Mormon, the Book of Abraham, Christ as my Savior or Christianity as a whole but more especially you as leaders of the church. I look forward to your reply!

    With Love,


    This is activism. It is how some great social changes have come about in the world. Most of which were or are great causes. The Civil Rights movement in the U.S.A. is a great example. The difference is that the church is not a worldly government institution. If you are a believing member then you know what you signed up for by covenant. You know that it is run and operated by God who can remove anyone leading the church at any time. Not only that, but you have either had revelation from God to that effect or believe in those that have. Here is a couple of examples of how change in the church comes.
    1- Declaration 2 in the D&C came about after years of persecution from outside and inside the church. But it was not this pressure that brought about the change. For three years prior to Declaration 2, the opponents of the church had calmed. The brethren addressed publicly the issues and within the church their position was put forward and virtually none expected things to change. A calm had come. After those tumultuous years the prophet goes to the Heavenly Father and pleads the case. The result was Declaration 2.
    2- It was the same with Declaration 1. For four years prior to Declaration 1 the brethren had quit openly preaching or advocating plural marriage and was counseling the church not to enter into any more. Not all listened, but this was the Brethren’s church wide counsel. Virtually none at the conference when Declaration 1 came expected it. I know that there is more to both of these stories, but it is the pattern.

    Public opinion and being swayed by activism is not how the church operates. Just ask Sonia Johnson the Feminist who fell on the sword for women’s rights during the ERA amendment movement while threatening to have a true Mormon Fast to the death until the church changed its position on the ERA amendment. She was excommunicated and went from a Covenant Daughter of Zion, Wife and Mother to what I consider to be the end result of true Feminism. Interestingly to me is that she comes from the same Ward or Stake that Kate Kelly has her membership in. Not all Feminists are women or lesbians, but to the point of how they perceive relationships ultimately is:

    “During this time Johnson also declared herself a lesbian and began a relationship with a woman. After ending that relationship, she wrote in The Ship that Sailed Into the Living Room that even relationships between female couples are a dangerous patriarchal trap, because two is the ideal number for inequality, for sadism, for the reproduction of patriarchy”, and that relationships are “slave Ships” (a concept from which she derived the title of the book).
    “Nearly four years after I began my rebellion against relation/sex/slave Ships,” she wrote, “experience and my Wise Old Woman are telling me that sex as we know it is a patriarchal construct and has no rightful, natural place in our lives, no authentic function or ways. Synonymous with hierarchy/control, sex is engineered as part of the siege against our wholeness and power.”


    There is always a high price to pay for activism. I think often times, especially when it comes to the church and opposition to the church’s positions on social issues that it becomes a very selfish endeavor for the activist. The”cause” becomes their god.

    A very wise person once said, “you become what you worship.” I’ll let you decide what it means to worship. but for many, it is what they spend most of their time doing. There is no greater cause than to serve God with all of one’s heart, might, mind and strength and we as church members have a vehicle (the church) that our Heavenly Father has set up to serve within. Grant it that the church is operated by us all too human people. The church members’s and God’s objective is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of all of God’s children upon obedience. This is the cause. We are to be obedient to our God and his leaders.

    I recently heard about a situation where a self-proclaimed Mormon Feminist woman dressed in pants wanted to go to the temple with her husband (the handbook of instruction allows people to come in with whatever they are dressed in). She was just off work and did not have time or perhaps the inclination to change into anything else. She knew the temple matron (a friend of her family) that met her at the door and when the matron asked “What gives with the pants?” this person challenged the matron questioning the issue of wearing pants making a scene while embarrassing the matron and her unfortunate husband. All of the temple patrons around them heard the fuss. As an activist her first allegiance was to her feminist cause. She didn’t care at the time about hurting the matron, her husband or others that may have been there wanting and searching for or needing a spiritual experience. All that mattered was the cause. Not allowed to wear pants, well I’ll show them and use this opportunity to show the whole world that I have been wronged and my cause is just no matter who it hurts in the process. Later blogging about the whole ordeal to all like-minded or leaning members, non-members and sympathizers about the whole ordeal. This situation seems rather selfish to me.

    Another like situation is the women standing in line wanting to go to Priesthood Meeting on temple square after they have been told that they will not be admitted. Activists are often times very selfish and self serving for their cause. By definition they are very focused. They are at WAR! So the more media the more attention to their cause the better. Matters not who it is hurting. After all there are always casualties when you are at war.

    In John Dehlin’s case, he was born in the church, I am not that familiar with Kate Kelly, but I would assume she was too. John is now an activist for LGTB issues, Feminism and feels like he was lied to about church history. Most of the history issues have been around since the inception of the church and the inception of it’s detractors. I have listened to all but a handful of his podcasts, over 500 hours, and followed his supposed faith or lack-of-faith journey. Kelly is a feminist dedicated to women receiving the Priesthood among other feminist issues. They both have organized, draw members away from the church and draw members away from church leadership in the name of their cause. It would appear that there is not much care for what the cost is for their cause which is typical of worldly social activists. They look for opportunities to fall on the sword. They would love to be Martin Luther King, Jr., Gahndi or Rosa Parks so they can put an exclamation mark to their activism no matter the cost to their Church, their family, other members of the church or their friends. Their cause has become their religion and their god.

    There is a god of this world. Sonia Johnson reflects what that god looks like. He does not want eternal relationships. This god wants men and women to be single. This god wants to de-emphasize organization and traditional families in particular. This god hates the church and wants to destroy it.

    I would hope that all who read this will consider the consequences of activism against the church. The adversaries of the church are just waiting with open arms for your support. Will you fall into this trap or stay true and faithful to the covenants that you have made, not to man, but to your God?

    Father in Heaven is God. He is anthropomorphic with a body, parts and passions. He is a family God who is all loving and cares for all of his children. He wants us to become like Him. The church is his Kingdom here on Earth with his Priesthood and Saving Ordinances which will ultimately bless all of his children. God’s church, which is God’s Kingdom here on Earth, is preparing a place for the return of our elder brother and savior Jesus Christ.

    So look in the mirror today. If I am becoming what I worship, what am I reflecting and what do I worship? You might be surprised at what you find.

  2. You have some good points, Joel, but your examples have some major flaws.

    Holding the priesthood is comparable to having a changing room? Reminds me of this: http://www.feministmormonhousewives.org/2014/03/unless-a-woman-wants-it/

    With the pants at the temple example, had the matron just FOLLOWED THE RULES and invited the pants-wearing lady in without a single comment, there would’ve been no scene. It seems rather selfish of the matron to go against the rules and challenge the lady to gratify her own curiosity or desire to judge.

    1. You are right about the temple Matron, but I don’t’ think we should discount how very hurtful it became to this Matron and the other people around the situation. This was wrong and selfish on the part of the Feminist Activist. Why not invite the Matron to a private conversation about it? My point remains that activists are seeking attention to their cause at any cost, it does not matter or who they throw under the bus. Family, friend, church members the cause has become their ruling god. They are at war!

      Here is the rest of the story…. The Matron, as I said, was a good friend of this sisters family, She called her 3-times to apologize to no avail. This sister’s response was, “I am never going back to the temple again.”

      Please share with me where you sincerely believe the selfishness really lies?

      1. SERIOUSLY JOEL….. Who did she hurt and who did she throw under the bus. She had on pants…. who cares, she was there to attend. The matron made the issue one of CONTROL. that how the church works…. CONTROL what you wear, speak, eat, associate with, ect.

        1. Assuming you are a member of the church, the minute you were baptized and confirmed a member of the church you covenanted with God to have controls in your life. It is that follow the prophet thing and God’s laws thing. Otherwise your covenant is of no effect. Of course there are controls… we have just entered the realm of silliness… (-;

          1. Joel,
            I agree. It certainly *is* silly to imply that following the prophet or God’s laws would include never wearing pants to church or to the temple.

  3. In the podcast, Kate mentions an article she blogged about the Two Trees theory of female priesthood….can we get a link for that? I can’t remember any other info. Thanks!

  4. Boy oh boy! Oops…I mean, person oh person!
    What a bunch of softball questions. I know some questions were submitted which would have actually challenged Kate’s stance. Why weren’t they asked? The OW machine’s credibility level just got lowered a notch.

  5. The LDS church teaches to pray and find out for oneself if the Church is “true”. Has Kate experienced personal revelation that the church is true and if the answer was “yes”, then is she hoping to change that answer or to add to that or is that answer “yes” mean something different?

  6. I chose to leave the church because I questioned so many of the core doctrines and practices. Im curious why Kate is advocating change and corrections that suit her beliefs and desires but still wants to be Mormon. Why would she want to be a part of a religion that is based on what she wants rather than what supposedly “God” wanted? Why not practice her faith and beliefs where and how she wants rather than change an established one? If there are so many things she doesn’t believe why does she still want to be a part of it?

  7. How would the interaction between her Stake President have changed if she had the priesthood? Even in that situation with men the meeting would have been set up the same. Im curious how she feels her “standing” would change if she was a priesthood holder.

  8. “People are a lot braver when you’re not in the room.” I’m going to church, Kate, in part so that people won’t say things in our ward that they wouldn’t want to say in front of me.

  9. Kate Kelly

    Romans 16:1 , a deaconess in the church at Cenchrea
    Community of Christ 2013 World Conference: Barbara …

    Apr 17, 2013 – Uploaded by CofChrist
    Barbara Carter is ordained to the Council of Twelve Apostles by Apostles … Richard James during the …RLDS

    Community of Christ Names Apostle-Designate | Wheat and …

    May 14, 2011 – Barbara L. Carter is the Apostle Designate. … before 2013 that required the priesthood authority of an ordained Apostle. … I really like the idea of women having a much more significant role in the administration of the CofC.


    Mary Magdalene was recognized by early church fathers as “the apostle to the apostles”

    International Standard Version
    Now I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deaconess in the church at Cenchrea.

    New International Version
    I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae.

    New Living Translation
    I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a deacon in the church in Cenchrea.

    GOD’S WORD® Translation
    With this letter I’m introducing Phoebe to you. She is our sister in the Christian faith and a deacon of the church in the city of Cenchrea.

    Darby Bible Translation
    But I commend to you Phoebe, our sister, who is minister of the assembly which is in Cenchrea;

    Young’s Literal Translation
    And I commend you to Phebe our sister — being a ministrant of the assembly that is in Cenchrea –

    Thayer’s Greek Lexicon

    STRONGS NT 5402: Φοίβη

    Φοίβη, Φοιβης, ἡ (literally, ‘bright’, ‘radiant’), Phoebe or Phebe, a deaconess of the church at Cenchreae, near Corinth Romans 16:1 ((see διάκονος, 2 at the end)).

  10. A quote from Hugh B. Brown, Counselor in the LDS Presidency (under David O. McKay):

    “I admire men and women who have developed a questing spirit, who are unafraid of new ideas as steppingstones to progress. We should of course respect the opinions of others, but we should also be unafraid to dissent—if we are informed. Thoughts and expressions compete in the marketplace of thought and in that competition, truth emerges triumphant. [….] Only error fears freedom of expression. [….] This free exchange of ideas is not to be deplored as long as men and women remain humble and teachable. Neither fear of consequence or any kind of coercion should ever be used to secure uniformity of thought in the church. People should express their problems and opinions and be unafraid to think without fear of ill consequences. [….] We must preserve freedom of the mind in the church and resist all efforts to suppress it.”

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