New movement forms in wake of Kelly’s excommunication

Posted at 10:27 PM, Jun 24, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY -- An online movement has started in support of an LDS church member who was excommunicated on Monday.

The same day that Kate Kelly, founder of Ordain Women, was kicked out of the church, a church member in Arizona demanded that he, too, be disciplined.

“The church is really just trying to squash dissent and silence these individuals,” said Micah Nickolaisen, co-founder of the website, Strangers in Zion.

Nickolaisen launched the site as a show of support for Kelly, who he believes has been wrongfully punished by the church.

“Now that Kate Kelly has been excommunicated, we think it is an act of solidarity and also as a way to show support for these individuals,” Nickolaisen said. “We are asking our local church leaders to hold us to the same standards as these individuals.”

With about 100 members signed on so far, Nickolaisen wants church leaders to give them a disciplinary council, the same as they did Kelly.

“This is basically is our way of sort of calling them on it and asking them to put their money where their mouth is,” Nickolaisen said. “Sure, you allow diversity and inclusion, as long as everyone agrees with you.”

Back in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, the same argument was being made amongst a group of Mormon women, congregating not in support of their church, but in defense of its former member.

“Mormon women will not be silenced,” said Kelly.

Before FOX13 learned of Nickolaisen’s website, we asked Kelly what she thinks about other LDS church members using her as an inspiration to fight their causes.

“I don’t think anyone should follow me,” Kelly said. “I think they should follow their heart. And that’s what I did. And that’s what got me in this place. But I feel confident that it was the right thing to do.”

Ordain Women is already planning what to do next in its efforts to get women into the priesthood, a movement Kelly believes is only growing.

“Mormon women will not be silenced. I think the church intended this to have a chilling effect. But it will have the opposite effect. Women are rising up. Women are speaking up. And women are joining us,” Kelly said.