July 26th, 2015

Dear Kate Kelly: “Sparking Joy” is Not a Litmus Test for the Gospel of Christ

Kate Kelly was excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints one year ago. In the months prior to this culminating severance, as her Ordain Women group increasingly agitated for a doctrinal shift in the Church, I observed and opined that she had reduced the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to a male-dominated social club in need of her feminizing reforms.

In one interview after another, I looked for—and failed to find—an expression of testimony. I awaited an affirmation of her faith. Instead, she would say things like “I love this church,” “I love the gospel and the courage of its people,” and that her mission through Ordain Women was to “stand up for [her]self and for people that [she] loved.” Indeed, in her written defense hoping to deter her bishop from choosing excommunication, there was not one whit of testimony—no attempt to make clear that her spiritual house was still built upon Christ’s rock. Instead, she blandly informed the bishop that she had loved her “association with the Church” and “the feeling” she got attending meetings, as if she was casually expressing affection for her local Rotary Club.

One year later, Kelly is encouraging her formerly fellow congregants to abandon our affiliation with the Church if our “participation in Mormonism [does not] spark joy.” Even now, the phrases she chooses are indicative of her indifference to the principles of the gospel—rather than referring to membership in the Church, or God’s kingdom, or belief in and commitment to the gospel, she presents a sterilized picture of “participation in Mormonism,” as if it’s a mere parade or fad or social campaign.

For Kelly, her affiliation in the Church which booted her out had apparently degraded into nothing more than an additional identity—an extra few characters on one’s résumé, surrounded by similarly unnoteworthy endeavors such as membership in a jazz band or speech and debate club. Of course, from this perspective, it’s reasonable for her to suggest that if one’s “participation” in a group brings more perceived judgment than joy, one should simply walk away, shrugging off this previous identity like one would a sweat-stained jersey from a perpetually losing soccer team.

Those familiar with scripture will recognize the story of the strait and narrow path—the theological allegory denoting the difficulty of discipleship. Christ taught his followers that few would find this path, while on the other hand, “wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.” Kelly, having chosen the latter course, predictably describes this newfound flexibility as “empowering.”

Neal A. Maxwell once wrote that the strait and narrow path is one “of high adventure for the brave, not the intolerant; it is not an ecclesiastical ‘country club’ situated on a narrow theological terrace.” While the Kate Kellys of the world suggest that such associations should be for selfish benefit, providing joy as a baseline condition of considering affiliation, Christ makes clear that following Him will not be perpetual rainbows and sunshine.

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth,” he taught the Twelve Apostles. “I came not to send peace, but a sword.” Domestic turbulence and interpersonal strife were but a few of the conditions he suggested would result from choosing this path. These same apostles, commissioned to evangelize his teachings in the surrounding areas, did not shirk their duties in difficult times—they found joy during, and even because of, the persecutions they faced. Similarly, Joseph Smith taught that “a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.” Such a nuanced, complex, and rich theological outlook is lost on those who myopically dictate that things be a certain way to be worthy of their support.

Of course, man is that he might have joy. At a casual glance of this scripture, one might hastily infer that if one’s “participation in Mormonism” (whatever that means) has failed to produce this emotion, it is worth searching for it elsewhere. But Ms. Kelly forgot, or chose to disbelieve, in the “joy of Christ” that is uniquely provided to us through the Savior’s atonement. Christ’s Church need not be governed by equal parts male and female members to be true, and to be the vehicle for His gospel. Focusing on such a criteria—especially in apparent absence of any foundational fidelity to the gospel’s key tenets—completely misses the point of what “the church” Kelly once loved is actually about.

Sometimes I find going to Church to be intellectually dull or spiritually lackluster. At different periods of my life I have considered discipleship to be demanding, and the ever-present checklist of ecclesiastical to-dos to be tedious. I have objected to organizational actions the Church has taken. In all the congregations I’ve been a part of throughout my life, there have been some really annoying people. In a few instances, I have been hurt by supposed Saints. And don’t get me started on what it’s like being stuck in nursery with a bratty, tired toddler producing voluminous amounts of noise and misery for myself and everybody within the sound of her voice.

But I don’t attend worship services and “participate in Mormonism” primarily to make friends, or to feel good, or to cultivate an enjoyable association. I go because I believe in, and have received a witness of, the gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe that God speaks to man, that Joseph Smith was called as a prophet, that the Book of Mormon is a true record revealed by the power of God for our benefit and application, and that the priesthood authority to perform saving ordinances was likewise restored.

Perhaps you’re a social outcast, an introvert, or you’ve been thrust into the outer darkness of adult interaction by being called to the Primary. Maybe a church leader in your ward is a bully, your choir can barely muster five people, or monthly testimony meetings have more awkward, lengthy pauses than testimonies. And then there’s the suffering Saints who fall through the cracks, the perpetually low home and visiting teaching statistics, or the teeth-pulling that has to happen to rally enough volunteers for some needed service.

It’s clear that we Latter-day Saints have a lot of room for improvement; we’re not perfect. But let’s be clear: we’re not an association of self-interested social justice seekers trying to “raise hell,” as Kelly suggested we should. We’re a community of Saints—disciples of Christ trying, however imperfectly, to follow His commandments, believe in His teachings, and seek His will in our lives. “Sparked joy” or not, we’re committed members of the body of Christ.

136 Responses to “Dear Kate Kelly: “Sparking Joy” is Not a Litmus Test for the Gospel of Christ”

  1. antodav
    July 26, 2015 at 8:58 am #

    Kate Kelly illustrates perfectly why self-serving secular liberalism is wholly incompatible with Biblical Christianity—particularly, with Mormonism. Such an ideology is utterly counterproductive to acquiring a testimony, because it requires focusing one’s attention on the things of the world, rather than the things of a God.

  2. Blaine Nay
    July 26, 2015 at 9:29 am #

    Excellent, Connor.

  3. Brittany
    July 26, 2015 at 9:38 am #

    This was a wonderful read.

  4. Capn Kent
    July 26, 2015 at 9:40 am #

    I appreciate your thoughtful statements.. especially near the end. It still seems to attack Kelly though. The principles you state are well done. Id say stick with the principles and commonalities – avoid the personal attacks?

  5. Mr. Best
    July 26, 2015 at 9:52 am #

    Worth the read and share. Great Sunday post Mr. Boyack I hope my friends that find Kate Kelly inspiring will find and read this. I only wished you’d had found more of her obvious modern Korihor contradictions to truth. Good one.

  6. Anna Buttimore
    July 26, 2015 at 10:13 am #

    I completely agree. I was thinking today that occasionally church can be … *gasp* … boring. But we don’t go there to be entertained. Neither do we go for the social connections, or even for what we get out of it. Yes, often we will find joy, enjoy being with great people, and be spiritually uplifted and educated, but these are not reasons for attending church, any more than failure to experience these is reason for not attending. We go to church because the gospel is true, and our Heavenly Father has asked us to, and frankly it is *the least* we can do after all He’s done for us.

  7. Victoria Fielding
    July 26, 2015 at 10:16 am #

    This is why it is so imperative that each of us grow our testimony and our commitment to the Savior’s gospel on a daily basis. The world’s influence never let’s up. It is insidious and constant, always warping itself to those areas where we are weakest.

  8. Chris Tibbitts
    July 26, 2015 at 10:40 am #

    Very well written and objective in every way. The gospel of Christ does not evolve to meet the need of it’s members, it’s members involve to conform with Christ…

  9. Rebecca
    July 26, 2015 at 10:45 am #

    I think you’re mischaracterizing Kate Kelly a bit for effect. I’m no Kate Kelly fan but I did read her Sparking Joy statement. I also think you are conflating church attendance with worshipping Christ. I do agree though that following Christ is not easy and doesn’t always bring joy in the moment. But there is joy overall in the eternal perspective.

  10. Grays
    July 26, 2015 at 10:45 am #

    I’m glad you have your opinions and beliefs. We all do. But seriously, in “looking for” proof of Kate’a testimony, you began to judge and condemn. So not cool. You are missing the point of the gospel and how Christ loved. He didn’t cast stones or decide that someone stating “they loved the gospel” was not enough. He accepted people’s differences and efforts. As a member, I am always sad when other members step up and judge and condemn as though they are God. Sad and so unlike Jesus.

  11. Randall
    July 26, 2015 at 10:53 am #

    You set an artificial standard of her expressing her testimony in a way that is acceptable to you as a reason to reject the reality of sexism in the church. That invalidates your argument. But when you have established in your mind that the church is infallible, you must attack those who point out problems in order to maintain your own sense of equilibrium. I would encourage you to consider the possibility that maybe, just maybe, the church is not what you believe it is.

  12. Jarvie
    July 26, 2015 at 10:58 am #

    Love the sentiments about being a disciple. If the article didn’t talk about Kate Kelly i think it would be even better. But I see why you involved current events and made it more relateable to some people. (May hit closer to home for some people)
    I think I’m just a little uneasy with making inferences of someone’s beliefs for someone else.
    None-the-less the overall point about “sparking joy” and what being “united with the body of Christ” is all about is well taken.

  13. Lindsay
    July 26, 2015 at 11:05 am #

    Overall the article has a “no true Scotsman” feel to it. It seems like you are trying to prove that KK never had a “true testimony”, therefore everything she did is wrong, because without the “right testimony” she obviously never had the “right motives”.

  14. Em
    July 26, 2015 at 11:10 am #

    “Christ’s Church need not be governed by equal parts male and female members to be true, and to be the vehicle for His gospel. Focusing on such a criteria—especially in apparent absence of any foundational fidelity to the gospel’s key tenets—completely misses the point of what “the church” Kelly once loved is actually about.” – said by Connor, a MAN…

  15. Dave Trebas
    July 26, 2015 at 11:14 am #

    Holding to the rod becomes a much harder task when your hand is being slapped and people are shoving you aside. So much effort and energy to bring people into the church that it surprises me to see people finding joy when someone is kicked out for not being the right kind of “Mormon”. You have no idea what is in her heart and your assumptions and conjecture make for some good back slapping and hand wringing but seriously – to devote your time and talent to finding fault? Are you totally certain you are a follower of Christ?

  16. Rex
    July 26, 2015 at 11:21 am #

    Your assumptions about Kelly, someone you clearly don’t know personally and whose testimony you have no absolutely founding to judge, are embarrassingly presumptuous. I think you had something to say about discipleship, but instead you ended up writing a hit piece. I wish I could find some satisfaction in the irony.

  17. Julie Rae
    July 26, 2015 at 11:42 am #

    Once again you nailed it. The joy of the gospel comes in doing the Lord’s work. Providing service to our fellow man and practicing charity. Our meetings and association in the gospel are to keep us on track and facilitate opportunities to have joy they are not what causes the joy.

  18. Seth Leary
    July 26, 2015 at 11:50 am #

    So joy is NOT the purpose of the gospel. And if anyone tries to find joy, or even worse encourages others to find it, they should be condemned, discounted, and vilified. You have bared your testimony, and done so in the name of Jesus Christ. Ah, men!

  19. Jared Stark
    July 26, 2015 at 12:01 pm #

    You dismiss Ms. Kelly’s supposed litmus test, but then immediately replace it with your own litmus test based on personal piety and obedience to the church. I would like to know which “key tenet” of the gospel dictates that men and women shouldn’t govern equally in the church? Please show me the scriptural basis for the accepted inequality, or even the modern revelation that supports it. When the church’s own spokesperson Ally Isom was pressed by Doug Fabrizio on Radio West to explain the doctrinal basis for inequality, she finally admitted that no where in Mormon doctrine does it say women can’t hold the priesthood. It’s simply the way it is, it’s tradition.

  20. Dave
    July 26, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

    So did you write this before or after sacrament meeting?

  21. mary vett
    July 26, 2015 at 12:27 pm #

    If you have a testimony of the gospel in the church, then you know it is set and governed by Christ himself. Being so, how could anyone question it? Jesus is no whimp, he rules not only with love but also power. He loves each of us the same, but when the time comes to live with him on his street it will not be those who have not stood by their testimony of the gospel but those who have served him with endless faith in HIS way. Yes the church is goverened by men to carry out the offices set by Christ. They make a mistake or lead wrong they will answer for it not us. Now about female. I love being female, and feel that I am equally as special as an authoriy in Utah. I never question the Lord in my duties as a daughter. Frankly I think he has given us quite enough to do as females. It all comes down to how much do I love Jesus, with my heart and soul and I trust him to keep his word with my life. I think Miss Kelly has been mislead by Satan himself and she has allowed him to do so. All we can do is pray for her for she has no idea what she really has done to herself.

  22. Jorge
    July 26, 2015 at 12:39 pm #

    “yea, it is better that one man perish than an entire nation dwindle in unbelief”. I, as you Connor, am grateful the church is cutting off radical feminists who wish to change the gospel of Christ. The divine nature of man and woman are to fulfill different divine roles. If It were meant to be completely equal the man would also have the babies. Society may change with the winds of Hollywood but The Gospel is the same yesterday, today, and FOREVER.

  23. Trevor Rapp
    July 26, 2015 at 12:39 pm #

    I don’t understand the need or the logic behind trying to build up a monument to discipleship by tearing down another person.

  24. J
    July 26, 2015 at 12:49 pm #

    I don’t think the point is to tear her down, but to show others that would follow her the flaw in her reasoning, backed with evidence. She’s essentially said “Come follow me”, in a direction against what the Church teaches the Savior meant when he said the same thing.

  25. Laurie Caldwell
    July 26, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

    Man is that he might have joy, disciple s are in every religon. The worship, atonement and love of Christ doesn’t just exist for Mormons or only within the Mormon church. If ye love Me feed My sheep. As I have loved you love one another. Followers of Christ are being killed and you want to disput Kate Kelly’s thoughts and intentions? I think the Savior would rather see our energies put to better use than fighting over how righteous we are or how unrightous someone else is.

  26. Darrinj55
    July 26, 2015 at 1:48 pm #

    I love the way this author (so called) has made judgement of another person! Let the first person without sin throw the first stone! :). Please be careful!!

  27. Jake Garn
    July 26, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

    Connor,
    Very interesting points though I must call your attention to a common mistake in teaching Lehi/Nephi’s dream…. I also very much appreciate your powerful testimony at the end.

    You quoted “straight and narrow” incorrectly. I wouldn’t normally quibble with a spelling error but in this instance the word “strait” which is used in the scriptures has a very different meaning than the word “straight.” This common misconception has always led to a curious misinterpretation of a deep doctrinal truth about the path to the fruit of the tree of life.

    In my dream the path is narrow and nothing but straight; it is STRAIT, and it truly follows along a river of filth and times great mists of confusion. Trekking the path means masses of people will sit in their spacious buildings, on the other side of the filthy river, protecting themselves from the path and casting out judgements and laughter of superiority whilst congratulating themselves for having the answers. It’s a very prophetical dream. One that speaks to the fact that there is a true, pure joy in the fruit at the top of a desolated wilderness and an artificial joy in the buildings and masses of self-congratulators.

    IF church isn’t sparking joy then of course you shouldn’t feel obliged to stay! In that Kate Kelly has it right, maybe.. I do know that any judgement cast against someone finding joy outside of buildings reeks too much of prideful beliefs to me… after all the brother of the prodigal son was chastised by his Father for having pride in his own obedience.

    Your point of view is always refreshing, thank you Connor!

    Cheers!
    Jake

  28. Rachel Robins
    July 26, 2015 at 3:18 pm #

    Spot-on. This is why the Ordain Women movement never resounded with me. At the end of the day, being in the LDS church is the path of discipleship for me. It has always bothered me about OW that’s it about the balance of power, not following the Savior. As for the comments that you are attacking her–aren’t you just responding to her piece in the Tribune?

  29. Diane
    July 26, 2015 at 3:43 pm #

    Deat ms.kelly.
    Weither you know it or not this doesnt affect the chuch in the least .The chuch is still true.
    You personally were leaveing long before you were excomunated .You could see it in your manner and your deeds.Now in your clothing.
    But you didn’t stop there you had to make others feel bad and take them down with you.
    Just remember thell be a reckoning .
    Also how dare you say prinary people are not inportant.Its one of the most important jobs in the church .Shaping young minds and teaching gospel principals.

  30. Jared Stark
    July 26, 2015 at 3:57 pm #

    @jorge Your justification of inequality on the basis of women having babies leaves me shaking my head. You say “If It were meant to be completely equal the man would also have the babies.” To rephrase, you’re saying that because the woman’s role in human reproduction is to carry the fetus and give birth to it, men and women are inherently not equal. I assume you’re trying to draw a parallel between the different roles of men and women in church leadership, and their roles in propagating the species, but the latter has nothing to do with equality. Men and women are equal partners when they create a baby. Their offspring carries exactly 23 chromosomes from the male and 23 from the female. The child would not exist without BOTH the man and the woman. The are equal. Their roles are different. The same cannot be said about the priesthood. The priesthood wouldn’t exist if there were no longer male members of the church. And say what you will, but a woman’s role is subservient to a man’s in church leadership. The Young Women and the Relief Society have to have “the priesthood” at their activities. Two male priesthood members (presumably two to prevent anything “inappropriate”) have to be there to supervise. The Relief Society president operates under the direction of the bishop (aka “the priesthood”). Can you even imagine how insulting that could be to a woman? And we’re conditioning our young women to believe they’re dependent on having a man around to keep things in order. To suggest that women’s roles are different but equal is to turn a blind eye to reality. You and I are men – we can’t understand what it’s like. And the real kicker is, it isn’t doctrinal that women can’t have the priesthood. Just like it wasn’t doctrine that black men of African descent couldn’t have the priesthood. It’s nothing more than a tradition that we’ve been conditioned to accept. The church’s own spokesperson Ally Isom admitted as much when Doug Fabrizio pressed her on the issue on Radio West.

    You finish by saying the gospel “is the same yesterday, today, and FOREVER” suggesting that anyone who doesn’t agree with you should get over it, because it’s never going to change. It seems you’re confusing the gospel with the church – and the latter changes all the time. Polygamy, race and the priesthood, interracial marriage, views towards the LGBT community, church finances, alcohol and coffee. There are plenty of things that have changed, and I’m sure more will change in the future.

    Finally, I simply don’t understand why it’s such a contentious issue. Imagine you show up to church next Sunday and a woman is conducting the meeting, and there are young women passing the sacrament. What’s so earth shattering about that? Has it changed your personal relationship with God? I challenge you to seriously reflect on why you feel so threatened by the idea. Can you make a list of specific, real negative consequences if men and women were truly equal in the church? Can you make a list of real, positive consequences? I believe the positives would far outweigh any negatives – in fact, I’d be surprised if you could come up with a single negative.

  31. David Ianusi
    July 26, 2015 at 4:08 pm #

    Well she is Wright what she said ,most of the people in the church don’t understand the real power with in the man and a woman they both have power between them when the sisters prepared to serve a mission she will receive a blessing to give the power to her to preach the gospel to every sole in the world , And that same power has given to the man called Pristood the morlchestic Pristood They both have powers but different using of the power between them

  32. Gilbert gripe
    July 26, 2015 at 4:34 pm #

    Her statement makes perfect sense IF you no longer believe the truth claims of the church.

    IF the church is true – there is no commandment or unhappiness you wouldn’t endure at the behest of the church.

  33. John
    July 26, 2015 at 4:36 pm #

    Connor,

    If tomorrow the General Authorities were to announce that the Church was a fraud, would you still have a relationship with Jesus Christ? If you have to think about this, you worship the Church, not God.

  34. Sassy Pope
    July 26, 2015 at 5:03 pm #

    Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.”

  35. Sylwia
    July 26, 2015 at 6:06 pm #

    This article made me very uncomfortable. How can the writer dismiss someone’s testimony whatever it may be. We all in different places on our spiritual journey. Many people join the church because there like the missionaries or because they found a ward family. Should they be encouraged to leave or if they do should we say’good riddence’? Of course not. Every human being has value and should be welcomed no matter what their beliefs. If we are truly Christians our hand needs to always be stretched out. In the words of Isaiah ‘The Lords hand is stretched out still’ Nothing that we do changes His love toward us. I think the if the writer studied more about the Savoir he/she wouldn’t write pieces like this.

  36. Jared Stark
    July 26, 2015 at 6:16 pm #

    @David Ianusi – That logic is comparable to a magicians sleight of hand. “Look ladies, you have the same power as us, you just get to use it differently!” It’s an attempt to deceive, and it makes me sad when I hear young women repeat the same sentiment. The reality is, the church is run by men, and even the leadership positions held by women are just extensions of positions held by men. You’re correct that it’s the same power, and they can both use it – a woman just has to have a man’s permission. How can you not see how that could be viewed as unfair, especially absent any actual doctrinal basis for excluding women from holding a priesthood office?

    @Gilbert gripe – If we were supposed to worship the church, I suppose your comment would make sense. 40 years ago, your same statement would have been directed to black members of the church. And as it turns out, according to the church’s own statements on race and the priesthood on lds.org, the practice of excluding black men from holding the priesthood wasn’t doctrinal, but was a tradition based on racism. It was pressure from members seeking equality, and pressures from society as a whole that led to the change in policy. Why aren’t women afforded the same liberty to fight for equality instead of being shamed as “radical feminists” that either need to get in line, or get out?

  37. ankle
    July 26, 2015 at 7:12 pm #

    I have to agree with other commenters: replacing Kate Kelly’s litmus test with your own hardly proves anything. Further, a testimony of Christ and a testimony of the LDS church are two very different things; the one doesn’t flow from the other nearly as fluidly as Church leadership and LDS apologists glibly claim. I can’t say I’ve followed Ordain Women closely, and certainly they’ve said and done plenty I’m unaware of. But their most famous request was that the Church support its claim that only men can have administrative authority within the organization, and I can find nothing improper with asking that question, even publicly. One could certainly presume a church that claims to be led by revelation could provide some revelation on the subject, especially given that it worked that way in Joseph Smith’s day. Revelations appeared regularly in response to the pressing questions in members’ minds back then; why not today? Or has revelation ceased?

  38. Jared Stark
    July 26, 2015 at 7:27 pm #

    @ankle Well said. I honestly haven’t followed Ordain Women that closely either, other than a quick glance at their website, but I find the level of opposition to their request to be baffling, and the basis for dissent to be weak. Like you say, where’s the revelation? The burden of proof is on those who would justify inequality, not the other way around.

  39. Cult Hero
    July 26, 2015 at 7:36 pm #

    The attitude expressed in this article is the sort of sentiment that drove me away a long time ago. The fact that you think you’re somehow capable of qualifying Kate Kelly’s testimony is disturbing and fundamentally arrogant. The fact is, you don’t know and to simply qualify based purely on your distant observations is disingenuous.

    “Spark joy” is absolutely a fine litmus test. It’s really not very different than Alma directing us to plant the seed and observe the fruit. I know most of the “faithful” out there will simply say, “You’re doing it wrong,” if your results vary but, again, that’s usually just spiritual arrogance talking. Sometimes when you follow the path as directed, it doesn’t lead every person in the same direction. I know no shortage of Mormons who simply cannot deal with that reality. In order to cope with their own beliefs they immediately attack the person struggling try to figure out “what is wrong” with that person. Thanks but no thanks.

    God is a loving Father, not some cranky old guy that wants you to do boring, monotonous rubbish to “build character” like some sitcom dad. Church is boring and its meetings are legion. Why go if it’s spiritually dead and intellectually meaningless? (Incidentally, if it’s not, great! Keep going.) Because you were told to? Because you think you have to? I guess my use of simple scriptural litmus tests like “man is that he might have joy” and “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them,” is just another example of doing it wrong, right? When the signs say, “this is enhancing neither your life nor your spirituality,” why should I keep digging for reasons to figure out how to make it fit when it so plainly does not? I did this for 30 years and I am not a better person for it.

    I find it amazing that you point to nursery the way you did because, to be honest, of all the places I ever worked in the church, that was where the spirit was at its best. No judgment and all love. (Also, if you bother to actually prepare activities and exercise patience, the toddlers tend to be just fine. Is it really fair for me to just presume you’re terrible with children from one distant statement and without really knowing you?)

    You reference the “joy of Christ” but dismiss “sparking joy”? I really don’t understand how that is congruent. I feel genuine, honest-to-God joy in many good and uplifting things and activities. I felt it from time to time in the church. I pursue those things and those moments. My spirituality and peace grew tenfold when I decided to pursue seeds that grew into good fruit instead of constantly planting the seeds of arbitrary obedience and being surprised when the fruit was bitter.

    I couldn’t agree with Kate Kelly more, if you don’t find joy in your spiritual path, you need to move on. Our time in this world is too short and too precious to be spent conflicted and miserable.

  40. Cari Clark
    July 26, 2015 at 7:48 pm #

    Well-written and excellently argued. However, since I can, I will pick a couple of nits: I agree with Jake Garn about the spelling and meaning of the word “strait,” and you also made a common error with the word “criteria.” Criterion is the singular; criteria is plural. (Another one is candelabra and candelabrum, but we will go no further in this forum!) I was not happy about Kate Kelly’s excommunication, but I also believe that her activism had become strident and divisive, and this latest encouragement to abandon the Church certainly would have qualified as grounds for excommunication. It concerns me that so many young women are getting wrapped around the axle about this issue. Life isn’t fair, folks. Doing what we can within our sphere of influence is far more important than second-guessing the prophet. We all need to check our egos, get on our knees, and learn what our stewardship is here and now, and then get up and serve and emulate Christ.

  41. Joseph
    July 26, 2015 at 8:15 pm #

    Because the scripture that says “Man is that he might have joy” is obviously wrong.

  42. linda
    July 26, 2015 at 8:27 pm #

    @Joseph –this helps to understand the scripture better I think..

    “Joy is the settle assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.” Kay Warren

  43. Matt
    July 26, 2015 at 8:29 pm #

    Connor, a year ago, I would have said the same things you did. However, now that I have walked my own mile in similar shoes as Kate, let me recommend a few simple steps to help you understand where she might be coming from:

    1) Read the Gospel Topics essays on LDS.ORG. Don’t worry, there is nothing to fear, after all, they are church approved! Make sure to read all of the footnotes too, don’t skip those!

    2) Watch in real-time as many things you have always been told were false and “anti-Mormon” are confirmed to be true. Watch as the things you have built your testimony on (First Vision, Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, etc), suddenly become a lot more complicated based on facts. Watch as you are suddenly expected to have a testimony of things that are unfamiliar, ugly, and nonsensical (coercing 14-year-old girls and other men’s wives to marry JS, JS going behind Emma’s back to marry 30–40 wives, massive institutional racism, massive institutional dishonesty, the Book of Abraham being a provable fraud, etc).

    3) Take a good hard look at what you have left, and realize that although you have been a Mormon all your life, all of a sudden, it feels crappy to be lied to and crappy to be expected to still believe that somehow this is all God’s plan for his One True Church. But don’t you dare say anything to anyone about it; remember, you have to doubt your doubts, and keep them to yourself.

    4) After letting all of that simmer for a while, you will realize that although you loved growing up Mormon, and you still wished it could be true, it is in fact all made up. And now you have to decide if it even sparks any joy. Maybe it will, and maybe it won’t. That is all Kate is asking here.

    Good luck! And remember, it all starts on LDS.ORG. Don’t forget to watch Elder Snow’s introduction to the Gospel Topics essays, and see if you agree with him that they weave a beautiful tapestry of faith :)

  44. Vickie
    July 26, 2015 at 8:36 pm #

    I’m entertained by the breast-beating of those condemning the author for JUDGING Kate Kelly! How horrible! These poor souls seem to miss the fact that the author is simply quoting MS. Kelly, and then naming her for what she is: An unbeliever.

    Where is the howling over Ms. Kelly’s pretense at being a “believing Mormon”, then suddenly becoming a non-believing non-Mormon — and offering “permission” to others to leave the Church? News flash: They don’t need your permission, Kate.

    Ms. Kelly’s hypocrisy is undisguised and almost unbelievable in its naked contradiction. If Ms. Kelly truly believes what she is now writing, then in all seriousness, why doesn’t she PRAISE the LDS leaders who excommunicated her? She should be thanking them, and in all seriousness! But she would rather play both sides of the fence.

    Sorry, Kate. Not all of us are blind and/or stupid enough to take you at your word.

  45. LaMadre
    July 26, 2015 at 9:16 pm #

    I have observed from the reading of these comments, is that Connor’s opinion, if you disagree with it, is dismissed because he has pointed out behaviors in Kate Kelly that strengthen his argument, and if you disagree with them, he’s wrong and you’re right. However, the scriptures are full of stories that warn us about behavior and the potential it has to lead people away from Christ. Laman, Lemuel, Korihor, Sherem, and Nehor, among others come to mind. Then there are those who also lead others astray, but who had a change of heart like Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah and turned their lives around. I think, rather than assuming Bro. Boyack’s intent is to tear Sis. Kelly down, that it is to give us a modern day parallel to which we can liken the scriptures to ourselves and not be misled. I am mindful that as it happened in the scriptures, Sis. Kelly has an opportunity to change her trajectory if she experiences a change of heart as does anybody who desires to come unto Christ.

  46. Gabe
    July 26, 2015 at 9:22 pm #

    Rebecca said perfectly what I was trying to articulate in my mind.
    I feel like if one isn’t following the Church because it provides one some sense of happiness or satisfaction (if only the satisfaction of knowing one has done the right thing) then he or she is kind of a masochist. If a person doesn’t have good feelings about his or her membership, why is he or she here?
    I know that’s probably an oversimplification of what you’re trying to say, but I think the definitions of “joy” and “happiness” in these discussions need to be defined more clearly. You make it sound like you don’t have any positive feelings about being a member of the Church, and if that’s the case, I don’t understand why you’re still around.

  47. Bluecanary
    July 26, 2015 at 9:47 pm #

    Spoken like a true Christian. Very Christ-like judgement of another’s standing with God. Exactly what Christ taught to do. High-five bro. You probably should pray more before posting something condemning another. Just one non – Mormon’s opinion.

  48. Stanley Davis
    July 26, 2015 at 9:54 pm #

    My three year old and my aging parents do not spark joy for me. Time to abandon them. I love the modern religion of self indulgence. It truly is liberating!!!

  49. Kelly
    July 26, 2015 at 10:05 pm #

    The detractors of the message are saying some predictable, yet very misguided things. Im always disappointed when people use the “don’t judge” card to defend people’s behavior that isn’t consistent with the gospel of Christ. Seriously people use the don’t judge me card like its some nuclear option against hearing gospel truths preached to them. Can you imagine Noah’s society using the don’t judge me card to silence Noah and God himself would say…crap, they gotcha Noah. Better keep it to yourself. I highly recommend an ensign article by Dallin H. Oaks (a former Attorney and Supreme Court Justice for the state of Utah) called “”Judge Not” and judging”.

    https://www.lds.org/ensign/1999/08/judge-not-and-judging?lang=eng

    People really need to do more studying on the topic because not only is there a JST on Matthew 7:1, but the entire 7th chapter of Matthew gives instructions on how to judge…also read all the verses about the beam and the mote because People leave out the last verse and miss the whole point of the teaching. Also john 7:24 Christ says to judge righteous judgement.

    There are several of you who feel like you’ve been lied to and you use the church essays as some type of evidence to support your view. I’ve read many of the essays and very few of them contained new information. They paint a very reasonable explanation of it all and yet I see people clearly leaving out the information in the essays that explain things in a very satisfactory manner, yet they act all outraged over it. Helen mar Kimball in her 15th year was “sealed” to Joseph and yet people call Joseph a pedophile…a term that wasn’t even around in his era and Certainly didn’t have laws on the book forbidding such relations. The marrying age had more to do with how physically mature a person was in being ready to enter adulthood, not so much about their actual age. It’s wrong to project 20th and 21st century standards onto 19th century individuals who didn’t have those standards. Besides that, it’s evident that Helen mar Kimballs sealing to Joseph was only a sealing to link the Kimball family to Joseph Smith through the priesthood and wasn’t an actual marriage that was done in mortality. This is explained in the essays yet people who use Lds.org as some type of ammo to justify their doubts…I seriously wonder if you have read the essays at all because your arguements ignore the very legitimate points you tout as justification for your doubts. Yeah…read the essays themselves…not what the left wing critics tell you the essays are about. Your testimony should be enhanced, not threatened.

  50. Carree
    July 26, 2015 at 10:28 pm #

    Thank you for such a wonderful read Connor and your testimony, very well said.

  51. steve
    July 26, 2015 at 10:32 pm #

    i don’t read books, but i think there is a movie in which ‘god said love thy neighbour’…i’d buy that pitch

  52. Jared Stark
    July 26, 2015 at 10:57 pm #

    @kelly

    “a term that wasn’t even around in his era and Certainly didn’t have laws on the book forbidding such relations”

    Just because the term wasn’t around doesn’t mean the condition didn’t exist, and just because there wasn’t a law forbidding it doesn’t make it right. And I’m fairly certain 14 year old girls marrying 38 year old men wasn’t common practice even at that time. I’ve read the essays, and I still find it hard to believe. The whole “he didn’t have sex with them” argument just doesn’t hold water, especially when Joseph’s successor Brigham was obviously having sex with his wives. Did the purpose of polygamy somehow change between Joseph and Brigham?

  53. Mike Wilson
    July 27, 2015 at 12:30 am #

    Kate Kelly created a real conundrum for herself with her “Ordain Women” movement. She wanted to be ordained to the Priesthood that she had absolutely no respect for.

    Thank you for your thoughtful and insightful article.

  54. Colleen
    July 27, 2015 at 12:36 am #

    I was really touched by this article, thanks for writing it! I know nothing about Kate Kelly, and I’m impressed by your ability to question her motives (so that we ourselves can look into our hearts and question our own motives) but not judge her at the same time. I wish her the very best. <3
    The Gospel is so beautiful and simple. I wish all people could see the pure and abounding love flowing from our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Nothing is hidden in the Gospel. No amount of protest or questioning will change God's will for us. He is knows exactly what is perfect in this world and what we truly need. I boldly ask that you doubt your doubts before you doubt your Father. We need only turn to our Living Prophets to know God's will for HIS Church. And as always, turn to Him in humble prayer to know His will for YOU, His beloved child.

  55. Skyler
    July 27, 2015 at 12:54 am #

    Everyone who enjoys your article was going to dismiss Kate Kelly’s statement without reading what you wrote. So what did you really accomplish besides being rude?

  56. Mel
    July 27, 2015 at 2:26 am #

    My takeaway: This guy obviously has no respect for K.Kelly, people who are looking for joy within the church, or children. (Although I’m sure his list of lesser-thans is much longer).
    It’s unfortunate that he feels the need to publicly express his distaste for others, while simultaneously “representing” the church. When it comes to the teachings/example of Christ, this guy picks & chooses what he thinks is most important.
    I sincerely hope he thinks twice again before getting back up on that soap box of his…

  57. Priscilla Wolfe
    July 27, 2015 at 4:29 am #

    Wow, typical Mormon male, when Jesus says “he who is without sin let him cast the first stone” you start throwing everything you can get your hands on. Or put another way, you gag on a gnat when you throw the return missionary, temple married Kate under the bus when she respectfully asks to speak to the brethren about women’s role in the church and then, you swallow a camel when you accept that Joseph Smith married 9 teenagers (two were 14), 11 wives of other men and at least 13 other women and then lied about it until the day he died. Frankly, you need to follow the admonition of Nephi when he said to liken all things in the scriptures to ourselves…if Joseph came to you and said as a part of the “restoration” he got a “new and everlasting covenant” and an angel told him he was supposed to have sex with your wife or your teenage daughter would you go along with it as a commandment coming from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ or would you hold a court of love and kick the pervert out of the church? Just sayin

  58. Jenna
    July 27, 2015 at 5:37 am #

    I understand Connor’s annoyance with this woman and respect his right to rant. I’m tired of people like KK getting the stage while people who are trying to follow Christ’s example sit quietly by. Frankly, l would like to punch her in the noise for the damage she is doing to women who have only a budding testimony.

    I have been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for twenty years having converted from another Christian church. Never, not for one second have l felt as if l were under the thumb of men or that l was seen as lesser because l am a woman. I am a busy person and don’t usually have time to respond to people like KK who have made it their goal to tear down something as good as the Church of Jesus of Christ of Latter-day Saints. This time l feel it’s worth taking a few moments to share my thoughts from a woman’s perspective.

    I’m busy taking care of my family and trying to do good for others. I will never be excommunicated for following the example of Jesus Christ. I believe that KK is just another lacking in the ability to take responsibility for her behavior that led to her dissatisfaction, lack of faith and eventual excommunication.

    I agree, if you don’t like it here, move on. As always, those who continue to try and follow Christ’s example will be here if and when you are ready to admit your mistakes and come back. I wonder if KK having been a member takes comfort in knowing that no matter what she does she has the power to repent and come back.

    In the mean time, Sister KK, refrain from insinuating that the thousands of Sister members who understand why the church is organized as it is and appreciate our roles as women in this great dispensation are stupid, sheep-like women who would allow ourselves to be ruled over and mistreated by men. And for crying out loud, stop handing shovels to the less informed to help you dig your hole.

  59. KShelton
    July 27, 2015 at 6:16 am #

    Interesting to see the intellectual debate in the comments of this blog. I think it’s helpful to listen to all view points to better understand people’s perspective and debate is healthy. What’s missing for me is that it seems to be mostly intellectual and based on the current trending philosophies of men. When you view spiritual things or doctrine from an intellectual, modern day philosophical perspective, you miss out on a deeper understanding that can only come from the spirit. There is only one way to know that Jesus is the Christ, only one way to know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that the Book of Mormon is true and that is through the Holy Ghost. Too often I see friends or family apply intellect or a popular cultural filter on spiritual things and it leads to a never ending debate. Throw in human weakness of active members and perceived and sometimes very real hypocrisy and you have a recipe for never gaining a spiritual witness or wanting a spiritual witness. I am not perfect, but I try to live my life in harmony with the teachings of Jesus Christ because of the undeniable spirit that has touched my soul. I know now that I had to have a desire to know, a belief in the possibility that answers would come through a spiritual means (the Holy Ghost) and faith enough to take action through study, prayer and obedience.

  60. Justine
    July 27, 2015 at 6:32 am #

    Kelly – HMK’s sealing was only to link the two families and not a marriage? Why, then, could Helen not socialize post-sealing? She was now on the planet for the sole purpose of linking her father to Joseph Smith and not to live her own life? Thank heaven she was ultimately able to do so.

  61. Socrates
    July 27, 2015 at 7:15 am #

    This article is being circulated in the OW circles and they’re being encouraged to come here and opine against it. I follow OW just to get a feel for where they are and this article stung them. Like president Hinckley said, “hit pigeons flutter.”

  62. John
    July 27, 2015 at 7:47 am #

    Kelley, Even if Kimball’s sealing to Joseph was only a sealing to unite the families, why aren’t these sealings being done today? If Kimball wasn’t technically his wife in the full sense of the word, there are no laws that would prohibit this practice. If dynastically joining families in this manner was an ordinance of the restoration, why has it ceased? And why did it have to be the 14-year old daughter? If there wasn’t going to be any sex, and it wasn’t a marriage in the traditional sense, why couldn’t Joseph and Helen’s father be the two who were joined together in this linking of the families?

    This essay, which you think does such a wonderful job telling the “whole story” leaves out the fact that after this sealing, Helen was forbidden from attending dances and parties where young men her age may see her and try to strike up a relationship with her. Smith couldn’t have something like that happening, because Helen was no longer on the market, and the reason she wasn’t had to be kept a secret. Helen writes about this in her journal, revealing how devastated she was to be so young, at the moment in life where she should be looking forward to these fun, exciting experiences of adolescence, and yet she can’t, and her entire life is a big secret now.

    Also, If there was no sex on this marriage, this poor girl was forced to sacrifice the joys of motherhood, just so she could be the link that brought her families together. Think about it. As a woman yourself, think about it.

    Sex or no sex, Helen was violated in a most egregious way. You should be ashamed to parrot the despicable apologetic the church has officially published about this. The church, by not fully divulging Helen’s story, has violated her once again.

  63. SloppyJ30
    July 27, 2015 at 8:50 am #

    I’ve only casually paid attention to the whole Kelly kerfuffle, but I think the “joy” statement speaks to people like me. I’m a lifelong member who has decided over the last few years that it’s all nonsense. Or, to use the lingo, I know from the bottom of my heart that it’s all nonsense. Because of course in the LDS world, no-one can simply “believe” anything without raising eyebrows; you have to “know” it, as if the more forcefully you state that something is true, the truer that something becomes.

    I would leave (meaning probably just go inactive, as opposed to formally removing my name from church records), except that I’m not willing to pay the very real family and social costs involved. My wife’s a true believer, as are all her siblings, my only sibling, her father, and my mother. Her mother and my father were as well before they passed away.

    So, I hit the double-whammy . . I don’t literally buy into church teachings, nor do I pick up any extra joy from faking my way along. What I do is avoid a potential divorce, the furrowed brows and wringing hands of still-believing family, and the confusion of my kids. Of course, I feel like I’m lying to my kids by not overtly telling them they’ve been taught pure fiction. Kind of a lousy situation.

    For people like me, I guess the lack of overt conflict and strife passes for “joy.” I would hope that you true believers would at least attempt to appreciate the conundrum experienced by those of us who have arrived at a conclusion you don’t agree with but who feel trapped by a culture that doesn’t reward being questioned, challenged, or rejected.

  64. Angela
    July 27, 2015 at 9:42 am #

    I want to share a personal experience here in the hope it might help someone struggling with issue of women’s role in the church.

    My mom divorced her abusive husband when I was two. I was raised without the Priesthood in my home. I considered myself a feminist and resented the fact that my family was denied many blessings.

    I prayed about this issue in the temple and received the answer that everything was as it should be and I needed to wait for my answer. It was hard, but when I finally received my answer, I realized I wasn’t ready before. You see, I also disliked children and looked down on motherhood. It wasn’t until after I had a child of my own and learned how blind I’d been that I was ready to accept the answer.

    My answer came in the form of an online discussion on women’s role in the church. In particular, this talk from General Conference struck me to my soul: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2001/10/are-we-not-all-mothers?lang=eng

    Motherhood means so much more than having babies. Women without children can mother beautifully; women with children may not mother at all. The confusion arises from our make definition of motherhood as opposed to Motherhood. It is women’s divine gift to use in the Lord’s service, just like Priesthood is for men. The difference is that we are born with our power; men must earn theirs.

    There is perfect balance. While the Priesthood sees to external needs, we of Motherhood see to internal needs. Once I comprehended this, the answer was everywhere I looked in scripture and modern teachings.

    I received my answer through comments of faithful members online. I hope by leaving this comment, I will in some measure pay the blessing forward. May it bring you peace and, yes, joy, like it has me.

  65. Penny
    July 27, 2015 at 9:51 am #

    You are in a dream world Connor. What joy does this church give to some of us? They have bashed my gay family for years for starters. They are racists. They never apologize for anything according to Dallan Oaks. They have a history of sanitizing history. They are the far right of politics. They excommunicate bloggers but do nothing with the Madman Glenn Beck, the rancher Cliven Bundy and others who dominate the news. The Church can’t keep
    their nose out of politics, and keep a tight lash on the Mormon lawmakers. You are suppose to worship the Prophet before Christ! If you don’t you will loose your membership. Should I go on? It does not give me joy……

  66. j. clark
    July 27, 2015 at 10:32 am #

    You said,,,In one interview after another, I looked for—and failed to find—an expression of testimony

    I suspect if Kate Kelly had lived in the time of Moses, she would have been placed outside the camp of Israel with Miriam.

  67. Benjamin Shaffer
    July 27, 2015 at 11:12 am #

    As a simple and immediate response to both the article and the comments, I would like to point out that the discussion seems based on a straw man fallacy, on all sides. Kate kelly never said anything close to what the title of this article implied she did. She was speaking of church membership, not about the gospel, with her spark joy article. The entire point of her article as I read it, was about the fact that church membership and the gospel of Christ are totally different things. To conflate the two is to totally misrepresent her. I realize that many LDS people constantly conflate the two things: church membership, with being a faithful latter day saint, or believing the gospel of Christ. But the whole point is that you can be a faithful latter day saint, and have no official affiliation with the corporate earthly structure of a church. If people are mistreating you, there is no good reason to let them continue mistreating you. And if you walk away from their mistreatment it has nothing whatever to do with your faith, or your standing with God. The point everyone seems to be missing here is simple, that you relationship with others in your neighborhood, or your opinions about corporate policies that come out of the church office building have no bearing whatsoever on your faith or your spiritual life, and that if you can learn that these two things are not the same you can make rational decisions about affiliating with people you may not get along with.

  68. Josh
    July 27, 2015 at 11:58 am #

    I was genuinely inspired by what Kate Kelly had to say. I have long ditched the black and white thinking of church membership, and it has been extremely beneficial.

  69. Nate B
    July 27, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

    I have seen that I get out of my activity in the church what I put into it, which is true for any activity you persue. If I am not sincere with my prayers, am inconsistant with my scripture study or I don’t prepare myself for or participate in church lessons, then I don’t feel edified or uplifted. In short, I can get a little “bored”. I have nobody to blame but myself. The reverse is also true. Despite distracting children or even “that old guy that likes to preach false doctrine”, if we prepare ourselves we can be edified.

  70. Anon
    July 27, 2015 at 12:58 pm #

    I enjoy reading from time to time what others have to say about the sects that have broken off from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I read what Kate Kelly wrote, and while she did bring up some good points, I didn’t agree with her opinions. And here again, I read another opinion, and though it agrees more with what I believe, I still don’t fully agree. What’s so great about having agency is that we’re able to decide what we agree with, and what we believe in. Even better yet, no one else can force their opinion without our consent. I find it rather silly when I read through these comments and find some seemingly disrespectful comments on this gentlemen’s opinion. Why try to degrade one opinion because you don’t believe it? What exactly is wrong with the opinion you are putting down? From my own limited understanding, a number of people think it is wrong because it isn’t what they believe in. But do keep in mind, I do have a very limited understanding of where any of these comments are coming from, seeing as all I can do is read them and understand them as I will, so I could very well be wrong. The main point I’m trying to make is that I don’t think something is wrong because I don’t believe in it; I just know it isn’t what I believe in, with no added wrong or right adjective. I don’t write this to point fingers at anyone, or condemn anyone, but I write to see if I can change at least one person’s way of writing a comment. To maybe instead of degrading an opinion and say it is wrong, to acknowledge their opinion and state yours at well. It is possible to state your own opinion without being rude or offensive. This is not saying every opinion is being rude or offensive, but I just hope you, whoever you may be, will remember that there is a person on the other side of the screen, reading the comment you wrote. And will respond similarly to how you would if the same comment was written about you. Please think of the other person before posting.

  71. Jose Ole
    July 27, 2015 at 1:13 pm #

    C’mon people. Comparing this to the Pharisees casting stones is a bit of a stretch. Connor didn’t hack into Kate’s email, read her diary or bug her home. Kate has been relentless in attracting media attention and she willingly stepped into the public limelight and voiced her opinion, which she has every right to. Connor is simply responding to a public op-ed piece. Citing John 8:7 seems like a desperate attempt to ignore the point Connor is trying to make.

    Removing Kate entirely from the discussion, the point still stands. The scriptures are replete with examples, stories, doctrine and allegories always saying the same thing – it’s going to be hard. Membership in the Church, or your faith if you want to separate the two, has never been, and will never be, a constant stream of joy and understanding. There are undoubtedly moments of great joy, but there’s also heartbreak and sorrow, sometimes caused by other members or even leaders. But to abandon the whole system simply because I can’t see the beginning from the end is ludicrous.

  72. Julie
    July 27, 2015 at 1:53 pm #

    Bravo to this article! I especially loved the above comment that said:

    “The detractors of the message are saying some predictable, yet very misguided things. I’m always disappointed when people use the “don’t judge” card to defend people’s behavior that isn’t consistent with the gospel of Christ. Seriously people use the don’t judge me card like its some nuclear option against hearing gospel truths preached to them. Can you imagine Noah’s society using the don’t judge me card to silence Noah and God himself would say…crap, they gotcha Noah. Better keep it to yourself. I highly recommend an ensign article by Dallin H. Oaks (a former Attorney and Supreme Court Justice for the state of Utah) called “”Judge Not” and judging”.

    https://www.lds.org/ensign/1999/08/judge-not-and-judging?lang=eng

    People really need to do more studying on the topic because not only is there a JST on Matthew 7:1, but the entire 7th chapter of Matthew gives instructions on how to judge…also read all the verses about the beam and the mote because People leave out the last verse and miss the whole point of the teaching. Also john 7:24 Christ says to judge righteous judgement. ”

    SPOT ON.

    To those supporting and defending Kate Kelly stop pulling the judgment card and get thicker skin. It’s always so ironic that people can dish it out against the church and its members but they can’t take criticism for those who call them on it.

  73. Adam Ruben
    July 27, 2015 at 2:10 pm #

    Well said, Connor. I really couldn’t have said it better myself. I’m thrilled there is someone out there brave enough to blog about this issue. Don’t worry the comments that begin, ‘I would have liked this article better if…’ – everyone has their opinion, and you verbalized mine perfectly. Your assumptions regarding KK’s level of conversion were not overly aggressive, they were positive assertions that were entirely fact based. While we’ll never know the extent of her testimony, her actions and words speak volumes. You did not vilinize her, you just stated the evidence.

  74. Shar
    July 27, 2015 at 3:30 pm #

    I realize that most members believe the patriarchal structure of the church is Gods design, & therefore find OW’s mission in direct contradiction to Gods plan. You say the church isn’t “an association of self-interested social justice seekers.” Many members find OW’s efforts to be only about social justice, just as members in the past found race & the priesthood to be a social issue. The church now implies that the exclusion of blacks was not a doctrine of the church, but were merely policies that arose in the course of time. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form. This implies that the current church leaders believe that the Mormon scriptures contain wrong “theories.”
    If Brigham Young instituted the priesthood ban on blacks without being directed to from God, then isn’t it possible that the same may be true for women holding the priesthood?

  75. Nathan
    July 27, 2015 at 3:30 pm #

    People critical of Connor’s article seemed to have missed the point. Many comments seem to have the notion that the Savior asks us to not look critically at ANYTHING, merely accept all ideas and suggestions “with love” and “not judging”. Those who feel this way about the Savior’s teachings need to more critically read and study his words. In re-reading this article, I didn’t see anything regarding Connor’s judgement of her standing with God, but a critical review of Ms Kelly’s rationale for telling others to leave the Church.

    Ms. Kelly has put herself on the forefront of judging the intent of the hearts of male leaders within the Church (re-read her op-ed to the Salt Lake Tribune if you are in doubt). Many others have uncritically accepted her judgements as just and viable. Not expecting a well-written response is silly.

  76. deacon blues
    July 27, 2015 at 5:46 pm #

    Where did I hear “Man is that he might have joy”. Did someone already bring this up?

  77. Jose Ole
    July 27, 2015 at 6:08 pm #

    “Where did I hear “Man is that he might have joy”. Did someone already bring this up?”

    Yes… read the article, 8th paragraph down.

  78. saxoclese
    July 27, 2015 at 6:08 pm #

    The unfortunate truth is that the 19th Century treatment of women by the patriarchal leadership of the LDS Church in the 21st Century will continue to drive intelligent, well educated, and thoughtful women from the ranks of its membership. No amount of belittling and chastising those women who are choosing this path will alter this fact, in fact it may accelerate the loss of this valuable resource.

  79. Lee
    July 27, 2015 at 6:39 pm #

    Hey, why don’t we just try ignoring this Kelly chick so she becomes irrelevant?!

  80. Brad
    July 27, 2015 at 9:47 pm #

    So glad I left the church 25 years ago. Absolutely the best decision I ever made. If leaving is even an inkling in your mind but you’re afraid to make that first step … have faith. Faith in your friends, in your family, and in yourself. Courage.

    The author of this article wants a testimony. Here’s mine. I bear my testimony that I found much more happiness and fulfillment in being honest and true to myself than I did in committed membership. I bear my testimony that the promise of personal revelation never came true – at least not in a way that could be distinguished from my own hopes or emotions. And what kind of just God would require me to sort that out in order to earn my exaltation? With this little ol’ feeble human brain? I bear my testimony that it is possible to live a fulfilling life, full of family, love, happiness, and joy outside of the church. In fact, it’s even easier in my case. I also bear testimony that if the church works for you, then great! As for “social justice seekers trying to raise Hell” … what a perfect description of Christ and His original disciples.

  81. keb
    July 27, 2015 at 10:11 pm #

    “Seriously people use the don’t judge me card like its some nuclear option against hearing gospel truths preached to them.” Julie, you’ve said what I’ve been feeling for a long time, but couldn’t figure out how to say it.

  82. Me, Steve
    July 27, 2015 at 11:36 pm #

    The beehive is a symbol of the State of Utah and by some extension the Church. As I’ve come to learn more about bees, I find it very interesting that the worker bees are female, the drones are male. Drones are essentially useless to the hive other than for procreative purposes and are frequently expelled from the hive due to their lack of contribution.

    In light of that, I frequently view the issue of Priesthood/Motherhood and compare it to the drones and worker bees. Priesthood responsibilities help men so they do not become drones. What if a young woman passed the sacrament? What if a woman presided at church as a Bishop? Perhaps by itself, nothing is wrong with that. But I see young men already slough off responsibility to administer the sacrament. Imagine if the young women did it. Would a young man ever pass the sacrament? Would he slouch behind his smart phone and take up any responsibility? Some would. Some wouldn’t. Or maybe many wouldn’t. Or maybe the young man would be excited to pass the sacrament with his female counterpart just so he can sit next to her for a few minutes at the beginning of sacrament meeting. I don’t know. What are the long term effects? I just leave it up to the Lord to understand.

    I believe the patriarchal/hierarchal nature of the Church in the early years was more a function of societal norms than revealed pattern. As we develop in light and truth I find my wife and I becoming truly equal partners. Sometimes I seek a blessing at her hand, maybe not by virtue of the priesthood, but by virtue of her faith and goodness I ask her to give me perspective, advice, faith, and consolation. When she is distraught, I use the Priesthood to bless her. Two different tools, but very similar outcomes.

    It is tempting to be a drone. As a man, it’s easy to let go of responsibility. Happens in nature all the time as the male species procreates and frequently leaves the mother with her young. I don’t wish to get kicked out of the hive nor leave my family. The Priesthood gives men purpose, a reason to stay, a reason to rise up. Doesn’t make man more privileged or higher in purpose in the Church. It just gives us a purpose similar to the principle of motherhood. Undeniable maternal instinct is a powerful force for kids. I have a powerful paternal instinct, that encourages me to stay, to rear my kids. Not all men have that. Some of us retreat to our basement to watch sports, or are workaholics, or recreation addicts.

    At the end of the day, the Priesthood isn’t the reason why I do what I do as a man with my wife and kids. It’s what I saw my father do, which was actually radically different than his father. My dad exemplified priesthood duty mixed with paternal love and instinct. He was the complete package.

    Let’s rejoice in the tools we have to exalt us. They are after all tools. They don’t define all we do. Motherhood doesn’t define woman. Priesthood and Fatherhood don’t define man. We are infinitely powerful beings endowed with tools to exalt us. Instead of trying to snag the tool that exists to exalt man, let him use it. Nor should man tell woman to only use her motherhood tool. She has many others at her disposal. We share every tool except for two. The most important tool we share, is the universal one available to us all; the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

  83. Mark
    July 28, 2015 at 12:07 am #

    After the excommunication apostates look for sympathy and for others to leave the church. It is her new work which is the same old work of apostates. Simply evidence of who is in control. Satan

  84. Amy
    July 28, 2015 at 12:07 am #

    While I am no great supporter of Kate Kelly, this article makes me more sympathetic to her. You are making the church into “an ecclesiastical ‘country club’ situated on a narrow theological terrace,” though it’s a terrace of your own description. Like the Pharisees you seem to feel justified in defining rules and appropriate levels of and terminology for devotion. Things like this article are precisely why outsiders find us creepy. We shouldn’t be a tiny country club of overly narrow definition, but a place for the love and inclusion and acceptance that all of us are at different points on our path as followers of Christ. What we hav in common is that we’re trying. Don’t mock someone else’s version when your own is equally mockable.

  85. Mormon mom
    July 28, 2015 at 12:26 am #

    People are commenting here using Kelly’s personal testimony as a basis of discrimination against women’s issues as a whole. Kelly is not and should not be treated as the sole representative of women’s issues in the church. Regardless of where she personally stands on her spiritual journey (and let’s hope our spiritual journeys never end at church service for any of us), I believe there are many women out there who have questions about the current status quo.

    I have met many women who echo a desire for change. They are faithful, obedient women with a testimony of Christ, a loving Heavenly Father and the restored gospel. Women who strive to do what is right and try to do so by being in tune with the powers of Heaven.

    Slowly, but surely the church is striving toward a more equitable society, which includes giving equal trust and respect (and I don’t mean respect of the “pedestal”) to women and empowering them in different -often less than perfect- situations of life. It is easy to take the status quo for granted, especially if you were brought up by great parents, happened to marry well or have always had priesthood leaders who are wise and respectful. (For those who haven’t, may I remind you the people who make up the church are not perfect… which is different from the gospel.)

    I think it is possible to instill in my daughter -and sons- both, a strong testimony and a clear understanding of what it means to be an equal resident in the kingdom of God.

  86. Kevin
    July 28, 2015 at 1:51 am #

    Some of you folks are hilarious! You chastise Connor for calling out a hit piece written by an apostate? An apostate who recommends people abandon their church because it might not be a snugly campfire devotional lead by women high priests. He questioned her testimony?!?! Oh my! What shall we do! My precious sensibilities are injured! Pound Sand! You want that church? Go start it. You think you’ve been ‘called’ to incite and agitate? Let’s see how your fruits will bear out. Spoiler Alert: It will suck and end in shame. But knock yourself out. Lots of apostates get called out, some immortalized in scripture. For Kelly espousing the joy to be had upon leaving, she sure seems to be lingering. Perhaps she should do as she suggests and just leave already, happy as a clam are you? Great. Pack your crap and just go already! Her hesitation belies her true agenda, to take as many with her as possible… that plan sounds familiar.

  87. Tori
    July 28, 2015 at 7:32 am #

    When my sister told me she wanted to leave the church a few years ago, I gave her some simple advice:

    1. Don’t do anything just yet, since you are a student at a church school.

    2. Pay attention to what brings you closer to God and do more of that. If something doesn’t bring you close to God, stop doing it. Don’t judge what those things are and why, just go with it.

    That protocol led her to stay in the church. The same had led me to leave it years before.

    When I was LDS, when I believed and when I began to struggle, I got the same advice again and again: pray, read scriptures, go to the temple, go to church. In other words, it works if you work it. If you’re not feeling it, you are doing it wrong. Eventually, I knew that was not true and decided that remaining in relationship with an organization that undermined my relationship with God was dysfunctional and harmful. So I left.

    Rather than condemning KK’s advice, maybe LDS people should find more nuanced, effective ways to respond to people who are struggling. If being in the nursery alienates and frustrates you, maybe you shouldn’t be in the nursery. Maybe, if sacrament meeting wasn’t great, it should be OK to admit that some speakers are less effective than others, that it’s not you who are broken. Maybe, if going to the temple doesn’t do it for you, you should not be pressured to go. The pressure for cultural conformity has a price and that price is paid in joy.

    Rather than worry about using joy as a measuring stick, maybe people should encourage each other and sow joy into each other’s lives. Then, when asked “does church spark joy?” the answer can be a resounding yes. That’s what I say when people ask me about my church and my worship now. It is a JOY to serve and worship God. It is a JOY to be a disciple of Jesus.

  88. Taylor Stonely
    July 28, 2015 at 8:28 am #

    I enjoyed reading about the contrast given between having a testimony of the gospel and simply treating the church as a social club. Too often we don’t stretch ourselves to be the best disciples we can be, and yet we can find joy when we lose ourselves in the service of others. Sometimes we serve in Primary so that a single mother can feel the spirit in Relief Society instead of having to take care of their toddler out in the hall. That is the true measure of our discipleship…

  89. James Jensen
    July 28, 2015 at 8:50 am #

    Something about Ms. Kelly’s article rubbed me the wrong way. When I was LDS, I truly believed that my personal feelings and opinions were rarely correct. If I ever hoped to see my loved ones safe in the next life, I was bound to act, speak, and think precisely in the manner that my Priesthood Authorities deemed appropriate. My sacred duty was to learn to love aligning my will with God’s — as it was revealed to His servants (then filtered through other servants from time to time).

    Maybe you can only imagine how liberating it feels to finally discard such an oppressive understanding of life. I will never argue with Ms. Kelly’s test because it really might be that simple: does this really spark joy? And, if she’s wrong, it makes absolutely no difference to me because I don’t consider her opinion to be any more authoritative than my own. I am allowed to trust myself. It feels fantastic.

  90. Melonie Ferguson
    July 28, 2015 at 2:41 pm #

    I agree with Randall, above who said, “You set an artificial standard of her expressing her testimony in a way that is acceptable to you as a reason to reject the reality of sexism in the church. That invalidates your argument. But when you have established in your mind that the church is infallible, you must attack those who point out problems in order to maintain your own sense of equilibrium. I would encourage you to consider the possibility that maybe, just maybe, the church is not what you believe it is.” I can’t say it as succinctly or without getting emotional, so I’ll let that be enough said.

  91. Travis
    July 28, 2015 at 3:13 pm #

    There’s No Scotsman like a True Scotsman

  92. saxoclese
    July 28, 2015 at 5:27 pm #

    Many of the responses seem to tap dance around or ignore entirely the core issue that continues to force Kate Kelly and intelligent women like her out of the LDS Church. That is the Church’s treatment of women. Just for a moment consider a fictitious major corporation that has women in various low level jobs, but prohibits women no matter how intelligent or qualified they might be from holding any management position that includes power, authority, or responsibility in the corporation. Now let’s give that corporation a name: THE CORPORATION OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS.

  93. Rodie
    July 28, 2015 at 7:15 pm #

    At the end of the day kk and her followers have had the holy ghost, the truth and light, and now have gone against it. I would not want to be in there shoe’s AMEN!

  94. Marissa Woolsey
    July 28, 2015 at 8:54 pm #

    Agreed.

  95. Tom Boyer
    July 28, 2015 at 8:57 pm #

    Great article – I agree with your analysis and would add she was always asking the wrong person to make the change. It is the Church of Jesus Christ and as such she needed to inquire of him for her desired change. Asking President Monson to make the change is akin to my asking you to change your blog to only deal with agricultural issues which are my passion.

  96. David Horton
    July 28, 2015 at 9:36 pm #

    If the LDS Church says that it is not “O.K” to leave the church but Kate Kelly says that it is “O.K.” to leave the Church, wouldn’t that mean that she doesn’t really believe in the Church’s doctrines? What’s the big deal with questioning her testimony?

    And I think it makes sense to question her testimony, because if she really doesn’t believe that this Church is true and she is encouraging people to leave if they want to, then what makes her any different from many other outspoken anti-Mormons?

    Also, just a year ago Kate Kelly was telling people, “Don’t Leave. Stay, and make things better.” She’s pretty wishy-washy with her convictions.

    Basically either the LDS Church’s doctrines are correct or Kate Kelly is correct.

  97. Patrick
    July 28, 2015 at 10:58 pm #

    Connor:

    -Oppose the Church on marijuana
    -Oppose the Church on alcohol
    -Oppose the Church on marriage
    -Oppose the Church on all kinds of government programs

    All good. Just suggesting the Church is run by flawed men who can be convinced to see reason.

    Kate Kelly:

    -Suggest that, like Priesthood Bans, Polygamy, Blood Oaths, Masturbation Causes Homosexuality etc., the Church’s blatant, though recently overly benevolent, sexism is merely a “tradition” or “policy” supported by well-meaning “theories” of imperfect leaders.

    Holy Hell! She clearly doesn’t believe any of this is true so why listen to the bitter apostate??

  98. Eduardo
    July 28, 2015 at 11:42 pm #

    So sad to read the comments of what seems like confused people. I know what KK did was just WRONG, how could she try to change the Lord’s way? How could you sympathize or even stand for WHATEVER she did or said? WOW.
    Also, looks like these confused people need to be told right from wrong, but of course they are not, I’m sure they’re a bunch of crybabies, like most of the american society, ha!
    Sorry if it sounded harsh but I’m no fan of political correctness.
    PS: Shame on you people!

  99. Lydia
    July 29, 2015 at 1:03 am #

    This whole thing just makes me sad. It is so devoid of love, it’s heartbreaking.

    “Spend enough time in the thick of the fight and you become conditioned to it, poisoned by its cynicism and contempt, hardened by its continual cruelty. Face the world in a battle posture long enough and you lose the ability to live any other way.

    Too many people can only function if they have a villain to war with, a cause to rail against, an evil to condemn.” http://johnpavlovitz.com/2015/07/23/on-learning-to-love-offensively-for-those-weary-from-the-fight/

    Why is it that we can’t say what we believe and why we believe it without it being in the context of tearing down what others believe?

  100. greek49
    July 29, 2015 at 5:12 am #

    That’s quite a powerful piece of journalism you have there. I tend toward the idea that we need a balance between temporal and spiritual affairs in our lives. Each of us has our moral agency to decide where that balance is and your article does an excellent job of displaying that.

  101. berney Pearce
    July 29, 2015 at 5:37 am #

    when the saviour was on the earth he organized his church. if woman were meant to have the priesthood he would have called them to it then. But he did not because they were not meant to have it. here are some scriptures 1Cor 3:3,8-9: 1 Cor 14:33-35: Eph4: 11-12

  102. Monica
    July 29, 2015 at 7:38 am #

    This is beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

  103. Iris A. Sulat
    July 29, 2015 at 9:07 am #

    you are absolutely true connor, love your article

  104. Jeannette Scott
    July 29, 2015 at 10:59 am #

    Jay Stark I have been a member for forty-five years and I have yet to see one Priesthood member at any RS,Primary or YW unless by invitation.
    I think many people are too busy bleating about what they don’t have rather than what they do.I have never felt inferior or been treated differently by being a women.
    I don’t know MS Kelly but what is obvious by her words and actions that she is out of step with the Church teachings.It is the Church of Jesus Christ Not the Church of Thomas S Monson.If ever the Lord extends the Priesthood to women it will come from his mouthpiece the Prophet.I have an equal to the men’s calling in Priesthood and that is not motherhood it is Relief Society.There we care for all, member,non member,old young,male female or in between. Remember men hold the Priesthood but they still have to receive the ordination and blessings from another Priesthood holder although at a push he could bless the Sacrament and administer it to themselves.

  105. saxoclese
    July 29, 2015 at 11:52 am #

    Perhaps it is not Kate Kelly who is “out of step with Church teachings”, but the Church that is out of step with the treatment of women in the 21st century. It is my understanding that there is nothing in the scriptures that would prevent a woman from holding the priesthood or a position of authority in the Church. It is simply the proclamation of the elderly men who are in charge. There have been pronouncements in the past that were supposed to be the “Word of God” like the ban on blacks from holding the priesthood that church leaders have come to acknowledge were not the “Word of God” but merely the opinions of the church leadership at that time. Isn’t it entirely possible that the restrictions on women in the church amount to exactly the same thing?

  106. Adoma
    July 29, 2015 at 11:53 am #

    AGENCY… She is free to sugest,decide and act fr herself.. Jst becareful NOT to decide on her suggestions.

  107. Kathy Minson
    July 29, 2015 at 1:20 pm #

    I appreciate your article. To express your opinion, you also had to express your judgement of Kate Kelly, or there would be no point to it.
    I participate in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because I know that it is Christ’s church. Definitively. Even when the meeting seems uninspired or things don’t go well at church, I still find myself having that joy sparked in my soul, not because of what I get from going to church, but what I bring there with me. I go to Sunday meetings to worship God and my Savior, which I can do no matter what happens there. I fulfill a calling and try to do all that I am asked to do so that I can minister to God’s children in a way He (and I) find acceptable and possible. It seems to me that if someone doesn’t believe in an organization, the simplest thing to do is stop attending. So why doesn’t Kate Kelly (and the other OW supporters) just stop going? There must be some other motive at work here. Pride? A power play? Desire for notoriety? If the practice being questioned is just a tradition, the Brethren do look at the insights presented and they often make changes. Asking the Brethren to change something that is doctrine means that one believes that they are the head of the church. Jesus Christ is the head of His church. Can Jesus change the doctrine of the church? He could, of course. We can’t see the future and all that God has planned, so it is His call, not ours. So how does one tell the difference between doctrine and tradition (or practice)? Sometimes we get confused, and have to be straightened out. I don’t have the time to go deeply into this, but the issue of people of color having the priesthood is one of the those things where God said, “Not now,” and then later said, “okay, now.” It was a practice. Some of the Brethren discovered their error and had to repent. There are many such issues: clothing worn at church, who can pray in meetings, what the deacons should wear to pass the sacrament, etc. The doctrine of Christ, however, WE may not change. If you are banging your head against the doctrine, who is it you are really fighting against? That is how I can know that Kate Kelly does not have a conviction borne of the Holy Ghost, not does she understand the doctrines of Christ. She may worship who or how she pleases. We claim the same privilege. I ask this question: why does she want to be part of a church in which she does not believe?

  108. Holly
    July 29, 2015 at 5:38 pm #

    I really enjoyed reading this article. Thank you for intelligently and eloquently addressing this issue.
    As you pointed out, it’s been a year since Ms. Kelly’s last publicity parade. It appears she’s desperately missed basking in the spotlight, so much so, she staged another Korihor-inspired stunt. In keeping with her un-originality, she pirated the popular organizational mantra “spark joy”, a [copyrighted] term which was coined by Japanese organization expert Marie Kondo from her KonMari Method which states that if an item of clothing, book or housewares is no longer useful, nor holds deep meaning for your soul [i.e. “sparks joy”] then you unceremoniously place it in a black plastic bag and “release it” by either tossing it in the trash or donating it to a charity, thus magically de-cluttering your life one item at a time.
    It’s pretty tragic that Ms. Kelly feels our Savior Jesus Christ is simply an object in our lives on par with a pair of jeans or an piece of pottery that may become obsolete. Something we simply ‘outgrow’ our need or use for. Apparently, to her, the Savior’s Restored Church including His Priesthood Authority – and all the wealth of covenants and blessings attached – is simply ‘clutter’ that needs to be tossed.
    I’m sad, but not surprised that she can feel that way.
    However, I am truly stunned there are actually people [more than one … really?!] willing to toss their entire faith construct and religion after listening to the Gospel of Kate Kelly – eagerly dancing to her pied pipe – selling their birthright for the “joyful spark” of a 5 minute media photo op and a 30 second sound bite.
    The lights are cold. The cameras are long gone. It’s all yesterday’s news.
    Wonder how much that empty soul “sparks joy” today?

  109. John
    July 29, 2015 at 10:03 pm #

    I come back here frequently to keep up on this discussion. I read some things that I want to address. Holly, you have a problem with Kate Kelly borrowing or stealing the expression “spark joy” from an author. What would you think if many of the phrases found in the D&C and the Book of Mormon which are considered uniquely Mormon expressions are actually found in non-Mormon literature published between 1800 and 1828?

    “plain and precious truth” “true and living church” “plan of salvation” “can’t look at sin with the least degree of allowance” “spring forth out of obscurity” “new and everlasting covenant” “shrink with awful fear” “God ceasing to be God” “opposition in all things” “dwell in unholy temples” “infant baptism an abomination” “procrastinate the day of repentance” “after all we can do” “deny yourself of all ungodliness” “satisfy the demands of justice” “infinite atonement” “Christ comes in meridian of time” “degrees of glory in heaven” “probationary state”

    None of it is original. None of these are in the Bible, either, so Smith wasn’t getting these ideas from there. Go to Googlebooks. Limit your search to 1800-1828. Type in any of these phrases. You will find photocopies of the sources that contain these phrases. These were all part of the global Christian dialogue before the Book of Mormon was even published.

    The religion you subscribe to is basically a very clever combination of many of the ideas that were floating around in religious and occultic circles during the childhood and adolescence of Joseph Smith. He took all of this stuff, and he wove it together to make a religion, by which he became a very powerful man. In Nauvoo, he commanded an army of well over 1000 men. He was running for president and had a Council of 50 that was ready to act as God’s political arm on Earth. He had married over 30 women, some of whom were still married to living men. Nauvoo was armed and ready to engage in open warfare against the State of Illinois if the mobs entered the city looking for Smith. The last week of Smith’s life more closely resembles Waco than it does the history you have been taught.

    Maybe Kate Kelly isn’t telling people to abandon Christ. Maybe she is telling them it is okay to abandon a religion that has promoted itself on false advertisement. Mormonism isn’t what you think it is. Find the true and living Christ and the liberty he offers from the oppression of worldly entities.

  110. Christy
    July 30, 2015 at 12:37 am #

    I am an exMormon, and I totally agree that in all of Kate Kelly’s interviews and written statements (which I have studied carefully and watched on youtube as well) she has never mentioned being a disciple of Christ or commitment to the gospel of Christ. She has mentioned Christ only in accusing the church of not following Christ. There is nothing one can point out in her statements that expresses Christ (or God) as her guide, desire to build her life on faith or Christian principles, or anything expressing any kind of personal relationship with a divine being. The facade of being faithful LDS woman just wanting to improve the church is hard even for an exMormon to swallow as its dishonesty is apparent by her lack of actual commitment to Christ as a model for her actions or movement. Even once excommunicated, she boasts of her new found happiness with no mention that her commitment to Christ survives or her faith in God got her through. Because those are not realities for her. Despite being an ex Mormon I sympathize with those who notice the emptiness of her words.

  111. Pierce
    July 30, 2015 at 6:06 pm #

    The critics of this article really are having to bend over backwards to defend Kelly. She is literally inviting others to leave the Church, and she is using a non gospel related measurement as her carrot. She led this crusade under the guise that she is a faithful believer, but there is no evidence of that. When someone is attempting to lead you one way or another, Christ told us to judge them “by their fruits.” This is merely an examination o her fruits and was done with people in the BoM such as Korihor or Nehor. If you put yourself out in public, are in opposition to the apostles, and are trying to lead people out of the church, then we should be able to have a frank conversation as to whether or not this person is a legitimate representative of Christ without accusations of “judging.”

  112. Iimx
    July 30, 2015 at 7:43 pm #

    I think any reason, no matter how trivial is a good reason to leave any church. I am sure that doesn’t make sense to a lot of people reading here. It may appear to lack substance, thats the biggest problem, but I have achieved more, got better self esteem…and actual lead a much more moral life as a NonLDS and as a Non-Christian. I can also say that I can objectively evaluate the Christian faith now that I am not a part of it, as before I was always encouraged to just accept it, or just go by the feeling of a ‘burning in the bossom’ that the church was true. That also lacks real substance, that is what LDS people faith to realize, in my opinion. But I honestly believe that one should get more OUT of a philosophy than what one puts IN it. If that isn’t happening, than its time to look elsewhere.

  113. Iimx
    July 31, 2015 at 1:18 am #

    Connor & others,
    Is there such a thing as a negative litmus test? The LDS scriptures make the claim that those who do not follow LDS values or principles will be unhappy. Yet, there are people who do not, who appear perfectly happy. LDS scriptures seem to be more emphatic that you will be unhappy if you don’t follow the commands of god.

    “wickedness never was happiness.” (Alma 41:10)
    Satan is apparently miserable, and wants others to be miserable. “seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.” (2 Nephi 2:27)

    Then again commentary by this skeptic also points out the faith promises a general state of happiness for followers, not always, but somehow more often. I suppose a better life, rather than simple happiness. Any thoughts about these things?

    http://skepticmormon.blogspot.com/2011/02/mormons-and-their-plan-of-happiness.html

  114. Timm Lyons
    July 31, 2015 at 9:01 am #

    I find it sad that people are so willing to be offended and look for ways to criticize and find fault, and totally miss the point (“looking beyond the mark”, maybe?)…

    The main idea of the article, whether you agree with/like/dislike anything else about it, is that being a true disciple of Christ, and living His Gospel, is not like belonging to a social club that you can or should join or leave on a whim. Like anything else worthwhile in this existence, the Gospel of Jesus Christ takes patience and long-suffering, which suggest that there will be times when you might not feel very joyous. However, I believe you do indeed need some kind of inner conviction, that’s stronger than the negative you may experience, to help you through. Maybe that’s what Ms. Kelly was saying – but, personally, I doubt it.

    Good article!

  115. Sarah
    July 31, 2015 at 8:50 pm #

    I don’t usually get into discussions on religion, but I had to respond to this comment by Randall above:

    “You set an artificial standard of her expressing her testimony in a way that is acceptable to you as a reason to reject the reality of sexism in the church.”

    No he didn’t. He was using the lack of evidence of a testimony to criticize her view of what the church, of what any Christian faith, should be. Whether or not there is sexism in God’s design for the church is an open question, since His standards may be different than ours. Sure, some church leaders may be sexist, but to claim there is sexism in the *church* (implying that the gospel is sexist), is invalid. I admit that there are areas in church culture that are sexist, but these are independent from doctrine.

    Also, I find it interesting to read some of these comments about how people felt like they had to leave the church in order to think freely. You can do that and still be a member of the church, folks. I criticize church literature, leaders, and statements whenever something sounds like a personal opinion or a cultural argument. I have come to learn that you have to cut away all the “fluff” that the people and culture bring and just focus on the doctrine. For example, the For Strength of Youth Pamphlet: great advice, but it is not doctrine. Girls can wear tank tops and date before 16. It is not sin. Missionary work for boys: great advice, but not a requirement for salvation. All that matters are keeping your covenants and becoming more like Christ.

  116. Tim Harper
    August 1, 2015 at 10:34 am #

    I don’t find joy in the LDS church. Finding out it wasn’t my fault was a great source of joy. For myself, I’ve discovered that there are many things that point out, quite clearly, that the divine authority claims of the LDS church are based on some rather tall tales. Being honest about this fact alone with my ecclesiastical leaders earned me a sizable disciplinary action (disfellowshipped), followed by some familial turmoil and shaming. Not a safe environment for me to grow spiritually.

    Super happy that you find joy in it though. I hold a degree of admiration for people who sincerely make it work for them. Some of my best friends, and all of my family, are believing Mormons. As for myself, I’m more likely to believe in Santa Clause again before I believe in Joseph Smith.

    Peace.

  117. Acacia Woodbury
    August 3, 2015 at 4:13 am #

    Dear Kate Kelly. The moral imperative in this world (based on the assumption that moral law exists in an objective sense) is to identify and live by that moral law. I humbly propose the God is more of an expert on that than you.

    I feel no antagonism towards you or those who choose to follow you. It’s your God-given right to do what you will with your life. But it makes me sad that you are making these choices. I see the literal fulfillment of scripture in this movement, and I hope many will place the reassurances of the Spirit over their current questions and doubts. Questioning is good, but go to the right source for your answers. It may take time. But it will be worth it.

    Truly, all I ask is for people to find a testimony of their own. Read the Book of Mormon for yourself. Pray for yourself. Don’t take anyone’s word for it, but don’t make yourself the expert over God in these things either. It’s a terrible self-deception.

  118. Amber
    August 6, 2015 at 12:45 am #

    Although I had not read KK’s Spark Joy article, I had read all of OW’s reasonings beforehand. After some deep thought, I realized that the motivation behind the OW movement was not to serve God or to serve their fellow human beings, but to attain status as they saw fit. OW is entirely about seeking status, not about becoming more capable of doing God’s will here on earth. So the conclusion in Connor’s article strikes me as very true. We must not be deceived into treating the doctrine of the church of Jesus Christ so lightly, reducing it to a mere temporal organization.

  119. saxoclese
    August 6, 2015 at 10:32 am #

    What you call “status” some would call “equality”.

  120. Carl
    September 4, 2015 at 4:03 pm #

    Connor

    I think you are too hard on Kate. I think she would make you a great second wife.

  121. Don
    September 19, 2015 at 8:24 pm #

    Enjoyed your comments. There have always been Cultural Mormons that think we are some social group or cultural identity only but don’t believe a lick of the doctrines. I can’t figure out why you would waste so much time in meetings, home teaching and callings for social purposes only. I could do a lot more fun things on Sunday, if I didn’t believe in Sabbath observance.

  122. saxoclese
    September 23, 2015 at 12:10 pm #

    If you get yourself excommunicated you can get a 10% raise and Sundays off. :)

  123. e.g.g.
    October 4, 2015 at 12:46 pm #

    I too noticed her wording. I don’t know if there is any truth to this……I read somewhere that Kate Kelly was not very active for the last two or three years before she was excommunicated.

    What Sarah said I absolutely agree with and feel the same way. Very well said.

    I base my beliefs on the doctrines, not the people or leaders. The doctrines are in the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price.

    People who don’t believe any longer look for a way to blame everyone else and everything else instead of taking personal responsibility. It is easier to blame others to be able to not believe anymore and to be able to leave. Society works this way. It started in the 1980’s, the beginning of “me, me, me”, and greed and to absolve oneself of any personal responsibility. It is always someone elses fault. To this day.

    I saw this first hand in my ex family. They left the church. It was other people and things that caused them to leave. Oh they never did anything wrong.! Yeah, right. To this day they still operate like this. Unfortunately I still have to deal with them on occasion. They attack me and accuse me of things I did not do and there are things they know nothing about, but don’t care to know because they know everything, they are right. This is the mentality of people who have problems with the church. They don’t want to listen, don’t want to research, don’t want to listen to another side or explanation, and so forth. They jump to conclusions. They are right, the church is wrong, period. My ex family behaviors and attitude towards the church is the exact same way towards me and in everything they do in life. None of them are happy people.

  124. e.g.g.
    October 4, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

    @ John: We have heard all that before, ad nauseam. It is straight out of literature from church critics. It is old, tiring, and been addressed many, many times ad nauseam.

    You make a long list, presenting information in a way that promotes your agenda, and a caricature of LDS events and beliefs. No sources, no context. Typical of critics.

    All the criticisms lobbed at the LDS church can be lobbed at any religion. The Atheists do a good job attacking Christianity. I never understood why so called Christians spend their time attacking and tearing down the LDS church but do nothing to combat Atheism. More people become Atheist from evangelicalism than any other religion. I go on Atheist blogs and it is rare to see a Christian defending Christianity.
    I think Christians secretly go on Atheist blogs to learn how to attack the LDS church. The tactics are exactly the same.

    Today there are many churches of different religious flavors that are doing and teaching disturbing things and mainstream Christianity is silent. Hypocrisy and double standard.

  125. Iimx
    October 8, 2015 at 10:20 pm #

    Egg,
    I have heard a number of statistics about religion and atheism. Apparently, atheists face more discrimination and bias in the United states. Some sources say that its actually worse for atheists than that for Muslims. So, Christians apparently don’t think that atheists are any real threat, via the low view many Christians take. Therefore, maybe don’t consider atheism anything worth addressing.

  126. saxoclese
    October 9, 2015 at 3:06 pm #

    Referring to “atheism” as a religion is like calling “baldness” a hairstyle.

  127. Iimx
    October 9, 2015 at 7:27 pm #

    Sax,
    Yes,atheism might be considered a ‘Religion’. in that it makes a statement about God or the absence of god. Also a comment about any after life, or origins of the universe, relative to god. If it did not comment at all then It would not be considered a religion.

    For instance Jainism is considered a ‘religion’, and it denies a creator, sustainer or destroyer of the Universe(s). And invokes ‘natural law’ for the existence of the universe, without the need of a God(s) to be involved to explain existence. I believe that Buddhism has a similiar foundation, such as to be considered an ‘axiom’. That also is considered ‘religion’. Some atheists have endorsed to some degree buddhism, jainism and some forms of hinduism on this basis, and also for the basic ethics that result from the foundation of ‘godlessness’.

    Using the Hairstyle comparision, yes one could elect to remove all ones hair, and that would be a hairstyle. If one naturally had no hair, then I suppose its still a style, if being bald by election could be considered a ‘hairstyle’.

  128. Clumpy
    October 12, 2015 at 10:47 am #

    Iimx,

    Most definitions of religion rely on either a belief in the supernatural or some form of worship. “Atheism” generally doesn’t have this, but to many people is just the concept of scientific skepticism (which involves the preposition that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof and routine testing and examination of claims and beliefs, including one’s own) applied to critical examination of religious worship and deity. In this context, saying that an “atheist” is religious makes about as much sense as saying that a vegetarian is a meat-eater because they have a system of living which makes reference to meat (which is to say, it makes not much sense at all).

    Maybe in some “family tree” of thought atheism shares a branch with religion, and both are some subset of philosophy, but the two aren’t one and the same.

    Of course, all that’s only in theory. In practice, there are a lot of atheists, particularly of late, who seem to have constructed a strong tribalistic identity around their atheism, who have their hero figures, who send their inspirational quotes about the universe around which often have a cosmic and generic sense of spirituality to them; and who seem as prone to fleeting hot-button issues without research or critical thought, the need for group affirmation of belief, and the nurturing of groups of friends and enemies along ideological lines as any of the religious folk they so disdain. I sort of feel like their foundation is basically indistinguishable from those religious folk whose motivations and behavior fall along similar lines. From that perspective it matters less whether they’re somehow religious too (and arguing this feels to me like an extension of the fallacy often put forth by believers that everybody’s religious, whether they’ll admit it or not) than whether their particular implementation of their philosophy is leading them toward better ethical foundations and behavior. I tend to think that we’re less influenced by our belief systems than we like to think, and your average judgmental fundamentalist isn’t that different from your average judgmental atheist raging on YouTube. Nor are the better sorts in each group that different.

  129. Iimx
    October 21, 2015 at 5:04 pm #

    Clumpy, that sounds like just plain skepticism. The ‘problem’ with atheism is that it is expressed as a negative. Asserting that God(s) do no exist, and perhaps also no ‘afterlife’ (always reminds me of ‘aftertaste’) Someone told me that one has to believe in ‘something’, implying that atheists do not believe in something. There is skeptism, where one wants proof or evidence, then there is the assertion that god(s) or spirits or whatever does not exist. That is a claim, that perhaps should be demonstrated in some way, which may be difficult for many theists, as there is almost no amount of proof that they will accept.

    As far as the diet comparison, this might be better. Ideal diets. Vegetarianism maybe expressed as an ideal diet. Ideal diet=religion. If a vegetarian expresses a dietary ideal for whatever reason, someone else may say that they don’t believe in a dietary ideal. YET they may ask “where do you get your protein?” revealing that there is an unexpressed ideal of some kind. Or “where do you get your calcium?” (for vegans). It would be a mistake to claim that a meat eater does NOT have an ‘ideal diet’. Some claim that ‘no particular diet’ is the ‘Standard american diet’. Make no mistake that followers of S.A.D. in fact have ideals about diet and food of some kind. It may not be so conscious, but it is there.

    Here is a webpage that questions if atheism is a religion, or not, stating ways that it might be, and ways that it may not be. Interesting in deed. Theists project that as a way of somehow dissing atheists, but maybe that could lay the foundation for tax-free ‘atheist churches’.
    http://www.strangenotions.com/is-atheism-a-religion/

  130. saxoclese
    October 22, 2015 at 7:28 am #

    You folks make everything too complicated. To me being an atheist means you don’t spend your time talking to imaginary friends.

  131. Clumpy
    October 22, 2015 at 6:29 pm #

    But limx, is the concept of “unbelief” in a concept really that foreign? It’s impossible to prove a negative, but presumably we’re both “atheists” where a transcendental Oneness (Buddhism, Gnosticism) is concerned, where the Hindu pantheon is concerned, or where other versions of the Christian god which feel foreign are concerned. We don’t believe in supernatural creatures which we place into more of a mythical than a religious context, even if many earlier Christians didn’t blur those lines. And yes there’d still be a difference between being a nonbeliever in those things and asserting that they don’t exist, but I doubt either of us would bring that fact up as a way of strengthening the “believer’s” position in those things.

    Similarly, everybody has a belief, just as everybody has a diet. But not everybody is religious. And not everybody is an omnivore. A vegan still has a diet, but that diet doesn’t involve meat, in the same way that an atheist still has beliefs about the nature of the world, but disbelief in god or supernatural driving forces for the universe disqualify them as having religious beliefs. To argue otherwise is to argue that everybody is religious, whether their belief system or practices support that, and whether they identify as religious or not. I think that’s patently false.

  132. Iimx
    October 24, 2015 at 12:38 pm #

    Clumpy,
    Well, I have attended a few meetings of ‘Bay area atheists” very informative and interesting. However, I did ask how can an atheist express their belief in positive terms, he was floored. Atheism focuses around what they DO NOT believe in. One shouldn’t automatically find fault in that, much as Jains believe in the negative of non-violence. However, I thought it might be better expressed as a positive. Remember however that atheists are constructing belief or rather non-belief in the context of a majority of people either being believers, or supporting believers, or indifferent. I don’t know of any atheist that simply does not believe,as in the total absense of awareness of the possibility of belief. But rather based on rejection of belief, or skepticism of belief. This isn’t automatically negative. My partner is a ‘devout’ atheist. “totally committed to a cause or belief”. Very spiritual and centered. He ‘believes’ in something, and I think its higher than what most people believe who are theists.

  133. Burb
    January 22, 2016 at 4:03 pm #

    The point shouldn’t be about KK’s abundance or lack of testimony. If we belong to a church which believes in revelation, and there is a question without a direct answer in the scriptures, shouldn’t the president of the Church seek to obtain revelation to resolve the matter? Why is this so hard? Just humble yourself and get the answer as Martin Harris was required to do.

    It is said that Joseph intended to give women a corollary priesthood but never carried it through (this is implied by his remarks at organization of RS). That being said, it seems to open the door to the possibility that we don’t know all there is to know about the subject in question. If this isn’t a clear cut case where further light and knowledge would be a help, I don’t know what would.

    Just because it’s never been done that way is not an answer based on knowledge. As far as I can tell this is not a question of doctrine, but a question of policy. I for one would like to know what the Lord thinks.

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