Skip to comments.Did Kate Kelly’s Local Leaders Follow the Handbook [Lds leaders circumvent established procedures]
Posted on 06/26/2014 8:59:27 AM PDT by Colofornian
In his landmark work Jesus the Christ, James E. Talmage spends several pages outlining the high priests unrighteous adjuration of the Savior. The Sanhedrin wanted so badly to not only stem the growth of Jesus growing disciples, but to take back control of what he continued to point out as a broken religious system of Pharisees, Sadducees, hypocrisy, judgment and adherence to outdated laws that ignored the heart of his message of love, tolerance and spiritual growth.
Before I proceed, let me make it clear with those who are looking closely for opportunities to cry foul that I am not comparing Kate Kelly to Jesus Christ in the sense that she is a savior figure, or worthy of worship. She is as mortal and flawed as any of the rest of us.
This post does seek, however, to ask important questions about how Kate Kellys local leaders have handled her situation, as it relates to Mormonisms closest thing to church law the Church Handbook of Instructions.
Talmage painstakingly outlines a host of examples of how the Sanhedrin the governing council of Jewish law circumvented clearly established Jewish procedure in order to hastily try and convict Jesus of blasphemy. They held proceedings on the Sabbath. They did not call the proper witnesses. They did not provide the required evidence.
It would seem that, from the 30,000 foot view most of us have of the situation, the pending trial of Kate Kelly in Vienna, Va. contains much of the same circumventing of LDS procedure in order to come to a swift and, in my personal opinion, pre-determined outcome.
I do openly acknowledge that I have not been privy to all of Kate Kellys private conversations with her ecclesiastical leaders. Kate has, however been very open about them herself.
Some have suggested to me privately that Kate is not being entirely forthcoming about all of her interactions with her bishop and Stake President. I, however, have no reason not to take her at her word.
Outlined below are ways in which Kate Kellys leaders either knowingly or unknowingly circumvented established church procedure in bringing charges of apostasy against her.
We will start with President Wheatley.
Issue #1: Jurisdiction
Shortly before leaving the Washington, D.C. area to relocate to Utah, Kate Kelly met with her Stake President, Scott Wheatley and one of his counselors, Kenneth Lee. As a result of that meeting, Kate received a letter notifying her that she had been placed on informal probation.
Said informal probation was to include not holding a calling, giving talks, praying in public, sustaining church officers or representing that you are a member in good standing.
A couple of things blatantly at issue here.
First, the Handbook clearly states that the bishop is the first line of defense when it comes to church discipline . Stake Presidents normally get involved when it comes to formal church discipline, and then only for Melchizedek Priesthood holders.
President Wheatleys first move was to circumvent the churchs code of jurisdiction as outlined by the Handbook by not deferring to her bishop.
Issue #2: Informal Probation Restrictions
President Wheatley outlines some rather odd restrictions to be placed on Kate as a result of an informal probation.
For informal probation  , the Handbook discusses things like not taking the sacrament, not attending the temple (including handing in your temple recommend) and not exercising the priesthood (obviously not in play here).
What is striking here is that the more severe restrictions President Wheatley outlines are nowhere to be found in the recommendations of restrictions on those who are going through informal probation. So where did he come up with them?
Those restrictions come from a section on the formal church discipline of Disfellowshipment. 
President Wheatley placed disfellowshipment restrictions on Kate Kelly under the guise of informal probation.
All without a formal church court.
President Wheatley sentenced Kate to what is effectively a church prison without a trial.
Issue #3: Impropriety of Informal Probation
The Handbook clearly states that informal probation is NOT to be used when considering some of the more serious acts that formal discipline is meant to address. 
On that list are things like murder and incest. Not applicable.
But also on the list is Apostasy. The charge with which Kate is accused in the letter from her bishop.
President Wheatley never should have placed Kate Kelly on informal probation. Her case should have been taken immediately to formal discipline.
Issue #4: Written and (threatened) public notification of informal probation
We all know the church is big on keeping records. Which is why the Handbook clearly states that informal probation does not require ANY sort of paperwork to be done. In fact, it discourages it. 
The fact that President Wheatley took the time to write and email a letter to Kate is a not in line with the Handbooks recommendation for handling informal discipline.
Issue #5: Threatening public announcement of informal probation status
According to Kate Kelly, the reason she came forward last week with the letters was because she was told by President Wheatley that if she did not comply with the demands he placed on her in regards to her (illegal) informal probation, he would go public with it. This, in response and seemingly retaliation to her public actions in conjunction with Ordain Women.
Anyone who knows anything about church discipline formal or informal, knows this is a big No-No. The Handbook backs this up, with language instructing bishops (again, its so unusual for SPs to administer informal probation that the Handbook speaks in terms of the bishops actions) to not announce the decision to anyone, and keep only private records that he is to destroy later.
So, now we have Kate Kellys Stake President circumventing church policy in five specific ways:
1. Overriding the bishops jurisdiction 2. Placing inappropriate restrictions on her for informal probation 3. Improperly placing informal probation on her when her charges necessitated formal church discipline. 4. Keeping a formal record of her informal probation 5. Threatening to make public her informal probation
Those are troubling enough to me. But they dont end there.
Kate received the email notifying her of her informal probation from President Wheatley on May 22.
On June 8, after she had already left for Utah, she received a letter from her bishop, Mark Harrison, notifying her of a formal disciplinary council being called to address the charge of Apostasy against her.
Lets take a look at the issues surrounding that letter.
Issue #1: Mode of notification
When I served as a bishops counselor, I knew not only from reading the Handbook, but also from participating in a few church courts myself that all notifications of church disciplinary action being taken on an individual must be delivered to the accused in person, by two Melchizedek priesthood holders.
But wait, you say. Kate had already moved to Utah by then.
Yes. Which is why the church puts an exception into the notification rule. But its not email. 
If a member being summoned before a disciplinary council cannot be reached in person, the church officer issuing the letter may deliver the notification via certified mail, with return receipt requested where available.
May implies permission given. Thats standard use throughout the Handbook.
Thus, bishops are given special permission to step outside the normal rule (hand delivery by two MP holders) by sending via certified mail.
Whats lost here is the intent of this rule. Why two MP holders? Why certified mail with return receipt?
It seems to me that the Handbook is encouraging the in the mouths of two or three witnesses here. Multiple priesthood holders can attest to a successful delivery of the letter.
A return receipt implies that the post office (while obviously void of priesthood authority) is acting alongside the bishop as a witness that the letter was delivered properly.
Email falls outside these bounds. There is no proof of delivery. No guarantee that the receiver opened the email and received your message.
Can you send a regular court summons via email? No, and for good reason.
Bishop Harrison goofed when he sent his notification via email.
He seems here to be following the pattern of President Wheatley, which would suggest to me that their efforts were in some way coordinated.
Issue #2: No counsel provided
The Handbook makes it clear that, before resorting to church discipline, the presiding officer should attempt to meet with the individual to counsel over the issues at hand. This, understandably, is a course of action meant to stave off formal church discipline and allow the accused to repent on their own accord. 
According to multiple interviews with Kate, her bishop never once expressed an ounce of concern with her involvement with Ordain Women. Not when the website went up, not at the first public demonstration, not when church PR got involved and not at the second demonstration.
Heres what Kate told the Salt Lake Tribune:
I said [to my bishop] if you have any questions, please come to me first, lets have a conversation about it. And he literally never approached me. Every Sunday, week after week, I saw him, I interacted with him, I had a calling. He never called me. He never stopped by my house. He never pulled me aside on any Sunday. He personally never called me in to have a conversation about this.
The Handbook indicates that personal interviews are an opportunity for the accused to confess and forsake sin. Even if she stood at fault for any of her actions (I dont believe she is at fault), Kate Kelly was never given a chance to personally confess to her bishop through a personal interview. This, after multiple personal interactions between Kate and Bishop Harrison.
Issue #3: Not giving adequate time to consider implications of formal church discipline or to gather facts
The Handbook takes formal church discipline very seriously. So much so, that it counsels bishops and stake presidents to wait until the accused has had a reasonable amount of time to consider the ramifications of a formal disciplinary hearing before scheduling the hearing. 
Bishop Harrisons letter gives no time. In fact, he scheduled the hearing with absolutely no warning. Notification of discipline and scheduling of the council, all within the same few paragraphs.
The presiding officer is also encouraged to gather as much information as possible before deciding on a course of action. Presumably, this would include talking to the accused if they are amenable to discussing, no?
What Bishop Harrison should have done was to either visit with Kate prior to her departure, or call her in order to inform her that he was considering formal church discipline. See, this is the part where the accused gets an opportunity to speak openly with the accuser before charges are formally filed.
Bishop Harrison never even gave her that chance.
Issue #4: Official Wording
This one is nitpicky to be sure, but it highlights Bishop Harrisons sloppiness.
The Handbook clearly gives specific wording the letter of notification of formal discipline is to contain. Im quite sure this is for legal reasons. Words you might commonly hear on the news pertaining to people who have been accused but not convicted of a crime. 
Reading his letter er .email, Bishop Harrison clearly is writing off the cuff here.
Again, a nitpick, but it speaks to the overall bypassing of the Handbook by Bishop Harrison.
Issue #5: Kates Relocation
This one is pretty important.
The Handbook clearly states that if a member moves while church discipline is being considered, the presiding officers in both locations are to consult together on the best course of action. Should action be taken in the members old ward or new ward? Thats up to both bishops to decide. 
We know that Kate had not been informed by her bishop before she moved that he was considering formal discipline. In fact, she has stated repeatedly in the last week that her bishop saw her just days before she pulled out of town to leave for Utah, and never mentioned a word of it.
I saw him before I left, I gave him a hug and that was it, Kate has said.
Bishop Harrison makes no indication in his letter to Kate that he consulted with Kates new bishop in Utah and they both, together, decided to hold the council in Virginia. In fact, there is clear indication that Bishop Harrison had no intention of moving her records at all, something he should have informed Kate of before she moved.
The Handbook encourages this communication between presiding authorities for several reasons. The availability of witnesses is one. I am not keen on this information specifically, but it is my understanding that several prominent Ordain Women leaders reside in Utah. Leaders who could have acted as witnesses on either side. Obviously, Church leaders who told Ordain Women not to hold another demonstration during April Conference could act as witnesses against Kate reside in Utah.
It would seem to me that a church court would actually make more sense in Utah. And yet, in his wisdom, it would seem he finds it completely appropriate to not only hold the council in Virginia, but not to bother discussing the matter with Kates new bishop.
So, Bishop Harrison seems to have circumvented the Handbook in the following ways:
1. Improper method of notification 2. Not providing any type of pastoral counsel prior to issuing notice of formal discipline 3. Not giving adequate time for accused to consider implications, or time to gather information 4. Official wording not used 5. Improperly handling her relocation
Church leaders have a sacred obligation to treat church discipline with the seriousness and preciseness inherent with threatening to strip someone of their membership.
Whats most striking about this issue is what position this has put Kate in. She has stated multiple times over the last week that the most frustrating thing is how opaque the church disciplinary process is.
Most church members would never know about these procedures, because the church keeps the Handbook strictly prohibited to Stake Presidencies and bishoprics.
While it may be in the churchs best interest to keep this information under a tight lid, it also makes abuse of power not only a real possibility, but much easier to pull off.
Because when the members dont know the rules, its impossible to know if their leaders arent following them.
 Church Handbook of Instructions, 6.8
 CHI, 6.8.2
 CHI, 6.9.2
 CHI, 6.9.1 Formal probation is not an option when priesthood leaders administer Church discipline for a member who has been involved in any of the serious transgressions listed in 6.12.10
 CHI, 6.8.2 paragraph 4
 CHI, 6.10.2, paragraphs 6 and 7
 CHI, 6.8.1 and 6.4 paragraph 1
 CHI, 6.10.2 paragraph 1
 CHI, 6.10.2 paragraphs 3, 4 and 5
 CHI, 6.2.7
On the other hand, I have the Mormon Church Handbook of Instructions referenced in this blog: It is indeed quite reflective of the Mormon Church's highly bureaucratic, legalistic ways.
And hence, in this case the "snare" -- as the Mormon Church seeks to simply dismiss some of its louder members by edicts from "on high." ... All as the Mormon Church Handbook of Instructions shows it's all to be done at the local level.
The timing of Kate Kelly's ex-communication -- coupled with other louder Mormonites (John Dehlin, Alan Rock Waterman) shows that indeed this is all a purge from "on high" -- in contradiction to locally-driven ex-communications. See, for example: 476-479: John Dehlin and Kate Kelly Discuss Possible Disciplinary Action (June 18, 2014)
And all of this hasn't been limited to those three prominent individuals: "According to Internet accounts there have been other people who have been spoken to by LDS leaders and some who support Ordain Women have had Temple Recommends taken away by their local leaders."
Kate Kelly Exed, John Dehlin & Rock Waterman Face Discipline (LdsRevelations.com, June 24, 2014)
Perhaps you are a Non-Mormon and from a Mormon perspective don't comprehend the magnitude of even taking away a temple recommend, let alone being ex-communicated.
Mormon doctrine states that you need to reach the highest degree of glory to live with Heavenly Father forever. No temple recommend, no living with Him eternally in His presence. (How is that "heaven" if you can't live with the Glorious Host?)
Mormon doctrine states that eternal families are ONLY for those who reach the highest degree of heaven. So from a Mormon perspective, no temple recommend, no "forever marriage" and no "forever family." In fact, without that temple recommend, your son or daughter might be married in the Mormon temple but you as a parent are shut out from viewing and experiencing it!
Mormon doctrine states that without the highest degree of exaltation, you're supposed "eternal progression" toward becoming a god or goddess yourself will fail. No temple recommend, no godhood attainment for you.
Welcome back Colofornian!
Two previous threads on these issues from this week:
Mormon Church Kicks the Beehive [ex-communications lined up] [From Mormonism Research Ministry's 'Mormon Coffee' blog]
Mormons oust Ordain Women's Kate Kelly over women priests
I guess she could be thankful the danites weren’t sent out for her.
You won't find a lowly truck driver in the position of ward bishop.
From: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
[Harvey has challenged Butch to fight for control of the Hole-in-the-Wall gang]
Butch Cassidy: No, no, not yet. Not until me and Harvey get the rules straightened out.
Harvey Logan: Rules? In a knife fight? No rules!
[Butch immediately kicks Harvey in the groin]
Butch Cassidy: Well, if there aint' going to be any rules, let's get the fight started. Someone count. 1,2,3 go.
Sundance Kid: [quickly] 1,2,3, go!
[Butch knocks Harvey out]
Are the Kate Kelly circumstances really that much different than the scene depicted in the movie?
If not, can you really expect a much different outcome?
I don`t think there is any law that says she has to stay with the Mormon Church, if she don`t like it why didn’t she just leave?
On the other hand if she is a Mormon by being married to a Mormon man, then she should do what Paul told her to do which is just keep her mouth shut.
Kate Kelly’s Kangaroo Kourt
Tuesday, Jun 24, 2014, at 07:06 AM
Original Author(s): Kishkumen
Topic: JOHN DEHLIN AND KATE KELLY EXCOMMUNICATION
Now to the individual writings. Kaimi Wenger, over at the blog Times and Seasons makes a crucial point about the basic irregularity of the proceedings against Kate:
Today, the council announced that they had decided to excommunicate her, for “conduct contrary to the laws and order of the Church.”
This result is very troubling.
I have serious doubts about the substantive result here. I will set them aside for this post and instead focus on an important procedural matter: Sister Kelly was never informed that she was to be tried for “conduct contrary to the laws and order of the Church,” was never given a chance to defend herself from that charge, and was ultimately excommunicated for an offense to which she had no way of responding. This is astounding.
As noted on her website and in the media, Sister Kelly was informed by e-mail, on June 8th, that the bishopric was considering church discipline “on grounds of apostasy.”
In response, she submitted a letter explaining that she had not committed apostasy. This was necessary as the court was scheduled after she had left the state, so she could not attend in person. In addition, Nadine Hansen wrote an excellent brief, examining the question in detail and concluding that Sister Kelly did not commit “apostasy” as defined in the church handbook.
The brief may have been persuasive, since the bishopric did not in fact find Sister Kelly guilty of apostasy. However, they ruled that she should be excommunicated for “conduct contrary to the laws and order of the Church.”
This is an exceedingly troubling outcome. To arrive at this result, the bishopric must have done the following:
1. Brought new charges against Sister Kelly, at the hearing - a hearing in absentia, where she was not present
2. Decided to deliberate on those charges
3. Did not inform her of those charges
4. Did not allow her to make any statement in her defense regarding those charges
5. Made a decision on those charges
6. Excommunicated her, based on those new charges
All within a single day, all without providing the least notice to Sister Kelly.
True, but like most agitators, they seek to change religions from within towards a more “progressive” position. I’m not a fan of agitators, especially in this sense, anti-Biblical. I’m no fan of LDS doctrine or teachings, but this woman is clearly agitating within the LDS. I don’t like it when Presby’s, Catholics, Episki’s, etc. do it, and I don’t like this either, even though it’s the LDS.
However, if the church has rules they’re supposed to follow with regards to discipline and possible ex-communication, then they should.
Otherwise, they undermine and compromise their own credibility. In addition, as the author pointed out, many of these regulations are confidential to all except the few who are in a position of authority. Very legalistic and exclusionary.
No spouse becomes a member simply through marriage...one has to take the “lessons”, request baptism and confirmation as member in order to gain membership into the LDS. However, there can be pressure applied to the non-member through emotional appeals to encourage them to join. They will use the “Families are forever” position and the potential guilt of having their spouse “married” to others once they are able to attain the Celestial Kingdom. There is also the temple wedding exclusion as well.
Any family member who does not hold a temple recommend is barred from attending the ceremony. So this becomes an “incentive” to join, so as not to miss out on significant family events. This is done via home teachers, visiting teachers, missionary visits, etc.
1. Paul was a Christian not a Mormon
2 Paul was speaking to Christians not Mormons
2. Paul never said that women could not teach or preach in church or lay hands on the sick, or pray for anyone ...
3 Paul also told 12 year old boys to obey their mothers...Mormons have 12 year old boys lording it over all women including their own mothers
What would you do if your 12 year old son tried giving you or your wife orders backed up by the Mormon CEOs in Salt Lake City ???
that priesthood thingy in Mormonism is given to 12 year old boys along with authority to rule over grown women...
theres another difference with Christianity..
when the LORD Jesus Christ was 12 He obeyed his mother and father..
He was a grown man before He was given any authority and all of His Earthly life He was kind and courteous to His mother the Virgin Mary...
but not in Mormonism
12 year old boys are taught that they rule over all women...
because their priesthood idiocy gives them that so called “right”
I tend to agree with a lot of what you say about the Mormon Church although most of the ones I have been around and even lived in the same house hold with try to raise the kids right, the exception is religion in place of faith.
Religion is also the theme in many other Churches but to a lessor extent.
This we disagree on.
2. Paul never said that women could not teach or preach in church>>>>>>>
34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.
35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
What would you do if your 12 year old son tried giving you or your wife orders backed up by the Mormon CEOs in Salt Lake City ???>>>>>>
I have never saw that situation but there would be some butt kicking.
He was a grown man before He was given any authority>>>>>>
You are right and so many and not all just in the Mormon Church start trying to make the young into so called professors of religion before they are even dry behind the ears.
because their priesthood idiocy gives them that so called right>>>>>
This gives them power which makes every thing else including faith secondary.
No spouse becomes a member simply through marriage...one has to take the lessons, request baptism and confirmation as member in order to gain membership into the LDS.
I also know some one who was a Mormon all of his life, he denounced the Mormon Church and married a seventh day Adventist woman and they have been together about 45 years.
But it does strike me as odd that any one would fight tooth and nail to stay in a Church or anything they disagree with unless they are making big bucks..
I also am not a fan of Mormon doctrine, in fact I am not a fan of religion in the strict sense of the word.
From what I can gather, she’s only disagreeing with one component of church doctrine...not to say she isn’t with others. I don’t know.
But as a former mormon married to a mormon, I can understand the draw in remaining a member, especially if one is a BIC or very long time member. The doctrine and all the trappings of LDS holds a special appeal if it’s all one knows...very hard to cut ties unless something dramatic has occurred.
Congrats to your acquaintance/friend on their marriage...me and my wife are approaching our 25th, even with our doctrinal differences! ;^)
All more proof that the Mormon Church general Authorities are corrupt to the core. They think they can play hardbill at whim and will and that it somehow won't be called out in this internet-laden world?
The next question is: Will the average Joe Blow Mormon -- those that supposed "sustain" these corrupt General Authorities -- "go along" with it vs. ...
...risking their own temple recommend...
...or indirect threatened religious court marshal???
If they quietly go along, they are part of the corrupt problem.
No apology there.
Misdirected "faith" absolutely needs to be redirected to a strong foundation.
Misdirected faith, strong or weak, is one of the foundational problems to begin with.
Btw, why does this post of yours ONLY show up on Mormon threads?
Where is it on Islamic and Scientology threads?
Or is it that you hypocritically sanction the "weakening" of faith in the gods of Scientology and Islam, after all?
I don't think there was any "law" that Martin Luther had to remain in "THE" church, either. Just because Luther saw abuses and a need for a reformation didn't equate to him starting a new church. He never sought to do that, and still considered himself part of the Church Universal.
('Twas his "Lutheran" adherents who deemed it to be a "separate" church after Luther's death)
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