Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Additional Thoughts on Ordain Women and Religion

Here I go again with the religious stuff....

Two days ago the LDS Church announced that Kate Kelly was excommunicated for her role in the Ordain Women movement. She is no longer a member in good standing and has to wait a year for a re-evaluation of her repentance. This means she must abandon her Ordain Women movement if she wants to be re-baptized in the church next year. 

Now that the verdict is in, I wanted to give an update and also share some additional thoughts on the situation and religion in general. 

There are many opinions flying around as to whether she deserved to be excommunicated and to whether this was a good or bad decision by the church. It's hard to know. Kate Kelly knew what she was doing. She knew that she was openly opposing the church's doctrine. It's hard to say if this qualifies completely as apostasy. I understand apostasy to mean denouncing the religion, which she has not done. But nonetheless, she is denouncing one of its doctrines (although Ally Isom, a church representative featured on RadioWest, which I linked in my last post, was very vague on whether a male-only priesthood is actual written LDS doctrine). 

Time will tell if this was a good or bad decision by the church. Some members agree with the decision while others do not. But Kate Kelly and other believers in the Ordain Women movement should not be discouraged. What Kate Kelly has started is no different than what happened leading up to the change in LDS doctrine allowing black men to obtain the priesthood. There were protests on Temple Square and leaders of those protests were excommunicated. But the movement did not bow, and eventually there was a change. There's more info here, but also a quick Google search brings up many sources of information about protests leading up to the 1978 revelation that blacks could receive the priesthood.

One difference between the black movement and the Ordain Women movement is that BYU was targeted by other athletic departments. When BYU traveled for athletic matches, it was met with protesters who decried the racist sentiments of the LDS church. Universities were pressured to cut their ties with BYU. This not only gained a lot of national press, it threatened the financial state of BYU.

It would be a bigger struggle for Ordain Women to have a similar effect with women’s athletic protests since women’s sports do not gain the same attention or bring in the same amounts of money as men’s sports do.

I am under the (somewhat sarcastic) belief that women will someday obtain the priesthood, but not until they have a black man as prophet of the church. And if a woman someday becomes prophet, then gay marriages will be allowed. I hope, though, that it does not take that long for the LDS church to treat all its members equally. 

But this specific issue aside, I wanted to go back to my third conclusion in a previous post. I somewhat quickly skimmed over the issues of personal revelation within the LDS church and wanted to explain my question about it further. The church teaches that each person can pray about issues and questions they have in their personal life and that God will answer those questions one way or another. The church also warns against receiving false answers that do not come from God. What I don’t understand is how a person is supposed to know the difference? Say, for instance, your husband gets a job offer in a different city. You and your husband are both equally open to the idea of moving but have some reservations about it. You both pray on it separately and he feels strongly that he should take the job while you feel strongly he should turn it down. How do you know which is God’s instruction and which isn’t? If you are both equally convinced that you have received inspiration from God, does this mean you are supposed to separate, with him leaving for the job and you staying behind? How do you interpret the messages and how do you know when your personal feelings are interfering?

I tend to believe that it is impossible for someone to completely separate their personal feelings from what they believe God is telling them. When I was younger (long before I met Eric) I was dating someone that I thought was ‘the one.’ I was young but that never seems to matter when you think you are in love. So I did what I was taught in church, to pray about whether I was supposed to marry him and when I did, I got a resounding YES. I was so excited, and comforted by this personal revelation. When he started to become distant from me I didn’t worry because I KNEW it was all going to work out in the end. I didn’t share with him that I had prayed about us, and I guess that should have been the first red flag. I thought it might make him nervous or scare him off, and it definitely would have. Eventually we did break up. It took me a long time to fully accept it because I was still hanging onto that message I received that he and I would be together forever.

Clearly young adolescents in love are bound to get mixed messages when they don’t have a good grasp on their own emotions quite yet. But can’t the same be true for old men who are so set in their ways that they cannot see past their own biases?

I understand that some (men) in the church are given a greater authority to receive revelation for others beyond themselves. These men are supposed to be so in-tune with God that their personal feeling do not mix with His messages. But recently we know this to not be true. The LDS church has come out against some of the teaching of Brigham Young that were blatantly racist and admitted that those were Young’s personal feelings and not a reflection of the church. A Mormon historian was quoted in the Salt Lake Tribune saying that God “works through imperfect instruments.” (Article here)

And this is where I have a problem with most all organized religions. Most of them believe that God is perfect and man is not. Christians believe that Jesus Christ was the only perfect man to walk the earth. Many non-Christian religions have their own prophets with similar attributes. Man cannot be perfect because God is perfect and no one can be as great as God. But religions are run by man, and man is inherently flawed. Therefore religions are inherently flawed. They are incapable of having a perfect knowledge of God, so there can be no such thing as a perfect religion. I think the anxieties and controlling nature that come from religions are due to a cognitive dissonance. They are in the same breath teaching that their beliefs are correct, they have God’s message and they are the only way to his salvation, and yet we all need salvation because we are not perfect and cannot return to God without being saved, and the only way to be saved is by other men who are also flawed. 

I believe some good comes from religious belief, but I also know that religions are full of guilt, pain, judgement, sorrow, fear, fundamentalism, exclusion, and hardship. I believe we can learn to be great, loving, kind, forgiving people without the need of religion. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Ordain Women and the LDS Church

I didn't want my first post (other than the intro) to be about religion, but this is a hot topic around these parts right now. I have a lot to say about this and I fear that if I wait too long it will no longer be relevant.

Disclaimer: I was raised LDS in a non-traditional (for LDS culture) single-parent household. I was semi-active my entire life up until I got married in the LDS Temple. I did not have the 'faith building' experience in the temple that I anticipated and since then have not felt connected to the church and have not participated for 7 years. However, I live in Salt Lake City and so I am surrounded by the culture and it's very much a part of my life.

Ordain Women is a group of LDS church members who believe that women should be able to hold the priesthood and be more involved in decision making and authority roles that are present in the church. According to their website, Ordain Women is: "Mormon women seeking equality and ordination to the priesthood." For more information visit their website, it does a better job of explaining their mission:

The group started because one woman, Kate Kelly, felt inspired that the time is right that women should receive the priesthood. And the LDS church teaches that each person can receive personal revelation from God if they seek it. And Kate Kelly is now facing excommunication from the church for speaking out on this issue that she feels so inspired to defend.

After all, the LDS church started because a young boy, Joseph Smith, felt that something was missing from the churches he regularly attended. He prayed and received a revelation that the current churches weren't entirely true. From this experience he received more revelations and eventually established the LDS church. To read more about what the church teaches, you can go to their website:

After listening to Kate Kelly's earnest interview with our local radio host, Doug Fabrizio; and then the response the next day on the same radio station with a church representative, Ally Isom; I have come to a few of conclusions:
(you can listen to the two shows for free here:  &

1. The church is using local leaders as scapegoats to this issue. In the church's response to the excommunication letters, Ally Isom deflects responsibility from the centralized church leaders and puts all of the decision making to Kate Kelly's local leaders. I cannot believe that the church's centralized leaders do not care about this issue. If they didn't seek to control issues as prominent as this one, they would lose all control over their church. Taking the steps to remove Kate Kelly's status as a good-standing member of the church would serve to make a public example of what can happen when you speak out against policies and doctrine. I believe that the church would very much like to see members who raise such questions and gain such a following have their legitimacy as a church member questioned.

However, deflecting this to local leaders allows them to keep their image clean (or so they think) on this matter that is quite heated. It also allows them to pretend that the church leaders at the top are not threatened by this movement. Perhaps they want to appear to be nonchalant about it and uphold a position that they are so powerful that this group doesn't even register on their radar. But I am not buying it. I believe that the local leader, perhaps covertly, were encouraged by top leaders to take actions against Mrs. Kelly (and Mr. Dehlin, who is also being threatened with excommunication, but for different issues. I have not really been focusing on him in this post).

2. Excommunicating Kate Kelly only serves to prove a point that she is trying to make. Women are not represented in the church. They have no leadership responsibilities that allows them to take part in these types of discussions. Frankly, Kate Kelly's case for remaining a member of the LDS church or not will be heard exclusively by men. She will not have a woman involved in the decision making to decide if her actions have warranted excommunication. Imagine if there were no women judges or jury. Imagine that congress was only men. And imagine, in this day and age, if you were to hear a man (or a woman) arguing that this is the way it should be. Fine. If that is your opinion you are entitled to it. But then I am entitled to the opinion that you are a sexist, because believing that women should not have equal opportunities to men is sexist.

3. It also seems a bit hypocritical for a church whose keystone tenet is one of personal revelation. Either the church believes that one can receive personal revelation and should seek those things that are guidance from God, or the church doesn't. But not believing calls into question the church's origins and all of it's teachings. Kate Kelly is not telling women to leave the church. She is not calling any other doctrine into question. She appears to be a righteous member who happens to feel strongly about one thing.

I am not trying to make an argument for or against excommunicating Kate Kelly. I am simply looking at the situation from the outside and have some problems with the way in which the LDS church is handling questioning members. Sometimes I think the Community of Christ may be a better fit for some. I am not a member of the Community of Christ, but here is what I know about it. It was established by Joseph Smith Jr.'s wife Emma and their Joseph Smith III after Joseph Smith Jr. was killed. They have always allowed blacks to hold the priesthood and gave women the privilege back in the 1980s. Most recently they have been discussing allowing gay marriage. For more information on what they believe, visit their website:

Like I said, I am not a member of the Community of Christ and am not trying to convert people to them. But if you are unhappy in the LDS faith, there are plenty of options that can fill a spiritual void through other religions or belief systems. I think people should seek what bring them happiness and strive for authentic living.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Why Did I Start A Blog?

...I don't know. That's the short answer. I have tried to start a couple of other blogs in the past but they all failed. When I say they failed, it means I failed. My last blogs failed for one of two reasons 1) I was trying to blog about something specific and couldn't keep up with posting new material all the time 2) I wasn't being true to myself. I tried to start a blog as a way to share pictures and things with people that I didn't necessarily want browsing around my Facebook page. But I couldn't keep up with that either. It was dry and boring and I wasn't motivated to keep with it.

I am hoping this time is different. This time I am going to write about whatever the fuck is on my mind. This blog is going to be true to me, and therefore opinionated. I welcome you to have a differing opinion from mine. Feel free to post comments. I think it's healthy so long as it doesn't turn cruel. I may or may not respond to comments depending on how I feel. Actually I hope to even get comments.

I assume nobody will read this unless you are already my friend, but just in case you accidentally stumbled here and are still reading, here's a quick intro:

My name is Kimbu (Kim, actually, but I named my blog by my most common nickname so I thought I should be consistent). I also answer to Kim, Kimi, Kimberly, Kimbo, Kimbro, Kimba, Kim Jong get the idea. I am turning 30 this year, I have been married to my wonderful husband Eric for 7 years. We have three cats and a dog. We love in Salt Lake City and....zzzzz.... Are you still awake?

Okay, boring stuff out of the way. I think this will suffice as an intro blog to my blog. So, future posts should be a bit more interesting....I hope.

Thanks for reading!