Years ago, my faith was failing and I wasn’t living according to the standards of the Church. As a result, I had my name removed from the records of the Church. I know I would need to be re-baptized in order to once again be in the Church. However, my question is what is the difference between a name removal and an excommunication? And what is the process of joining the Church again?
First of all, God bless you for thinking about coming back to the Church. God wants you home, and your yearning to return is His voice speaking to your soul. Remember Doctrine and Covenants 18:10
“Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.”
He has not forgotten you. Indeed, He sent His Son to die for your sins.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Now as to your question. Having your name removed from the church is the same as being voluntarily excommunicated. The consequences are the same as if you had been before a disciplinary council, and you will need to be re-baptized and, if you had them, have your priesthood and temple blessings restored. It takes extra work to get back into the fold, but that work is worth it. The first thing you need to do is go and talk to your bishop. Tell him everything; why you left the church, sins or transgressions that you committed during this period, and your desire to come back and be reunited with the Saints. He will consult with your Stake President and, depending on your circumstances, determine what you need to do in order to be re-baptized. It may take some time, but only they can tell you how long. That’s the first step you need to take.
The second step, as outlined in Doctrine in Covenants 58:43, is to forsake your sins.
“By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them.”
In your case, forsaking your sins means coming back into regular activity at church. While you will not be able to give talks or hold a calling, you can come to Sacrament, Sunday School, and Priesthood or Relief Society depending on your gender. You can immerse yourself in the scriptures, and come closer to your Father in Heaven and your Savior in prayer. While you will not have the gift of the Holy Ghost until after you are re-baptized, you will begin to feel His influence more and more in your life as you strive to live the commandments.
Finally, and this is the most important thing to remember, as soon as you complete this process, all your sins will be washed away. According to Isaiah 1:18
“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
You will be clean in the eyes of the Lord. There is no more precious gift we can receive from Him, and He is offering it to you now. God be with you on your journey my friend.