Is delusional too strong a word?–Part I

The tragedy that is now-excommunicated member Kate Kelly continues.

Today, a statement from the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was released that bears on her situation and the antics of her protest group.

Most people would see it as the stinging rebuke that it is, but not Kelly. She’s delighted, according to the Salt Lake Tribune (28 June 2014), and says:

Given that I have always sustained leaders of church, and Ordain Women doesn’t teach any doctrine — let alone false doctrine — this clearly exonerates me. I am not guilty of either of those charges.[1]

It’s hard to believe she’s a lawyer.

(Maybe it’s an example of the old legal maxim that He who acts for himself in court has a fool for a lawyer, and a fool for a client.)

It’s also hard to think of a kinder phrase than “verging on the delusional” for this kind of remark. It gets “better”:

Saturday’s statement, Kelly said, gives her reason to hope that when she appeals her case to the First Presidency, her bishop’s decision might be reversed. [2]

Kelly also claims that this statement represents progress because Church leaders have supposedly not spoken out before on these matters.

Part I: Church Public Affairs

Kelly and some of her allies are fond of acting as if Church Public Affairs is some kind of rogue operation that doesn’t necessarily speak for the leaders of the Church. Again, it’s hard to know whether this is a mark of delusion or staggering intellectual dishonesty. I suppose in some sense, it scarcely matters.

In my previous blog post, I discussed this ploy.

Given, then, that Church Public Affairs assuredly does speak for the Church’s highest leadership, it is worthwhile considering what Kelly has already been told about these matters.

On Ordination of Women to Priesthood Office

  • Ordination of women to the priesthood is a matter of doctrine that is contrary to the Lord’s revealed organization for His Church.[3]
  • I suppose we do not know all the reasons why Christ did not ordain women as apostles, either in the New Testament or the Book of Mormon, or when the Church was restored in modern times. We only know that he did not, that his leaders today regard this as a doctrinal issue that cannot be compromised, and that agitation from a few Church members is hindering the broader and more productive conversation about the voice, value and visibility of women in the Church that has been going on for years and will certainly continue….[4]
  • “Demands to ordain women are contrary to revealed doctrine, Church letter says.”[5]

Regarding “Ordain Women’s” Tactics

  • I do hope that you will try to understand how disappointed Church leaders are over the staged event of last weekend, and that you will find peace, comfort and confidence in the apostles and prophets who lead us.”[6]
  • Yet there are a few people with whom Public Affairs and General Authorities do not engage, such as individuals or groups who make non-negotiable demands for doctrinal changes that the Church can’t possibly accept. No matter what the intent, such demands come across as divisive and suggestive of apostasy rather than encouraging conversation through love and inclusion. Ultimately, those kinds of actions can only result in disappointment and heartache for those involved. [7]

Disregarding requests of Church leaders

  • However, no objective person could possibly argue that this was not a protest and rejection of a plea from Church leaders. That request was communicated in writing to the group ahead of time and repeated in the news media.[8]

Endnotes

[1]Top Mormon leaders repeat ‘only men’ qualify for priesthood,” Salt Lake Tribune (28 June 2014).

[2]Top Mormon leaders repeat ‘only men’ qualify for priesthood,” Salt Lake Tribune (28 June 2014).

[3] Jessica Moody (on behalf of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), “Dear Sisters,” letter to April Young Bennett, Debra Jenson, Kate Kelly, Hannah Wheelwright (17 March 2014). See also discussion on “Church Asks Activist Group to Reconsider Plans to Protest at General Conference,” mormonnewsroom.org (17 March 2014).

[4] Michael Otterson (Managing Director, Church Public Affairs), “Context missing from discussion about women,” letter (29 May 2014), 5.

[5]Church Asks Activist Group to Reconsider Plans to Protest at General Conference,” mormonnewsroom.org (17 March 2014).

[6] Michael Otterson (Managing Director, Church public affairs), “Dear Sister Reynolds,” letter (April 2014).

[7] Michael Otterson (Managing Director, Church Public Affairs), “Context missing from discussion about women,” letter (29 May 2014), 4.

[8] Michael Otterson (Managing Director, Church public affairs), “Dear Sister Reynolds,” letter (April 2014).

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