Is this Mormon Lady an Apostate?

Epigraph:

There should be no compulsion in religion. Surely, right has become distinct from wrong; so whosoever refuses to be led by those who transgress, and believes in Allah, has surely grasped a strong handle which knows no breaking. And Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. (Al Quran 2:257)

Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Source: BBC

Kate Kelly stands frozen at an empty intersection in Salt Lake City. There is no traffic coming in either direction.

“I need to wait for the signal,” she says, “I’m obedient, I’m a Mormon.” She laughs, her eyes twinkling behind her thick, retro-style glasses.

But if Ms Kelly thinks she’s an obedient Mormon, her Church leadership does not. She was excommunicated in June for founding a campaign to ordain women to the priesthood.

“You know, normally excommunication in our Church is for really grave sins like murder and child abuse,” she says. “I was excommunicated for stating a fact, which is that men and women are not equal in our Church.”

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) – which claims a membership of 15 million worldwide – any male from the age of 12 and “in good standing” can join the priesthood. No female can.

Unlike other churches, including the Church of England which last month agreed to allow women priests to be promoted to bishop, the LDS Church does not have a professional priesthood. It operates what it calls a “lay” clergy – male members take turns to fulfil the roles.

Take the bishop of Ms Kelly’s former ward in Virginia – the man who excommunicated her. He is a lawyer for ExxonMobil.

She is also a lawyer, a human rights lawyer, and she sounds like one as she dissects the process her bishop and other male leaders followed to remove her from the Mormon faith.

“We’re talking about an Inquisition,” she says. “The men who punished me think they are kicking me out of heaven.”

“Start Quote

Frankly, there’s a soul at stake here and we’re concerned about that”

Mike Otterson Latter-Day Saints

The 33-year-old clearly does not agree, and she is unrepentant for founding the web-based group, Ordain Women, where several hundred men and women have posted their profiles in support.

While there have been earlier calls for the ordination of Mormon women, Ms Kelly’s group posed a new challenge, using the web and modern, political methods to agitate for change. That prompted the Church leadership to take tough action.

Mike Otterson, the managing director of public affairs for the LDS, says he will not speak specifically about Ms Kelly’s case, but he insists that the excommunication process is always fair, conducted locally, and decided only after careful consideration.

“We often refer to these proceedings as courts of love,” he says.

“We show a great deal of patience, because ultimately, frankly, there’s a soul at stake here and we’re concerned about that.”

He insists that women already have a lot of responsibility in the Church, including the right to preach from the pulpit, but that most women do not seek the priesthood.

Ms Kelly was excommunicated for apostasy. Dictionaries define an apostate as someone who renounces their faith. But in Mormonism questioning church teaching and, “especially encouraging other people to take the same position,” says Mike Otterson, will qualify someone as an “apostate”.

Read further

Additional Reading

Gender Equality in the Holy Qur’an – In the Beginning Man and Woman Were Equal

21 replies

  1. Religion of every person should be decided by the person himself or herself.

    A husband, a parent, a policeman, a hostel warden, a jail superintendent, a Congressman, a Priest, a Cardinal, a Pope, a Mullah, a Khomeini, an Imam, a Rabbi, any elected officer or any elected body, a Senator, a President of any country, a leader of any civic organization, any billionaire, any philanthropist or any one who has delusions of power, cannot decide if a Jew is a Jew, a Christian is a Christian, a Muslim is a Muslim or a Mormon is a Mormon or not.

    It is up to the person concerned. Please let me know if you do not understand any part of it.

    This is what is meant by freedom of religion and that ‘there is no coercion in religion.”

    There should be no compulsion in religion. Surely, right has become distinct from wrong; so whosoever refuses to be led by those who transgress, and believes in Allah, has surely grasped a strong handle which knows no breaking. And Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. (Al Quran 2:257)

  2. Mr. Shah,

    Then why we keep hearing that some one has been removed from the Ahmadiya Jamat even if he is third generation Ahmadi.

  3. If anyone calls himself or herself an Ahmadi Muslim and believes in the Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani, no one can tell him or her that he or she is not an Ahmadi Muslim.

    Some one could be removed to participate in certain activities of a given group, within the limits of law of the land and bylaws of the organization, but, continues to have whatever faith he or she professes.

  4. Quran is being mis-understood and mis-interpreted all the time. It is true for all other religious scriptures too. In fact most religions are being mis-understood and mis-interpreted most of the time. This mis-leading is done by the leaders of that religion. So an ordinary person should live by his religion as he understands it and not care for what the leaders are saying. (as God says: every soul is responsible for himself)
    Quran is very clear in saying, “there is no compulsion in religion.” So no one who leads in the name of religion has any authority or power to inflict any punishment on anyone for reason of religious belief.
    As for the position of women in the Mormon Church, or any other church or the Mosque — it is a matter of men giving up power to women. Normally you have to grab power. No one gives it to you. So women have a tough struggle ahead of them. Good Luck!!

  5. “No compuilsion in religion” is something that has been advertised by Muslims to fool the world. The ground reality is different as there are umpteen verses in the Quran which say different.

  6. Zia,
    Sura 9:5 “–WHEN THE SACRED MONTHS ARE OVER, SLAY THE IDOLATERS WHEREVER YOU FIND THEM, ARREST THEM, BESIEGE THEM, AND LIE IN AMBUSH EVERYWHERE FOR THEM. IF THEY REPENT AND TAKE TO PRAYER AND PAY THE ALMS-TAX, LET THEM GO THEIR WAY– IF AN IDOLATER SEEKS ASYLUM WITH YOU, GIVE HIM PROTECTION SO THAT HE MAY HEAR THE WORD OF ALLAH’ AND THEN CONVEY HIM TO SAFETY”.
    Sura 9:8 HOW CAN YOU TRUST THEM? IF THEY PREVAIL AGAINST YOU, THEY WILL NEITHER RESPECT THEIR AGREEMENTS NOR TIES OF KINDRED–.
    Sura 9:9 “–IF THEY REPENT AND TAKE TO PRAYER AND PAY THE ALMS-TAX, THEY SHALL BECOME YOUR BROTHERS IN FAITH–“.
    Sura 9:26 “–FIGHT SUCH AS THOSE TO WHOM THE BOOK WAS GIVEN AS BELIEVE NOT IN ALLAH NOR THE LAST DAY, WHO DO NOT FORBID WHAT ALLAH AND HIS APOSTLE HAVE FORBIDDEN, AND DO NOT EMBRACE THE TRUE FAITH, UNTIL THEY PAY TRIBUTE OUT OF HAND AND ARE UTTERLY SUBDUED”.

  7. I have not known any military manual of any country say that when you find your enemy, throw yourself at their feet, throw your arms down, seek forgiveness and turn your other cheek.

    These verses pertain to defensive warfare. Otherwise the Quran says:

    It may be that Allah will bring about love between you and those of them with whom you are now at enmity; and Allah is All-Powerful; and Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful.

    Allah forbids you not, respecting those who have not fought against you on account of your religion, and who have not driven you forth from your homes, that you be kind to them and act equitably towards them; surely Allah loves those who are equitable.

    Allah only forbids you, respecting those who have fought against you on account of your religion, and have driven you out of your homes, and have helped others in driving you out, that you make friends of them, and whosoever makes friends of them — it is these that are the transgressors. (Al Quran 60:8-10)

  8. Zia,
    I responded to your challenge of giving 3-4 verses in the quran which are intolerant to other religions. I gave more than that. But as perfidious as ever, you chose to ‘moderate’ the bulk of what I posted.
    In an attempt to dilute the effect of even those you decided to post, you introduced the element of warfare. Sura 9:5 starts with a unilateral abrogation of any treaty allah may have had with the ‘unbelievers’. This is to pave way for a preemptive attack on a people who have rejected ‘allah and his apostle’.

  9. Beauty lies in the eyes of the observer and so does prejudice.

    Namelee you are suggesting that the verse 9:5 is about unilateral abrogation of treaties, whereas the verse before reminds the believers to honor the treaties and also suggests that God fearing people should honor their pledges and treaties:

    Excepting those of the idolaters with whom you have entered into a treaty and who have not subsequently failed you in anything nor aided anyone against you. So fulfil to these the treaty you have made with them till their term. Surely, Allah loves those who are righteous. (Al Quran 9:4)

  10. @namelee:
    Sura 9:5 “–WHEN THE SACRED MONTHS ARE OVER, SLAY THE IDOLATERS WHEREVER YOU FIND THEM, ARREST THEM, BESIEGE THEM, AND LIE IN AMBUSH EVERYWHERE FOR THEM. IF THEY REPENT AND TAKE TO PRAYER AND PAY THE ALMS-TAX, LET THEM GO THEIR WAY– IF AN IDOLATER SEEKS ASYLUM WITH YOU, GIVE HIM PROTECTION SO THAT HE MAY HEAR THE WORD OF ALLAH’ AND THEN CONVEY HIM TO SAFETY”.
    Reply: It is a good relief for the warmongering fanatic idolaters to give them time to leave the place and they are given respite (opportunity) to save themselves.
    ——————————-
    Sura 9:8 HOW CAN YOU TRUST THEM? IF THEY PREVAIL AGAINST YOU, THEY WILL NEITHER RESPECT THEIR AGREEMENTS NOR TIES OF KINDRED–.
    Reply: This verse is showing the very bad state of the enemies of Islam that they never miss a chance to inflict damage to the Muslims. Please read this verse with the above verse that you have presented. It means that Islam dealt with enemies in a very gentle and justified way.
    —————————————
    Sura 9:9 “–IF THEY REPENT AND TAKE TO PRAYER AND PAY THE ALMS-TAX, THEY SHALL BECOME YOUR BROTHERS IN FAITH–”.
    Sura 9:26 “–FIGHT SUCH AS THOSE TO WHOM THE BOOK WAS GIVEN AS BELIEVE NOT IN ALLAH NOR THE LAST DAY, WHO DO NOT FORBID WHAT ALLAH AND HIS APOSTLE HAVE FORBIDDEN, AND DO NOT EMBRACE THE TRUE FAITH, UNTIL THEY PAY TRIBUTE OUT OF HAND AND ARE UTTERLY SUBDUED”.
    Reply: To those the book was given, it was not good to join the warmongering polytheists. What did they have common between them? Nothing.
    In this verse, the words ” AS BELIEVE NOT IN ALLAH NOR THE LAST DAY, WHO DO NOT FORBID WHAT ALLAH AND HIS APOSTLE HAVE FORBIDDEN,” may mean their own apostles i.e. prophets, such as Moses a.s. and Jesus a.s.
    Those people of the book were having books but they were doing all deeds against the teachings of their own faith. They were disobeying the orders of Allah and their own prophets.
    That was creating a false shield for them.

  11. Ghulam Sarwar,
    Let me start from your last commentary on not ‘forbidding what allah and his apostle have forbidden’. You guess that ‘apostle’ may mean the apostle of the people of the book.
    That is reading into the quran what is not there which is strictly forbidden.When the phrase ‘allah and his apostle’ is used, it strictly refers to Muhammad and his allah and nothing more. Read the quran, commentaries and hadiths for clarification.
    Your commentary on sura 9:5 amounts to some form of cleansing, religious or ethnic. The verse says ‘when the sacred months are over’. The opening is a repudiation by allah of any treaty it might have had with the unbelievers. It says nothing about hostility or warmongering on the part of the victim community. The verse is an expression of total aggression as the ‘unbelievers’ must be killed or driven out; a practice which has not stopped.
    There is nothing in sura 9:8 to show some wrong doing on the part of the victims. There are many verses which ask the muhammadans not to trust or befriend the unbelievers for the simple fact that they reject Muhammad and his message. Examples by Muhammad and his companions demonstrate how benevolent muhammadanism is to ‘unbelievers’.
    Sura 4:105 “-FAINT NOT IN SEEKING THE HEATHENS–”
    What for? To show them muhammadan charity, perhaps.

  12. @namelee:
    It says nothing about hostility or warmongering on the part of the victim community.
    ———————————-
    namelee, you are distorting history. You do not see the atrocities perpetrated by the pagans against the Muslims in Makkah and Madinah, how they came in hordes to attack Madinah. So your post is completely void of any truth. You fail to take note that the people of the book who should be strict Unitarians, how and why they joined the pagans against the Muslims! Why they ignored the teachings of their own apostles?
    As far as your mention of Muslims not to take Christians as friends, there is no such verse in the Quran. Try to read the verse properly if you have it with you.
    Again you said: There is nothing in sura 9:8 to show some wrong doing on the part of the victims.

    It may not be in this verse but it had been explained a few verses before that the polytheists and unbelievers will not give any respect or relief to the Muslims and they never honor any agreement too. namelee you forgot the ground reality at that time before the peaceful liberation of Makkah. The hostility of unbelievers was extreme. So your post is completely false. I cannot give you even one mark out of ten.

  13. Ghulam Sarwar,

    Your accusation of the Makkans as having perpetrated ‘atrocities’ against the muhammadans is not borne by facts. Ishaq/Hisham in their biography of Muhammad give a very different picture of what happened. At page 166, they write: “THE MUSLIMS FIRST RESORTED TO VIOLENCE WHEN SA’D BIN WAQQAS PICKED UP A CAMEL’S JAWBONE AND STRUCK A LOCAL POLYTHEIST WHO WAS ‘RUDELY INTERRUPTING’ HIS GROUP OF PRAYING MUSLIMS”.
    This was the first blood to be drawn.
    The authors go on, “THE NEW CONVERTS WERE QUITE AGGRESSIVE PARTICULARLY WHEN THEY COULD GET AWAY WITH IT, WHICH WAS THE MISFORTUNE OF OTHERS. ONE OF THE STRONGEST MUSLIMS, HAMZA, STRUCK A MECCAN LEADER NAMED ABU JAHL ‘VIOLENTLY’ WITH HIS BOW FOR SPEAKING IN AN INSULTING WAY TO MUHAMMAD’.
    The victim was, in fact, Muhammad’s second uncle who had said about his nephew: “IF MUHAMMAD HAD MORAL STRENGTH, HE WOULD SAY CHRIST IS THE TRUTH”.

  14. namelee you are writing new history and trying to distort the well known facts of history. On the other hand you are unaware about Bible (the biography of your Jesus) and his remark about buying swords even by selling own clothes.
    That was a good peaceful plan of your Jesus, buying swords.
    Tu kar e zameen ra niko sakhti,
    Kih baa aasman neez pardakhti.
    Trans: What good did you (namelee) do to the earth? That you are now trying to mend the affairs of the sky?
    namelee wrote [“IF MUHAMMAD HAD MORAL STRENGTH, HE WOULD SAY CHRIST IS THE TRUTH”.]
    But namelee does not know that Muhammad authenticated the truth of Jesus a.s., and no other religion did that.

  15. Islam is not a pacifist religion. It teaches peace and harmony to its followers but also permits them to fight back when attacked.
    Of course any instruction has several aspects to it. Not everything is said in one sentence or at one place. Every teaching has to be looked in its entirety. So when Islam permits its followers to defend themselves against aggression of others, it instructs them to fight. And not just aimless and useless fighting, but an effort with a purpose. It tells them not to run away and fight with courage and bravery. People like Namelee pick up those verses and quote them out of context.
    And I know Jesus said to turn the other cheek. So his followers are responsible for the most egregious atrocities of the 20th century. The two world wars, the killing of 6 million Jews and killing of millions of others in all parts of the world. No other religious group has caused so much deaths and misery as Christians did and are still at it.
    So as Jesus said a tree is recognized by its fruit, I ask Namelee if he still wishes to associate himself with the most murderous religion of the world?

  16. lUFT,
    Muhammadanism divides the world into two camps : that of war which is inhabited by non muhammadans and the house of islam whose memebers’ lives and property remain sacred. Right from Muhammad’s time, there has been systematic attempts to annihilate those of the house of war. The quran says that hatred and enmity exist permanently against them.

  17. Lutf,
    I apologize for wrongly spelling your name. It should read ‘Lutf’ instead of ‘lUTF’.
    The last word in line 3 should read ‘have’ instead of ‘has’.
    I hope that there will be a departure from the norm by posting my comment instead of ‘moderating’ it with the attendant erroneous impression such ‘moderation’ conveys.

  18. Dear Namelee. You forgot to address the problem. Christians have killed more people in this world than any other religious group. Well over 100 million just in the 20th century. But you don’t stop masquerading as the peaceful one, turning the other cheek.
    The false hood that you have uttered in your above comment (house of war and house of peace) does not exist in Islam. It is a creation of your imagination. I ask you to present the verse of the Quran which says that.
    And last but not the least it is obvious that you are not good with names. I forgive you spelling my name wrong. But what is Muhammadanism? It again shows that you are not objective. Muslims don’t call Christians with derogatory names. We respect and honor your Prophet, Jesus Christ. But as in matters of war and peace you will still claim the prize for civility while calling us names and abusing our Prophet. Have you no shame?

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