In the wake of the Kate Kelly excommunication, there have been many posts about how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints should be big enough for … whatever. Fill in the blank. Basically the point is that a few people feel that the church should be more tolerant.
As I have thought of this, it strikes me that one definition that could be given of a church is that it is a religious organization that tells people what they ought to believe and how they ought to behave. If a church were to cease teaching such things, it seems it would stop being a church in a meaningful way. It may be a good social club, or a service organization, but not really a church.
Taken to an extreme, ‘big tent’ Mormonism would include any beliefs or behavior, and would cease to be much of a church at all. A church of anything goes.
It is easy to see how this might appeal to some people. Believe and act as you please, and continue in a hope for a fullness of salvation. And not a soul shall be lost. I hope you can see the source and force of my concern.
Boundary maintenance in not new or unique to this church. Almost everyone does it. Companies fire people for not behaving as the company feels they should. You can get kicked out of a swimming pool for running, or asked to leave a library for being noisy. Many examples of enforcing beliefs or behaviors could be cited. To me the only reasonable question is not if the church should maintain some level of required behavior, but was this specific case sufficient cause for such an action.
I have read commentary on both sides of this event. It seems that opinions often come down to whether or not one feels that Kate Kelly was just asking questions, or if she is an activist, recruiting followers to organize demonstrations to protest and pressure the church to change in the way she wants.
To me, I think the church did the right thing, and must continue to teach what one ought to believe and how one ought to behave in order to be The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints instead of the church of anything goes.