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  1. Good morning, I have been reflecting on the motivation for the disciplinary councils that have been discussed on Mormon Stories in the recent weeks. The episodes have been very interesting.

    Excommunication as a tool to ensure uniformity has historically been used for political purposes. Persecution of dissenters is certainly well established historically. To keep this brief, historical hierarchies, whether they be Roman or first century Jewish, are self-perpetuating structures that are ultimately in place because God wills it to be so. Those who challenge the hierarchy are ultimately challenging God. We recently discussed this aided by an article dealing with Jesus’ conflict with the Jewish authorities in a Biblical Studies paper I am involved with here at the University.

    Excommunication then is a tool to ensure uniformity, which is not unity. The church may eventually learn that uniformity does not create unity, but by the time it does, it will be too late for many.

    Quickly, this episode highlights that the priesthood leadership functions as a Board, as any Board of any commercial enterprise. Separating the management of the church from its ecclesiastical management would provide some relief to the questions currently being raised about leadership in the church. The Book of Mormon provides an example of Alma giving up the Judgement Seat to work full-time on his church stewardship. If we could divide the church from its corporate management then we could criticise corporate actions as faithful members without criticising the leadership. Of course we would then expect transparency in corporate governance.

    I find there are lots of things to say here, but will read what others have had to say.

  2. Thanks for doing the interview. It was interesting.

    I was one of the hundreds who went to Colorado. It was simply a get together of like-minded individuals who are interested in preserving the restoration, because the LDS Church is apparently trampling it under their feet as the basic doctrine becomes “Follow the current prophet,” even at the expense of Jesus’ teachings.

    It doesn’t really matter if the people waking up and doing what they feel the Lord wants (at great expense, sometimes) number a thousand, ten thousand, or ten million. God wants a people who will listen to Him. The Church is like the farm Joseph Smith dreamed about. I’m sure it would not accept him now, not the real Joseph and his real teachings.

    There needs to be a people here when Jesus comes, a people who can bear His presence without turning into burnt toast. As people turn to Him, are baptized as the scriptures dictate (like Alma did, and like Jesus instructed the Nephites), partake of the sacrament as the scriptures dictate (kneeling, wine), receive the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, and continue until they come into the Lord’s presence, there will be a people who can bear the Lord’s presence – who will not die in His glorified presence.

    Even if it is only one family, that is enough. Hopefully, there will be thousands, tens of thousands, and more.

  3. For those interested in a further, deeper discussion on the tithing thread, on a “safe/ friendly” LDS forum, these pages explore everything Rock covered plus more. Safe for LDS friends and family be referred to.

    The thread demonstrated that Tithing was meant to be payable on Surplus income only. Very long thread, hundreds of posts, decimates anyone who says it is payable on gross or net, using scriptures and historical documents and practices.

    Also important to know that Malachi 3 was God talking to the CHURCH / the priests. Read Mal 1&2 and it’s very clear.

    Rock has touched a nerve…. Tithing receipts must be down if they’re after him.

    Good luck Rock, not that you need it.

    Nice Porter Rockwell look too
    http://www.ldsfreedomforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=28207

  4. Moses tried his best to get the people to seek God directly and most of them refused, they wanted Moses to do that for them. Lehi had a dream and his son Nephi believed his fathers words but, he went to the Lord for a confirmation and received his own vision. Enos heard his father explain his testimony but went out hunting and prayed until he received an answer from the Lord. Joseph Smith read in James that if he lacked wisdom to ask of God and he would find what he sought. The Lord told us to come unto Him, he employed no servant at the gate. He could not be deceived. He also said the cursed is he that trusts in man or makes flesh his arm. Rock like many of us wants to follow the Lord not men. I agree with him.

    1. “Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD” My question, how many of you place the fulcrum of your faith in Joseph Smith? If he was a fraud then everything that arises out of his acts is a fraud.

  5. Rock should return the disciplinary council invitation letter to sender … marked in red with an F grade for spelling.

    If the Church is going to ex him for apostasy, they should at least spell the crime correctly.

  6. Wow! Talk about an Abinadi moment that is about to happen. The church’s approach to silent people is futile. So happy to be alive in this day and age. I don’t agree with Rock’s statements, but I love his perspective. I wish I could be in that room with him.

  7. I don’t know Rock personally but his blog was very important for my faith transition. Therefore, Rock is one of my favorite people in the world. He showed me that Mormonism is not an all or nothing proposition. I can have faith in some things and discard the obvious hypocrisy or lies about the history of the Church.

    I am an active member and I am more interested in the gospel than ever before. I enjoy learning about the doctrines of the church and how they sometimes differ from the Mormon traditions or member doctrines. It is fascinating to become aware of the differences between what the Lord said and the opinions of men.

    When I see the church leaders contradict the Lord I am mostly amused. Without Rocks example, I would be mostly annoyed.

    I also recommend reading Elder Christofferson’s talk “The Doctrine of Christ” https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/04/the-doctrine-of-christ?lang=eng&query=the+doctrine+of+christ
    This talk helped me understand that even today; one of the apostles acknowledges that not everything we hear from the leaders over the pulpit is by revelation. Revelation through the Prophet is where any new doctrine, that is binding upon the church will be conveyed.

    There are so many doctrines in Mormonism that never came from a revelation to a Prophet. They are perpetuated by members and leaders anyway. Many of the talks I hear come from the leaders who “Persist in teaching as church doctrine information that is not Church doctrine…” I am clearly and openly helping and supporting them by pointing out this discrepancy. They teach the ideas, opinions, or philosophies that come from men and they mix them with scripture. Tithing is a true doctrine that is completely encapsulated by false doctrines whenever you hear about it in church.

  8. Thanks for this incredible interview. I have never read Rock’s blog before but I found the tithing post you linked to be spot on. I may disagree with Mr. Waterman on a few issues, but I admire his willingness to really learn about the gospel and encourage others to study these issues out for themselves.

  9. Rock, you have such an important message to convey. I am stunned by your depth of knowledge, but I have a trouble with some of what I see on your blog. I speak specifically of a moving picture you included in the blog post “How Corporatism Has Undermined and Subverted The Church of Jesus Christ.” In it you depict the heads of Presidents Monson and Packer, Elder Bednar, and Sheri Dew on the bodies of rock stars and title the picture “Mormon Idols.” I believe you have a point, but I recoil at mocking and sarcasm which I think this depiction is. Would you be willing to remove these kinds of elements of your blog? I think your message would be more powerful.

    1. Well Rock, there’s your answer to why you’re being exed. How DARE you put LDS Inc leader’s heads on rock star bodies! {facepalm at Joy} (Proof that you’re right about the idol worship)

      The good news is that we Mormons are a passive-aggressive bunch (wusses) so the penalty will simply be excommunication and severe shunning (and no more cookies delivered to your home on paper plates on the last day of the month!)

      Try mocking the prophet of the religion a couple of notches higher on the crazy scale and it’s “Death to Rock Waterman”! (If that were to happen, at least the T-shirts would be cool: “I am Rock”) 😉

  10. I have communicated with Rock directly via email and he ALWAYS answers my questions, concerns and speculations. He is very kind and knowledgeable. We don’t agree on Joseph Smith and his status as a prophet, but that has never stopped our dialogue.

    Thanks for that Rock. I appreciate your taking the time to communicate with me.

    Now this excommunication rampage is comical. The church has doubled down on these proceedings and I don’t believe they know how damaging they are to the public relations image they try so hard to protect. Who is in charge over there? Seriously. It cannot be men who emulate Jesus Christ. Members who are finding out about the high profile members are wondering what the hell is happening. Then when they hear the stories (thanks to John) they are more sympathetic than anything else. Why? BECAUSE THEY HAVE DOUBTS ABOUT SOME PARTS OF THE FATIH TOO!

    I hope the New York Times features Rock’s excommunication story. The truth matters.

    Good luck Rock.

  11. Great to see Rock Waterman back on Mormon Stories. Great to hear the stories of so many shades of Mormon belief. Loved the blog posts referenced in the podcast. I look forward to the post disciplinary council update. Rock, I wish for you way more than luck.

  12. What if the whole point of the gospel is to set us on a path out of the “corporate” church? What if excommunication is a worthy goal? What if God, through the corporate church, is trying to help these people realize they have “graduated” from this part of the journey?

    I’m not saying it’s true, but perhaps it’s an idea worth considering – no?

    1. What if the LDS Church was never part of God’s plan at all? What if Joseph was not a true prophet? What if he made up everything and/or was deceived by false angels or a false Christ?

      What if Christ was serious when he said ‘beware of false prophets’, who preach and practice and write new scriptures contrary to Christ’s commandments, like Joseph Smith did?

      What if God is testing us to see if we will fall for false prophets like Joseph Smith, who claim to be true prophets and who tell people to ‘pray about it/him”, cause he knows people will naturally think their warm fuzzies are God’s confirmation and never think they could be from their own mind or from the Adversary.

      Most religions teach the idea of ‘warm fuzzies as confirmation’ of what they preach. But Christ didn’t, he said ‘test the spirits’ too, for they can easily deceive us.

      Why don’t more people have the same doubts, questions and concerns about Joseph Smith as they do about Brigham Young or the current LDS leaders?

      Joseph did not pass Christ’s test of a true prophet any better then any other LDS leader. So what, if Joseph was a false prophet and we fell for him for a while, it mattereth not, for we still have Christ, who said we don’t need anyone else.

      1. Jen –

        We can play “what if” all day long. All. Day. Long.

        If people can’t trust their own internal compass, what are they supposed to trust? I’m sure as hell not trusting any other human being or measure other than my own internal compass, that’s for sure. When it comes time to face the judgment bar, in any sense, I have to answer for myself – I can tell you pointing fingers in any direction other than at myself is going to fail.

        You are right about one thing: following Christ, if one proclaims to be a Christian, is the only thing you should truly focus on – whether one ‘believes’ in Joseph Smith’s experience, the current LDS church, the Catholic church or some other. Ultimately, Christ is all that matters at the end of the day.

        1. Christ taught us to not trust even our ‘own internal compass’, for we can easily be wrong. Just looking at all the different religions people are ‘absolutely sure’ are right, tells us why Christ said that.

          Though it’s true we can learn knowledge through the Holy Spirit, false spirits can and do also teach us many falsehoods.

          Thus Christ said to test any revelation, inspiration or feelings we may get (or a prophet make get) to make sure they are from God, meaning ‘not contrary’ to his teachings and commandments.

          Christ’s teachings are our only sure standard of truth, ‘not’ our internal compass, which can easily be wrong and we would never know it. For wrong can feel so right and right can feel so wrong sometimes.

          When anyone says to ‘pray about it’ to know if something is true, you can know for sure that they aren’t following Christ and are hoping you just take your warm fuzzies as proof.

          While Christ taught us to ‘prove all things’ before believing them, including and especially our internal compass.

          When we do this we can easily see that the preaching and practices of all LDS prophets are completely contrary to Christ’s teachings.

          1. Jen, you are playing word games. How do we know? You say “Christ said to test any revelation, inspiration or feelings we may get” and “Christ’s teachings are our only sure standard of truth,” and “Christ taught us to ‘prove all things’ before believing them.”

            That’s great – how do you do that? I think you are missing the point. Just as Joseph Smith correctly observed: “the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.”

            In other words, in case you can’t understand what he is saying: everyone has a different interpretation of things, therefore you cannot say “oh, just do what the Bible says,” because that’s questionable, at best.

            So, we are back where we started: How do I know what is and what isn’t of God? I have to trust myself and that God will speak to me. We are not here to learn to trust others. Even in your own statements, there’s a huge assumption you don’t seem to appreciate: that I trust what I interpret as being “proof” – that’s the only basis we have for anything. Not sure you realize it, but your understanding of the universe is the only one you’ve ever had and the only one that matters. And the same goes for me.

            What if you’re wrong? How would you know? How do you know you can trust your own interpretation of anything?

            For me, I have to trust me.

          2. Jen, I agree completely with you because what you said came from the Biblical scriptures. If we don’t believe the Word of God, then we are lost. The word of God is the Bible, and the Living Word is Jesus our Messiah.

      2. I wish I had time to really respond to this, because every “what if” that you throw out could be true. But I find it fascinating that people can read the bible and have a problem with Joseph Smith. Lot’s daughters got him drunk and had sex with him to start a righteous seed. The Lord had a fish swallow Jonah and obviously gave him the air needed to survive inside there. For a guy like me who spends so much of his time in the water, that is pretty crazy stuff. There are so many more bizarre examples of the Lord dealing with people that make Joseph look like a boy scout. The Lord was loving David, with at least 6 wives, having sex with different women every night, but then David loses his place in heaven with adultery with the 7th wife, but oh yea, Christ’s lineage comes from the adulterous relationship between David and Bethsheba!

        So I don’t have a problem with Joseph because, although he had sex with multiple women, liked magic, and lied to his wife, its pretty small stuff in God’s dealings. What I love about Joseph is with all his faults, he did prophetic things. I seriously long for prophetic things to happen and that is why the church in my eyes is so off course. I don’t need them, as my happiness doesn’t depend on it, and I love my relationship with my God, but it is just cool when he is working through a prophet on earth like with Noah, those are adventurous times. I don’t detect a prophetic uttering or action for like at least 100 years, likely since 1844. And that goes for all the churches. Seriously, Glenn Beck makes more prophecies per month that have come true than every jds prophet since Joseph put together. The popes, like none, preachers in small churches across America, little tiny ones here and there and mostly for their flock, but nothing real substantial.

        So What If it is God’s plan to plop a prophet down on earth for some truth and then we are supposed to go directly to him for our personal revelation from then on out? I listen to christian’s and I love them, but it is really hard for me to pray to an amorphous God. My wife is my best friend and I’d love to spend eternity hanging with her. So I appreciate those little nuggets that most Christians reject. And I like talking to my father in heaven and thinking we could sit by a campfire by the ocean some day and talk about this crazy adventure. I don’t like the idea of hanging out with a big blob of anti-matter that became a man then turned back into being in everything and could be just thoughts in my mind as he fills the universe. I think God’s plan is a whole lot bigger than the mormon church, but I think that it definitely has it’s place in the puzzle as did Joseph.

        Have fun with your what if’s, what if we aren’t real, we just think we are. Those thoughts don’t do anything for my happiness and many of the thoughts that came through Joseph are seeds I planted and feel pretty good and have grown into some pretty cool happiness trees in my life.

      3. Very good questions. What if the LDS CHURCH INC. is only a money making organization fraudulently promising things that will never come about?

  13. Best wishes to you Rock in your Court of Love?! Let your light continue to shine and stand forth. I admire your strong belief and knowledge in the restoration/church of old. Wow, how it has changed from my early years. It was special as a youth early on with all of the activities. I have since graduated from Separation and Harmful beliefs. Life is good. It is a simple beautiful life and I love my Neighbors!

  14. Hey, U-Rock!

    I’m delighted you are calling it as you see it … openly in public … which is The Brethren’s definition of Apostasy … telling the truth out loud. How dare you?

    I will confess, however, that my pencil breaks every time I try to connect your dots. You come across as very intelligent with cognition well intact. I was astonished to hear you state that you believe Joseph saw God and Jesus in person, you believe the Golden Plates existed and the Book of Mormon is not fiction, etc.

    (sound of throat clearing … ) Rock, have you read the CES Letter? Really. No, Really. Have you read it?

    My opinion is that your local bishop and SP are asking you a totally rational question: Why do you want to be a member of a Church whose leadership you have essentially dismissed as modern-day corporate frauds?

    Pretty certain you will be excommunicated unless you agree to shut up. In the meantime, I am baffled as to how you can honestly continue to believe the Joseph Smith cartoon. You are kidding, right? You have some strategy to profess belief in hopes to not get yourself ex’d?

    If so, you will not want to spill the beans until after they kick your butt out the chapel door with an invitation to check back in a year.

    Rock, help me connect your dots here. They are simply refusing to hook up for me. Why haven’t you transitioned to the Community of Christ?

    Thanks much.

    1. Every now and then I get asked this question: “why don’t you go and join the Community of Christ?”

      That presupposes that one or the other of these branches of the restoration has the “true authority.” I reject the idea that any one denomination holds the keys.

      Whatever “authority was on the earth at one time seems to have died with joseph and Hyrum. It certainly was not passed on to Brigham Young, and if Joseph III ever was ordained (a possibility), the RLDS tradition is running on fumes today just as the Brighamites are.

      It’s time to realize that no man or group of men owns the church of Jesus Christ. We can look around and see the leaders of neither faction demonstrate the gifts they claim to have. What we do have is the scriptures, and the hope that one day God will clean this mess up. In the meantime, who needs leaders? Jesus is King.

      1. This is such a resounding, fresh notion. We really get caught up in the things of man, at all levels.

        Best of luck at your hearing. I think you have them scared.

  15. Rock Waterman’s stake pres and bishop seem to be relatively unfamiliar with his writings. Clearly his leaders are being directed to hold a disciplinary council. His stake pres wouldn’t do this on his own without really knowing what it is that Rock even writes.

    It reminds me of the Calderwood’s disciplinary council where the stake president proceeded with deep reluctance and read a list of straw man charges that didn’t exactly fit, as though he were cribbing from someone else’s notes.

    And why the one year wait to finally hold a disciplinary council against Rock? Because whoever is pulling the strings didn’t want Rock’s excommunication to appear coordinated with John Dehlin’s and Kate Kelly’s? Please. Any fool can see what’s going on here. The one year wait only made it more obvious.

  16. Excellent podcast. One that would topple this one would pair Brother Waterman and ex-Brother Larsen sharing some views. Larsen has expressed concerns about a strain of fundamentalism gaining a hold of “The Church”. I believe that albeit Brother Waterman is on point in many of his criticisms his view seems, from a distance, insular. Matter of fact, sorry to say but you sometimes speak “we” meaning a very narrow section of people. Brother Waterman strikes me as the Tea Party movement of Mormonism. Always this idea that the 19th century was somehow better. Less Brethren equals better church. The “We” means a rather narrow concept. If that was the case, neither I nor my first wife [whose faith I do admire to this day] would have never been exposed to the Gospel….. because “we” means a narrow moment in geography and time . The Church has spent considerable monies becoming an international church. Such operations are neither cheap nor simple to plan, operate and execute. Operationally those organizations will reflect a corporation. Is Brother Waterman saying that the Church should go back to it’s 19th century fundamentals or to de-evolve into THE 19TH CENTURY Organization? Sometimes is not altogether clear what he means….. Ex Brother Larsen would say that since it is moot to move forward philosophies that are of dubious nature and origins it is better to do nothing and head for the next watering hole and have some beers, preferably IPA’s. One has to be trendy u know?……… Nonetheless the podcast was great and I follow them with interest. I’m a fan.

  17. I enjoyed Rock’s point of view. I found it a bit disingenuous with the stated purpose of Mormon Stories that John began challenging Rock on his belief in the continued existence of God’s true church on the earth (followed by a nervousness of playing with his hair in an apparent display of frustration). I thought this forum was meant for all views, so John, please be careful not to call others beliefs out like you began to do with Rock.

    1. It jarred me too, but then I realized John was trying to fully round out the interview. But the problem is, the topic needs it’s own dedicated show, starting with let’s define what a church is, and going from there.

  18. Your excommunication is a foregone conclusion, Rock. Someone at the top threw the switch which started the wheels turning. Curiously, your local leaders are unwitting and unknowing pawns in this effort to get you into the religious garbage chute. Because something taught with good reason in the D&C is also being applied to these corporate housecleaning power plays the term ‘court of love’ has become wildly ironic.

    I admire your regard for your friends the local accusers—you know, the ones unsure if you’re leaving Stacy or being booted out of a religious club. Your intention to witness to them of Jesus Christ, his doctrine and church, is the exciting part of this scenario. Like in the story of Abinadi, there is a real possibility that through you, the spirit may touch the heart of one of these good folks and open him up to greater light and knowledge. Light and love to you.

  19. Best wishes to you Rock in your Court of Love?! I admire your strong belief and knowledge in the restoration/church of old. Wow, how it has changed from my early years. It was special as a youth early on with all of the activities. I have since graduated from Separation, Judgement, and Harmful Beliefs. Life is good. It is a simple beautiful life and I love my Neighbors, May the force be with you.

  20. I have truly enjoyed reading Rock’s writings. He has an acute sense of humor, which I wish our church leaders had more of. I hope he does not ever stop. I am so thankful that I found his blog or I would feel so alone in the world. He is spot on for me on most issues. Of course none of us agree on everything. That’s what our leaders don’t get. Even they disagree on things…. “Conflict in the Quarom”…. and isn’t that part of the human experience?

  21. Very sound and logical arguments, which of course are what will get you into trouble with the modern corporate church. It looks like you are being charged with “apostacy,” whatever that may be. Good luck!

  22. Rock,

    i like how you say it as you see it. the problem i see with lds mormonism lies at the top. serious change needs to happen but no one seems to want serious change at the top. we need disenfranchised lds mormons to start a movement that keeps the good of the church (ordinances) and throws away what doesn’t work with in the lds church. a hybrid model that is partly community of christ in social progressiveness but keeps the ordinances of the lds church. i am all for women (or girls) holding the priesthood and allow for gay marriage ! thats the kind of church we need – flexibility, social progressiveness, where leaders listening to the needs of the members isn’t optional.

  23. Rock,

    you make some great points. as a believing but disaffected lds mormon who has studied the problems of lds mormonism over the years i believe mormons like us ought to band together and to just start a new faith community. to me it seems like the option that makes the most emotional, spiritual, and social sense. instead of dwelling on the negativities of lds mormonism lets just build a new faith community. that seems to me to be the healthiest option.

    John,

    have you ever thought of having a guest on who specializes on sociology ? i just changed my major to sociology and many of the concepts i am learning in sociology very well apply to the way the lds church is run namely patriarchy, hegemony, heterosexism and so on.

    a great interview.

    truly,

    Michael F.

  24. One of my favorite stories in the scriptures is when Christ excommunicated people for honest disagreements and then purged his church. I just love that story!

    1. Yea, David that’s my favorite story too.
      When Jesus presides over a tribunal of love to determine the evil committed and then to punish accordingly.
      I love it when peevish, prying and intimate questions reveal the apostate’s crimes.
      Oh to return to the days of an honest man.

  25. The church doesn’t care about doctrine or what the scriptures say; they care about their agenda and maintaining their positions. I’ve been listening to many of these interviews and the common theme is not to rock the boat. If you start to doubt and question it in a public manner, you’re out. That’s just bad form and more telling about an organization than anything. As the church gets older, it seems like some of the core teachings are changing and people just accept everything that comes from Salt Lake, but again, that’s one of the commandments. Any intelligent person or organization will seek questions and answers, even if the questions are outside the norm of that organization.

  26. Rock,

    Thanks for the interview. I liked the part where you regretted going to seeing the bishop about your “transgression.” Never once have I found peace and relief from my sins by confessing to the bishop. In fact, all it has given me is more shame and leverage for the church.

    It wasn’t until I realized, all I needed to do was confess my sins to my Lord and Savior, that I received true relief from my pain. For the last 6 years I have gone to my savior Jesus Christ and confessed my sins. The results have been transforming. I am a new person. I no longer harbor guilt, shame and anger. My love for all has grown in leaps and bounds. I have never in my 45 years been a happier person.

    I encourage all who believe they need to confess their sins to a dentist or a lawyer (i.e. Bishop) to seriously reconsider and come back to Christ. Your life never be the same!!

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