Mormons Remove Church Leader For The First Time In Nearly 30 Years

LDS Church releases, excommunicates Elder James J. Hamula

While LDS clarified that Hamula wasn't excommunicated for "disillusionment or apostasy", it did not announce specifically why it removed him, Deseret News, owned by the LDS, reported Tuesday.

"The removal and excommunication of a general authority of the church 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", according to Deseret News. The grounds on which the Utah-based church excommunicates leaders include gross iniquity (involving transgressions such as murder, adultery, sexual perversion, and felony conviction) involving in or advocating plural marriage and apostatizing from the teachings of the Church.

Hamula, A BYU alumnus, was sustained to the Quorum of the Seventy on April 5, 2008.

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 nearly three decades. It is a group of almost 90 leaders below the LDS Church's president, his two counselors and two other levels of leaders.

The church did not give an explanation for why Hamula was excommunicated, but said the reason was not for apostasy.

He was made General Authority in 2008-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 2014. LDS has roughly 100 general authorities. When he returned stateside he served as assistant executive director of the Church History Department from 2014 to 2016.

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.

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.

'All church discipline is carried out in complete confidence, ' according to an article on the church's official Mormon Newsroom website. He later admitted to attempted child sex abuse.

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