Church “courts” held on the ward or stake level to decide appropriate “punishments” for serious sins. “A council can reach one of four decisions: (1) no action, (2) formal probation, (3) disfellowshipment, or (4) excommunication” (Elder M. Russell Ballard, Ensign, Sept. 1990, pp. 15,16). In the recent past, members desiring to leave the church had to go before such a council. This no longer holds true in most cases.