Mormon church excommunicates leader for first time in almost 30 years

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Hamula has served as a general authority in the LDS Church's Quorum of the Seventy since 2008.

Hamula was ousted from his position at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after disciplinary action, the church confirmed Tuesday. 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. It is a group of almost 90 leaders below the LDS Church's president, his two counselors and two other levels of leaders.

"The last leader to be excommunicated was the late George P. Lee in 1989 after Lee, an American Indian, called Mormon leaders racist".

He was formerly a mission president in Washington, D.C. and served several other prominent posts including assistant executive director of the Church History Department. LDS has roughly 100 general authorities.

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. In 2015, John 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.

Addressing Mormons worldwide during one of the faith's twice-yearly general conferences in October 2014, Hamula talked about communion and Christ's atonement.

The Mormon church allowed the removed members to rejoin by getting baptized if they showed honest repentance, the Salt Lake Tribune said in its report.

In order to keep all the information they receive in confessions and interviews confidential, church leaders will not discuss the proceedings of a disciplinary council.

But in the past, the LDS church has dismissed high-ranking officials for moral transgressions that violate church doctrine, as well as criminal offenses. 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. Although the removal and excommunication of Church leadership is rare, the Church holds the most senior leaders to the same standards of conduct - if not more so - as all other members of the Church. He later admitted to attempted child sex abuse.

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