Stacy Smith:

Has anyone ever witnessed an actual excommunication of 
someone else by this or any other church?  ... Are they 
generally public or private affairs?


About 25 years worth of them in our Church, none in any 
other church.  In ours, they are strictly confidential.

If the bishop obtains permission to hold a disciplinary 
council, it is usually held in the bishop's office with the 
bishop, his two counselors, a clerk, and the member.  He 
must have permission from the stake president to hold a 
council.  He may disfellowship or excommunicate any 
member of his ward, except that he may not excommunicate 
a man who holds the Melchizedek Priesthood.

If a stake president convenes a disciplinary council, it is 
usually held in the high council meeting room.  The stake 
president, his counselors, the high council (12), and a 
clerk participate, along with the member.

A stake president usually does not hold a council that a 
bishop can hold which, in practical terms, often means 
that a stake will hold a council for a man who holds the 
Melchizedek Priesthood and who has done something 
serious enough for which he may be excommunicated.

Nowadays, the decision of a council is only announced 
to members if the person disciplined poses a threat to 
the Church, for example, because of apostasy.  In that 
case, an announcement is made in priesthood and 
Relief Society meeting announcing that a member has 
been excommunicated for apostasy (if that is the reason) 
or for "conduct contrary to the laws of the Church."  No 
additional information is given.  An announcement is 
very rare.  Usually nothing is said at all.

Usually disfellowshipment is sufficient discipline to 
help a member repent of most serious transgression.  
A member is only excommunicated when needed and 
usually due to serious and willful violation of covenants.

Larry Jackson

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