Looking at this question about tithes it seems that a member in the LDS church can in some cases (not related to paying tithes, though) be placed on formal probation, disfellowshipped or excommunicated.

What are the differences, as far as practical consequences to the individual, between these three forms of punishment?

1 Answer 1


Probation is an action taken by a church leader or council that limits some privileges of church membership. Not all probation is negative; quite often, it is merely counsel to attend the temple more, read select scriptures, or pray more frequently and fervently. The only difference between informal and formal probation as far as I understand it is that formal probation occurs by a disciplinary council.

Disfellowshipment is a suspension of participation in church activities, callings, ordinances, etc. -- the public or "outward" things. Usually these individuals should still attend sacrament meetings. And, like probation, conditions of disfellowshipment may be positive.

Excommunication means the individual is no longer a member of the Church; this is actually quite rare.

In all of this, Church leaders remember that "the Lord sees weaknesses differently than He does rebellion. Whereas the Lord warns that unrepented rebellion will bring punishment, when the Lord speaks of weaknesses, it is always with mercy." -- Richard G. Scott

  • 1
    Even in the case of excommunication, the conditions are still usually "positive" in some sense; there's no publicity, or prohibition against attendance of church meeting. 3 Nephi 18:32 "Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out of your synagogues, or your places of worship, for unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them." Commented Jul 21, 2016 at 4:19
  • see also: Church Disclipline
    – depperm
    Commented May 7 at 18:25

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .