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Senior LDS Church leaders on Tuesday excommunicated a member of the Quorum of the Seventy who had been serving as the executive director of the church’s Correlation Department.

“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,” said Eric Hawkins, a spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Hamula is the first LDS general authority excommunicated since George P. Lee 28 years ago. Lee was excommunicated Sept. 1, 1989, for what church leaders said was “apostasy and other conduct unbecoming a member of the church” following an hourlong meeting with President Ezra Taft Benson and his counselors, and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Lee’s excommunication had been the first in 46 years.

Hamula had been a general authority and member of the Seventy for nine years, since his call in April 2008. He previously had served as a mission president in Washington, D.C., as the church’s Pacific Area president and as the assistant executive director of the Church History Department.

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. Church leaders have said they hold the faith’s most senior leaders to the same standards of conduct as all other members, if not more so.

The church confirmed that this action was not taken because of disillusionment or apostasy.

To read the full article on the Deseret News, click here.