Posted by on Jun 20, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

In anticipation of Kate Kelly’s church disciplinary council, Ordain Women asked for letters of support commenting on how Ordain Women had deepened their relationship with the LDS Church, strengthened their faith and given them hope. They will be presented to Kate’s ecclesiastical leaders and Church Headquarters. As of today, over 1,030 letters have been submitted. We’re gratified by the overwhelming response and touched by the sincerity of the messages. OW will publish selected letters each day leading up to the date of the disciplinary council. 

If you feel moved to write a letter, please submit it here. We will stop accepting letters at 5pm today.

I’m a convert to the Church … and a current Bishop. Kate Kelly and Ordain Women have followed the counsel of Church leaders to seek their own personal testimony. They reflect the heritage of the Church, which is based on questioning. They embody that notion of a living church, with a modern day prophet, and modern revelation. Silencing Kate Kelly will be silencing many — myself included

***

I haven’t really been involved in the Ordain Women movement, but I definitely do understand where they are coming from, and I do think there need to be measures taken in order for a more equal treatment for both sexes. I think these women have helped many people have hope that differing opinions are ok in the Church, that the most important thing is that we love one another and we strive to treat each other as Christ would. I do not think someone who is a member of the Church and who, out of love and hope for that church, has strived to make changes to improve that church for others should be excommunicated. And I, as a member of this Church fear that many of my close friends and loved ones would leave the Church over such a decision. I hope and pray that those who make this decision will strive to act as Jesus would.

***

I have felt like an outsider for a long time. While I’m not a member of OW, I do support them. OW has helped me to know I’m not the only one who feels like women don’t matter in the Church. I am more involved now with the Church because of OW.

***

The faith of the women and men who are members of Ordain Women have consistently inspired and uplifted me. I have been profoundly impressed by their testimonies of God, the restoration of the gospel, and the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood. For a while, the only reason I was able to attend church and cling to my own faith was in part BECAUSE of Kate Kelly and the other women and men who support and identify with Ordain Women.

***

The issues and discussions brought out by OW have been positively instrumental in strengthening my testimony and making me a better woman, wife, mother, sister and friend. They have inspired me to be more open-minded and loving like our Savior. They have inspired me to read the scriptures more regularly and pray more fervently. They have inspired me to study the history of the marvelous women in our church, as well as the priesthood. They have inspired me to be a better disciple of Christ. I greatly admire the efforts of all OW members to reverently petition our church leaders to seek more light and knowledge on very serious and sensitive issues.

***

I have found enormous comfort in OW’s cause of seeking further revelation from the prophet and advocating for equality within the church governing structure and view it as one way as members of the church we can be “anxiously engaged in a good cause.” I have felt the spirit through writing my OW profile and when gathering with my brothers and sisters to wait patiently and reverently in temple square as we were turned away from two priesthood sessions of conference. I feel like Kate Kelly has reminded me of the call our Savior made to remember the “least of these,” surely women who feel hurt by the current structure of the church are included in that category. I have questioned many times if the church wants someone like me, and the fact that the church had not taken disciplinary action against Kate Kelly made me feel that maybe there was a space for me too. My testimony has been strengthened by Kate’s testimony, her courage and strength.

***

OW has helped me, a lifelong, devoted member of the Church to stay in the Church. As I have struggled with gender equity questions the past several years, OW gave me hope that Heavenly Father would hear our prayers, our pain and our pleas for change in the way women are treated and seen in the church. I respect Kate Kelly so much having the courage to speak the words that so many of us hold in our hearts and yet have been too afraid to speak for fear of rejection and discipline. I am heartbroken that her church membership is on the line because she used her voice. Her faith and abilities are such an attribute to the Church. I feel like the Church is sending a message, not just to Kate Kelly, but to all of us who have questions that we are not wanted in the Church. It hurts my heart. And it angers me that the Church that I love, that I have devoted my life to, spent the last 18 years raising my children in, married my husband in the temple in, does not want me or care about me. It’s the opposite of what I imagine the Savior doing. He would listen.

***

I have struggled with the inequality of women in the Church for many years. It has been painful to see the talents of myself and so many women squandered by the Church because we are women. When Ordain Women was formed, I finally felt that there was a place for me still, that I could hope for a more equal future, and my testimony was strengthened anew. Kate’s peaceful advocacy and unwavering devotion to my church make an indelible imprint on my heart and I knew I should stay and work and faithfully agitate.

***

I am an active Mormon, who spends time in service to members of my ward. I am a BYU graduate. I am a returned missionary. I am married in the temple to a lovely man. I have been in every kind of presidency open to women in the church. I have 3 children, all young but active in the church. I never speak of feminism or women’s ordination at church. … I try to be a good Christian and a good Mormon. Sometimes I fail at both.

***

I speak on behalf of Kate Kelly. I do not know her personally, but her insistence that women have a place at the Mormon table has been profoundly comforting to me as a member of the Church. I am deeply concerned about the status of women in the Church, and I believe that she has been brave, positive, and scripturally based in all of her public statements. Furthermore, I believe that she has a deep testimony of the church. I am grateful for her courage in speaking out on these issues.

***

I don’t agree with everything she says or does. But this church court is folly. Please think of what you are saying to women like me if you excommunicate or disfellowship her. You are saying that our concerns are apostasy. You are telling us to keep our mouths shut (when, in fact, most of us already do). You are telling us we are unwanted–that it is better to leave than to make our thoughts known. I wish I could say this in a more articulate way, but words fail me because of my deep sadness. Do not fail the sisters of the Church. Speak to Sister Kelly in love, bless her, and make this church court go away. Be aware that many of us are watching. Please let us all feel that our concerns matter and that our diversity is wanted. Do not drive us away. The world is also watching.

***

Since I was a young teenager, I have been very aware of the gender inequality in the Church. Quickly, I learned that this was not a subject you talked about out loud. For years I held it all in, continuing to see inequalities, abuses and women’s full potentials being overlooked. I started getting very bitter and angry because I didn’t feel like I had a voice or a place to talk about these issues. Even though I had a strong testimony of Jesus Christ, I felt like there wasn’t a place for me in the LDS Church. Kate Kelly and Ordain Women gave me a place to talk about these kinds of issues. She taught me how to talk about my issues in a kind, loving and faithful way. She taught me that I had a voice and I didn’t need to be afraid. She brought me together with other faithful women who strengthen me and keep me going back to church week after week while the gender inequality changes at a snail’s pace. I believe Kate Kelly belongs in this church and it would be worse off without her.

***

Ordain Women gave me the opportunity to share my voice. It is a place of support when working towards building a foundation where women and girls feel valued and equal within and out of the Church. It has helped me reconcile hurt feelings that I have fostered since childhood, of being a biracial female, and a member of the Church. I have been a witness to unjust works and treatment within the church and by its members, and Ordain Women gave me hope that those who have been abused … would have a place of comfort … I have a testimony of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, I have a testimony that women, and girls are more capable and valuable in the works and gospel of Jesus Christ then previously lead to believe.

***

I am a return missionary, a temple recommend holding member, a Sunday School teacher, a Bishop’s wife, a mother of two, and a feminist. One of the most hopeful signs that my beloved church was growing and maturing was the fact that men and women were opening up public conversations about difficult questions and petitioning church leaders on matters that may well be open to change (just as the persistent widow petitioned the judge in the New Testament parable) and were NOT being threatened with church discipline. It felt like there was room for many colors of faith, for many parts in the body of Christ, including me. I cried today when I read the news of the actions being taken against Kate Kelly. Please. Surely there is room for persistent petitioners seeking further light and knowledge from the Lord on behalf of His church within a framework of love and faith.

***

One day in my Valiant primary class we were discussing the idea that we each have individual missions to achieve on the Earth. I spoke up and said that I felt my mission was to work for women’s equality in the church. … I have faith in God and hope that someday women will be ordained to the priesthood. I am also a faithful, active Latter-day Saint with a current temple recommend. I do not believe that the public expression of my ideas or Kate’s are grounds for being expelled from the Church. In a sense, the Church is responsible for the creation of Ordain Women by not listening to the concerns of women for the past forty+ years. Given the lack of transparency and no system for open dialogue in the church organization, I don’t know how women are to voice their concerns and be heard without taking public action. We are a church that was founded on asking questions and seeking truth, and we have been told that the restoration is ongoing. I am inspired by Ordain Women to continue to ask questions faithfully, and hope it is true that the heavens are still open.

***

I have been a member of the Church my whole life. My ancestors on my father’s side joined the Church during the time of Joseph Smith. I have served a mission, taught at the MTC, attended BYU, married in the temple. I have been an active participant and dedicated my talents and energies to the Church my entire life.

***

I have also felt alone at Church. I have felt misunderstood. For me the Ordain Women group has been a place where I have found fellowship, strength and Christ-like love with fellow members. I have found understanding and tolerance. It has helped me to feel that there is a place for me within the Church.

***

I have been heartened, inspired and touched by the Spirit as I’ve seen strong, faithful women – including Sister Kate Kelly – who desire to participate more fully in the work of salvation bravely risk the scorn of their fellow Church members and the specter of Church discipline to do what we have been told to do over and over and over again: ask, seek, and knock. Ordain Women has been a faith-strengthening tool to me. Knowing that I’m not the only one with questions and desires for further light and knowledge on these topics has given me the hope to remain strong and active in the Church.

***

Watching Ordain Women has made me resolve to be a better husband, a better Priesthood holder, and a better Christian. I have reexamined beliefs that I took for granted, and in the end, I did not reject my beliefs but found myself strengthened in Christ. I want nothing more than to live in Zion, and I find myself more and more each day wishing to reach out and help my brothers and sisters who need me.

***

I have so much respect for the members of Ordain Women, who have the courage to share their questions and concerns and have faith that they will receive answers to those questions … They give me the courage to ask my own questions. They help me to realize that my thoughts and feelings matter to my Heavenly Father, and that He has given me the ability to discern right and wrong for myself. They have made me believe that maybe I can stand up for what I believe too. I love the gospel, and because Ordain Women exists, I have hope for my future, and the future of my family, in a gospel with more truth and more people willing to seek it out.

***

I was at Temple Square this past April. I was apprehensive about attending because I don’t know where I stand on women’s ordination, but I do know that there are some cultural changes the Church can/should make to allow women more equal participation in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I heard Kate bear her testimony and I felt the spirit. Her ideas are uncomfortable to consider at best, but so was the Word of Wisdom, tithing, and many other Church doctrines we hold dear today. I know that Jesus is the Christ and the head of this church. I also know that he wants us to seek answers to the questions we have. The Ordain Women organization has pushed me to truly seek my Father in Heaven through prayer and scripture. I have yet to receive and answer for myself, but I know that it will come whatever it is. I have drawn closer to my Father in Heaven because of Ordain Women. As I said before, I don’t support all of their ideas, but how can prompting others to prayerfully seek out personal revelation and petitioning our prophets for general revelation ever be considered apostasy?