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Kate Kelly @Kate_Kelly_Esq
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It’s Sunday & I’m tired of ignoring the weird glut of @OrdainLDSWomen articles on this site (that I made, btw) bent on undercutting my founding of the movement. It’s gross. It’s anti-feminist & ... turns, and stares into the camera... I have a word to say concerning these people:
Saddle up cowfolk, this is going to be a long thread.

Please read the entire thing before you chime in.

It's Sunday & if you're not in church, you have time. If you're IN church, you DEFINITELY have time. ;)
After-the-fact posturing to pretend I'm NOT the founder of OW is just odd... & also sad. Some continue to publish cheap shots in hopes of changing the record over time & insert into history that I'm **not** the **actual** founder of OW. It's a strange counter-narrative TBH.
There are many people I dearly love still involved in the leadership of @OrdainLDSWomen, who are doing great I'm frankly baffled at how they keep approving this hogwash & as this author claims "share some thoughts" (aka 1/2 truths & obfuscations).
Of course, this phenomena is as common as organizations are. There is very routinely some break with the founder of an organization. Mine was pretty obvious because when I was excommunicated I was no longer a Mormon & eventually came to no longer think, talk or act like a Mormon.
It was only after I was excommunicated (and got a lot of media attention) that these types of "she's not the real founder" comments started. It's sad really because of the long history of in-fighting in women's movements.
[Side note] Just yesterday I was reading about the ratification of the ERA (another historical thing Mormons truly ruined).
At first I would fawn all over myself to give credit to each & every person who contributed bc OF COURSE there were MANY other people involved. That's what a movement IS. A 1-person crusade would never have gotten the same amount of attention. Certainly not a 1-*WOMAN* crusade.
But, that doesn't mean there wasn't leadership. That doesn't mean I didn't start the damn thing. There's not many things I can say that about in life confidently, but this is just a fact: I'm the founder of OW!

p.s. Women can claim credit for things they do & that's a-ok!
Katie Langston, another Mormon feminist replied to (yet another) attempt by someone involved in OW to claim I'm "not the founder" and wrongfully taking credit for the work of others below. I think her explanation is a perfect one.
Speaking of taking credit after the fact... the author of the OT post, April, is not one of the “original organizers” of Ordain Women. She was not present for many initial conversations. She did not attend the first OW launch event on March 17, 2013.
This is probably part of the reason many of the things she states in this article are inaccurate. She was definitely involved later on & but, wasn’t actually there at the very beginning, so things she’s relaying are 3rd hand/ revisionist history.
Again, to be clear, she's not the only one who has done this. But, this article is filled with inaccuracies. I do think the history of this movement is important (the mistakes along with the successes) so, I want to get my perspective out there, even if only on Twitter:
To the points she makes in order of appearance: 1) Indirectly we were actually offered meetings with Church leaders early on, but on the condition they remain *secret/ closed door* & we decided not to accept those terms, specifically bc it left them unaccountable to us.
Even Sheri Dew offered to meet with me (arguably the most powerful woman in Mormonism), but she balked when I posted about it online & made clear I would make public what was said in our meeting.
From Day 1 I started OW to make leaders PUBLICLY accountable for the fact many women did want the priesthood.
2) “A sustainable pace” is definitely necessary, but CAN be maintained while still doing in-person actions, which was the exciting and most crucial component of OW. The Catholic @OrdainWomen has existed for decades & some of their most rad actions have taken place in recent years
This requires recruitment! Mormons of all people should be good at recruiting. Instead of constantly dissecting & yakking about the old days, new innovative ideas should be encouraged.
This is the actual reason I quit OW. Weighed down by a Board structure (I admittedly created), it became an impossible place to get anything new done.
The reason @OrdainLDSWomen fell out of the public eye isn't because I was excommunicated, it's because it hasn’t done much of anything new or newsworthy since I left.
That’s not lack of humility, that’s just the plain truth. But, there is absolutely no way it has to stay that way. (See: Jewish Women at the Wall, Catholic Women's Ordination Conference, etc. etc.)
People ask me pretty frequently if @OrdainLDSWomen is still around or "dead" ... I made excuses for a long time... but, truth is: if no one knows it still exists, it need to be resurrected.
3) From the very, very start we had multiple spokeswomen. The media chose to interview me, not because I was “charismatic” ... I was actually quite awkward & untrained for media interviews... They gravitated toward me because I started it & I was sincere as fuck at the time.
To claim the “approach” or media strategy was the reason the Church targeted ME for discipline (or that the strategy was wrong) is some pretty ninja victim-blaming bullshit.

Stoppppp 🛑 Immediately. Repent!
Again, “People assume that the Ordain Women movement is over” NOT bc I’m no longer on its board... but bc it doesn’t DO anything but re-post old stories & memes. Plain & simple. The dead-ness is not inevitable. It’s entirely avoidable. But, that requires new blood. Fresh energy.
4) Yes. Sure. Lots of tiny, incremental stuff has changed. Even though it’s insufficient I’m glad. But, even more so WE (ok, some of us) have MONUMENTALLY changed. As I pointed out in this OpEd. That’s been the real victory.…
5) Agree
6) "We" did not believe the internet would protect us... or at least that wasn't the full story. At least, for me (the only person who was actually formally disciplined) I believed in the institution. I believed sincerely in the power of God at the time.
This wasn't some cynical attempt to force the Church into submission. That's a common misconception orthodox Mormons have. It's not true.
7) It's impossible to follow the "rules" AND dissent. The #1 rule of Mormonism is: OBEY MEN IN POWER. So, that, it turns out... is impossible.
Same goes for repentance. Mormons STILL TO THIS DAY ask me if I'm going to "repent" & get re-baptized. (Ever the optimists!) But, I always say: you can't repent of telling the truth.

The real "sin" was disobedience & audacity to speak the truth, not apostasy.
8) Bish, don't talk abt excommunication, while simultaneously attempting to erase my role in the organization in the same post. It's icky. I'm a real person it actually happened to.

Don't ghost me, while talking about something that happened only to me.
9) The @LDSchurch does not have the power to censor the internet. They just don't. That's the great thing about it! April chose, of her own free will & choice, to take her own articles down in a frankly cowardly kowtowing to the patriarchy.
At the time I told her to her face that that meant she is not a hero (as she somehow re-created that narrative in her mind to be), but a scab. As a leader she chose to cross the metaphorical (metaphysical?) picket line & NOT sacrifice for her principles.

That was her choice.
Also, the site she's referring to was DDoS-ed. That's different than getting shut down by tons of interest & traffic. It's not people reading the articles, it's an algorithmic attack.
April's grand plan (explicitly stated at the time) was to voluntarily take down her OWN writing, so she could get what she wanted (& attend her brother's wedding), & simultaneously encourage people to read archived copies of the articles.

She wanted to have cake & eat it, too.
She was self-censored.
To be fair, this was in response to the hideous reality that Church leaders were holding the wedding of her sibling hostage in order to control her behavior. The Mormon Temples are a real central tool of behavioral control in the organization & it's heinous.
You should not have to change (or pretend to change) your views on feminism to go to your brother's wedding. That's just plain wrong. The fact that @LDSchurch has that power over people & uses it to control them (like they did April) is wrong.
10) I think Mormon women do actually learn from other Mormon feminists because they speak the same language. Mormons are very indoctrinated to see outsiders as "anti-Mormon" enemies whose critiques are invalid. It's thus even MORE critical to have insider voices.
Seeing a fundamental critique from INSIDERS was precisely the beauty & success of @OrdainLDSWomen. Which is another reason it has since lost steam. The @LDSchurch had the power to take away that "insider" status by excommunicating me. Their tactic worked.

Horrible, but true.
11) This is 100% true. Mormon feminism as a whole, & mainstream (white) feminism as a whole is still learning this lesson. We will not be a full, robust, successful movement until all voices are included and valued and equal.

That was a MAJOR weakness of @OrdainLDSWomen
As the leader, I would say this was also a very gaping personal weakness.

I don't think I had even ever heard of the term "intersectional feminism" before I started @OrdainLDSWomen. I went to @BYU... it's not like we had feminist theory classes 😂 I was woefully un-woke.
12) Gahhh why is this 13 points longgggg. Mormons are always so long-winded!!!! Honestly, there are a bunch of older Mormon feminists still involved in the day-to-day, but sadly many are toxic AF.
If they've learned to stick around in Mormonism & Mormon circles for decades they have, from my experience, some pretty terrible coping skills. Those skills often involve belittling & undermining other women. It's sad. It's a legacy we've all inherited.

Patriarchy runs deep.
That said, this goes back to my earlier point. YES of course feminists aren't going to stick around. Especially if they have any self-respect & aren't masochists. Cult-exit is a very, very healthy step forward but, there will always be a new crop of women learning abt patriarchy.
NEW recruits are crucial to the longevity of the movement.

(And, if we've learned ANYTHING in Mormonism, it's how to recruit!!!!)
13) From Day 1 (or Day 0?) OW has worked with other feminists of faith. Before even our very first action we had an online workshop led by Catholic @OrdainWomen to help us understand their movement & tactics.
From the outset we understood that we absolutely MUST band with other feminists of faith. We share a common cause. Mormons are possibly the least ecumenical people on planet earth, but feminists don't have a choice. We need all the allies in the struggle we can get!
The sad truth is that @OrdainLDSWomen lost its guts & gumption long BEFORE I was excommunicated. I tried to convince the group to do a new, bolder action INSIDE the conference center... but was soundly rebuffed. I think out of fear.
I was repeatedly told that others couldn’t/ wouldn’t continue the action outside without me (which would have been the decoy), so I was overruled & we repeated something already played-out (trying to get in to the PH session) instead of forging ahead w something bolder.
The Church just didn’t know it was already dead.

But, I knew it was. So did other action-oriented organizers, but eventually we were all were driven out/ or driven bonkers by others who wanted nothing more than endless @SunstoneMag panels (still the modus operandi, apparently)
Direct, in-person action is & always be the key to success for any movement.

There is something beautiful & transformative about standing face-to-face with your oppressor & shouting (or, in our case: politely stating in primary voice) NO!
Women's Equality Day is celebrated Aug. 26th (ok, hardly anyone knows it exists)... but, the actual day the final state (Tennessee) ratified the 19th Amendment was on August 18, 1920.
Turns out, an amendment is not official until it is certified by the correct government official. In 1920, that official was Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby. On August 26, 1920, Colby signed a proclamation behind closed doors at 8 a.m. at his own house in Washington, D.C.
Why did he not have an official ceremony celebrating this MOMENTOUS HISTORICAL OCCASION that women had worked for for decades or let women attend?
TRUE STORY: Colby said he didn't want a public cat-fight between suffrage leaders Alice Paul and Carrie Chapman Catt at his house.
Or in other words: “Inasmuch as I am not interested in the aftermath of any of the friction or collisions which may have been developed in the long struggle for the ratification of the amendment, I have contented myself with the performance in the simplest manner of the duty..."
I think this little historical tidbit says SO MUCH about men in power, women's movements & acrimony between female activists, and how little has changed in all these years.

But, I think it says that we need to learn to do things differently. I think we can. ... I hope we can (?)
At our NYC Anniversary Event, which they apparently cribbed the title for their panel, (…) @monaeltahawy provided interesting perspective. She said that she & @AniZonneveld were the only ones of their original group still on speaking terms.
That sadly resonated with me. It also deeply sunk my <3

Is the only universal thing in movements, particularly women's movements, in-fighting?


Clawing for resources & attention?

Wasting time & energy fighting each other instead of fighting the patriarchy?
I hope not.

I hope we can move beyond these grudges... not like men... not the cliché "punch each other & shake hands" but like strong, capable women.

But, I'll be damned (to Outer Darkness!) if I don't stand up for myself & not let this rubbish slide.
I just want to conclude Reiterating, once again, that to claim the “approach” or media strategy was the reason the Church targeted ME for discipline/ made the movement vulnerable is victim👏🏼blaming 👏🏼bullshit. 👏🏼

All movements have leaders. Even the ones that try not to.
Saying “we shouldn’t have had a leader then they couldn’t have taken away the leader /// we would have lasted forever” is magical ✨thinking ✨bullshit. ✨
+ 10 points if you got the temple-video reference in the original tweet 🙌🏼❤️🏆
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