Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Kate Kelly is No Apostate. She is Us.

There is a great story from pages 55-56 in “David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism” in which Joseph Fielding Smith and Harold B. Lee were moving to excommunicate Sterling McMurrin for his unorthodox beliefs. When President David O. McKay heard about it, he phoned McMurrin and asked for a private meeting. In that meeting, McKay was never critical nor disapproving. He told McMurrin: “They cannot do this to you! They cannot put you on trial!” and that if they did, he (the President of the Church) would be McMurrin’s “first witness”.

McMurrin said: “I should have been censured for being such a heretic, and here President McKay wasn’t even interested in raising a single question about my beliefs, but simply insisted that a man in this Church had a right to believe as he pleased. And he stressed that in several ways… It was really a quite remarkable experience, to have the President of the Church talking in such genuinely liberal terms.”

I love that story. It makes me really love and respect President McKay. Would that we could have more Saints like him today. Especially because Kate Kelly is no apostate nor even close to the heretic Sterling McMurrin was. She is a good and faithful women who has the audacity to suggest a prophet can seek answers to some very good questions. She may ruffle some feathers, but I understand that Jesus himself ruffled quite a few feathers. And I think Jesus would be very sad today. And mad at the religious establishment, as he so often was.

I'm going to hold out some hope that my church will have learned it's lesson from the debacle of the September 6 in 1993. I'm convinced that nobody wants to find out what this current debacle is going to look like in the current age of the Internet.


ji said...

I don't know anything about Sterling McMurrin, and he might have been a heretic (if heretic means one who holds unorthodox beliefs). But apostasy is different from heresy. It appears Kate Kelly has worked to weaken the faith of fellow Saints, and that is sad. I regret that her bishop has to call her to a disciplinary council, and I trust him to make a decision in righteousness. Indeed, I hope the need for a decision disappears as Sister Kelly reconsiders matters.

I remember your posting on the best general conference talk ever delivered. In it, the speaker said,

"In the absence of direct communication from heaven, however, the Church and its people must be guided by the revelations already given and the wisdom and inspiration of its leadership...

"In matters of church government and discipline, the judgement of presiding officers is mandatory and controlling. In matters of individual guidance to members, their counsel is directory and persuasive only. In the interpretation of scripture and doctrine, they are dependent on their knowledge and experience and inspiration."

Working to weaken the faith of fellow Saints in order to prevail in a personal cause is unhealthy, and sometimes a church has to protect itself. I think Jesus is sad, too, but for different reasons than you do. He wants us to build faith in others, to lift up the hands that hang down, to strengthen the feeble knees.

I agree with you that this is not going to play well in the internet.

Clean Cut said...

Interesting. My personal faith has been strengthened by both of them.

Clean Cut said...

President J. Reuben Clark: “I believe that in His justice and mercy [God] will give us the maximum reward for our acts, give us all that he can give, and in the reverse, I believe that he will impose upon us that minimum penalty which it is possible for him to impose.”

ji said...

I agree with Pres. Clark's sentiment -- it's a beautiful thought and well reflects my hope.