Mormon leaders have made good on their threat to inflict the church's harshest punishment on an activist who wanted women to become priests. Kate Kelly, a founder of the Ordain Women group, was found guilty of apostasy and excommunicated by church elders who found her guilty of launching an "aggressive effort to persuade other church members" that women should receive the priesthood, reports the Deseret News. Kelly, a human rights lawyer who lives in Utah, was told that she may be re-baptized and readmitted to the church after a year if she shows "true repentance."
"The decision to force me outside my congregation and community is exceptionally painful," Kelly said in a statement. "Today is a tragic day for my family and me as we process the many ways this will impact us, both in this life and in the eternities. I love the gospel and the courage of its people. Don't leave. Stay, and make things better." Kelly was expelled not for her belief that women should be priests, but for "engaging and advocating and then organizing others to act and speak contrary to the doctrines of the church," a professor of religious studies explains to the Guardian, which notes that this is the highest-profile Mormon excommunication since a group known as the "September Six" was forced out in 1993 for questioning church doctrine. (Read more Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stories.)