Ordain Women leader faces LDS disciplinary action

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – A woman pushing for “priesthood equality” within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may be forced out of the organization on Monday.

As of Sunday night, an LDS disciplinary council still had no decision on the verdict.  Kate Kelly was summoned to meet with her former church leaders in Virginia, but instead of attending, she led a vigil and rally for supporters in Salt Lake City

Fellow “priesthood equality” advocates in 50 U.S. cities and 17 different countries also held vigils in Kelly’s honor.  The biggest support system of all met right outside the LDS church headquarters. 

"I will not be silent because I was silent for more than 30 years—30 painful years," said one woman. 

About 250 people publicly voiced their concerns, as they dropped handkerchiefs outside the LDS Church Office Building.

"My mom actually always taught me that women would be ordained, so I always grew up thinking that someday, that would happen," said Kelly, who founded the group, Ordain Women.  

Kelly says the time has come.  For more than a year, she and her female priesthood advocates have pushed to attend the church's general priesthood meetings.  Now, Kelly faces charges of apostasy, which could mean excommunication from the LDS Church.  

"I support Thomas S. Monson as the prophet, and I've just pointed out what is a factual assertion—that is that men and women are not equal in the church,” said Kelly.

"I don't think that Kate Kelly is an apostate!” yelled one supporter, Sunday evening.

Kelly remains optimistic as she awaits the verdict.  Some church members say the outcome could change their entire belief system

"I love the church, and I feel so strongly about it, but I don't know if I can be a part of an organization that reacts so vehemently…” said Rachel Steed, a Latter-day Saint who supports Ordain Women.

Others disagree.

"We don't feel like we're put down in any way, and we're very happy in the roles that we have," said another female member of the church.

Kelly did send a letter to the men determining her membership status, begging them not excommunicate her.

"Our prayers are with those who must decide these very difficult, personal matters.  We also pray for those whose choices may place them outside our congregation,” said Ally Isom, spokesperson for the LDS church.

The disciplinary council carefully reviewed Kelly’s letter Sunday night. The church says Kelly's bishop "has made a thorough review of her response and other materials, and wishes to prayerfully consider the matter overnight. He will notify her of a decision, probably tomorrow."

LDS Church authorities have affirmed that the decision ultimately comes down Kelly’s former leaders in Virginia.  There is no indication of any influence from the church’s General Authorities. 

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