June 23, 2018
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Mormon punishment — what it means to be excommunicated

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

Being excommunicated from the Church is Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a bit complicated, according to Jeremiah Miner, 28, of Bangor.

Miner has informed the church that he is gay and plans to marry his partner now that Maine voters have approved same-sex marriage. Miner said he expects to be excommunicated.

The Mormon church’s “General Handbook of Instructions,” outlines five steps of increasing severity that can be taken, according to Richard N. Ostling and Joan K. Ostling, authors of “Mormon America: The Power and the Promise.”

Those steps are:

— Private counsel and caution

— Informal probation

— Formal probation

— Disfellowshipment

— Excommunication

At each step, increasing limitations may be place on a member’s participation in church functions, including access to the temple, speaking during worship and the ability to receive the sacrament, called communion in other denominations.

Disfellowship, last step before excommunication, is when a member has the opportunity to meet conditions that would allow him or her to return to good standing status. Excommunication means disfellowship becomes permanent but can be lifted under certain circumstances.

“Excommunication is prescribed for the disfellowshipped [Latter-day] Saint who fails to repent, who commits ‘serious transgressions,’ whose conduct makes him or her ‘a serious threat to others,’ or who ‘significantly impairs the good name or moral influence of the church,” the Ostlings wrote.

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