Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Lesson from Moses

This morning the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released and excommunicated Elder James J. Hamula of the First Quorum of the Seventy (the press release can be read here). The article does not specify why the action was taken, but it does note that Bro. Hamula was not excommunicated for apostasy or disillusionment, so we can be hopeful that he will repent and come back into full fellowship with the Church in the coming years.

At this time, many will be curious as to why this action was taken. May I remind all interested that these matters are private and are none of our business. As the article pointed out, general authorities are not held to a higher standard than other members in matters of discipline, so we can guess that if Bro. Hamula had been the average member of the Church, he would have been excommunicated for the same actions.

Moses sees the promised land, but does not enter

There is a lesson in all of this, however. Recall with me the closing chapters of the book of Deuteronomy in the Hebrew Bible. The prophet Moses has just finished retelling the children of Israel all that had happened in their journey through the wilderness, and all the Lord had done for them; in particular he reminded them that the Lord had been merciful with them when he had wanted to destroy them in the past (Exodus 32:9). What happens next is very telling. Moses turns the people over to Joshua, and then hikes a mountain. He sees all of the promised land, but he is not permitted to enter. Why not? Because he was not obedient to the Lord when he told to speak to a rock so that it would provide water for the people; he struck the rock instead (Numbers 20:12-13).

Why is this relevant to what happened today? Because it shows that no one, not even a man as great as Moses, can avoid punishment for crimes against the Lord. The lesson we should take from the stories of Moses and Bro. Hamula is that we are all vulnerable and can make mistakes that can cost us dearly. However, as President Thomas S. Monson has said in a recent conference "There is a way back. That process is called repentance." (Dare to Stand Alone, October 2011 Conference Report)

I would like to extend to Bro. Hamula my full support and prayers, and I hope that he will find himself among us in the near future. God bless you brother. Know that you are loved.

1 comment:

  1. A vital perspective. I bet that Brother Hamula still has a testimony and would be receptive to expressions of support like this. I wish I could give him your blog post.