Thomas Burr

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Mormon Kate Kelly ‘Happier’ and ‘Invigorated’ After Excommunication

by Thomas Burr 04-27-2015
Photo via Creative Commons / Maralise Petersen / RNS

Kate Kelly. Photo via Creative Commons / Maralise Petersen / RNS

Nearly a year removed from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Ordain Women founder Kate Kelly says she has found happiness living a more authentic life while continuing to push for equality in the Mormon faith.

Kelly, who was excommunicated in June 2014, now lives in Nairobi, Kenya, where she works on human rights efforts. She was back in the United States briefly on April 23 as part of an offshoot project of the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City to explain how she was punished for speaking out for women’s rights in the LDS faith.

“The men who (excommunicated me) literally think they kicked me out of heaven,” Kelly said.

“Luckily, I do not think that. … Out of this experience, I’ve realized that men don’t get to control my happiness. I’ve come out on the other end, (where) I think I’m much happier, much more authentic, a much more invigorated person.”

Still, on stage at the Gotham Comedy Club, a space usually filled by raucous laughter, Kelly broke down in tears talking about her ouster from the LDS faith and the repercussions for herself and her family.

“It’s like an execution, a spiritual death,” Kelly said of Mormon excommunication.

“It’s very, very extreme.”

For their part, Kelly’s Mormon leaders have said the door always is open to her return.

Romney Says Tax Returns Would Publicize Private Mormon Tithing

by Thomas Burr 08-23-2012
Maria Dryfhout / Shutterstock.com

Photo: Mitt Romney campaign rally at Holland State Park, June 19 in Holland, Mich. Maria Dryfhout / Shutterstock.com

Mitt Romney says in a new interview that one of the reasons he’s distressed about disclosing his tax returns is that everyone sees how much money he and his wife, Ann, have donated to his Mormon church, and that’s a number he wants to keep private.

“Our church doesn’t publish how much people have given,” Romney tells Parade magazine in an edition due out on Aug. 26. “This is done entirely privately. One of the downsides of releasing one’s financial information is that this is now all public, but we had never intended our contributions to be known. It’s a very personal thing between ourselves and our commitment to our God and to our church.”

Romney has released his 2010 tax returns in his White House campaign and, so far, a summary of last year’s tax information. But despite pressure from Republican opponents in the primaries and President Obama’s re-election campaign, Romney has refused to disclose more.

While it may not be a major reason, Romney says disclosing his charitable donations isn’t something he wants to do.

Mitt Romney on the Cusp of Making Major Mormon History

Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney appears at a town hall meeting on June 4, 201

Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney appears at a town hall meeting on June 4, 2010 in Mesa, Arizona. Via Shutterstock

WASHINGTON --  With Rick Santorum’s exit from the White House race, Mitt Romney stands on the cusp of history as the first Mormon to appear at the top of a major party ticket in a general presidential election. Romney, a Brigham Young University-educated, Mormon-family scion and beloved Utah figure, is now the inevitable Republican nominee and will take on President  Obama this fall.

The news is sure to bring a surge of excitement unseen in Utah since Romney led the triumphant 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and helped usher the state — and the Mormon Church — onto the world stage.

“Romney has family here, he’s lived here, he’s worked here, he went to school here,” says Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican who has campaigned this year with the former Massachusetts governor. “It feels like he’s one of us.”

Mormons, GOP Didn’t Always Get Along So Well

by Thomas Burr 03-01-2012
LDS Temple, Salt Lake City. Photo by Joe Y Jiang/Shutterstock.com

LDS Temple, Salt Lake City. Photo by Joe Y Jiang/Shutterstock.com

WASHINGTON — The founders of the Republican Party saw Mormons as their enemies. And the first Mormon leaders didn't have much nice to say about the GOP, either.

You would never know it now — one recent poll showed three-quarters of Mormon faithful lean toward the GOP — but the two groups had an acrimonious start, fueled largely by the early Mormon practice of polygamy.

As Mitt Romney presses his bid for the Republican nomination for president, many Americans don't realize how his Mormon faith played an important role as foil in the early days of the GOP — and how its first candidates catapulted to power in part by whipping up anti-Mormon sentiments.

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