Are excommunication proceedings automatically started when a member of the Church is found guilty of a felony or pleads guilty of a felony offense?
In my view, the purpose of disciplinary hearings is three fold:
- To protect the victim(s).
- To protect the Church.
- To protect the soul of the member who has offended.
When a felony has been committed, yes, a disciplinary hearing does take place. This does not necessarily mean that a harsh judgement will be passed down. It depends on the offense. However, the Church is clear that the offender needs to give to society what punishment they demand. This is the restitution part of the repentance process. Once that has been satisfied, then they are invited to continue their repentance by actively looking to the Lord for a change of heart so that they will not re-offend.