LDS Church excommunicates general authority

LDS Church releases, excommunicates Elder James J. Hamula

The last LDS General Authority member to be excommunicated was George P. Lee in 1989 for "apostasy and other conduct unbecoming a member of the church", the Daily Herald reported. Excommunication is not generally done but is exceptionally rare for church leaders.

Hamula, 59, held the rank of General Authority in the church, which has 15.9 million members worldwide, although more than a third are based in the United States.

If excommunicated members of the LDS Church are deemed to have repented of their sin, they can return to the church but must be rebaptized.

It's rare for the LDS to excommunicate members, but when it happens a disciplinary council for a senior LDS leader is made of members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve.

"If a person shows honest and full repentance and wishes to return to the Church, they will be welcomed", states an article by the official church newsroom.

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The last church leader removed before Lee was Richard R. Lyman, who was excommunicated in 1943 for adultery but baptized again 11 years later. "And serious personal sin, including abortion or sexual sin, may require disciplinary action as part of the repentance process", it added.

He taught that overcoming Satan is done by faith in Jesus Christ, steadfast and enduring testimony and consecrating oneself to the Lord's work. He said that the sacrament "needs to become more holy and sacred to each of us", because it helps church members claim the blessings of Christ's supreme act of grace. During three of those five years, he served as Area President. 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. In recent years, Hamula served in important roles as assistant executive director of church history and executive director of a department that reviews all documents published by the church. He received his bachelor's degree in political science and philosophy in 1981 from church-owned Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. In 1985, he earned a master's degree in political philosophy and a juris doctorate degree from BYU. LDS has roughly 100 general authorities.

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 married Joyce Anderson in April 1984. "He knows that if he can draw you into transgression, he may prevent you from serving a full-time mission, marrying in the temple, and securing your future children in the faith, all of which weakens not only you but the church".

This story will be updated.

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