“…but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

women-rightsI have to rely upon this idea when I consider my position as a woman and Kate Kelly and the debacle with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS or Mormon). Because folks, lets face it….African-American men could vote in America before women. There is a real lack of thought about patriarchy and what it looks like and what it means. This is just one of a number of recent events that has brought this issue to the forefront, and unfortunately blackened the eye of the LDS church, yet again, on the heels of the Prop 8 shenanigans.

Here is a Verizon Commercial that points us in the right direction

Here is a Pantene Commercial stating a similar point in adult women.

In the LDS church, as in many other Christian churches, women are excluded from the clergy. Now I certainly don’t want to get into a theological argument. I grew up Mormon. My family is still Mormon and frankly (thank God) my parents are horrified Kate Kelly was excommunicated. My mother has valid points about the high position of LDS women. Although she disagreed with the idea of having female bishops there were some points not so easily conceded. One interesting one Kate Kelly brought forward was…that if all the women were transported away (something ala the song Reuben & Rachel….see I know this song because my name is Rachael…it is one of the only songs about me. It goes something like this Rachel Rachel I’ve been thinking what a sad world this would be, if the girls were all transported far across the Northern Sea) LDS church would happen as usual. Sacrament would be blessed and passed. No changes. However….if we sing the next verse of the song…Reuben Reuben I’ve been thinking what a sad world it would be, if the boys were all transported far across the Northern Sea. There would be no church. It would be cancelled. Who would bless and pass the sacrament? Who would preside? Maybe there would be a 12 year old boy, who they didn’t find in a basement somewhere who could preside over all the women.


Good Point Kate Kelly.

I also especially loved her LDS history. I had no idea of my rich Mormon history where the Relief Society (the LDS women’s organization) was originally called “a Kingdom of Priests”. Of course, Brother Brigham Young quickly put the Kibosh on that…ended that organization and then started the more docile Relief Society.

Good Point Kate Kelly.

The saddest part is that she LOVES the Mormon church. She served a mission she doesn’t want to leave. Kate Kelly plans on appealing her decision to the first presidency of the church. You can listen to her here. Hopefully they are less lame than the 3 men who kicked her out.

However, among the theological murk lies a deeper issue that strikes at the heart of every woman. That is what the original videos were about. That is that they didn’t kick her out for this issue, per se. They kicked her out for her tone. WOW….lets read exactly what her church court said. (Before we read on…I must say that excommunication is something out of the Dark Ages…as in Galileo…it has NO place in modern Christianity, in my opinion. It is NOT CHRISTLIKE in the least and I think both excommunication and the less aggressive DISFELLOWSHIP – yes disfellowship…as if Jesus Christ would disfellowship anyone…it is such a filthy word….are not charitable or compassionate) So lets read what they said to Kate Kelly

“The difficulty, Sister Kelly, is not that you say you have questions or even that you believe women should receive the priesthood,” Bishop Mark Harrison wrote in Kelly’s letter of excommunication. “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.”

They made a tone of voice argument. I am prone to these. I feel like I have a naturally loud, agressive tone, even when I am not being loud and aggressive. I have had men, throughout my life, try to taunt me and belittle me because I was loud and aggressive. I know this sort of oppression. I know what it is like, Kate Kelly, to be told it…”it isn’t what you say, it is how you say it.” over and over and over again because little girls are “bossy” and little boys are “leaders”

In the 1970’s Lennon knew

We make her paint her face and dance
If she won’t be slave, we say that she don’t love us
If she’s real, we say she’s trying to be a man

While putting her down we pretend that she is above us

Woman is the slaves of the slaves
Ah yeah…better screem about it
We make her bear and raise our children
And then we leave her flat for being a fat old mother hen
We tell her home is the only place she would be
Then we complain that she’s too unworldly to be our friend

We insult her everyday on TV
And wonder why she has no guts or confidence
When she’s young we kill her will to be free
While telling her not to be so smart we put her down for being so dumb

As far as I am concerned that  letter from Bishop Mark Harrison proves every point she makes. Women aren’t supposed to be aggressive…women asking for discussion on a topic and encouraging others to have a discussion is “aggressive”? I went to her site. I read every word of everything she had to say…and really, it was thoughtful. It was discussion provoking. It was interesting and made me question why I had become an Episcopalian…but really, it was NOT aggressive. She NEVER NEVER NEVER encouraged anybody to leave the LDS faith. In fact, and most beautifully and gracefully, in her response to being screwed, her last statement to like minded Mormons was ” Don’t leave. Stay, and make things better.”

*As an aside…if you are not familiar with the Mormon church, excommunicating her not only affects her, it has devastating effects on her family and their eternal salvation. They are sealed as a family in the temple, now that is not valid.

1 Comment

  1. Rachael Atamian on June 27, 2014 at 7:57 am

    As an update, some LDS friends gave me the real kicker that may give the first presidency a “procedural” way out. That is, her entire church “court” may be invalid because it was conducted in the incorrect jurisdiction. She moved a long while back and the stake president refused to forward her church records as some sort of probation or punishment. No LDS member I talked with has ever, ever heard of this nonsense. If this is the case, the first presidency may be able to overturn the excommunication on procedural grounds and avoid any further comment. Lets hope this happens.

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