Aug. 8 (UPI) -- The Mormon church excommunicated one of its leaders Tuesday, a spokesman said, the first time such an action has been taken by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 30 years.
Church officials released James J. Hamula, 59, from his post in the "First Quorum of the Seventy," the Salt Lake Tribune reported. According to the LDS website, the "Seventies are called to serve as special witnesses of Christ, proclaim the gospel and build up the Church throughout the world."
Hamula was a member of the General Authority Seventies, which presides over all quorums of the Seventies.
The church did not give an explanation for why Hamula was excommunicated, but said the reason was not for apostasy.
In 2008, when he was inducted into the LDS authority, Hamula urged the LDS priesthood to fight a war against evil.
"Satan is marshaling every resource at his disposal to entice you into transgression," he said, later adding: "Make no mistake about it -- the focus of his war is now on you -- you who seek to keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."
The last LDS General Authority member to be excommunicated was George P. Lee in 1989 for "apostasy and other conduct unbecoming a member of the church," the Daily Herald reported.