Bishops council (Bishopric and Executive Secretary or Clerk) Stake council (Stake presidency, high councilors, and Clerk) Read Doctrine and Covenants 102:1-4 Format for Church Judgment (Church Disciplinary Councils)
Disciplinary councils may be convened following serious transgression: abortion, attempted murder, rape, forcible sexual abuse, intentionally inflicting serious physical injuries on others, adultery, fornication, child abuse, spouse abuse, deliberate abandonment of family responsibilities, robbery, embezzlement, theft, sale of illegal drugs, or apostasy. A disciplinary council must also be held when a prominent Church leader commits a serious transgression. What sins necessitate a disciplinary council?
When a bishop learns of a transgression, he first counsels with the member. When the sin is not grievous, the bishop may decide that no disciplinary action is needed. Another option the bishop has is to place the member on informal probation, temporarily restricting his privileges as a Church member. Informal Church Discipline
The spirit of inspiration may move the Church leader to convene a disciplinary council. If a serious transgression has been committed, he should confer with the stake president to decide if a council should be held. The purpose is threefold: (1) to save the soul of the transgressor, (2) to protect the innocent, and (3) to safeguard the Church’s purity, integrity, and good name. Formal Church Discipline
A disciplinary council begins with an opening prayer, followed by a statement of the reason for the council being convened. The member is asked to tell in simple and general terms about the transgression and to explain his or her feelings and what steps of repentance he or she has taken. The member may respond to clarifying questions from the leaders. Then he or she is excused, and the leaders counsel together, pray, and reach a decision. What is the process of Disciplinary Councils? Read Doctrine and Covenants 102:12-16
A council can reach one of four decisions: (1)No action (2)Probation (3)Disfellowshipment (4)Excommunication Possible Actions of Disciplinary Councils
A temporary state of discipline, imposed as a means to help the member fully repent. Probation
Disfellowshipped persons retain membership in the Church, but are not entitled to offer public prayers or to give talks. They may not hold a Church position, take the sacrament, vote in the sustaining of Church officers, hold a temple recommend, or exercise the priesthood. They may attend church, pay tithes and offerings and continue to wear temple garments if endowed. Disfellowshipment
Excommunicated persons are no longer members of the Church and are encouraged to repent through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and to seek His forgiveness. Excommunication
Church disciplinary action is not intended to be the end of the process—rather, it is designed to be the beginning. When the person has progressed through repentance, a new disciplinary council his held to consider what action needs to be taken and if rebaptism is a possibility. How do people return?
After rebaptism, his or her membership record shows the original baptism date, with no reference to excommunication. No sooner than a year after rebaptism, a ‘restoration of blessings’ occurs (restoring priesthood office and temple blessings), typically performed by a general authority, but occasionally by an authorized stake president. How do people return?
I know it is an old subject, and one that has been dealt with much. But I repeat it again: Guard your homes. How foolish it seems to install bars and bolts and electronic devices against thieves and molesters while more insidious intruders come in as invited guests. I say to you what I said to the boys—avoid pornography as you would a plague. I recall an assignment some years back to restore the blessings of a man who had been excommunicated from the Church because of his sin. He came to my office with his wife. I spoke with them individually. I asked him how it all began. He held a responsible position in the Church. He was likewise a professional man with high responsibility in the community.
His trouble began when he picked up a pornographic magazine to read on a plane. It intrigued him. It appealed to him. He found himself buying more of these things. Then he sought out movies which titillated him and excited him. Knowing that his wife would be a party to none of this, he went alone. He found occasion to leave town and go to other cities where he could more easily indulge his desires. He then found excuses to stay late at his office and asked his secretary to stay with him. One thing led to another until he succumbed. With tears rolling down his cheeks, he sat across the desk from me and cursed the day he had read that first magazine. He spoke of his love for the wife who had forgiven him and remained true to him. He spoke of his love for his children, who had been shamed and embarrassed by his actions. He told of the hell through which he had walked for some four years from the time of his excommunication. He spoke of his love for the Church and of his desire to again enjoy its full blessings.
In the presence of his wife, I placed my hands upon his head and in the authority of the holy priesthood restored his priesthood, his temple endowment, his temple sealing, and all other blessings which he had formerly held. This great, strong man sobbed like a baby under my hands while his wife, holding her hand in his, wept like a child. At the conclusion of that blessing, they embraced one another and he asked her to forgive him. She said she had forgiven him, and that she loved him and always would. They were happy when they left, happier than they had been in years. And I was happy, too. But I thought of the terrible price he had paid and of the price he had exacted of his family through his foolishness and transgression. Overpowering the Goliaths in Our Lives GORDON B. HINCKLEY, ENSIGN, MAY 1983