There has been a lot of discussion lately on Kate Kelly’s Ordain Women movement and her recent excommunication from the LDS church. Over the past months she has demanded changes from the church, and refused to accept the answers she has received. I personally don’t understand how she can sustain her church leaders while not accepting the very direct and clear answers that they give her. Ephesians tells us why we have these leaders, and maybe she missed that in her scripture study:
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some,evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men,and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
These verses state that one of the reasons why we have prophets and apostles today is so that we aren’t “carried about with every wind of doctrine.” If we distance ourselves and our opinions from the direction we receive from the prophet and apostles, then we are becoming very much at risk of falling “away into forbidden paths” and becoming “lost” (1 Nephi 8:28).
That isn’t to say that we shouldn’t be allowed to question. As has repeatedly been remarked in recent church statements, the church always encourages people to seek their own answers and to question, but that doesn’t mean that we need abandon our faith. As we question and learn, we must remember the advice of Elder Uchtdorf who stated so succinctly: “doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.” There is room for us in Christ’s church, despite our questions, for “we must never allow doubt to hold us prisoner and keep us from the divine love, peace, and gifts that come through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ” (Come, Join with Us, Oct, 2013)
Why, then, did Kate Kelly get excommunicated for questioning? Because she was doing more than questioning. Elder George Q. Cannon spoke about the difference between honestly questioning and seeking (during which we should doubt our doubts and remember to tether ourselves to Christ through his living mouthpiece) and apostasy, which does merit excommunication. George Q. Cannon said that although he doesn’t consider having a difference of opinion with church leaders as apostasy, he cannot “conceive of a man publishing those differences of opinion, and seeking by arguments, sophistry and special pleading to enforce them upon the people to produce division and strife, and to place the acts and counsels of the authorities of the Church, if possible, in a wrong light, and not be an apostate, for such conduct was apostasy” (see the original Deseret News article from 1869). Painting the authorities in the church in a wrong light sounds to me like what Kate Kelly has been doing. It seems to me that she is blinded to what she has been doing, and seeks to put the blame on church authorities for not getting what she wants and what she is so sure is right.
Back in 2010, Elder Christoffersen warned about the slipping standards of today’s world. Not only is immorality more prevalent, but our very idea of the purpose of life is getting skewed. Speaking of those who are blinded and confused, Christofferson said that they “have imagined a Jesus who wants people to work for social justice but who makes no demands upon their personal life and behavior” (The Blessing of Scripture, April 2010). No longer does Jesus want us to humble ourselves and consider our sins to repent of them, now he wants us to fight for whatever idea of social justice seems prevalent and popular. If we fight for the “rights” others, we can ignore our sins, right? (See this article to learn more about this alternative idea of Jesus – social defender instead of redeemer from sins).
Discipleship has always been about humbling ourselves and following the master. Yes, we need to stand up for those in need, and yes we should be kind to everyone no matter their life choices, but let’s not put our social agendas above our spiritual development. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. Study your scriptures with real intent. Search, ponder and pray. Faith grows when we decide to act despite our doubts. We choose to believe while waiting on all the evidence, for we will “receive no witness until after the trail of [our] faith.”
But, as we question and grow in faith, isn’t it nice to know that we have the prophets and apostles to rely on so that we aren’t tossed to and fro, carried by every wind of (socially popular justice seeking) doctrine?