LDS Church Excommunicates General Authority

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LDS Church office building snow

The Deseret News reported today that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has released and excommunicated Elder James J. Hamula, a Seventy, who had been serving as the executive director of the Church’s Correlation Department. The Church made it known that the reason for excommunication was not disillusionment or apostasy.

The disciplinary action was taken by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Such action with a church leader is extremely rare, then, but when necessary, a disciplinary council for a senior LDS leader is comprised of members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. Church leaders have said they hold the faith’s most senior leaders to the same standards of conduct as all other members, if not more so.

It has been 28 years since an LDS general authority has been excommunicated. George P. Lee was excommunicated Sept. 1, 1989, for what church leaders said was “apostasy and other conduct unbecoming a member of the Church.” Lee’s was the first excommunication of a general authority in 46 years.

As a general policy, excommunications are private matters. (In the recent widely-publicized excommunications of some dissenting members of the Church, the subjects themselves went to the press, hoping to win sympathy and tarnish the Church.) However, in a case like Hamula’s, “the decision of a disciplinary council may be shared publicly to prevent others from being harmed through misinformation.”

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve has described disciplinary councils in the Church. “The purpose is threefold: to save the soul of the transgressor, to protect the innocent, and to safeguard the Church’s purity, integrity, and good name.” He also explained that disciplinary action is not intended to be the end of the process but the beginning of an opportunity to return to full fellowship and to the full blessings of the Church.

Read more at Deseret News.

Gale Boyd is the copy editor for More Good Foundation. She is a Jewish convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has lived all over the world. She has raised 6 Third Culture Kids and is always homesick for somewhere.
  • hc1951

    Having been through this agonizing process TWICE (yes, I’m THAT stubborn!) I can tell you, in the words of Alma the younger, that, “there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto. . . that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.” Alma 36:21. The term “courts of love” has been used and I have found it to be so.

    • Adam W Ruplinger

      My experience has been the same as yours brother, x3. I am hoping to at last have my blessings restored in the next few weeks. Repentance is a wonderful, wonderful blessing! Many do not understand that an excommunication is more of a blessing and not so much a punishment.