Church Disciplinary Councils
Bishops and branch presidents and stake, mission, and district presidents have a responsibility to help members overcome transgression through repentance. The most serious transgressions, such as serious violations of civil law, spouse abuse, child abuse, adultery, fornication, rape, and incest, often require formal Church discipline. Formal Church discipline may include restriction of Church membership privileges or loss of Church membership.
Formal Church discipline begins when a presiding priesthood leader determines that it is necessary to hold a disciplinary council. The purposes of disciplinary councils are to save the souls of transgressors, protect the innocent, and safeguard the purity, integrity, and good name of the Church.
Church discipline is an inspired process that takes place over a period of time. Through this process and through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, a member can receive forgiveness of sins, regain peace of mind, and gain strength to avoid transgression. Church discipline is designed to help Heavenly Father's children in their efforts to be purified from sin through the Atonement, return to full fellowship in the Church, and receive the full blessings of the Church.
—See True to the Faith (2004), 37–38
"A Chance to Start Over: Church Disciplinary Councils and the Restoration of Blessings"
M. Russell Ballard, Ensign, Sept. 1990, 12–19
The desired result is that the person will make whatever changes are necessary to return fully and completely and to be able to receive the marvelous blessings of the Church.
"To Forgive Is Divine"
Theodore M. Burton, Ensign, May 1983, 70–72
When people are disfellowshipped or excommunicated from the Church, it is done not to punish but to help them.