Kate Kelly, one of the founders of the Ordain Women movement in the Mormon church was formally excommunicated today. For those unfamiliar with excommunication, it severs all ties between the Church and the individual. All ordinances on behalf of the individual are no longer valid, including the sealing ordinance by which husbands, wives and their family are sealed to each other for time (this life) and eternity.
Unlike excommunication in the Catholic Church centuries ago, members of the LDS faith are not forbidden to associate with Ms. Kelly. “Disciplinary councils” which is the formal name given to church proceedings such as this, are often referred to as councils of love. While that is difficult for the average person, especially the ex communicant to understand, the reasoning is this. The excommunicated person has been found to have violated one of God’s laws. For Latter-day Saints, especially those (like Ms. Kelly) who have been through the temple and made sacred covenants with God, allowing them to continue in full faith and fellowship in the Church while in a state of transgression, would compound their error. It is much like when Adam and Eve, after having eaten of the forbidden fruit, were barred from the Tree of Life, first by cherubim and then by expulsion from the Garden, “lest they partake of the fruit and live forever in their sins.”
For Ms. Kelly her future is in her hands. If she sincerely repents, which will undoubtedly require her to stop agitating for the ordination of women and probably admit her complicity in trying to persuade others away from the teaching of the Church, she can be re-baptized and have all ordinances restored.
Contrary to how this might be spun in the media, this is not a human or women’s rights issue. It is a religious liberty issue that addresses the right of any religious organization to place certain responsibilities on those who wish to claim the benefits of membership. Right now Ms. Kelly seems not to grasp that distinction.