When you are excommunicated from the Mormon Church, you may not donate money to your congregation or wear religious clothing. You may not take the sacrament, which is the tradition of eating bread and drinking water that represent the body and blood of Christ. You may not speak in a Mormon church, and you may not publicly pray for your community.
The word is quite literal: "ex" and "communicate." No longer part of your community.
Yesterday, that's what happened to Kate Kelly, the founder and leader of Ordain Women, a movement to allow women priests in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or LDS. For the past year, Kelly and her group have been advocating fuller female participation in all aspects of the Mormon community, including the ability to perform certain rituals, hold high-level administrative roles, and make financial decisions for church communities. They also see the need for a shift in Mormon home life: "The Church’s Proclamation on the Family declares that men preside over their wives and families, thus preserving an antiquated and unequal model in both the domestic and ecclesiastical realms," the group writes on its website.
"Our determination is that you be excommunicated for conduct contrary to the laws and order of the Church," Kelly's former bishop wrote to her in an email. "In order to be considered for readmission to the Church ... you must stop trying to gain a following for yourself or your cause and taking actions that could lead others away from the Church." In accordance with Church teachings, the panel that convicted her was all male.