LDS Church releases general authority

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Hawkins didn't say why Hamula was ousted, but the Utah-based church said it was not for apostasy, which refers to teaching inaccurate doctrine or publicly defying guidance from church leaders.

Reports said James J. Hamula was released by the church from his high-ranking position in the First Quorum of the Seventy after a disciplinary action was taken against him by a board of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

After disciplinary action by the Church's top leaders, James J. Hamula, who had been serving as a General Authority Seventy, was released and excommunicated on August 8.

Excommunication leads to a loss of membership in the church and prohibition from certain activities.

Hamula became a member the General Authority Seventy in 2008. 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.

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.

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.

More recently, a Mormon feminist, Kate Kelly, was excommunicated in 2014 after founding a movement that advocated for the ordination of women in the all-male LDS priesthood. It is a group of almost 90 leaders below the LDS Church's president, his two counselors and two other levels of leaders.

"The LDS Church has zero tolerance for abuse of any kind, including child abuse, spousal abuse, sexual abuse or child pornography, and anyone engaged in these practices would rightly face both criminal prosecution and Church discipline", the handbook explains.

The 59-year-old had overseen church priests as the general authority of the Correlation Department for nine years. LDS has roughly 100 general authorities. On the other hand, this is someone's private life. Previously, he was a member of the faith's Pacific Area Presidency, headquartered in New Zealand. 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.

In 2008, when he was inducted into the LDS authority, Hamula urged the LDS priesthood to fight a war against evil. He also previously served in a number of churches, including as a full-time missionary in the Germany Munich Mission.

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