Ordain Women founder Kate Kelly has been excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Kelly said in a prepared statement, “The decision to force me outside my congregation and my community is exceptionally painful. Today is 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.”
Debra Jenson, the spokeswoman for the organization, spoke with UPR last week.
“We are deeply disappointed that the church has decided to take this action against a woman who simply asking questions publicly that women have been silently asking for years,” Jenson said.
In an e-mail to Kelly Monday, her Bishop from Virginia, Mark Harrison, said the following: “…our determination is that you be excommunicated for conduct contrary to the laws and order of the church.”
A disciplinary hearing was held in Virginia about Kelly's case, which she was invited to join in person or via video, according to the letter from Kelly's former Bishop. Also in the letter was a list of times Kelly had been met with by her local leaders.
In the letter, Kelly's former Bishop says she was not ex-communicated from having questions, or believing something different than many other members.
"The difficulty, Sister Kelly, is not that you say you have questions or even that you believe that women should receive the priesthood. The problem is that you have persisted in an aggressive effort to persuade other Church members to your point of view and that your course of action has threatened to erode the faith of others. You are entitled to your views, but you are not entitled to promote them and proselyte others to them while remaining in full fellowship in the Church."
Ordain Women rejects the idea that the church’s doctrine bars women from Priesthood ordination.
“We find no doctrine that says women cannot be ordained to the Priesthood,” Jenson said. “Many of the members, including the founder, feel a strong desire to serve and participate more fully in this organization. We want to be full participants in this religion. That’s the goal, to approach the goal.”
A vigil was held Sunday night at the Church Office Building where 400 of Kate Kelly’s supporters spoke out against the possible excommunication.
Bryan Casselman was there and said Kelly offered the opening words encouraging members to stay in the church.
“A bunch of the leadership each took a turn and talked about how they were going to keep fighting,” Casselman said.
He said John Dehlin, another person facing possible removal from the church, finished up the devotional.
Dehlin’s membership is still pending along with others facing possible excommunication.