546: Rock Waterman (and Connie) Reports on his Mormon Excommunication

On June 3rd, 2015 Alan Rock Waterman (blogger at Pure Mormonism) was excommunicated from the LDS (Mormon) Church for blogging about his beliefs and differences with LDS Church policies.  In this episode Rock and his wife Connie retell the experience of his disciplinary council.





35 comments for “546: Rock Waterman (and Connie) Reports on his Mormon Excommunication

  1. Your friend in Bountiful
    June 4, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    I haven’t been able to leave a message on Rock’s blog since he turned off the anonymous option. So I’m glad to finally post here how much I appreciate Rock’s blog. It’s meant the world to me, as its helped me to understand and experience Christ’s gospel and the restoration in a much more meaningful way than ever before.

    But I am so disappointed with the church. For the first time in my life, I’m wondering if it’s really worth staying. It seems things are getting worse instead of better.

    Thank you, Rock, for sharing your experience with the rest of us. Love to you and Connie.

    John, what’s with the short format for Rock’s recent interviews? Both felt so rushed. Was it a time crunch? I wish Rock had been able to tell more of his story. If time permits, please keep that in mind for future interviews.

    • June 5, 2015 at 4:32 pm

      I agree. Both interviews felt rushed. It would be great to hear him talk for a couple of hours if that’s what it takes for him (and Connie) to say what they need to say.

      I do understand that, with this interview at least, that it was probably late and there may not have been enough time (needing to eat dinner, needing some family time, and squeezing Rock and Connie in there).

    • Jesse
      June 5, 2015 at 8:18 pm

      Don’t pay tithing, Malachi was just kidding……Great insight Rock. lol

  2. June 4, 2015 at 11:52 pm

    As John said to Rock at the end of the interview: “You are a modern day Abinidi”. I second that observation! There are many such people who are stepping into that role these days. Bless them all! They will be the ones who make a difference.

    • June 5, 2015 at 9:38 am

      On Easter Sunday, I began re-reading “The Book of Mormon” (Community of Christ edition) from the beginning to the end, for the first time in decades. Having resigned from the LDS institution in 2007, after being inactive for over 4 years. Having been completely free of LDS-ism’s influence for over a decade now, “The Book of Mormon” now reads like a new piece of literature to me.
      Four nights ago I read the chapter on the trial of Abinadi–and hearing Rock’s account of his LDS trial brings to mind that story. In “The Book of Mormon” that story initiates the story of Alma baptizing himself and others and forming the Church–not a denomination; not an organization; not a corporation–but a COMMUNITY of individuals through which the Spirit of God could move and inspire and nurture the human family.
      God bless you, Rock! The work you are doing is an important part of the FUTURE of the “marvelous, work and a wonder” that has been labeled “Mormonism.”

      • June 7, 2015 at 10:24 pm

        On your ‘community’ vs ‘corporation I heartily agree. Makes me remember when I had an epiphany about it in the late 1980s in the Long Beach Third Ward. Allow me to post my poem about it here:

        Russian Easter

        “Is it permitted?”
        Ask our two Moscow guests
        On a Long Beach bench
        As sacred emblems pass our way
        “We are not members
        Of your church.”

        “Yes,” I whisper,
        “All are Christians
        And believers here.”

        Then we three as one
        With tear-stained smiles
        And Slavic souls communing
        Took thus the broken loaf
        And through the Ancient date
        A Mystery rose to fuse
        The Awful Fission.

        Long Beach
        30 Apr 89

        • Liz
          June 8, 2015 at 4:40 pm

          I like your poem. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. Carl
    June 5, 2015 at 2:26 am

    Dear Rock,

    As I listened to this I was crying, crying for what the church I have given so much to have become, but mostly crying for happiness for all that you (and your wife) have done to bring so many closer to Christ.

    Thank you for your positive attitude, for standing up and just being good in the face of such degenerate human behavior as you’ve had to witness in some leaders of the church.

    Best regards, and thank you.

  4. Jason Bunting
    June 5, 2015 at 10:18 am

    Ultimately, in my opinion, the value to be derived from all of this is that we must cultivate our own relationship with Christ – regardless of whether it is “approved” by an earthly, formally-organized, fallible ‘church’ or not.

    Until we can break free of our need to be validated by others, we are, in a spiritual sense, still in need of healing. One cannot expect to be a “god” if one is still beholden, in any way, shape or form (i.e. spiritually, emotionally, physically, etc.) to those outside of ourselves. Bonds based in obligation are unhealthy – bonds based in agency are our goal.

    • June 5, 2015 at 10:34 am

      Amen and amen, Jason.

    • June 5, 2015 at 2:38 pm


    • Domestic Goddess
      June 5, 2015 at 4:11 pm

      Great comment

    • Annette Johnson
      June 12, 2015 at 10:14 am

      Read the Dark Night of the Soul. Your comments are exactly what this book is about. We need to rid ourselves of our attachments before we can really feel God’s influence and love. The process of the dark night brings us to a greater love for God, for ourselves, and for others.

      • Jason Bunting
        June 15, 2015 at 11:05 am

        Thank you for the recommendation, Annette – I’ll look into it. 🙂

  5. Marley
    June 5, 2015 at 10:40 am

    I second Your Friend in Bountiful.

    I have not been able to leave comments on Rock’s blog since he removed the anonymous option either. Secondly, John, it’s true. You really did rush Rock. He does have a tendency to be long-winded but it would have been nice to hear more of what he had to say.

    We live in an interesting time in the LDS faith right now. I don’t really know what to think. If what Rock reports is true, it is unfortunate and unfair that his blog entries were taken out of context. I just don’t know what to think anymore. :-/

    • June 5, 2015 at 12:09 pm

      Yes. I did rush Rock. It was a really bad evening for me to do the interview, but I felt it was important to Rock to get the interview out there. I did the best I could, but please know that it’s not my preference. I’ll try to minimize the need for that happening again.

      • Toni
        June 5, 2015 at 4:35 pm

        That’s what I thought. You wanted to get it out asap, and squeezed it in between what was happening in your life. Thank you for doing that. Your work is appreciated.

      • Jen
        June 5, 2015 at 5:09 pm

        Yes, Thank you John. We really appreciate being able to hear from Rock & Connie so quickly and your efforts and willingness to keep us informed on so many issues & circumstances. Your podcasts are a wonderful source of enlightenment.

  6. Maddy
    June 5, 2015 at 10:53 am

    Rock, this is really my first introduction to you. I don’t know that I agree with all your stances but we would have a few in common. I don’t understand exactly why this purge–excommunication of bloggers–is ongoing–except perhaps the church is trying to minimize the impact of your voice by “carving” you out. But, i would imagine this is a futile endeavor for there will always be someone else to take your “spot” from within the “fold.” But, I think leaders need to self-examine–get outside the “bubble”–and know that they are doing damage to the church by some of their actions and words.

    At a minimum, these excommunication proceedings, as described by you and others are despicable, dishonest, and un-Christlike.

    Good luck to you and Connie. Don’t let these proceedings change the goodness within you.

  7. Chad
    June 5, 2015 at 11:33 am

    Hello Rock, I certainly wish you & Connie the best.

    I think your excommunication only proves that it is impossible to abide unorthodoxy while having integrity within the Mormon church.

    I think you’ll be better off with this all behind you.

  8. Carebear
    June 5, 2015 at 11:48 am

    Raped by Care bears

    Rock. My heart goes out to you. You really were Abinadi standing as a witness in King Noah’s court.

    If I may, let me show you the words to the official LDS church illustrated “book of mormon stories” Chapter 14.

    You can find the whole illustrated version at: https://www.lds.org/manual/book-of-mormon-stories/chapter-14-abinadi-and-king-noah?lang=eng

    Each number below corresponds to an illustration. Please replace Abinadi’s name with Rock and King Noah with “the Bretheren”. It should make you sit up and say, “What the hell?”

    1. Zeniff was a righteous king of a group of Nephites. When he grew old, his son Noah became king.

    2.Noah was not a good king like his father. He was wicked and would not obey God’s commandments.

    3. He forced his people to give him part of their grain, animals, gold, and silver.

    4. King Noah did this because he was lazy. He made the Nephites give him everything he needed to live.

    5. He replaced the good priests his father had called with wicked priests…

    6. King Noah had many beautiful buildings made, including a large palace with a throne. The buildings were decorated with gold, silver, and expensive wood.

    7.King Noah loved the riches he took from his people…

    8. God sent a prophet named Abinadi to Noah’s people. Abinadi warned them…

    9. When King Noah heard what Abinadi had said, he was angry. He sent men to bring Abinadi to the palace so he could kill him.

    10. Abinadi was taken to the king. King Noah and his priests asked him many questions. They tried to trick him into saying something wrong.

    11. Abinadi was not afraid to answer their questions. He knew that God would help him…

    12. King Noah was angry and ordered his priests to kill Abinadi…

    13. Speaking with power from God, Abinadi told the people about their wickedness. He read God’s commandments to them.

    14. Abinadi told the people to repent and believe in Jesus Christ or they would not be saved.

    15. King Noah and all but one of his priests refused to believe Abinadi. Noah told the priests to throw Abinadi in prison.

    16. After spending three days in prison, Abinadi was again brought before King Noah. The king told Abinadi to take back what he had said against him and his people.

    17. King Noah told Abinadi that if he did not deny all he had said, he would be killed.

    18. Abinadi knew he had spoken the truth. He was willing to die rather than take back what God had sent him to say.

    19. King Noah ordered his priests to kill Abinadi. They tied him up, whipped him, and burned him to death.

    And we all know what happened to King Noah.

    Thank you Rock for standing for truth. Standing for our Lord Jesus Christ. Standing up for the little guy in the church who has been trampled by the elitists at the top. You are my hero!

  9. tropical animal
    June 5, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    Two smart, intelligent, loving, caring, sensitive people, kicked out of the church by a group of “authorities” who really didn’t want to
    do this, but were railroaded by their “calling.”

    Like so many things in the church, the script for members and, indeed, for your accusers, was not written by Jesus, nor is it something that loving men would do. Their script was predetermined. And your accusers were there, not because they wanted to be there, but were there playing out their role because that is what they are expected to do. Like an unrehearsed one-act high school play rather than by real people who were openly free to express their feelings.

    I agree with your point that the church has lost its direction.
    Too much emphasis on things like collecting money from
    the sale of temple tickets, rather than activating love
    and the loving community, which I feel, is the main mission.

    Doubtless, You and your wife, live the gospel better than your accusers.

    And the church continues to kick out the best and the brightest.
    When will they ever learn?

    Love you, my friends.

  10. Fred
    June 5, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    As the interview progressed I really found myself liking Rock Waterman. He just is so genuine and a truly nice hearted guy. Kind of guy that would be fun to have along for a long road trip as I don’t think I would ever tire of listening to him.
    That said, I do wish he had shown more empathy for the stake president and the high council. One thing I really appreciated about Dehlin was the way he was able to empathize with the fact that, in some ways this whole process was hard for his stake president too.
    My heart goes out to people who lose their faith and then have to go through these difficult things but often times they come across as playing the victim. Rock not so much but many others do.

  11. Bakirish
    June 5, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    When Rock had the Stake President read the definition of apostacy, Rock said the Stake President somehow “justified” that he had not frequently “corrected” and “counseled” Rock. What was the justification the Stake President gave to skirt this requirement?

  12. James
    June 5, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    Why can’t one record their own love court? What will the Brethren do? What damages can they prove? I need more meat, enough from the murky milksops on a king Noah’s dais. Courage my brothers and sisters. Hit record.

  13. Mike
    June 7, 2015 at 3:05 am

    i once experienced great outpourings of the holy Spirit when i was active. but after my faith crisis i got to see how the church is hurting faith and why people leave. i am like Rock. i still believe as he does but the leaders have allowed the church to become elitist and it looks like it has become corrupt – especially because of the severe lack of transparency on finances and actual attendance rates. we need a new church that fills the gap for those who leave in droves and sets an example for the lds church. we need it and we need it now !

  14. Elle
    June 7, 2015 at 11:28 pm

    You won my heart with Go Ahead and Skip That Temple Wedding and Are We Tithing Too Much?

    Who else would have the courage to write those pieces? I don’t know anyone.

    The Church – and the world – needs more thinkers and fewer yes men.

    Godspeed, Rock and Connie!

  15. Marisa
    June 9, 2015 at 10:20 am

    I loved listening to this interview and I’m so sorry that they treated you so poorly. I think it’s one thing for the leaders to treat Carson and me with coldness when we clearly state that we don’t believe, and quite another for them to treat you with coldness in your position. It’s also very disturbing that they took parts of your blog out of context and were manipulative in trying to create a case against you. It seems to be a great injustice, and even though I know that it’s doesn’t destroy your self-esteem or your ability to go to Heaven, it still hurts to go through it and to be treated with unfairness and animosity. Best wishes to you and Connie!

  16. Xposit
    June 10, 2015 at 9:13 am

    Rock, it surprises me that you were surprised by Doug Hansen’s lack of integrity. You didn’t actually believe he had any interest in a thoughtful dialogue, did you? Once you were asked to leave I doubt there was an ounce of integrity left in the room. How else does one explain these consistently unanimous votes to excommunicate? Blind obedience does not require integrity.

  17. Kelly
    June 10, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Very touching interview. I do not believe in god, but Rocks conviction and love that he emanates made me really appreciate his position and respect his beliefs. So many people use their belief in a religion to ostracize and hurt others, like this council did to Rock and Connie, but I feel that Rock and Connie are truly Christ-like. To excommunicate someone with such a strong testimony of Christ, the Book of Mormon, and joseph smith is so absurd. I wish you both the best, and thank you John for all of these interviews.

  18. Audrey
    June 21, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    Dear Rock & Connie – as a student of Mormonism, I found your story very interesting. You certainly drive home the fact that the “church” is financially oriented. Jesus Christ is not central to modern-day Mormonism – regardless of the use of His name in prayers, blessing the sacrament, etc. I am curious, if you were to omit Mormon doctrine from you life & focus only of the teachings of the Bible, what would you learn? What would be different in your life? How would you live? Who would you love? What will happen to you when you die? What would be the source of your joy & peace? Bless you as you grow in the knowledge & wisdom of the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

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