Personally I don't like excommunication. If a person has faith and falls short, this is a step that just shouldn't be taken. Since the inception of the Church, there've been problems with apostasy and falling away and excommunications. It's one of those disciplinary steps that feels steeped in 19th century tradition but is more out of place in a 21st century world.
God never changes, but His children do. That doesn't mean He changes His doctrine with every generation, but when His children ask, He listens. When the children of Israel were wandering the desert and got tired of eating manna, they asked for something else. So God sent quail. Does that mean He changed His doctrine? Yea, behold His doctrine was manna, but then suddenly it was changed to quail. Church isn't true. (crumples up temple recommend)
|Spencer W. Kimball|
(UPDATE: This is not me automatically assuming that people questioning the Church now over this or that will be vindicated. I use it as an example of the members desiring a change, petitioning for change, and that change coming via answers to prayers. As for the man who was ex'd over it, I just looked him up and I see he's quite the anti-Mormon now, so never mind on that one.)
Now as far as women in the Church, there are many improvements that can be made. I don't agree with the OrdainWomen movement not because I perceive insincere soul-searching happening there, but if the Church is true, then the Prophet is the one who receives the revelation for the Church, and OW's mission statement says: "Ordain Women believes women must be ordained in order for our faith to reflect the equity and expansiveness of these teachings." This doesn't sound like a petition of the Church; this sounds like a demand. I heard it somewhere else first, but God does not force blessings on His children when the vast majority do not want them. Pres. Hinckley left the door open for women getting the Priesthood if a revelation came, but with over 80% of men and women in the Church not wanting that change, that's all you need to know.
But speaking more broadly, where can a faithful Church member go who has questions? There are many questions raised that don't have answers.
I refer to some General Conference talks that have helped of late on this matter. Elder Oaks' 2010 talk on two lines of communication was one. Another was an answer to one of my own questions that some friends helped me find. It's a 1971 talk from young Apostle, Elder Boyd K. Packer.
As for dealing with individuals, I loved this Bishop's Response from ByCommonConsent, maybe my favorite LDS blog out there.
As for those who say, "If you don't like it, leave." I say no, please stay. The Church is undergoing tumultuous times, and there will be more to come. In fact, I'd repeat Pres. Uchtdorf's plea to "Come, Join With Us."