063:A Conversation with Kate Kelly: Feminist and Optimist

Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 12.37.18 PMKate Kelly, a recently excommunicated Mormon feminist, is the founder of Ordain Women. Though she has attracted significant media attention she still remains a bit of an enigma. A staunch apologist for the fundamentals of Mormon theology she holds doggedly to the doctrines of continuing revelation and open canon. At the same time she is an unapologetic feminist and activist.

In this interview with Gina Colvin, Kelly talks about her feminist awakenings, the development of Ordain Women, her church discipline and her hopes for the future. An archetypal idealist Kelly’s irrepressible optimism and faith shines. For Kelly the question of equal rights and ordination for women are issues that are far from settled. Kelly’s thoughtful faith is reflected in her belief that her excommunication doesn’t mean the end for her and others’ pursuit for equity and fairness in the church. Rather, her excommunication signals that the conversation is merely at a beginning.

 

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13 comments for “063:A Conversation with Kate Kelly: Feminist and Optimist

  1. Bill
    July 21, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    This still hasn’t posted to ITunes. Is this an ITunes issue or can you do something about it? I’anxious to listen!

  2. John Dwyer
    July 21, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    Since Kate Kelly is a believer, I would love to hear her testimony of the book of mormon and other statement of beliefs (i’m not certain where I might find something like that.)

    I respect anybody who is an enigma. It seems like there are a lot of homogenized clumps out there at various points on the orthodoxy continuum.

  3. echarles1
    July 21, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    An excellent interview. Kate Kelly seems to be a charming person. However, I think she suffers a bit from her youth and her thinking is a less mature than her 30+ years. For example, she approaches a meeting with a church elder as if it were a meeting in her law practice. It does not occur to her that it might be the wrong approach, or even that there could be another approach at all. She praises speaking “the truth” but she does not allow that she might not possess it, or at least completely. Listening to her I keep thinking she needs another decade (perhaps out of the legal profession) for her thinking to gain some nuance and perspective.

    • ChrisWir
      August 11, 2014 at 2:08 am

      What a charming comment you wrote.
      I believe that Kate approached the meeting as a lawyer because she IS a lawyer, and since the person she met with at church was also(!) a lawyer it seems like a feasible approach. If, however, Kate was a ditzy stay-at-home-mom she might have approached things differently, especially if the leader she met with at church was also(!) a ditzy stay-at-home-mom – which he was not – hence, fair and equal!

      The only truth any of us “know” is what we, actually, currently know. Kate Kelly is intelligent enough to understand this, so no blame on her there either.

  4. Clinton
    July 23, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Yesterday, I listened again to Elder Oaks’ recent talk about priesthood, and when it was finished, I thought again about the OW movement and the circumstances in the Church surrounding this monumental talk.

    Suddenly, I recalled a chilling scene from the movie Schindler’s List. In a camp where enslaved Jews are building barracks, a Jewish woman is screaming out to everyone that the foundation is not fit for the building and it will eventually collapse. The new commander of the camp takes her aside and finds out that she is a well-educated engineer. He promptly orders a subordinate to shoot her, on-the-spot, and immediately afterwards orders that the building be dismantled and rebuilt on a new foundation.

    I think there are some interesting parallels that can be drawn between this scene in the movie and the rise of the OW movement and the period leading up to Kate Kelly’s excommunication. During this time, we all know, the Church has:

    -asked women to pray in GC
    -centrally seated the women’s auxiliary leaders
    -included auxiliary leader photos in the conference center and in the GC Ensign
    -explicitly expanded the doctrine of the priesthood (via Oaks’ talk)

    These are not Kate Kelly’s achievements, but I think they are!

    P.S. Someone is going to say that you cannot compare Church leaders to Nazi leaders–and they will be right! In fact, if anyone is ever compared to Nazi leaders it will be an unfair comparison. (I couldn’t even watch much past this scene in the movie the brutality is so horrific–and I do not recommend the movie to anyone, even if it has been touted a “must see”.) What this scene does help me to understand is why it might be true that Kate Kelly was excommunicated, not for her questions, but for her “tone” even at the same time that the Church is making some positive changes.

  5. Brenda
    July 29, 2014 at 5:23 am

    I knew Kate’s parents during her early childhood. Wonderful people, and dear friends. Her dad was our bishop. They moved out of our ward when Kate, their oldest, was about 8 years old, afte r their fourth and youngest child was born. I clearly remember her mother, who was an attorney, being concerned about her professional license lapsing because she was not working, but that she felt guided by the Lord to not work at that time. She was a stay-at-home mom by choice during the years they lived in our ward. Her children were blessed with a quantity of time with their mother during their earliest years. I feel it would be more honest of Kate to include that in her bio, and not imply her mother always worked outside the home.

  6. Brenda
    July 29, 2014 at 7:59 am

    I knew Kate’s parents during her early childhood. Wonderful people, and dear friends. Her dad was our bishop. They moved out of our ward when Kate, their oldest, was about 8 years old, after their fourth and youngest child was born. I clearly remember her mother, who was an attorney, being concerned about her professional license lapsing because she was not working, but she felt guided by the Lord to not work at that time. She was a stay-at-home mom by choice during the years they lived in our ward. Kate and her siblings were blessed with a quantity of time with their mother during their earliest years. I feel it would be more honest of Kate to include that in her bio, and not imply her mother always worked outside the home.

  7. LiteralHipster
    July 29, 2014 at 11:59 am

    FYI, the Church Handbook 1 states:

    If a member who needs Church discipline moves to another ward before disciplinary action is taken, the bishops of both wards consult to determine where the action should be taken. They consider such matters as the accessibility of key witnesses and the need for continuing efforts to encourage repentance and restoration to full fellowship. If the bishops determine that the bishop of the former ward should take the disciplinary action, he retains the membership record until the action is taken. Otherwise, he transfers the membership record and confidentially informs the person’s current bishop of the circumstances that warrant Church discipline.

    So it appears that higher-ups don’t need to be involved in a move restriction.

  8. Jason Schorr
    July 29, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    I keep reading that Kate has a new church she will be announcing soon, that she is trying to finish the paperwork before she leaves for Kenya. She expects her appeal to be denied and wants to be ready to splinter as soon as the announcement is made. Does anyone have any more information on this?

    • Gina Colvin
      July 29, 2014 at 3:05 pm

      I would be very surprised indeed if this were the case.

  9. Teresa Humphrey
    September 11, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    I have heard several interviews of Kate Kelly. To date this has been the best in my opinion. The one that I would be the most likely to share with others that question my support of her.

  10. Bruce
    January 15, 2015 at 8:22 am

    Kate Kelly comes across as a good person even though I disagree with pretty much everything she says.

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