Letter Announcing Kate Kelly’s Excommunication

I was really impressed by the letter from Kate Kelly’s Bishop that was sent by Ordain Women to the Deseret News and other media outlets. I think that everyone following the story should read it in full, but I only saw the full text in PDF form, I decided that I would transcribe the text for anyone unable to look at the PDF. I post the Text without further comment.


Vienna Ward

Oakton Virginia Stake

                                                                June 32, 2014

Kathleen Marie Kelly

Via e-mail and Certified Mail

Dear Sister Kelly:

    As you know, a disciplinary council was held on your behalf on Sunday, June 22, 2014. I write to inform you of the outcome of that council.

    This matter has occupied much of my time, thoughts and prayers in recent weeks. My greatest desire has been to persuade you to desist from the course on which you have embarked, so that you might remain in full fellowship in the Church while also protecting the integrity of the Church and its doctrine. The other members of the council and I have tried to weigh your interests with those of the rest of the membership of the Church. We have approached this solemn and difficult task seeking only to know the Lord’s mind and will.

    I wish you had taken advantage of my offer to arrange a secure video link where we could have talked face to face or my offer to reschedule the council to a date when you could have attended in person. Nevertheless, we respect your decision to make a written submission without a personal appearance, and we carefully and prayerfully considered at length the statement and other materials you provided to us. 

   Having done so, our determination is that you be excommunicated for conduct contrary to the laws and order of the Church. This means 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 not 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 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.

   The decision to hold this disciplinary council was reached only after a period of months and a series of meetings and communications between you and President Wheatly together with me or President Lee:

  •       On December 12, 2013, President Wheatly and I met with you. We talked with you about the doctrine of the priesthood. We urged you to dissociate yourself from Ordain Women and to cease your campaign to promote the ordination of women.
  •       In March and April of this year, President Wheatly again reminded you of the counsel given in December. Nonetheless, you proceeded with your protest on Temple Square during General Conference despite the request of Church leaders that you not do so.
  •       Subsequently, under your leadership and with your direct involvement, Ordain Women announced “Six Discussions” which were intended to proselyte others and to persuade them to support your particular interpretation of Church doctrine. You reached out to others to persuade them to join your movement.
  •      On May 5th, after conferring with me and with my full agreement, President Wheatt again met with you together with President Lee, offered the same counsel previously given and placed you on informal probation in the hope that you still might change your course. Yet, you have persisted undeterred.

     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. This is the basic point that President Wheatly has sought repeatedly to explain to you, but to no avail. You have also heard from President Lee and me on this. Your disregard of our advice and counsel left us no alternative but to convene last evening’s council.

    If you have any questions or would like to visit with me, please contact me. You have a right to appeal this decision to the stake president. If you want to appeal this decision, you must specify in writing the alleged errors or unfairness in the procedure or decision and then present the appeal within 30 days to me as the presiding officer of the bishop’s disciplinary council. I will then forward the materials to President Wheatly who may decide whether to let the decision stand, modify it or direct that the council reconvene. 

     Above all else, please know of my love and respect for you and my earnest desire that you return to good standing in the church. I urge you to continue to attend church, read the scriptures and pray daily. I invite you to strive to come back to full fellowship. This is an opportunity for you to begin anew, to take full advantage of the great gift of the Atonement, to again qualify for the blessings of the temple, and to enjoy again all the blessings of the restored gospel. It is my sincere prayer and desire that you will do so.



                                                                 Mark M. Harrison


                                                                 Vienna Ward

                                                                 Oakton Virginia Stake



5 thoughts on “Letter Announcing Kate Kelly’s Excommunication

  1. In the Catholic Church, once you’re baptized, you’re baptized for all eternity, not even the Pope can take that away!!

    • I don’t think this is quite true as excommunication is common in the Catholic Church. However, to the degree that it is true, it might go to different conceptions of what baptism is (infant baptism v adult baptism for instance). However, the Catholic Church certainly bars excommunicated individuals from taking communion which is viewed as essential to salvation.

      • Excommunication deprives the guilty Catholic of all participation in Church function most importantly no “Communion”, but you can’t unbaptized an individual, this was just discuss during last Sunday’s baptism ceremony by Father Tim at St. Gregory the Great Church here in NJ..

  2. I’ll be posting this in the comments section of other blogs as I’m concerned people are a little jaded in there views and to promote faith and REASON!


    I have found myself liking you and defending you to a great extent. I have a firm testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that this is the work of God. As of late I’ve wondered though if you’ve gone to far and if “letting” you go is best for you and the church.

    My personal feeling about you is you try to make great attempts to be honest, but that does not mean there is not at the least some subconscious intellectual dishonesty. You’ve also been tested and bothered by the shortcomings of leaders and kid missionaries ( God uses the foolish things of the earth) and that could impact your thinking.

    The one thing that stands out (and I have a lot of love for you as a brother and feeling I have so much in common with you and that I had some bad stuff happen on my mission as well and saw men fall short act unChristlike) is that you keep stating all these most basic anti Mormon claims like they are true, when there is abundant evidence in regards to most of them, that they are false.

    It is very hard for me to believe John that you have not seen this evidence. It’s all over YouTube and the internet and LDS sources. So then why do you persist on quoting Egyptologist when so many of there arguments have been blown out of the water decades ago?

    There are ancient texts from ancients and ancient Jews that Joseph did not have access and that have common themes with the Book Of Abraham that no one knew about. Many show Abraham had an attempt on his life. Others show the boundaries of Egypt were much more widespread than supposed.

    Also, Joseph got the name of a hill right in the vicinity that so many scholars now agree was Abrahams area at a time. Go listen to Dan Peterson and then corroborate this with other sources. It is undeniable.

    Many Egyptologist claimed for years that the guy standing above Abraham should have a jackals head, but over the decades many documents have been discovered in Egypt that blow this out of the water. Keep in mind Egyptology is not 400 years old and they have not had a bunch of stuff to work. This aint math.

    There are actually many more things about the Book Of Abraham that have come to light, but it seems you do NOT care. You also FALSELY claim that the papyri (fragments of the Book Of The Dead and the facsimiles) prove Joseph did not translate, but what makes you God and makes you think that those are the main sources for the Book Of Abraham. They papyri was separated into three sections and given to different people. Probably burned in the museum reported as having them burnt to the ground in Chicago. And much, much more proof concerning the Book Of Abraham.

    DNA and the Book Of Mormon. I’m stunned someone as smart as you falls for this. Or maybe your so set in your way you do not care. There are arguments that claim we do not know what Israelite blood DNA looks like. That most of Israel was scattered before Lehi left and that after his departure the Jews were taken to Babylon and mixed and then further mixed after the Romans dispersed them. There are also more things to this argument as to how DNA can be dissolved over time. Dan Peterson (clearly a heavy hitter, like him or not) talks about how current Icelanders cannot trace DNA back to just a few centuries ago. Without putting my foot in my I suggest you go listen to Dan and so many others.

    Go to this YouTube and watch all his videos on this and search for others.

    There is also a claim that some north American Indians have middle eastern DNA, which based on the former argument I’m not sure how that’s true, but the point is this is enough to strongly suggest the DNA argument against the church is dishonestly presented and you are falling for it.

    By the way, your not suggesting that Joseph Smith got the place of Nahom in Saudi Arabia right, even though he had no access to documents showing there was such a place are you? And if Joseph was so genius and so evil to trick so many, do you really believe for one minute he was so foolish to ask other men for there wives, knowing where it could lead, having tried to start a church and get it going? There is more to Joseph Smith and he was NO fraud.

    Yes, the Lord has not brought forth every proof in the world proving BoM. We have not all seen angels. But if you were to take 100 of some of the most common anti LDS claims 100 years ago and look at them today, you would find most have been utterly discredited and the others that have not entirely been, at least had developments in support of the church, yet you choose not to SEEE just how miraculous these things are. Its funny, I was reading the claim about no elephants in America and I see how over the decades critics have changed that to there were none in BoM times, though only the Jaredites mention it ,and then right after that I went to Yahoo, maybe a week ago, and bones from the elephant family were found in New Mexico. I forgot the name of it.

    People used to say also that ancients and Israelites did not use metal plates. THAT HAS LONG BEEN BLOWN OUT OF THE WATER. How do you know John that God is not trying to answer and that you choose not to see it, not just on BoM, but in your personal life and struggles?

    You are bent on shaping God in what you think God should be like. Well, God has allowed an astonishing amount of suffering John and strange and hard to understand things. How do you know that He does not see this as a good thing in the Eternal Scheme of things? How can you so quickly throw the church overboard based on the imperfections of people or that some things do not make sense to JOHNS line of thinking and personality and others with similar traits?

    I am absolutely convinced you are bent on your own agenda. (if I felt like you were ENTIRELY being honest than I would feel otherwise and would not have a problem with you wanting to CRITIQUE the church and make it better.) But I feel no matter what, you are bent on the path you have taken and yet you IGNORE all the proof supporting the restoration.

    By the way, I actually like the idea of you interviewing Jeremy Runnles (though you were cheering him in part of that interview and very critical) and Sandra Tanner and othesr. I’m not insecure about my faith. I think the Mormon need some challenge, but there is a real sense the more I watch that you are working completely against the church, rather than an objective reporter so to speak. I have no problem with you being nice, professional and wanting to stimulate thought in these interviews, I just feel your going to far! The church has every right to be concerned with this and they should be!

    I know God lives and I know He is better than we think, notwithstanding some of the tough tests we must go through in this life. In the end all will receive a degree of glory!! I know also that Jesus Christ is everything we proclaim and that His ancient apostles proclaimed and traveled much of the earth and gave there lives for. I know Joseph Smith was truly a great and good and honest hearted (not perfect) man that people had unusual trust in, notwithstanding the Judas’s who could not understand and turned on him.

    The three witnesses, Sidney Rigdon, Hyrum Smith, his parents, family, Emma and others followed him to the ends of the earth. You know the witnesses bore testimony at deaths door and came back to there senses. You know David Whitmer published his testimony in a major New York paper and British paper while distanced from the church. How anyone who is thinking straight could for one sec believe Joseph Smith was deceiving his family from boyhood is beyond me. And to add to that the kinds of things the BoM talks about with such depth and unusual understanding, an understanding that many who go to Bible school do not reach such as the scattering and gathering of Israel.

    As far as it not mentioning the three degrees of glory and other doctrines, come on! Come on John! Is that the end of your thinking on that point? You don’t even consider the possibilities. I actually think it would have been foolish for the Lord to put that in the book that would be the link in converting people from mainstream Christianity.

    And He is God so He can do what He wants! I actually think there are far better reasons than that, that I cannot get into for sake of space and time, but the BoM is true and most the changes in it are minor and grammatical which is strange you do not point this out, unless your purposefully doing that. God gives us to a great extent what we are ready and willing to accept and IN GODS EYES conversion is to happen by prayer and the spirit as the BoM promises.

    You can choose to be duped by doubt, pain, seeing the faults in the church, or by things that don’t make sense to our limited view etc, but I swear on everything that God has confirmed to me on so many occasions of the truth of this work. Thomas S Monson holds ALL the keys of the priesthood as restored by heavenly messengers and no, I do not personally believe non Mormons will not see there loved ones. The church does need to reword this. Faithful Mormons and others like Alvin who would accept the gospel and live it will be in an exalted state and untied with there families in a way others in a lesser degree of heaven will not.

    Is there any religion more merciful when looking at the whole picture and our belief that even hell is meant to help people change and that even the worst people will receive a degree of glory in a heaven? WHY DO YOU NOT POINT THIS OUT??? This is true Christianity, not the false belief that if you never heard of the Savior or your a Christian but an adulterer, that your going to burn without end. That doctrine of Christianity is far worse than people are noticing and it’s in large part because of the great apostasy which is in complete harmony with the restoration as restored in this new land and country. I guess the Mormons are new and small, so more attention is drawn to what by some standards is odd.

    Yes, I do not believe the brethren always have the right interpretation on every little thing and yes God does send His spirit to others, but this church is true and I have never (as one whose been with many faiths and people and crowds) met a better, more spiritual people than the Mormon people. There is an outpouring of the spirit of the Lord in this church that I do not believe exists anywhere else generally speaking. I know there are problems. I know we as a people are flawed and do not have everything right, but there is something strong and beautiful about so much of the Mormon people and so much fruits of the spirit.

    Sincerely, your brother Aaron

  3. “The Church is like a great caravan—organized, prepared, following an appointed course, with its captains of tens and captains of hundreds all in place.

    What does it matter if a few barking dogs snap at the heels of the weary travellers? Or that predators claim those few who fall by the way? The caravan moves on.

    Is there a ravine to cross, a miry mud hole to pull through, a steep grade to climb? So be it. The oxen are strong and the teamsters wise. The caravan moves on.

    Are there storms that rage along the way, floods that wash away the bridges, deserts to cross, and rivers to ford? Such is life in this fallen sphere. The caravan moves on.

    Ahead is the celestial city, the eternal Zion of our God, where all who maintain their position in the caravan shall find food and drink and rest. Thank God that the caravan moves on! [Bruce R. McConkie, “The Caravan Moves On,” Ensign, Nov. 1984, p. 85]

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