My diminished Church standing was likely conjured up by Parsons, in collaboration with John Daniel Parker — stake president of Sydney Australia South Stake. Disfellowshipped members cannot vote to sustain or oppose the election of Church officers. My disfellowshipment status gave Sydney Mormon authorities an official reason to discount my opposing vote against them at stake conference. My vote could be safely disregarded.
The telltale dates on the letter I received from Parsons told the story. The letter was dated May 31, and was delivered on June 30, which was 101 days after the date of the action. According to the (Church) General Handbook (1968), a disfellowshipped member should be notified of the conditions of that penalty when the penalty is imposed. If that person does not attend the trial, he or she should be notified by two Melchizedek Priesthood bearers or by registered letter. Parsons violated Church rules. I did not attend the trial on March 21 and was not notified of the result until June 30. My disfellowshipment status appears to have been quickly determined after my opposing vote at the June conference.
Those subject to Church disciplinary sanctions have a right of appeal. An accused member may appeal the decision of a disciplinary council within 30 days of the decision. Parsons dated his letter, May 31, and it was handed to me on the night of June 30, exactly 30 days later. Parsons and Parker had strategically managed to block my right of appeal.
Records of LDS Church disciplinary proceedings that result in disfellowshipment or excommunication should be sent to the LDS First Presidency, as stated in the General Handbook. Nearly four months after the bishop’s court, Church headquarters had not received the record — another reason why my disfellowshipment did not occur in March.
When I protested to LDS officials in Salt Lake City, a letter, dated July 9, 1976, from the Office of the First Presidency stated “…according to the Confidential Section of the Membership Department…” the record of my trial had not reached General Church Offices. The letter also stated: “There is no provision for receiving direct testimony on an appeal to the First Presidency since all appeals are handled only on the basis of the official record made by the lower court.” I was advised I would first have to appeal to the high council court before an appeal to the First Presidency could be entertained. In other words, I would have to appeal to Parker concerning the judgment of the ward trial.
Parsons had also signed the disfellowshipment letter on behalf of Hurstville Ward bishopric member, Hugh Nugent, 1st counselor to Parsons. A year later at my home, in June 1977, Nugent told me in front of witnesses that he had no idea why I had been disfellowshipped. All three members of a ward bishopric are expected to participate in bishop’s courts which have jurisdiction over all ward members. If my disfellowshipment had occurred on March 21, Nugent should have been aware of the reason for the verdict.
The Hurstville Ward bishopric was part of a Church hierarchy that was more concerned with status than pastoral care. Running amok with Church-sanctioned authority — with the support of LDS General Authorities and back-to-back LDS mission presidents in Sydney — LDS officials in south Sydney bullied members on a ward and stake level, until all Mormons who objected to their overbearing behavior were driven out of the Church.