LDS Church leaders excommunicate, release Quorum of Seventy member

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James J. Hamula

SALT LAKE CITY — A member of the Quorum of the Seventy for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been excommunicated and released from his position.

“This morning James J. Hamula was released as a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, following Church disciplinary action by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles,” Eric Hawkins, a Church spokesman, said in a statement to

All church discipline is carried out in confidence and details surrounding Hamula’s excommunication were not released.

The church confirmed to the Deseret News that the action was not taken because of disillusionment or apostasy.

Hamula was called as a General Authority in April 2008. He previously served as the church’s Pacific Area president and was the assistant executive director of the Church History Department from 2014 to 2016.

Hamula is the first LDS general authority excommunicated since George P. Lee 28 years ago. He was excommunicated for “heresy” and “conduct unbecoming a member of the church,” according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Lee later admitted to attempted child sex abuse. He died in 2010 at 67.

Elder M. Russell Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, has stated that church disciplinary councils are held for three reasons: to save the soul of the transgressor, to protect the innocent and to safeguard the Church’s purity, integrity, and good name.

“Church disciplinary action is not intended to be the end of the process—rather, it is designed to be the beginning of an opportunity to return to full fellowship and to the full blessings of the Church,” Ballard said. “The desired result is that the person will make whatever changes are necessary to return fully and completely be able to receive the marvelous blessings of the Church.”

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