Friday, June 27, 2014

For Kate Kelly and all who are heartbroken with her

"Heirs of that heritage"
June 27, 2014

"Behind me is the Red Brick Store, in Nauvoo, Illinois. This is the place where the Relief Society was founded, and where Joseph Smith announced his intention to make that society 'a kingdom of priests.' This building is also the place where, for the first time, Latter-day Saint women were anointed to become 'queens' and 'priestesses' as part of the endowment.

"I'm not convinced that Joseph Smith intended those developments to lead to the ordination of women to priesthood office in the church, because I'm not convinced that Joseph Smith's vision was that progressive at that point in his life. But I do believe that the developments that occurred in this building offer Latter-day Saints windows onto wider possibilities--including the ordination of women, which I, like many of you, believe to be God's will, given the principle that, as we read in the Book of Mormon, male and female are alike to God.

"Kate Kelly's excommunication is a heavy blow to those who have been trying to work for the fulfillment of that wider vision.

"As I stand here in Nauvoo, I am very conscious of the fact that heavy blows, and setbacks, and tragedy, are part and parcel of the Latter-day Saint heritage. Here in Nauvoo, dreams and hopes were shattered. Our people became divided. Church members felt betrayed by church leaders. Nauvoo was a place of violence, and destruction, and loss, and grief.

"In Tony Kushner's play, Angels in America, Harper, a Mormon woman who has been betrayed by someone she loves, says near the end of the play: 'I've finally found the secret of all that Mormon energy. Devastation. That's what makes people migrate, build things. Heartbroken people do it...'

"Nauvoo is a witness to the heartbreak that has been part of Latter-day Saint history from the beginning. Nauvoo is also a witness to what heartbroken people can accomplish. Kate Kelly and all those who are heartbroken with her are heirs of that heritage."

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