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Leap of faith: Mormon women push to join Priesthood

Like many religions, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (or Mormon Church) has had a very troubled past. The religion was founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith–a man the Church recently admitted was a polygamist with up to 40 wives including teenagers. Polygamy, paired with an equally disturbing history of racism, has left members re-evaluating their faith. And now, another burning question is reigniting flames of discontent. Mormon women are uniting and marching forth asking for gender equality within their religion. These women, led by Kate Kelly, have formed an organization called Ordain Women.

While women are allowed to serve missions and teach, only men are allowed into the priesthood. Kelly’s site gained attention and she was excommunicated by her bishop this summer — a punishment usually reserved for more serious transgressions like murder or child abuse.

She isn’t the first to be excommunicated. Sonia Johnson, a radical Mormon feminist was excommunicated in the late seventies. A group known as the September Six was kicked out in 1993 after publishing scholarly work against church doctrine. And Margaret Toscano, a professor at the University of Utah, was excommunicated in 2000.

While they push for inclusion, the Church claims the change would only happen after the their current President and living prophet, Thomas S. Monson, receives a revelation from God.

Credit: Dino Pascarelli and Carlos Navarrete

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