How Mormons Respond to Theological Dissent

The LDS church recently excommunicated Kate Kelly, a feminist whose organization, Ordain Women, had been aggressively lobbying for women to be admitted to the Mormon priesthood. The aftermath has been interesting, and might offer Catholics some valuable food for thought concerning the logic of heresy and excommunication.

I’m not interested in adjudicating the issues over which Kelly was excommunicated. In the Catholic Church I take the matter to be settled, and personally I was never bothered by an exclusive priesthood. If the ancient Israelites limited their priestly class to the sons of Levi (Why Levi? What did he do?), it must be possible to be special without being a priest. Lobbying for an invitation to a sacrificial calling is highly distasteful for anyone. But anyhow, as a former Mormon, I would feel quite cheeky telling practicing Latter-Day Saints how to order their affairs.

Kelly’s case is more interesting in what it shows us about the difference between “asking probing questions” (which is what Kelly claims she was doing) and veering into formal heresy. It’s also interesting in what it teaches us about the spiritual hazards of throwing off authority, even if (as in this case) the authority in question is a false one.

Reading the newspapers, you might suppose that former Mormons are all miserable, bitter people who are undergoing years of therapy. Really, that’s just the noisy ones. Growing up Mormon is a wonderful thing, and many of us regard our former church with great affection and respect. I certainly do.

Nevertheless, I understand why some are prone to bitterness, because leaving a religious community is hard. I grew up in the LDS faith, and am descended from generations’-worth of Latter-Day Saints, so Mormonism really is the faith of my fathers. My own departure had nothing to do with women’s issues, but I did spend some agonized years wondering whether my continued desire for Mormon community could be reconciled with my doubts about the legitimacy of Mormon authority. I decided it couldn’t. That decision pre-dated my Catholic conversion by several years.

Leaving the Mormon faith is painful, because if you were an active Mormon in your childhood and youth, that tends to be stamped pretty deeply into your life and identity. Mormons are amazing builders of community. They instill a real sense of belonging in their believers, which helps in navigating the many uncertainties of modern life. Along with that, their attentiveness to the moral and social questions of the day enables them to do an especially good job of providing guidance, instilling meaning and order in the lives of their faithful. It’s great to grow up with the security of a meaningful and prudent moral outlook, which is confirmed and supported by a community of decent and trustworthy people.

You’ll discover the flip side of that clarity and cohesion if you find yourself doubting. It’s a package deal; the beliefs support the community and vice-versa. So if you grew up in a Mormon ward, the faith is far more than just a “belief system” to you. It’s your family and your lineage and your home. But, the beliefs still matter. It’s impossible to live a life of integrity if you’re just pretending.

I saw leaving as a signof self-respect, but also of respect for my former co-religionists. They believed certain things. I didn’t. Religious bodies can’t help anyone unless they have those kinds of rules and understandings. Honest people are up-front about where they stand.

Now, compare that attitude to the one evidenced by newly-excommunicated Kate Kelly. If you Google her name, you find sensational headlines, where she boldly claims that God is on her side and that, in effect, she’ll return to the Mormon faith when they’re willing to come to her. Also some things like this, using her story as fodder for a reflection on how religious people are bigots. All the usual media outlets were delighted to spring on yet another religious-people-are-sexist-and-intolerant story.

Is this how people behave with respect to a religious body they claim to love? More importantly, is this the posture of a true believer, who acknowledges the authority of said religious group? As a former Mormon myself, I couldn’t help but feel a little ashamed on her behalf.

The point becomes still clearer in reading her personal manifesto, put forward by Kelly herself and passed around by her followers.  To me it paints a clear picture of someone who is culturally attached to Mormonism but not prepared to submit to clear instructions from its authorities. She gushes at length about how much she loves being a Mormon (“Go Cougars!”), but ends with a terse statement that “I’m right, and I’m not backing down.” This, to me, is the true test. In Catholicism we refer to a similar sort of open rejection as “formal heresy.” It’s properly seen as a form of self-excommunication.

Though I’m clearly never going back to Mormonism, I admit to feeling some level of envy at the clear way in which the LDS authorities took a stand against Kelly’s open defiance. How might the Catholic Church be stronger if we could be similarly clear? I understand that there are cultural differences that would make that level of clarity difficult or perhaps impossible at the current moment, but there can be no doubt that Catholic culture has been damaged by our refusal to treat formal heresy as the abandonment it really is.

Until that changes, we can look to the Mormons for an interesting template for what heretics can look like, and how we might deal with them.

Rachel Lu

By

Rachel Lu, a Catholic convert, teaches philosophy at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota where she lives with her husband and four boys. Dr. Lu earned her Ph.D. in philosophy at Cornell University. Follow her on Twitter at rclu.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    Bl John Henry Newman put the following questions about the English Church of his day,

    “What is the faith of the English Church?
    Is it necessary, or possible, to believe anyone but a professed messenger from God?.
    Is the English Church, does she claim to be, a messenger from God?
    Does she impart the truth, or bid us seek it?”

    Those question can obviously be asked of any religious body and their answers will be very various, ranging from the Catholic Church to the Society of Friends.

    He poses more questions, closely related to the foregoing,

    “What is a kingdom? And what is meant when Scripture calls the Church a kingdom?
    Is it a visible kingdom, or an invisible?
    Has not the One Church of Christ one faith?
    Can a Church be Christ’s which has not one faith?”

  • ForChristAlone

    #1 “Mormons are amazing builders of community. They instill a real sense of belonging in their believers”
    – something Catholics are miserably poor at. Perhaps Rachel, you might help our Church develop better along these lines since your experience as a Mormon inculcated these ways of ‘being Church.’

    #2 “if you were an active Mormon in your childhood and youth, that tends to be stamped pretty deeply into your life and identity.”

    – another thing Catholics do poorly with. Could it be that because Mormon youth are expected to do a couple years’ missionary work that they are able to solidify their identity as Mormons? Could it be that all Catholic youth need to similarly spend time on mission BEFORE they receive the sacrament of Confirmation (or at least as part of receiving the sacrament)?

    • Ray Rechtin

      A careful study of history will tell you that once upon a time, Catholics were much better at building community and getting the youth involved. That is why, in some places, the Protestant reformation was so bloody and bitter. It wasn’t simply a change in religion, it was a cultural change. To a certain degree Catholics are paying the price for centuries of trying to blend in to avoid either open but more often subtle discrimination.
      I often think we almost need to be less entangled in the world and demonstrate to the world what true Catholicism looks like. We are certainly not doing a very good job of being leaven for the world. It is certainly a challenge.

      • Catholic & loving it

        Good ideas, but the sacrament of confirmation should not be tied to missionary activity as a requirement because confirmation is a sacrament of Christian initiation like Baptism (in Eastern Catholic Churches, Babies are baptized, confirmed & partakers of Holy Communion). But amongst many youth (& their parents) confirmation is wrongly viewed as Graduation from Church. So required missionary activity for Catholic high-school/college-aged kids as well as Catechism classes early in the morning (like many mission-bound Mormon youth) would be good idea. As well as missions to places where the suffering Church is (Syria, Iraq) for bishops would help them learn what’s at stake.

        • Catholic & loving it

          Ideas being proposed here would be very in line with “the spirit of Vatican 2” that many bishops seem to love. I’ll even buy the airplane ticket for a bishop so that he can see first-hand what Christian minorities in Muslim lands (Middle East & Africa) are going thru. Cardinal Kasper, pack your bags

          • ForChristAlone

            your concluding line afforded me my chuckle of the day….thanks

      • exPat

        A careful study of WORLD-WIDE Catholicism will show you that in some places Catholicism IS still deeply cultural. You can’t paint the whole Church with the American brush. I’m an American living in Poland (20+ years) and even my ‘atheist’ students who have strong prejudice against the Church nevertheless very often respond to moral dilemmas (proposed in class discussions) in ways that any faithful Catholic would, as well. The culture is Catholic, and even if they reject the Church (usually because of embracing sexual sin; less often because of making a God out of money or ‘power’ in the sense of wanting to be masters of their own fate), most Poles I’ve met (close to 2000 students, mainly) have absorbed at least a Christian moral compass through the culture.

      • Lúculo

        Please DO look at the rest of the world, for God’s sake!

    • JP

      I understand where you’re coming from, but the Sacrament of Confirmation isn’t some “level of membership”. Perhaps, the RCC should change how it goes about confirmation. As my wife says, many 13 and 14 years getting confirmed treat confirmation as Catholic Graduation. They’re done; their finished being Catholic. Most go on leave the Church after they graduate from high school. Yes, many come back; but not nearly enough.

      • ForChristAlone

        very true.. That is why I think that confirmation should be administered JUST PRIOR TO a young person going on mission. Then they will have been fortified with the gifts of the Holy Spirit that empower one to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ (which is what it is all about, correct?).

    • Dick Prudlo

      Perhaps, we could send our bishops on a mission and then they may learn, first hand, something about the Catholic Faith. My door is open for the visit.

      • ForChristAlone

        right on….imagine a bishop leading youth on a mission trip showing them just how one evangelizes like the apostles of the early Church and wins souls for Christ!

      • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

        Send them on a mission to Iraq and Syria, so they can see what real Christians are suffering, then maybe the bishops will recover from their socialist/ecologist/pacifist delusions.

      • Mormon Dan

        People love what it is they invest themselves in, and the Mormon faith requires huge sacrifice. I know several Catholic people who will be true to their faith until death because they are so deeply invested in it. Those who are unwilling to pay a price for the Gospel of Jesus Christ will sadly never be fully converted to that gospel. As James said, “Faith without works is dead.” Missions do change many LDS young men, but only the ones who are willing to give all they have for 2 years. And they only continue to remain strong as long as they are willing to continue sacrificing themselves for the Gospel. The gospel is not something where a person can float buoyantly in the middle. One needs to be constantly swimming or they are sinking. So the Bishops would only be blessed by a mission as long as they are willing to consecrate themselves to the effort for life.

        • Mormon Dan

          I should also add, that those who invest themselves in doubt and disbelief will find that aspect of their belief system growing. No matter what that religion is.

    • luisa

      May one suppose you are speaking from your very limited and narrow experience in one country (albeit one that believes itself the centre of the world), and are not pretending that it applies to the Church everywhere? May one remind you that Catholics are many millions in many, many countries?

      • ForChristAlone

        What country do you speak for?

        • luisa

          Many

  • TERRY

    “There can be no doubt that Catholic Culture has been damaged by our refusal to treat formal heresy as the abandonment it really is.”

    Well said, and the damage goes on. Start with ‘Catholics for Marriage Equality’. They should be warned and then they should be excommunicated. Quietly – if they want to make a public issue of it it is up to them.

    • Vinnie

      Start with? How about Catholics for Free Choice, etc.

      • Catholic & loving it

        As well as published “Catholic” theologians who constantly openly “speculate” about Christ’s divinity & bodily resurrection. And the Women “Priests” organizations. “Catholics” for “Choice” (Abortion). “Catholics” for Homosex “marriage”. Euthanasia & preemptive Wars (like the moral failure of Iraq). Enough with the so-called Self-excommunications, bring on the real clearly stated public excommunications. This is a vital proper role of bishops as shepherds (which is what their crosiers symbolize)- to protect the faithful of Christ from the wolves and false messiahs, teachers & prophets (many who happen to be heretics & dissidents) amidst His flock.

        • Catholic & loving it

          By “speculate” I mean utterly deny & reject

          • Micha Elyi

            By “preemptive Wars” referring to Iraq, you “utterly deny & reject” the truth about the Coalition military campaign to remove Saddam Hussein.

            Try again. Next time, show your work.

    • luis

      Gringo Catholics, you mean…
      PLEASE, try to be a little less narrow minded!

      • Latino Catholics have Machismo, which is as against the culture of chastity as anything the Gringos do.

  • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

    The Mormon moral and doctrinal clarity – even though shot through with error – is more appealing to potential converts than the waffling of the USCCB. Which is why more Catholics convert to Mormonism than go the other way. Nice article.

    • Catholic & loving it

      Although in the current climate, the Catholics who are converting to Mormonism are the ignorant ones (who never understood the Catholic Faith to begin with) while the Mormon converts to Catholicism (even though smaller in numbers) are the ones who were very educated & mature in their previous Mormonism. Cultural Ex-“Catholics” vs Educated Mormons.

      • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

        I think you are certainly correct, but it begs the question: Why does the Church do such a lousy job teaching the Faith? Because our liturgy does such a lousy job of it, and because our leaders are still in denial about the disaster of the past 50 years, and still talk Vatican II as a “new Pentacost.”

        • Catholic & loving it

          No question about it. Good strong liturgy is definitely connected to good teaching & other good fruits. (And weak liturgy to bad teaching.)

  • lifeknight

    Another enlightening article! Thank you for your perspective. As a cradle Catholic, I find the teachings of the Magisterium to be “watered down” to the point of apathy. Everyone seems to be worthy of Holy Communion–judging by the lines to get the “wafer.” If only there was a real fear of Hell, then excommunication would actually matter.

    • jacobhalo

      Hell? you never hear a mention of hell in sermons. This is the church of “Nice” since Vatican II. Everybody loves one another, abortion, same-sex marriage, etc. is never mentioned. It is the church of mercy, which is good, but what happened to justice? You will hear the clerics quote Jesus, when he told the prostitute that her sins are forgiven. They end the quote there. The clerics never add, “go and sin no more.” The popes and the clerics have become mush mouths since Vatican II. I was around pre-Vatican II and the popes and clerics of those days would have never taken what they take today.

      • Catholic & loving it

        Shhh. Didn’t you get the memo? We aren’t supposed to talk about sin or Hell anymore. It’s not politically correct.

        • jacobhalo

          I rec. a publication put out by Bill Graham. I agree with everything that is written in it. It reads like the Catholic publications before the disastrous Council, or the present traditional Catholic publications.

      • tacitus

        Where, exaclty?
        Do you speak for the universal Church?

  • john

    “Lobbying for an invitation to a sacrificial calling is highly distasteful for anyone.” Amen, Rachel. A brilliant insight.

    • candrews

      Excellent insight, indeed. Could we extend this idea to the parable regarding rich men entering heaven through the eye of a needle? I would argue that ‘rich’ could also mean our own personally-held beliefs being subject to the law of Christ. Until we’re ready to subject our personal gospel to His, we cannot enjoy the company of deity.

  • DE-173

    So, when does she become a nun on the bus?

    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

      Wiccans-on-a-bus is more like it.

  • Makalu

    While your immediate forefathers were Morman, their forefathers were Protestants whose forefathers were Catholic. Hence your heart should really be home now w/ the Apostolic Catholic Church; the faith of your fathers…

    • Catholic & loving it

      Good point. Heresy (Protestantism) begets more heresy (Mormonism) like violence begets more violence, which is why we must stop them early.

  • Peter Lajoie

    “I saw leaving as a signof self-respect, but also of respect for my former co-religionists. They believed certain things. I didn’t.”

    Mrs. Lu, all I can gather from this article is that you are the same as this Ms. Kelly. You left the community of your upbringing because it did not align with your Personal Theology. Ms. Kelly like many Catholic Individualists of our times is attempting to change the body of her church to align with her own mind. Ms. Kelly is heretical while you Mrs. Lu are an apostate. We are all sinners.

    As for Mother Church and excommunication. Excommunication is a formal acknowledgment that a person is no longer in communion with the Lord; it is not the act of extricating political undesirables such as Ms. Kelly. Pope Francis recently announced the excommunication of an entire mafia. He said, “Those who in their life have gone along the evil ways, as in the case of the mafia, they are not with God, they are excommunicated,” He did not kick out an upstart feminist from his fancy club, as the LDS did, rather he officially acknowledged the state of the souls of the Mafioso as no longer being in communion with God.

    Rather than pontificate about how much better the Church would be if it thought like you, perhaps you should contemplate on the actions of the Vicar of Christ and pray that you may grow in communion with Our Blessed Lord.

    • DE-173

      “Mrs. Lu, all I can gather from this article is that you are the same as this Ms. Kelly.”
      Wow, dude. That is harsh and wrong. As Mrs. Lu stated sher

      • Guest

        Amen.

    • Guest

      Quite wrong, on many levels. Catholic excommunication does not claim to know anyone’s particular soul. The Pope did not judge anyone’s soul.

      Radical feminists hold the same ideology as the Mafia types. They make a god out of some item or ideology. That is who they worship, not God.

    • cestusdei

      If a Catholic woman denies the teachings of the Church on ordination she is at least in error. It could well be compounded if she denies the authority of the Church which would lead to heresy. During the current pontificate there have been excommunications.

    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

      There are too many errors in this bizarre comment to merit any response, other than: “You are delusional.”

  • cestusdei

    I think the Mormon church has the right to decide who is ordained and who is not. If someone opposes that, and I think she did more then just ask questions, then they have the right to expel that person. Catholicism has the same rights. I do think we should draw clearer lines over who is in and who is out. For every ones sake.

    • tamsin

      “clearer lines”

      Hello cestusdei, I’m just taking the opportunity to think out loud, here. We are living through a time when so many people within the church think all borders are illegitimate…
      between two countries,
      between man and woman,
      between marriage and other relationships,
      between my property and your property,
      between being in communion and being out of communion.

      This borderlessness borders on madness. It’s impossible to think rationally when all fences go flat to the ground; where there are no commonly held definitions of words because there is no finis.

      Lots of folks are quoting Chesterton on fences, recently; and he ends:

      when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of [the fence], I may allow you to destroy it.

      • DE-173

        I’ve read this post ten times and I grow fonder of it every time.

    • Lewelyn Fidler

      God is the same unto Adam (beginning) as He is today, if the Church is setup under and directly by Jesus Christ, the structure, organization then some years later the “members” (Humans) don’t like the current rules to advocate a change based upon the “desires of men/women” of different…..this is the story, Doctrinal Changes to the “whole” by men/women disgruntled of it.

      Just becouse I want it does not mean I can have it or to demand to it. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints and the Doctrine of it, set up under the Direct Authority, not by Christ but so important that even the Father, made His appearance. so how can I authoritively demand to the Officers of the Church changes and radical they are becouse I want something from and of selfishness.

  • catholicchristian

    It might also be mentioned that the toleration of this kind of formal heresy within the Church is one of the points that is always raised by the Orthodox when reunion is discussed, in the context of “if the True Church subsists in the Catholic Church, then how is it that you can tolerate that which is NOT true and still call it Catholic?”

    And they have an excellent point.

    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

      Absolutely. They see the dogmatic confusion, total lack of discipline, comical liturgies, and, above all, the persecution of tradition, and they say: “We’d have to be crazy to want communion with these people!”

      • tamsin

        Visually speaking, I knew Catholicism was a big tent; I would like to think it is not tentlessness. Without borders between true and not true.

  • Bucky Inky

    Thanks for this good article Dr. Lu.

  • Gary Adrian

    “Mormons are amazing builders of community. They instill a real sense of belonging in their believers”

    I found this interesting because I belong to an FSSP (Latin Mass) parish which is likewise an amazing builder of community. Some Catholic parishes do build community but in my experience it is usually the ones with a more traditional bent.

    By the way, I came back to the Church after 30 years due in part to the kindness and friendliness of this wonderful parish.

    • ForChristAlone

      Give us the name so we can all move there.

      • Gary Adrian

        Just look at the list of FSSP parishes at their website at http://www.fssp.org/en/messes.htm#USA . Most I have visited have the same sense of community. There might be one close to you. They are growing fast but it takes eight years to form a priest.

  • MrAZConservative .

    Harry Reid should have been ex-communicated long ago.

    • Catholic & loving it

      True, but I think Reid even had or has a leadership position in Mormonism.

      • Mormon Dan

        Everybody has a leadership position in Mormonism. We have no paid clergy.

  • Roger Garner

    What a wonderful essay and commentaries by all except Lajoie. Tamsin’s pithy observation should be carved on every church door. Does the American episcopacy have the right to cram illegal immigration down our throats? Shall we dismantle all borders?

    • ForChristAlone

      Here’s my definitive solution to the immigration problem. Immediately annex Mexico and Guatemala. They will become the 51st and 52nd States in the Union (but in Obama’s calculation, they would be the 58th and 59th).

      • DE-173

        Will they supply any CORPSE-men to the Navy?

    • DE-173

      “Does the American episcopacy have the right to cram illegal immigration down our throats?”
      It’s quite interesting to hear some Bishops and others discuss this. They immediately resort to the disingenuous “undocumented immigrant” label and the vacant euphemism of “out of the shadows”.
      When will they advocate for “undocumented taxpayers” who’ve failed to adhere to tax laws and insist they be “brought out of the shadows”.
      As a CPA, I can assure you it’s much easiier to breach an ever more complicated and lengthy tax code unintentionally, than to cross another country’s border. Some people might not pay taxes for the same reason others may violate another country’s borders, the economic interests of their family.
      Now when they start lecturing Mexico on the way they treat Guatemalans, we’ll know this is truly Catholic in both senses of the word.

  • jacobhalo

    The problems with the Catholic church stems from Vatican II. Modernism, which St. Pius X fought against and predicted what would happen if the modernists infiltrated the church, did happen. There is a great article in “Catholic Family News”, a traditional Catholic publication, entitled, “Paul VI and the Demolition of the Church”. It gives a litany of the disastrous policies he introduced, which weakened the church.

  • Art Deco

    Until that changes, we can look to the Mormons for an interesting
    template for what heretics can look like, and how we might deal with
    them.

    ‘Heretics’ are “dealt with” by the Holy See. It is just that in our time unacceptable deviation has by smarmy characters in the Vatican defined to mean a devotion to the traditional rites. See the Franciscan Friars.

  • AcceptingReality

    Great job, Rachel. I love reading your articles. You are a good writer AND a clear thinker. I have to say, I think Catholic parishes are full of priests, clergy and lay people who are culturally Catholic, the same way Kelly is culturally Mormon. And like her, those people are unwilling to submit to the authority of the Church. They live and follow a secular code of ethics. How else can we explain the preponderance of divorce, co-habitation, use of artificial birth control, support of politicians who support abortion and on and on and on….

  • As a Mormon-to-Eastern Orthodox convert, I could not agree with your article more. I have always been perplexed by Mormons who believe their church is divinely guided yet reject some of its foundational teachings.

    • John200

      Precisely. My echo would be, “I have always been perplexed by Catholics who believe their church is divinely guided yet reject some of its foundational teachings.”

      ’tis a puzzlement.

  • David Tiffany

    “I would feel quite cheeky telling practicing Latter-Day Saints how to order their affairs.”
    But they have to be accountable to someone. As the Mormon church has become more emergent, there are several issues where they have had to back-pedal, including polygamy, blacks being allowed into the Mormon priesthood, how a person is saved from judgement, etc. Mormonism seems to have no standard by which to hold their doctrines…they can all change in a moment. How do Mormons know from one day to the next whether what they hold as doctrine will not change.
    One of the most recent examples of back-tracking is where a gentleman who is Mormon said in essence that the charge of Christianity being hatched in hell was just in the past and no longer applied. Look at the quote of Bringham Young, “”Brother Taylor has just said that the religions of the day were hatched in hell. The eggs were laid in hell, hatched on its borders, and then kicked on to the earth.”
    – Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 6, p. 176
    It was based on this premise that Joseph Smith introduced what he called the restored gospel. If what Brother Taylor said was wrong, then the very basis for Mormonism being introduced has no foundation.
    So Mormonism has no foundation and it has no standard by which to hold itself.
    The only way for Mormonism to deal with theological dissent is to force it’s members into quiet submission.
    http://downtownministries.blogspot.com/

  • Justin

    As a believing and practicing LDS (Mormon) member myself, I just want to say thank you for this article! I feel it was written with high respect for the LDS faith, and I appreciate the author’s approach of striving to take whatever she recognizes as good in this world or in other faiths and using it to strengthen her own church and faith. (By reviewing a sampling of the other comments, it’s obvious that many readers share her view.) It’s refreshing to read something written in respectful honesty, and wish that these kinds of articles were more easy to come by. So thank you again for this article!

  • EngineerSenseHere

    This was a good article. Anyone who is devoted to any Christian faith can easily see what the Kate Kelly case really was. It had nothing to do with asking a question. People in the LDS ask doctrinal questions all the time, and no one gets excommunicated. She was in open rebellion against the church.

    “I’m right, and I’m not backing down” is not a question, its rebellion.

    Its nice to see that occasionally people (like the author) leave the church and still have respect for it.

  • Glen D. Cart

    John 6:66

  • David

    “There can be no doubt that Catholic Culture has been damaged by our refusal to treat formal heresy as the abandonment it really is.” Amen.

  • candrews

    Thank you, Rachel. I would add also that while Ms. Kelly enjoys tremendous media attention she also knows the LDS church will not, ever, share the details of her excommunication. In other words, she’s free to make claims and accusations while knowing a defensive posture will never be taken by her formal church leadership. This fact seems to cheapen anything she has to say about her experience.

  • Billiamo

    I tend to lunge for every piece with Rachel Lu’s byline. Thank you for publishing her.

  • Jaime R.

    I love reading your articles Rachel. Keep em coming. Great new face to Crisis Magazine.

  • nan

    But Ms. Kelly wasn’t excommunicated for heresy, she was excommunicated for behavior unbecoming to a Latter Day Saint. There is a reason for the avoidance by the LDS church to state that Ms. Kelly is out of bounds or a heretic. It’s really hard to excommunicate someone for heresy in a church that will not define it’s doctrines. I feel sorry for members of the LDS church since they have absolutely no concrete definition of what is doctrine so they can know what is heresy. Let’s be clear here the LDS church has not bravely said that Ms. Kelly is a heretic and defended their faith by excommunicating her. In order to be the brave defenders of the faith that they are made out to be here they would have to firmly and irrevocably declare just what Mormon doctrine is, and that is something the LDS church is unwilling (for what every reason) to do.

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