Category: Mormon excommunication

For the first time in nearly 30 years, the Mormon church has excommunicated one of its high-ranking members.

Hamula, who had been serving as a general authority of the seventy, was released from the community on Tuesday, though officials noted it was not due to "disillusionment or apostasy. The last leader to be excommunicated was George P. Lee, the first Native American to become a general authority with the church. He was ousted in on charges of "apostasy and other conduct unbecoming a member of the church" after he called Mormon leaders racist.

Before him, Richard R. Lyman was excommunicated for adultery in Here's a look at how the disciplinary process is triggered in the Jesus Christ Church of the latter-day Saints:.

Discipline is sparked by those who commit serious transgressions or sins — the more severe the sin, the more severe the punishment stands to be. Formal discipline is required to take place in instances of murder, incest or apostasy, according to church official s. A council must also be held when a leader or member commits a serious transgression, a transgressor is a predator, there is a pattern of serious transgressions or there is a serious transgression that is widely known.

The process for formal discipline is kicked off when a presiding priest calls for a council. According to the church's websitethe purpose for such councils is to "save the souls of transgressors, protect the innocent and safeguard the purity, integrity and good name of the Church. There are several types of councils, most are overseen by a bishop of a particular church ward or sect.

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The councils are made up of two counselors as well as a clerk, who is required to take notes during the proceedings. The council is encouraged to make a unanimous decision, though the bishop has the final say and can overrule others on the panel. The council for a senior leader, like Hamula, consists of members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles — or the highest presiding and governing bodies within the church. Members are notified that a council will be held and are invited to explain their misdeeds, the steps they have taken to repent and to apologize for the rules they've broken, according to the church's manual.

If the church member denies misconduct, the presiding officer must present evidence of the alleged transgression. The accused is also subject to questioning from the council. He or she, in turn, has the opportunity to question any witness, comment on any evidence and present evidence of their own. Local leaders then consider the seriousness of the infraction, the person's maturity and standing within the church, and any other contributing factors.

The Church does not "impose rigid requirements" on the council, but instead encourages bishops to treat each situation uniquely. Prayer is also key when rendering a final decision in the disciplinary hearing, according to the church.


When a formal discipline council convenes, it can result in outcomes including no action, a formal probation which includes a restriction of privileges, disfellowshipment and excommunication. Excommunication is typically reserved for those accused of the most serious offenses, ranging from sexual abuse and murder to teaching false doctrines.

An excommunicated person is stripped of all associations with the church and loses the right to partake in the sacrament.

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They are barred from purchasing and wearing temple garments and are no longer allowed to preach in public or enter temples. Those who are excommunicated, however, do have an opportunity to return to the faith. After an extended period of time and sincere repentance, a member may be re-baptized after receiving approval from the disciplinary council. With News Wire Services. Skip to content. Elder James J. Hamula was excommunicated from the church on Tuesday.

Mormons attend a service at a church beside the Preston England Temple, Europe's biggest Mormon temple, in Chorley in northern England, September 26, The Council. The Process. Possible Outcomes. Most Read.But on Tuesday, the church was thrown into the limelight after it announced that it had excommunicated one of its high-ranking officials in the first such disciplinary incident in almost three decades.

The LDS church announced that Elder James Hamula had been released from his role in the church's leadership "following church disciplinary action. Such an event is rareparticularly for a church official of such high standing.

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Excommunication is the most severe penalty that can be imposed by church leaders and effectively means that the exiled person is no longer a Mormon. Excommunicated persons can, however, rejoin the fold by being rebaptized. Hamula, 59, held the rank of General Authority in the church, which has She refused and was fired. Below the presidency is the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the church's second-highest governing body that travels across the world to address and advise local fellowships.

Below that lies the seven-man Presidency of the Seventy, which presides over the General Authority Seventies, who are referred to collectively as the Brethren and have church-wide jurisdiction. Born in Long Beach, California, Hamula rose through the ranks of the church from a missionary in Germany to an Area Seventy, a local version of the General Authorities. He was made General Authority in —meaning he had to give up his practice as a lawyer and serve the church full time—and spent time in New Zealand before returning to the church's Utah headquarters in Prior to his excommunication, Hamula served as the executive director of the Correlation Department, which oversees changes to church doctrine and practice and maintains unity in the wider church.

He is married with six children, according to a church profile. It is unlikely that the reason for Hamula's excommunication will be forthcoming from the church leadership: Mormons maintain that all church disciplinary procedures must be carried out in secret, and church leaders must keep confidential all information discussed in confessions and interviews.

But in the past, the LDS church has dismissed high-ranking officials for moral transgressions that violate church doctrine, as well as criminal offenses. Richard Lyman, who held the rank of apostle in the church, was excommunicated in Church leaders became aware that Lyman was having an affair with a woman he had been given to counsel and excommunicated him for unlawful cohabitation.

InGeorge Lee, the first Native American to become a General Authority in the church, was excommunicated for apostasy and conduct unbecoming of a church member. Lee claimed that he was thrown out due to an argument about the role of Native Americans in the church, but inhe was convicted of attempted sexual abuse of a child, which reportedly took place in More recently, a Mormon feminist, Kate Kelly, was excommunicated in after founding a movement that advocated for the ordination of women in the all-male LDS priesthood.

InJohn Dehlin, a Mormon blogger who criticized church leaders and teachings in podcasts, was excommunicated for conduct contrary to church laws, though he denied having committed apostasy. Weekly magazine, delivered Daily Newsletter Website access.Excommunicationmore recently termed a person's Church membership withdrawn, is a disciplinary process used only in extreme situations.

Why Did the Mormon Church Just Excommunicate a Top Official for the First Time in Decades?

Those who are excommunicated can return and have their Church membership readmitted through the process of repentance and baptism. The majority of personal sins are those which can be handled through personal counsel with the bishopwho receives the confession of the repentant member.

Such meetings are confidential. The bishop guides the person through the repentance process and checks up on the progress of the person. The repentance process need not include informal or formal membership restrictions previously known as disfellowship or having the member's membership withdrawn after confessing the sin. Occasionally, serious sin is involved and a Church court, now termed membership council, is convened. The Ward membership council formerly the bishop's court consists of the person for whom the council is being held, three members of the ward bishopric, the ward clerk, and optionally, the elders quorum or Relief Society president.

They may consider the matter of membership withdrawal for any member of the Church living in the ward except for a man or woman who has received the temple endowment and will likely have his or her Church membership withdrawn.

The ward membership council may render a decision of informal or formal membership restrictions for any member of the ward. The Stake membership council formerly designated as the high council courton the other hand, is under the direction of the stake president and consists of the person for whom the council is being held, the stake presidency, the stake clerk, optionally, the person's bishop, elders quorum president, Relief Society president.

Members of the high council are involved in limited situations.

mormon excommunication

This council has the authority to conduct hearings for any member of the Church residing in that stake, and they have jurisdiction over a man or woman who has received the temple endowment and will likely have his or her Church membership withdrawn. There are few sins which mandate withdrawal of church membership to begin the process of repentance. Severity of sin can qualify a person for excommunication. Apostasy can also result in excommunication.

Apostasy is not inactivity in Church programs. A person who drifts away and becomes inactive is not apostate.

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Apostasy involves will-full rebellion, overt criticism of the Church, fighting against the Church. It must be understood that the object of membership withdrawal is not to get rid of a person who has committed transgression, but to begin the process of repentance:.

To read a definitive article regarding excommunication from the Church of Jesus Christclick here. This article by Apostle M. Russell Ballard is recommended by the Church to anyone desiring to understand why the Church withdraws the membership of members. Jump to: navigationsearch. Personal tools Log in.CNN On a Wednesday evening around 7, as the late summer sun settled low on Houston's flat horizon, two men shifted uncomfortably at Sam Young's door. Chat with us in Facebook Messenger.

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Sam Young speaks Sunday, September 16, in Salt Lake City after reading aloud the church's verdict letter on his excommunication. They were there to deliver the news, sealed in a thin white envelope and tucked into a coat pocket, of Young's potential excommunication from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Young invited his friends, two administrators from his local Mormon congregation, into his living room. After short pleasantries, they notified Young that a council of Mormon men would decide September 12 whether his public criticism of the church, including a day hunger strike, had rendered him an apostate.

Young, who posted a copy of the excommunication edict on his blog, said he will appeal the order. In an interview with CNN, Young said he feels "supremely disappointed" in the loss of his membership, "in the church itself and in the leadership.

As a year-old grandfather, Young has spent his life following Mormon cultural prescription. Born in rural Utah, he served as a church missionary in Guatemala and El Salvador, married in a church temple, and raised six Mormon daughters. Yet recently, after discovering his daughters' experiences with bishops as Mormon youth, he has become an unlikely activist in the MeToo era.

mormon excommunication

Young is protesting what he feels is a "physically, emotionally, and spiritually" abusive practice within the church: "worthiness interviews," in which members are asked a series of questions about their adherence to church rules, specifically its sexual code of conduct, alone in their bishop's office.

These interviews are requisite for all teenagers, for worship in the church's temples, and for baptism into the faith of 16 million members.

This lifelong commitment renders Young's advocacy a complicated, nuanced form of criticism -- one embedded with apology. As a bishop in the early s, Young said, he regrets inviting to year-olds into his small, sparse office in a Mormon meetinghouse in Houston and asking them church-mandated questions about their abstinence from premarital sex.

While all bishops are required to ask whether members "obey the law of chastity," abstaining from all premarital sexual activity, Young says more than 3, people, including four of his daughters, have said their bishops probed for the explicit details of their sexual conduct as children. The church now offers the opportunity for youth to be interviewed with an accompanying adult. But it has yet to condemn the practice of asking sexually explicit questions in interviews.

Nor has it acknowledged the alleged trauma and, in some instances, predation that has resulted from them. The church calls the practice of bishops' interviews a "sacred responsibility" and offers the opportunity for mentorship; critics argue it is traumatizing and creates opportunities for grooming and emotional or sexual abuse.

In the excommunication edict, the president of Young's district in Houston said, "This action was not taken because of your opinion or position on protecting children. Teaching standards of morality to youth and helping them follow those standards -- including in interviews with priesthood leaders -- is an important responsibility of parents and of the Church.Another one bites the dust.

Julie Rowe has been excommunicated. For some reason, I continue to get hits on the key word Excommunicated. I ought to start a page on the subject, but Wikipedia already has one. I have met a few others on the list, such as Denver Snuffer and Rock Waterman. Being excommunicated from the Mormon church is no great accomplishment. But just about every one of the people who finds themselves in this category has something worth reading or learning about.

I am fairly certain some of the upper management at LDS church headquarters take note of each of the cases that make the headlines, especially if it generates negative publicity. The truth is most of them love the Lord, and have been very hurt by the disciplinary action.

I embrace it. You see, most LDS folks believe you are going to hell if you have been excommunicated. Yes, there are kind and compassionate members who continue to love those who have been excommunicated but for the most part, you are shunned. Conversations are awkward with the big elephant in the room. Such a move is still relatively new in the Mormon church. I used to serve in local leadership positions. One of the requirements was to study the Handbook of Instructions.

I remember being surprised when resignation was first quietly included in the book, and commented on it to the other members in the bishopric. We all agreed it was a good thing, long overdue. However, it makes it difficult to associate socially with believing LDS folks. I love the members of my ward and stake. I still consider them like family. I sing with them, worship with them, partake of the sacrament with them and attend many of the social and cultural functions with my wife, who is still a very faithful member.This is a list of well-known Mormon dissidents or other members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints LDS Church who have either been excommunicated or have been resigned from the church — as well as of individuals no longer self-identifying as LDS.

While the church doesn't regularly provide information about excommunication or resignation, those listed here have made such information public. In a very few cases, the list below may include former adherents of other Latter Day Saint movement denominations who have ceased identifying as Mormon, as well. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Redirected from Excommunicated Mormons. This is a dynamic list and may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness.

You can help by expanding it with reliably sourced entries. Time Out Chicago. Retrieved 9 April The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 15 August Retrieved July 7, Retrieved 8 November The Mormon Curtain. Archived from the original on July 10, Retrieved July 29, The Advocate. Archived from the original on 26 May The Observer.

mormon excommunication

Retrieved 5 April Archived from the original on October 6, The recent excommunication of a high-ranking leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was an unusual move that casts a light on the practice, historians and members of the Mormon church said.

Church Elder James J. A reason for the removal was not given. The church would not say why Hamula was excommunicated, but confirmed his ouster was not because of "disillusionment or apostasy," meaning rejection of or advocacy against church doctrine or teachings. It's the first time a leader was excommunicated by the church in nearly 30 years, scholars told NBC News. With the spotlight on the church ousting one of its leaders, here's a look at why the Mormon church would consider excommunicating someone, and some of the most high-profile cases.

When someone is excommunicated, they are no longer considered part of the Mormon church, his or her name is removed from church records and all of the sacraments that have been performed on the person are considered suspended, said Matthew Bowman, a Mormon scholar and associate professor of history at Henderson State University. An article on the church's website states that "the Church will not discuss the proceedings of a disciplinary council.

In general, aside from apostasy, Prince said church cannon orders that disciplinary councils are held for church leaders for "serious transgressions" that include what the church considers sexual sins, such as adultery and same-sex relations, or crimes like embezzlement or fraud or other charges.

Hamula was a member of a high order of priesthood called the First Quorum of the Seventy before he was removed. Bowman said he believed the church confirmed that Hamula's removal was not for reasons of apostasy to avoid the narrative that one of its leaders had suffered a crisis of faith.

Disciplinary action for someone like Hamula would be determined by a council of the church's highest governing bodies, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Bowman said.

For average members of the church, discipline and excommunication is determined at disciplinary councils at lower levels and largely at the discretion of local leaders, he added.

The last time a church leader is known to have been excommunicated was inafter George P. At the time, the church said he was removed for "apostasy and other conduct unbecoming a member of the church.

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Before that, the last excommunication of a church leader was Richard R. Lyman for adultery in There have been several high-profile excommunications of church members in recent years, many of which "have been for apostasy," said Bowman. Prince added that such cases have increasingly "become a source of trouble for the church, and something I think that they're doing their best to tamp down.

In JuneKate Kellya co-founder of Ordain Women, a Mormon feminist movement that seeks equal standing for women in the church, was excommunicated in an ouster that made national headlines.

The Mormon church currently reserves top leadership positions for men and does not allow female lay clergy. And in FebruaryJohn Dehlin, popular Mormon podcaster who supports gay rights and the ordination of women, was also excommunicated.

Within faith tradition, it's a spiritual death, which to Mormons is worse than a physical death," Kelly said. Kelly said she believes the church should be more forthcoming about the reasons behind Hamula's ouster, considering his high position. If someone is excommunicated, there are ways for them to be rebaptized into the church after approval from a disciplinary council following an extended period of redemption.

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The person is told, 'You've committed this sin. Church leader Lyman was rebaptized into the church 11 years after his excommunication.

Kelly appealed her excommunication, but was denied and said she would not consider being rebaptized because she could not repent for her beliefs. News Business World Sports Podcasts. Follow NBC News. Breaking News Emails Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings. Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings. Daniella Silva.