A high ranking leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been removed from his position and excommunicated from the church.
James J. Hamula, 59, is the first high profile leader to be excommunicated from the LDS church since George P. Lee 28 years ago.
Hamula was one of about 100 General Authority leaders who minister full-time for the church, leaving behind careers to oversee millions of members worldwide.
A spokesperson for the church confirmed Hamula’s removal but did not give a specific reason for it, except that it was not due to disillusionment or loss of belief known as apostasy.
Excommunication is the most severe penalty for practicing Mormons and can result from a moral transgression, serious criminal acts or defiance of church leaders.