Mormon Leader Ousted in First Excommunication in Decades

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has kicked out one of its leaders in a move it described as “exceptionally rare,” the first excommunication of a leader from the church in nearly three decades. Spokesman Eric Hawkins announced the news Tuesday, saying James J. Hamula has been booted from both the church and the religion after a “disciplinary action.” Hamula, 59, held a post on a mid-level leadership council that ranks below the church president, his two counselors, and two other levels of leaders. He had served in the position since 2008. No reason was given for Hamula’s ouster, but Hawkins said it was not for “disillusionment or apostasy.” The last excommunication at the church was in 1989, after a Native American leader called other leaders racist.