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.
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
Oakton Virginia Stake