Yesterday our sister, Kate Kelly, received a Supplemental Letter from her former Stake President, Scott Wheatley, detailing the reasoning behind denying the appeal of her excommunication. Ordain Women is sharing that letter here for two reasons: first, we want to show what the disciplinary process looks like for Kate and other women in the Church who have no access to authority; and second, we want to be clear that we wholeheartedly disagree with the characterization of Ordain Women that is being used.
Though President Wheatley claims “the process was fair” we could not disagree more. Once again, we must point out that Kate was tried and judged by her accuser and two other men (one of whom is not her sustained leader and had never even met her). He also assured Kate that the process has been “consistent with Church policy.” As only nine women in the Church are allowed to read the handbook that details this process—while more than 100,000 men, including Kate’s accusers have access to the handbook—Kate and millions of other women in the Church must simply take his word for that.
Questions of process and fairness must be left, largely, in the hands of the men who have been given authority, but the accusation of apostasy is not hidden from the women of the Church. The LDS Church defines apostasy as to “turn away from the principles of the gospel.” Kate’s actions as part of Ordain Women are an effort to participate more fully in the Church and partake more fully in the gospel. She has repeatedly expressed a desire to stay in, and operate as a full member of, the Church. She has asked her questions publicly, but always faithfully.
This is a painful experience that impacts Kate in the most personal way and she has been open and honest with her experience. We support that decision and stand with her as she shares each step of this process. Though she was not notified of when her appeal would be considered, thus denying us the chance to plan a fast to our Heavenly Parents on her behalf at the time of the council, we will continue to pray that the First Presidency will restore our sister to the body of the Church.
Debra Jenson, Chair, Ordain Women