Post submitted by Erica West, Religion and Faith Program Intern
A week after progressive Mormon activists Kate Kelly, human rights lawyer, founder of Mormon women's group Ordain Women, and outspoken critic of the gender inequality in the church and John Dehlin, creator of an online forum for Mormon’s questioning their faith, as well as an LGBT activist within the community, were both threatened with excommunication from their local church leaders, the progressive online Mormon “bloggernacle” community has responded.
Seventy-one Mormon bloggers signed a letter of support for the two members quoting a Mormon religious leader with, “regardless of your circumstances, your personal history, or the strength of your testimony, there is room for you in this Church.”
Not only did the bloggers voice support for their fellow members and their right to free speech, but they also acknowledged the massive elephant in the room: the church’s willingness to punish and attempt to suppress the messengers of progressive belief within the Mormon community, rather than critically analyze the issues brought forward without condemnation.
“The issues in Mormon doctrine, history, and practice highlighted by those facing church discipline are much larger than any one individual. It is not only unavoidable that these issues will continue to be discussed; such discussion is good for the health of our religious community and faithful to the truth-seeking spirit of the Latter-day Saint Restoration,” read the rest of the letter, with Kelly echoing, “Disciplining arbitrarily and unfairly one person is not going to stop this movement.”
Judy Dushku, active Mormon and mother of a gay son, has also spoken out on such mediums as the Huffington Post about her disagreement with the Church’s teachings on homosexuality; hundreds of members joined Kate Kelly in her demonstration on Temple Square to protest against gender inequality in the church; and marriage equality was the law of the land momentarily in Utah, (a state whose population is 67% comprised of Mormons) with hundreds of couples racing to the courthouses to get married before marriage licenses were put on hold. These outcries from the Mormon community could be a warning to the notoriously hierarchal LDS Church to wake up, and deal with the changing times and attitudes of its over 15 million members.
Nothing can be certain, but if these events are indications of anything, it is that inequality and unfair judgment can no longer stand side by side as the pillars of even one of the most perceived conservative religious communities. Local Mormon communities and activists are fighting for what is right, and as always, HRC will continue to support them in their search for equality for everyone.
HRC’s Religion and Faith Program seeks to engage all faith traditions in a deeper dialogue on questions of fairness and equality for LGBT Americans. For more resources from HRC’s Religion and Faith program, visit http://www.hrc.org/
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