Monday, February 26, 2007

Excommunication of non members, Norman Hancock

The case of Norman Hancock is an interesting one. It establishes firmly that churches cannot excommunicate members who leave during discipline, based on the Marian Guinn precedent. That once someone quits instantly their legal protections against libel and slander are restored. The state has no authority over the the disciplinary process within the church, but the person has no longer given their consent and this changes things.

The case is standard. In 1985 the Mormon church excommunicated Norman Hancock after he submitted a letter of resignation to the church. Hancock filed an $18 million lawsuit against the church, saying a person has a right to voluntarily resign from a church. The suit was settled out of court. Church representatives agreed to change the records such that there would no longer be any record of an "excommuication": the records would show that he resigned, that is he had asked his name be removed from thechurch role.
Mormon Alliance Home Page

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