From John Gee.
Some of the horror at the thought that the Church excommunicates people is feigned, of course. But some of it is real. I think the genuine horror has at least part of its roots in a misunderstanding: Excommunication, in the Mormon Church, is not supposed to be a form of shunning.
Of course, we need to be careful that we who are members in good standing understand that.
Some years back, when I was still relatively new to the Church, I ran into a good friend very shortly after he had attended a High Council meeting. He was literally gray in the face; I don’t think I had ever seen him so deeply upset. Turns out (I found out some time later) the High Council had just excommunicated a rather prominent member of our ward for a very serious transgression.
Many who are excommunicated want nothing more to do with the Church. This brother wanted back. He came to Church every week thereafter, and he didn’t choose to sit in the back. I confess not all our ward members knew how to treat him. But he was rebaptized five years to the day from his excommunication. (Yes, he was that prominent.) His blessings were restored a year later, though probably not to the day, since a General Authority doesn’t usually have that kind of flexibility to his schedule.
He needed excommunicating. But he didn’t need to wear a scarlet “A” on his chest during the repentance process.