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Mormon HQ could halt Kelly, Dehlin censures, but will it?
Religion » Gordon B. Hinckley intervened in the 1990s, sources say, to stop planned disciplinary actions.

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The church’s public-relations wing has entertained "other feminists who have come in, and we’ve had really meaningful conversations, really important conversations," the spokeswoman said. "But when you use a grammatical ultimatum — Ordain Women — that presents a problem. ... It’s really a matter of intent, a matter of method."

Fabrizio said LDS apostle M. Russell Ballard had been in a leadership training session in Virginia in mid-May and talked about concerns with Ordain Women and even mentioned Kelly’s name. The radio host asked Isom if a stake president or bishop might not have taken a cue from that and started action against the feminist.

At a glance

Hearings set

Kate Kelly’s disciplinary council is scheduled for Sunday at 7 p.m. with her bishop in Virginia. The Ordain Women founder, who now lives in Utah, has said she doesn’t plan to attend.

Mormon activist John Dehlin has been invited to meet June 29 with his North Logan stake president.

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"You’re connecting dots that aren’t there," Isom replied.

Mormon headquarters leaves "it up to the discretion of that leader to act in the Savior’s behalf," she said. "There is in no way an implied ‘wink, wink, now is the time. Take action.’ "

LDS apostles have reiterated, she said, that those "at church headquarters are in no way to impact these outcomes inappropriately. They take a hands-off approach. ‘Let us support you, but let us not tell you what to do.’ "

Isom said she was "not saying there is no information provided from church headquarters" to lay bishops and stake presidents across the globe. But that comes more in the form of "standard leadership training," she said, including "how to conduct their stewardship. It is more of a technical direction and guidance."

For example, she said, in "one of those instances, there was an the assertion from one of the congregants that they were unable to attend [a disciplinary council] at the specified time. The question did come back to church headquarters, ‘Could we make any adjustments in the timing?’ They were told they could do it by phone and were even offered confidential video conferencing. That flexibility is within the protocol."

Kelly believes it is her right to choose how she wants to approach her bishop’s council set for Sunday and has decided not to travel 2,000 miles to make her case in person.

"My bishop told me in his letter that I could engage by written record," she said Tuesday, "and that he considered that to be a legitimate way."

The human-rights attorney, who is living with her parents in Provo until she moves to Kenya with her husband, repeatedly suggested discussing her Ordain Women efforts with her Virginia bishop, Mark Harrison, but "he never took me up on it."

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Kelly said she informed her bishop and stake president five months before she moved that she would be relocating to Kenya, and reached out to both of them in an email, saying, "I want you to know my thoughts and feelings."

They never responded to her email until after she had left, Kelly said. "It’s not about listening to me or hearing what I have to say. Otherwise he would have asked me while he was in the same neighborhood."

Kelly has written a long brief in her defense and has invited others to testify about how the drive toward female ordination has helped them stay in the Utah-based faith.

More than 800 people already have.

Plus, there are more than 50 vigils planned in 17 countries during her disciplinary hearing.

LDS leaders "are claiming that I am recruiting people," Kelly said. "An important part of the record is to show that is not the case; this is engaging them in the gospel, bringing them back to the church."

It is "vital," she said, "to show that side of the story."


Twitter: @religiongal

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