Regarding The Tribune report, “High-ranking Mormon official, who spoke twice in General Conference, is excommunicated, first such ouster in nearly 3 decades.” James J. Hamula was released from his position in the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after disciplinary action. (The Tribune, Aug. 8).
Eric Hawkins, the LDS spokesman who spoke to the media about Hamula’s excommunication, stated it was not for “apostasy or disillusionment.” In Mormon terms, apostasy is defined as repeated, clear and open opposition to the LDS Church, its leaders and its doctrine. Disillusionment implies loss of faith. So Hamula did not oppose Mormon doctrine or LDS leaders, and he apparently did not lose faith in either.
I suspect LDS officials do not want to make it appear as though there are chinks — other than the now-ousted Hamula — in the official LDS armor. They are trying to create the impression that Hamula did not challenge LDS doctrine or defy LDS leaders because Mormon doctrine is faithworthy and sound, and LDS leaders are generally above reproach. This points the finger directly back at Hamula and implies he committed a personal transgression — possibly a moral lapse.