Who Is James J. Hamula? Mormon Church Excommunicates Top Leader

James J. Hamula

As a General Authority Seventy since April 5, 2008, Hamula served in many capacities over the past nine years.

The Utah-based church said Hamula was not removed for apostasy, according to The Salt Lake Tribune, which refers to teaching inaccurate doctrine or publicly defying guidance from church leaders.

Hamula was ousted from his position at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after disciplinary action, the church confirmed Tuesday.

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

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For the first time in decades, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints excommunicated a top leader Tuesday for reasons that were not immediately revealed.

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. "To protect that confidence, the Church will not discuss the proceedings of a disciplinary council". "And serious personal sin, including abortion or sexual sin, may require disciplinary action as part of the repentance process", it added.

"It's just so rare, especially in 20th- and 21st-century Mormonism, that it really is news", Patrick Mason, an expert in Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University, told the publication. LDS has roughly 100 general authorities. 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. He now serves as Executive Director of the Correlation Department.

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. From 1985 until his call to be a General Authority, Elder Hamula practiced law.