In a letter dated July 23, 2014, excommunicated Mormon Kate Kelly appealed her sentence to Scott Wheatley, the president of her former stake in Virginia. Creative Commons image by Maralise Petersen.

Ordain Women’s Kate Kelly loses last appeal; husband to resign from Mormon church

In a letter dated July 23, 2014, excommunicated Mormon Kate Kelly appealed her sentence to Scott Wheatley, the president of her former stake in Virginia.

In a letter dated July 23, 2014, excommunicated Mormon Kate Kelly appealed her sentence to Scott Wheatley, the president of her former stake in Virginia.

SALT LAKE CITY (RNS)  Ordain Women co-founder Kate Kelly has lost her final appeal to regain membership in the Utah-based LDS Church.

The activist, who is pushing for female ordination to the all-male Mormon priesthood, received word Saturday (Feb. 28)  from her former lay leader in Virginia that the faith's governing First Presidency had rejected the appeal of her June 2014 excommunication from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"I am disappointed in the outcome, but not surprised since the disciplinary process has been entirely opaque and inequitable from the get-go," Kelly said in a news release posted on the Ordain Women website.

"Fortunately, men do not control my happiness, nor do they control my connection to God. I am proud of what I have done," she added. "We will continue to act with integrity and courage. Mormon women and their legitimate concerns cannot be swept under the rug or summarily dismissed by one 'Court of Love.' "

The feminist also said that her husband, Neil Ransom, plans to resign his Mormon membership.

The couple were married, or, in LDS parlance, "sealed," for eternity in 2006 in the Salt Lake LDS Temple. Under Mormon teachings, her excommunication -- and his exit from the faith -- would nullify that ordinance in heaven.

"He was never punished by the church," Kelly said in an email, "in spite of doing many of the same things I was accused of."

Kelly was ousted from the LDS Church last summer for "conduct contrary to the laws and order of the church," later defined as apostasy.

She appealed the decision to the church's highest authority, the First Presidency, comprised of LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson and his two counselors, Henry B. Eyring and Dieter F. Uchtdorf. It is the last avenue for excommunicated Latter-day Saints hoping to regain their memberships.

Kelly, who now lives in Kenya, said she got an email informing her that the top leaders had affirmed the excommunication in a letter.

Saturday's news "saddened" Ordain Women Executive Board Chairwoman Debra Jenson.

"We are profoundly troubled by a definition of apostasy that seems to include members asking sincere questions of our leaders," Jenson said in the group's news release. "We reaffirm our commitment to faithful action and our hope for gender equality in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."



  1. Who (what human) determines that men only shall be bla,bla,bla. Oh, I see, bla,bla,bla. Very convincing.
    Now the flip side is that this woman is determined to represent this organization,
    and these people who embody the very ideas that she finds limiting.
    Methinks that she accepts narrowness of mind, but not of her personal opportunity, and bigotry for somethings, but not others.

  2. She and her husband probably were not current temple recommend holders in the LDS Chruch. . . . why she wanted to remain a member when she disagreed so strongly with the teachings of the LDS Church is the big question. . . .

  3. Spoken like a true “man” who’s experience is not a women in the LDS church. When you have had this experience you might not be so dismissive….

  4. Many people in other fundamentalist religions disagree with some tenants of faith and feel that they want to change things for the better…this is what she was seeking to do in a very “man-oriented” religion.

  5. Seems obvious to me that women should be allowed to be ordained within an LDS framework. We have women in the Old Testament who were /Prophets/, so one being able to attain a lesser status of “priest” seems unquestionably possible.

  6. Just because women are not ordained to the priesthood does not mean that they can not use the power of the Priesthood. Men are ordained to the priesthood but that power can be accessed by women. They can not however hold that priesthood or ordain others to the priesthood, this is the organization that God has put into place.

    It is also not true that Mrs. Kate Kelly has lost her membership forever. She can repent and be baptized, and regain full fellowship in the church again. But that is only if she repents; which judging by her current attitude does not seem likely.

  7. Seth, if they don’t truly have the position I doubt that women would have the same power as men. Any religious institution that does not give women the same positions doesn’t give them the same power.

  8. If the forms of power must be identical to be equal, how will we ever rectify that men don’t have the power to grow life in their bodies? Nothing is closer to the power of God himself. Seems to me that men and only men having the “authority” to act for God in the Church’s administration is the only remotely equal balance.

  9. Oh thank goodness her appeal was rejected! Now she can start her own church and run it the way she thinks it should be run instead of trying to publicly force others to change their beliefs to fit her profile!

  10. As you seem to have no idea what the Priesthood is or how it works, then your comments hold no weight.

  11. She probably will go for the book writing deal as it might now be very lucrative for her. . . . .

  12. Book deal and reality show! Can’t beat this free publicity. Poor husband…parable of the milk strippings…wink*

  13. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints allows members of the church to have questions, doubts, or even disagreements with church doctrine or policy and still remain members of the church in good standing. But when members engage in a public campaign to teach doctrines opposed to the Church they are members of, or lead others out of the church, or otherwise harm the church or its members, it is a different matter. The Church has the right to protect itself from such people. Church disciplinary hearings are held after attempts to correct behavior are not heeded. The Church has said “”Some members in effect choose to take themselves out of the church by actively teaching and publicly attempting to change doctrine to comply with their personal beliefs,” the statement reads. “This saddens leaders and fellow members.”

  14. This regulatory process within the church is similar to that which occurs in other organizations such as businesses and clubs. Very few people, if any, would argue that those organizations don’t have the right to protect themselves from harm caused by disloyal members or employees. Businesses have the right to fire employees who break company policies and especially to fire employees who are wilfully undermining the welfare of the company. . This is what Kate Kelly and others like her do to the Church. Of course the church has the right to excommunicate such people when, after repeated efforts to resolve the issue, the individuals still don’t heed those efforts.

  15. One of the primary tenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the belief in current ongoing revelation to living prophets. In other words: The church is directed by Jesus Christ himself. If Kate Kelly doesn’t believe that, and she thinks the Church is so wrong (she thinks it’s not really Christ’s church – currently lead by Him) then why should she care to remain a member of it in the first place? If Kate Kelly wants the church to be different she has every right to start her own church and make her new church the way she wants it to be. She does not have the right to force her beliefs upon the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  16. being a GA in the LDS church is pretty lucrative too.

  17. she did believe that. and she asked that the holders of those prophetic keys to exercise them. instead of using them and asking the lord, like we expected them to be doing all along, they denied her request and excommunicated her.

  18. In Order for me to go to the Temple I need to obtain the priesthood and pass a Worthiness interview. My wife only needs to pass a Worthiness interview. Women are born with what men need to obtain in order to be equal. God’s greatest creation is his last (woman). The equality of men and women come only after men hold the Priesthood. Take away my priesthood and I can not enter the Lords house. The Temple teaches these things. I hope Kate and her husband come back. The Lord loves all of us because we are his children. He loves us because of who we are. What we do shows Him how we feel about Him. Heavenly Mother is no less in Might ,Power and Dominion than Heavenly Father.

  19. So you are saying since they did not make any changes to church doctrine that they didn’t even bother to ask? Members of Ordain Women say their only desire is that church leaders “ask” God whether or not now is the time for women to be ordained to the priesthood. Leaders have addressed this topic numerous times in conference to no avail. The members of Ordain Women will not accept a no answer. It appears that they and others such as yourself feel that a no answer means that the leaders aren’t in tune with God or just haven’t receive the “right” revelation yet and it is only a matter of being loud enough and making enough noise until they finally ask and receive that yes answer that they should have already received. It is one thing to ask questions, but another thing entirely to not accept the answer when you don’t like it. So are they really asking a question or trying to push their agenda? The “we are only asking a question” defense is wearing thin.

  20. That’s an interesting point Wade. I had never considered that before.

  21. I’m unsure why someone who claims to value the church should then turn away from it. It seems to be in the seeds of apostasy throughout all time, throughout all issues. Oliver Cowdery gave up almost everything for whatever cause he thought was important enough to give it up for. It’s as though they believe that at the last day God will sustain them over those who God has called and ordained.

    If Kate Kelly wanted to entreat someone, she didn’t need to travel to the Church Office Building, or Salt Lake City, or even Utah. She needn’t have gone any further than the foot of her own bed or spoken to anyone but Him whose church this is. Did she expect the President of the Church to exercise his priesthood keys _without_ divine approval? Or, if he held not those keys, would it even make a difference?

    Ms. Kelly needs to reexamine her understanding of and dedication to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. After reading her website’s 34 references to a Divine promise to priesthood authority, I find them to be indistinct and nebulous at best — nothing indicating the transmission of the Holy Priesthood, and certainly nothing in any historic document, including the Book of Mormon or any other extra-biblical account, ever indicates women could be the recipients of the priesthood, nor is there a single about of there being an ordination of women.

    Being LDS myself, if the President of the Church ever pronounced that women should receive the priesthood, I would sustain him as “the one” with the keys to do so (D&C 132:7-8). Until then, women should learn obedience to the same people we all do. And by the same right, if they should ever require my priesthood from me for whatever reason, I stand ready to surrender it at the president’s pleasure and discretion.

Leave a Comment