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I've participated in too many courts to remember. My general observations about your mail is that people complaining about the process are usually ill-informed. They hear one side of the story about what was said and done in the meeting, usually from an angry exiter, and assume that's how things transpired. The reality is that much is discussed and much is considered that the putative sinner usually doesn't think is probative, and therefore his or her estimation and subsequent relation of the process is usually skewed. Give that information to those already opposed to the Church who would love to believe the worst about it, and suddenly it seems like some bastardized kangaroo court. The reality, frankly, is usually far from that, at least in my anecdotal experience.

As for your last story, it is a fairly well known and publicized incident relating to the so-called September Six. The specific case dealt with Paul Toscano, an outspoken critic of the church, as told only--as far as I can tell--by Steve Benson, who also seems to find fault with nearly everything the church does and gets far more publicity than do most malcontents largely due to heritage. I've always found the story odd, because even if you take everything Mr. Benson says as true, all that resulted was that a higher ranking official in the church told a lower ranking official that he thought a critic of the Church ought to be excommunicated. In that sense, if someone with great experience in such matters was stepping in, it seems that there would be greater uniformity in the process, which would seem to ameliorate certain perceived deficiencies of church courts.

Your closing comment: "The general point seems to be that the costs of an error are high enough that the whole system should be reformed."

If that is reasonable thinking then we should reform our whole civil court system because once in a while a judge or a jury makes an error.

The system actually works very well considering what it is dealing with. There are times when people are treated poorly and sometimes unjustly. Can there be adjustments to the system? Yes! We've already seen that over the years. Today's courts are considerably different than those of days gone by. Do we need major changes, I don't think so.

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