Mormon Church Threatens to Boot Pair of Activists

...for pushing women priests, gay acceptance

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 12, 2014 8:14 AM CDT

(Newser) – Kate Kelly wants women to be allowed to become Mormon priests. John P. Dehlin simply wants Mormons to be more accepting of gay members. Now both are facing excommunication from the church for apostasy, the New York Times reports. They were notified of the move on consecutive days this week, so they suspect officials at the church's Salt Lake City headquarters are behind the decision (though the church denies that), but both received notice from local officials. The president of Dehlin's stake, or church region, in Utah asked him to resign or face a disciplinary hearing on Wednesday, while Kelly's local bishop in Virginia told her she faces a disciplinary hearing on June 22. She had previously been warned by her stake president that she would face excommunication if she did not shut down her Ordain Women movement.

Kelly founded the movement last year, and at its last demonstration, 500 demonstrators protested a male-only priesthood meeting carrying "proxy cards" representing 400 more supporters who couldn't be there. As for Dehlin, he founded Mormon Stories, a website and series of podcasts that address controversial issues and "hard questions" some members face, he says; he's also published research into issues gay Mormons face and has given a TED talk on being an "ally" to gay Mormons. He calls what he's going through "heart-wrenching" in a message on his site. Kelly agrees—"I’m just really, really, really heartbroken," she says—as do others: The news "is breaking a lot of hearts among the Mormon people," another prominent Mormon tells the Salt Lake Tribune. These are the most high-profile excommunication proceedings since 1993, the AP notes, when the church kicked out five members who questioned doctrine.

This April 5, 2014 file photo shows Kate Kelly along with other Mormon women pushing the church to allow women in the priesthood, march to Temple Square in Salt Lake City.
This April 5, 2014 file photo shows Kate Kelly along with other Mormon women pushing the church to allow women in the priesthood, march to Temple Square in Salt Lake City.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, file)
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