463-464: Rock Waterman and Pure Mormonism

574876_10150814425937146_510220503_nToday we interview Rock Waterman – the founder of the blog Pure Mormonism.  Rock’s basic position is that he believes in the LDS restoration (e.g., Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, Book of Mormon is scripture), but he also believes that the current LDS church has gone astray.  In this two-part series, we discuss Rock’s views on several topics including:

  1. How we (as church members) are engaging in idolatry through leader worship.
  2. Why we (as church members) are paying much more tithing than the Lord requires, along with a guide for how to calculate your own tithing, based on direction to mission presidents.
  3. Why the City Creek Mall was/is a bad idea.
  4. How being pro-war and LDS don’t fit very well together.
  5. How LDS General Authorities are engaging in priestcraft.
  6. How corporatism has undermined and subverted the Church of Jesus Christ
  7. Why it is ok (as a Mormon) to drink beer.
  8. Why he believes that Joseph Smith never practiced polygamy.  (Here is the book reference mentioned in the podcast).
  9. Why the excommunication of Denver Snuffer was a bad move for the LDS church, and why Rock is not afraid to be excommunicated.
  10. Rock’s testimony.

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  1. I used to have some respect for this guy.

    The only person on the planet that believes Joseph Smith didn’t practice polygamy and polyandry is Hales and now this guy.

    What absolute nonsense!

    1. Totally agree! Sad, very sad to see how they discount most of the FACTS! Of course they believe JS —– he would never lie just like the current GAs!

    2. Hales and the Prices have made solid analysis in their writing. For you to be so dismissive and call it nonsense begs certain questions to me: Have you read their writings? Do you have a rebuttal to their analysis other than to call it nonsense? Or perhaps you have an interest in saving face by following the popular consensus without further investigation. So if you can honestly reply and state you have read and examined the analysis of Hales and the Prices and point out where they are wrong, you’ll forgive me if I grant Rock a it of slack here. he’s definitely correct in many other areas.

    3. And quite a few snufferites on the LDS Freedom Forum.
      It’s all that they have left I fear, think?
      But credit where it’s due, Rock is one of the best and was key in helping me (not be afraid to dissent from the “Lords Anointed” by) opening my eyes and being honest about all the information and evidences I was suppressing.

      Our family of 5 got out a few months ago

      Never been happier

      1. Hey Aussie, you sound like a couple I know who recently moved to the United States. They had been branded as apostates here in Adelaide Australia, due to some very unChristlike actions taken by local leaders (who are TBM company men and ignorant of much in LDS history)

        1. Yeah I used to be her home teacher in while her evil mother was ……being evil.
          I’m good friends with her friends, and wow, they’re doing it tough right now.
          Wife and I, and 3 kids left last December mate.
          Never been happier
          Adam B is hanging onto the Denver route- “there’s something there”.
          And you?

          1. Yeah I’m sympathetic to brother Snuffer. I think he represents a new wave, kind of a pseudo Post correlation LDS renaissance, but he is being silenced, but you can’t silence an idea. What we see today in modern corporate LDS is a clinging to the vestigial remnants of original LDS thought, but reprocessed and repackaged for mass consumption. Adam and I correspond regularly. I miss Andrew and Eva (Renee). My wife and I have talked about what happened to them. My approach: The Scribes and Pharisees (the so called PSRs) sit in Moses (Joseph and Brigham’s) seat. All therefore that they bid you do and observe that do, but do not after their works.

          2. Reply to your 4:17.
            Yeah, I used to be like that too. But only because I had so much invested in it. Tithing, mission, no sex on fast Sundays, cleaned toilets. Once I stopped kidding myself, I could see that what I saw now, was much the same then. A ruse, a scam, a fraud. Maybe a benevolent fraud, but lies nonetheless.
            This is what I can understand about you, Adam, Rock, Denver. You can all see so clearly how it is a filthy, corrupted institution today, but won’t see how obvious the holes, errors, contradiction and lies were then? Too much invested, and misinterpreting some metaphysical experience(s) earlier in life as meaning the (LDS) church was a divine restoration. At_very_best that means Brigham and his successors were filthy liars and usurpers. I dont know how you/ they can participate in this church….how aren’t they members of the RLDS?

  2. You express many Christian views from the BoM because that is where JS got it —— from the Christian ministers of his day. To put your words in the true Christian perspective: Everyone MUST be born again (normally accomplished by requesting forgiveness of sins (past and future) and recognizing Jesus as your Lord and Savior and having Him come into your heart —- experience pure love, freedom, see this life and God’s other creations in a different perspective, and a strong desire to do good). Christians who have been Born Again are members of the “Body” (true believers from all churches that have been Born Again) first and attend bible study at various churches to “learn the Word” better but understand churches are not perfect but just help us learn the bible and help us interact with other believers. Unfortunately, I have NEVER met a Born Again Mormon that has not left the church very long after their Born Again experience (Shawn McCreany took quite a while though) —- such as myself even though more family problems occurred. I have met one Mormon who claimed he was Born Again —- after questioning him he just believed anyone that committed their lives to serve (he was a temple worker) were Born Again —– I didn’t have the guts to tell him he was soo wrong.

  3. Bob, I think you may be confused. Brian Hales does indeed believe Joseph Smith practiced polygamy and that it is a true principle, which is why I recommend his books to those who wish to be fully apprised of that position.

    I take the skeptical view, as provided in the volumes under the title “Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy.” I believe that a thorough knowledge of the controversy is essential before one asserts one point of view over another as definitive truth; and even then I am reluctant to confidently declare one view absolutely true when historical inquiry has raised so many doubts.

    Nevertheless, once you have acquired more knowledge on the subject, I would welcome your input so that I may understand precisely where it is you feel my position is in error.

  4. My great great grandmother Emily Partridge was sealed to Joseph Smith along with her sister. Sorry, but Joseph was a polygamist.

    1. Randal, a whole lot of women came forward circa 1878 claiming to have been sealed to Joseph Smith while they were younger and living in Nauvoo. The only evidence of such sealings took place decades later when Joseph Smith was represented by a proxy stand-in. If you have any solid contemporary evidence that Emily Partridge was sealed to Joseph Smith during his lifetime (a certificate of sealing, diary entry written in Nauvoo at the time of the alleged sealing, etc.), I would very much like to examine it, and I know several historians who would also be interested.

      1. Rock, what are your thoughts on William Clayton’s journals? To me, Clayton’s journals clearly show Joseph’s involvement in polygamy, particularly his desire to keep his involvement in it a secret matter (e.g., cryptic entries like “J to LW,” meaning “Joseph to Lucy Walker”). Are you saying that you think these entries are backdated or not credible in some way? Curious to hear your thoughts (P.S., I’ve read Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy, and I find that they attack later recountings made by William Clayton from the 1870s, but conveniently fail to address the evidence of his journals from the 1840s).

        1. James, I agree with researcher Robert Fields who says he’d like to see the original diaries. There are conflicting accounts regarding number of volumes, pages, and length. All I have seen so far is published accounts of what is in them; never photocopies of the originals. Presumably the originals are in the Church archives, and unobtainable to the public.

          One of the things we learn from Daymon Smith is that much of what we have gleened from the early Saint’s diaries and journals were not contemporary accounts written as they happened, but often accounts written as much as a decade or more later. They would more accurately be considered “memoirs” rather than accounts entered into a journal dailty at the time the events are supposed to have taken place.

          1. So, I’m confuse. You do believe that William Clayton’s diaries were backdated or that there is some Church historian’s office cover-up to hide the originals from the public? I know Richard Bushman and Michael Quinn have both seen the originals. Are they also part of the cover-up?

    2. I am also a descendent of the Patridges but through Eliza. After Edward Partridge died some of his daughters including Emily, and his wife Lydia, were directed by Brigham Young to travel to Missouri and sell the Independence temple lot for $300 dollars. (Or something close to that amount.) They were told to tell no one the purpose of this trip and not to make record of it in their private journals. Eliza, who was the other sister who was also sealed to Joesph, had a journal before she left Nauvoo that was destroyed. I have always believed she was sealed to Joesph but there is evidence that Brigham Young asked these girls to lie about other things. So why not polygamy? I’m still not sure what I think about it. By the way this information comes from Edward Partridge’s history and from there they site the minutes of the church.

  5. Having had the chance to listen to John’s interview with me, I wish to make a clarification about a thing or two I said.

    (I realize I was rushing and rambling all over the place in that interview, and often failed to finish my thoughts. Sometimes those thoughts were pointless and irrelevant, such as my description of working at Disneyland, quitting, and going to work elsewhere; and now having listened to those embarrassing ramblings -which gave my wife reasons to laugh at me when she heard me going on like that- I’m grateful to John for steering me back on topic. IN MY DEFENSE…I am recovering from pneumonia, and for a half hour prior to the interview I had just subjected myself to a treatment from a nebulizer machine that blew mists of adrenaline straight into my lungs, rendering me unusually hyper and scatterbrained. That doesn’t account for how hyper and scatter-brained I have been in previous interviews, but for now that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

    Anyway. What I want to mention now is that I may have given the impression in the interview that my baptism of fire arrived completely unbidden. Not so. I had in fact been pondering on this business for some time, having read accounts in scripture that differed substantially from what I had been taught in Church, i.e. that the baptism of fire is gradual, that it is nothing more than the still, small voice, and that the Mighty Change spoken of by the prophets of old arrives gradually as we hone and obtain our testimony.

    Everything I was reading in scripture indicated that it was much more powerful than that, and I had been pondering upon this for the umpteenth time when, as I was lying on the floor with a pillow under my head, the fire arrived, suddenly but unmistakably.

    So if I conveyed the impression that I had not been praying, that impression would be incorrect. I had indeed been praying and pondering prior to this moment, but nowhere near as fervently as Enos had. I had been curious about this thing called the baptism of fire, and as a result I had been seeking for it, and as I mentioned in the interview, I have since learned that for some people it comes as easy for them as it did for me, while others have to struggle mightily to get it.

    I shouldn’t say it came easy, because for heaven’s sake it was almost four decades after my mission before it arrived for me. But the reason it finally happened was because in the weeks leading up to that moment when I was lying on the floor, I had been SEEKING to have that experience. I doubt very much that it would have come unbidden if I had not had the desire to know what it was all about.

    So my point is, we do have to put some effort into obtaining that witness, and it certainly helps to have a good deal of faith. I had the faith. In fact, I felt that it was about time I allowed myself to REALLY receive the Holy Ghost. So just like that, it happened.

    Secondly, John asked if I had had the Second Comforter and I told him I had not, and that the reason I had not is that I really don’t think I’m entitled to it. Had I elaborated, I would have made it clear that I don’t think such an experience is impossible; I do indeed believe it is possible. I believe others who claim to have had the experience of seeing Christ. But for me AT THIS TIME, I lack sufficient faith for that to happen to me. Doubtless I have been conditioned through a lifetime of membership in the church that such things don’t happen to regular folks like me. Hence, it won’t happen until I develop the kind of faith needed.

    Hopefully in the future I’ll learn to develop that kind of faith, but right now I’m like a lot of people; the idea is so new and novel, I can’t fathom I could ever be “worthy” of the experience. That doesn’t mean I never intend to seek it.

    1. Rock you sounded great. Most people will appreciate that it is difficult when put on the spot to clearly articulate your thoughts and your enthusiasm comes out in abundance. If we could all be excited talking about this, with the freedom to speak our point of view without judgement, we would wouldn’t all be bored out of our minds in church.

      You are precisely the type of person we need in the dialogue of what to make of Mormonism–for better or worse.

      Your baptism of fire experience was wonderful and really the hightlight. Anyone who focuses on anything else you said really missed the most important pearl you shared.

  6. Joseph Smith was no polygamist.
    The majority of evidence suggests he was, but the weight of evidence suggests he wasn’t. This means the more reliable, closer to home, contemporay evidence certainly points to him not practicing plural marriage. In fact, he appears to have opposed it.
    I have studied this issue for years and used to believe the party line etc, but changed my view when I actually investigated the evidence myself rather than simply accept the views of “experts” who claim to have done the same. It appears Rock has done a similar thing, though he is not dogmatic on the subject and is open to new evidence either way. He has simply reviewed the evidence for what it is, rather than what people say it is, and has drawn the conclusion there is insufficient evidence to convict.
    I personally feel Joseph was sealed to a number of people, but that did not constitute marriage as we unerstand it. When we look at “sealing” through 21st century eyes we read “marriage”, but I don’t believe the Nauvoo saints saw it that way.

    Stormin, you seem to have a very narrow view of what constitutes being born-again. You seem to be saying that you recognise Christ as your personal saviour, ask for forgiveness, and then study the Bible. What did those early Christians do before there was a Bible?
    Seems to me you’ve just exchanged one paradigm (LDS) for another paradigm (Evangelical). I don’t know why, but that strikes me as a little sad. You need to move on my friend. Still, whatever works for you…..

      1. James, for those who accept the conventional story of Fanny Alger, Brian Hales in “Joseph Smith’s Polygamy” provides a more accurate and much less licentious account than the one most of us have heard.

        Forgive me for not re-typing or attempting to summarize Hale’s lengthy account here, but I don’t intend to get into any of this online; debating this topic eats at my time, and it is futile to discuss with persons who would prefer easy soundbite answers rather than dig deeply into the existing research themselves.

        I don’t say this as a dig to you personally, James, as your question appears sincere. But I have, in the past, wasted days attempting to get others to at least consider an alternative view to what they have already concluded is an undisputed historical fact.

        Since credible scholars have produced arguments both pro and con, and serious questions have been raised on both sides, I say buy their books; they deserve better than to have their research ignored while fools like me attempt to summarize their findings in a few paragraphs.

        Here are the links to what I consider the leading proponents of the controversy, both pro and con:

        Pro: “Joseph Smith’s polygamy,” Brian Hales, 3 volumes


        Con: “Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy,” Richard and Pamela Price, 2 Volumes, with a third volume anticipated


        Anyone who really wants to understand this issue owes it to themselves to become familiar with what we know and what we do not know. Forensic history is a science, and thus always in flux.

  7. To use his own words against him, in relation to why we study latter day prophets – why would I care what Rock Waterman says? Sorry, this episode was a waste of my time and energy.

    1. I would imagine that Rock would agree with you.

      The point you are missing is that the IDENTITY of the speaker of an idea shouldn’t matter. The IDEA matters.

      Rock represents a different point of view that John’s audience doesn’t get a lot of. Some people will find it interesting, other’s will not.

      But we ought not to rely on people’s opinions (“latter-day prophet”) simply because of who said it. We ought to weigh the idea on whether or not it can stand as a reasonable point of view. If a former President of the Church spoke about something true, that resonates, and is helpful, we should talk about it, and teach it even. But it should be based on the merits of the idea, not because of the authority of the speaker.

      Some people will think Rock’s view reasonable. Others will not. I think all teachable people can listen to this and grow in some form or another.

      Right now there is wide gap in Mormonism. I appreciate Rock in trying to bridge that gap.

      1. Brett is right; I do agree with Ben. There is absolutely no reason for anyone to listen to what I have to say if anything I have to say doesn’t resonate with them.

        Most of my readers tell me that I’m writing about things they have already recognized as troubling to them, so I’m not telling anyone anything they haven’t already come up with on their own.

        I’m not a prophet, and I’m certainly no leader. I’m just a dumb schmuck who, like an increasing number of others, came to realize that for some years he had been getting some of it wrong. All I’m doing is sharing my discoveries, as part of the process of repenting for my errors. And since I expect to continue to make errors and flub things up countless more times, no one should assume I’m here to advise them on how to do it right. I haven’t got that nailed down yet myself.

  8. I think the reason why “Fundamentalist Mormon” or “Neo-fundamentalist Mormon” (forgetting the polygamy stuff) doesn’t really work, is because a fundamentalist presumes going back to the foundation.

    I think the paradigm here is that the foundation got off on the wrong foot to begin with. So going back to the foundation is simply going back to the first set of errors.

    I’m not sure what the benefit of pigeon holing this breed of Mormon is, since labels inherently create problems with unsupported assumptions.

    Really just a Mormon ought to suffice. This Mormon believes in the Book of Mormon and specifically what Nephi, Christ, Mormon, and Moroni had to say about the Latter-day Gentiles (as they’ve described them).

    1. If labels are truly necessary (though I suspect all the millions of us are, unknowingly, very different kinds of mormons…) perhaps “Foundational Mormon” is a more helpful distinction…

    2. The label I like best would be “Mormon Reformationists”. One thing we all seem to have in common is our perception that things have gone off course – in spite of, or even because of, our earthly leaders. There are many parallels here with the reformation of the corrupt Catholic church. Some might disagree with the label because our goal is not to establish any new church, but neither was that the goal of Martin Luther, William Tyndale, and other early protestant reformers. In fact, these individuals defied institutional authority and worshiped according to their own consciences.

      It may be necessary to call us “Modern Mormon Reformationists”, just to distinguish us from the “Mormon Reformation” of 1856 – 1857, led by Brigham Young, and which included a lot of preaching about blood atonement and encouraging polygamy. Yeah, that’s not the kind of reform we are looking for.

      1. Martin Harris Luther,
        Although I like your suggestion of Mormon Reformationists, that name will still grind on the nerves of mainstream Mormons for the simple reason that they will find the term “reformation” offensive. They see the protestant reformation as inferior to a Restoration, thus they’ll assume the Reformationists take issue with legitimate aspects of the gospel, and wish to reform what they already accept as truth.

        Plus, they may interpret Reformationists as wanting to take over the church and make our own changes.

        I’m not certain there is much we can do other than remain in the fold and wield what influence we have to persuade others to follow the will of God rather than the will of man. I don’t see much advantage in separating ourselves into an entity separate from the church (D&C 10:67 church, of course) rather than give ourselves a label that makes us appear to be outsiders.

        1. Good points Rock, though I still think Reformationists gives a good description if people really look into what the reformers original goal was: to stay in the church and encourage leaders to eliminate problems that had seeped in over time.

          Here’s another moniker for the general amusement of all. It seems that we have two groups of people who have been awakened to the problems in the church:

          Stay Awakes


          Not Stay Awakes

          For now, I’m staying awake.

  9. I don’t believe Joseph Smith lived polygamy either, but whether he fell for it or not is not really that pertinent. He wouldn’t have been the 1st prophet to fall from grace by caving into polygamy.

    The greatest mind blower is that people would believe in or trust men to be ‘true’ & righteous’ prophets who ‘did’ live polygamy and abuse women and children in such horrific ways.

    Ways which men would never put up with if polygamy went the other way around and they had to remain faithful to 1 wife (who they rarely saw) who had many husbands.

    Christ, Joseph Smith & Book of Mormon prophets all clearly taught that polygamy was always adultery and never sanctioned by God ever in the history of the world.

    Yet just because a polygamist like Brigham Young (who clearly was a very controlling abusive vile man in so many respects and not just to women, but blacks and Indians and anyone else who would oppose him) says God has changed his mind and now polygamy is ok, and so many people just blindly believe him.

    While the scriptures teach that God never changes his mind, that he and his laws & teachings are always the same from Adam to today.

    I believe that only those who believe in the idea of polygamy fall for it because they secretly like the idea of taking advantage of and abusing women or if a woman then she doesn’t mind being controlled, disrespected & abused, as many women don’t seem to mind.

    But men who truly love their wives and respect women would never fall for or believe in polygamy, no matter how many men claiming to be prophets taught it or no matter how many angels with swords threatened them.

    The Golden Rule reveals the truth, men (especially men like Brigham Young) would not allow women to ‘rule over them’ nor would they faithfully sit home alone night & day all their life, taking care of all the children & chores waiting for the occasional or rare visit from a wife who is always off being pampered, loved or courted by numerous other men.

    Christ taught ‘exclusive true everlasting love’ between spouses was the requirement for Eternal Life and that even divorce and remarriage was not only ‘impossible’ in God’s eyes, but always ‘adultery’, no matter if manmade laws may allow it.

    Few people, especially in the LDS Church, are willing to live by Christ’s high teachings, they much prefer the vile teachings of men like Brigham Young and LDS leaders today, who teach control, abuse, adultery and abandonment of women and taking advantage of the widows & fatherless and poor, even requiring them to give their last dime to support such leaders in their high living and big & spacious buildings projects.

  10. I’ve read Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy, Brian Hales’ books, and In Sacred Loneliness and I can’t, for the life of me, figure out how Rock can’t believe that Joseph practiced polygamy. Of course Joseph never admitted that he practiced polygamy because he wanted to practice it IN SECRET. I think the weight of circumstantial evidence for Joseph practicing polygamy is overwhelming, as it ultimately proved to be for even Joseph Smith III. I think Rock’s beliefs on this are unfortunate because many of his other thoughts on Mormonism are very sound, in my opinion. I think many people who listen to this interview will be turned off from Rock’s other thoughts on Mormonism given his obstinate view on Joseph Smith polygamy.

  11. Anyone who has read through all the source material on Joseph Smith polygamy and still buys into the Richard Price lies loses all credibility in my book. Can’t take Rock seriously. That nonsensical position alone invalidates anything else he has to say, for me unfortunately. He has his head in the sand. Quite stubbornly too.

    1. Robby Winterton

      I read once that, “You are as much of a fool for ignoring everything a man says who once made an error as you are for accepting everything a man says because he once said something right.”

  12. I can’t say I agree about the polygamy issue, because I haven’t read his sources, but it’s interesting to see a different perspective, especially since history is often made to feel solid and inflexible. But I had a few questions about it. We are told that “by his works, ye shall know him”. How do you explain Isaac Hale’s feelings toward his son in law? And what about the law suits against JS for not paying his debts, in an attempt to build his theological empire? He just seemed dishonest and interested in being almost like a celebrity. Or is my history bad about these issues? Joseph is the type of person I wouldn’t trust. I get frustrated that we are asked to believe the story of one man, when his worst scream to me, not to trust him.
    Also, what are your feelings about the temple and temple garments? I wish you would have discussed this.

    1. Maple Leaf,
      My opinion on the temple ceremony (at least for now; my opinons are always subject to change)is that some of it is valid, and some of it is hooey.

      Brigham Young claims he got the endowment ceremony word for word from Joseph Smith. I have my doubts, but to list the reasons why I don’t buy that would take too much time and besides, I’m reserving that for a future blog.

      Brigham was completely enamored of Masonry, and whatever proper symbolism the endowment is supposed to contain has been diluted through Brigham’s entwining it with Masonic ritual.

      As for garments, they appear to have been intended only for use during the ritual, but George A. Smith, distraught over the assassination of the prophet, proposed that they be worn at all times for protection.

      And that’s how we Mormons became known for a belief in magic underwear. No revelation from God. Just some wacky idea from an apostle that his underwear would protect him in his day to day life.

      1. Rock,

        Why and what parts of the temple do you believe might be valid? I have never seen evidence that Joseph had anything to do with the temple ceremony or script. I don’t believe anything Brigham or any of his supporters said. I believe they all had reason to lie about the temple just as much as polygamy.

        Do you have evidence of Joseph publishing opinions about sealings, washings, garments, etc.? And can you be sure he wasn’t just talking about the masonic rituals or thinking they might be of God? Don’t you think he may have been wrong in this, if he did get into masonry and take it too seriously?

        It appears that Joseph understood the eternal nature of marriage, just by reading D&C 101 that he published. So I believe he understood that all marriages & families were eternal and thus no need for something like ‘sealings’.

        Brigham of course would have wanted to make his marriages secret (for they were illegal & immoral) and try to add more ‘importance’ to his polygamous acts, by making it seem from God (thus all the sealing talk).

        But Christ was very clear about not wanting us to swear any oaths or have anything to do with secret things. Truth is to be set on a candlestick, not hidden under cover. It is the Devil that works in secret, telling people to not tell what goes on.

        There is nothing secret or even so sacred in the Gospel that it can’t be shouted from the roof tops. God doesn’t like us to cast sacred things before swine, but that is not because it’s sacred, but because it might only cause problems for the one who tells it, truth makes swine upset & doesn’t convert them anyway, thus it’s wiser to not talk about it at all, but certainly not a sin to talk about it.

        Again, I would be interested to understand better why you hold out any belief that Joseph believed in or had part in any part of the temple. Other than Baptism for the Dead, which he may be instigated before he died. But even in that I wonder if he interpreted the scriptures wrong and even that ordinance is unnecessary, for surely those righteous who die can and will easily return to earth with a body in the Millenium and could just be baptized themselves, if it was really needed at that point.

        It just seems that the more I look into all the doctrines of the Church the more they seem most all were just made up by Brigham and his crowd. Very few doctrines hold up as seeming to actually come from Christ, and thus why would we put any credence in them?

        I really enjoyed this interview with you, you have done more for the cause of awakening others to the real truth of Church history then probably anyone else I know of today. I wonder if you realize just what mission you have be set forth to do, for you are accomplishing a great work and changing thousands of lives for the better & helping free their minds & hearts from damning falsehoods. Thank you Rock!

        1. Thank you for those kind words, Lilli. You’re certainly not going to get any argument from me regarding your skepticism of the temple ceremony and Brigham’s role in it.

          If I gave the impression I “believe” in the temple ritual as handed down through Brigham Young, that was not the impression I intended to convey. If anything, I wonder about the legitimacy of most of it.

          Anthony Larson’s research at MormonProphecy.com has convinced me that Joseph knew and understood quite a bit about ancient symbology, and such symbols as the sun, moon, and stars (including especially Saturn) and their significance in the ancient world were reflected in the design of the architecture of the Nauvoo temple, though I suspect it all went over the heads of Brigham and his myrmidons in the hierarchy. Brigham even altered the construction of the temple from the plans Joseph had drawn up once Joseph was out of the way.

          (Interpretations of these symbols as understood by the ancients is presented at MormonProphecy.com, and discussions of what they meant to Joseph.)

          I can’t see any reason Brigham might have felt necessary to keep the temple endowment secret other than his use of the temple for illicit plural marriages. We only feed into the cultish impression others have of us by continuing to keep it all hush-hush. Okay, there is at least one reason to keep from speaking about what goes on in the temple: it all seems so silly and ridiculous. In one respect, we’ve been asking for the ridicule with our Masonic insistence that all this serious stuff must not be spoken of outside the temple walls.
          (try to get someone to explain it to you within the temple, for that matter.)

          The short answer to your questions is: I don’t know what I believe about the temple. All I do know is that the only temple that was completed in Joseph’s lifetime, the one in Kirtland, was not used for anything even remotely resembling what we put our modern temples to use for today.

  13. Scandalous unproven hearsay about Joseph is usually believed far more then his righteous proven testimony of innocence.

    Adulterous abusive false prophets are supported and believed in far more then righteous true prophets. For most people don’t want to live the high laws of Christ.

  14. Apparently Rock Waterman is not a Keynesian. In his criticism of the City Creak Mall, his position is that not only shouldn’t a church take part in investments such as this, but that doing so in times of a nationwide recession is reckless.

    Well, I think this would have been more of a true criticism if our economic malaise had anything to do with supply shocks, but it didn’t. It was a shock in demand. Too many individuals and businesses over-leveraged during the bubble and were trying to collectively dig there way out of debt all at the same time. This sudden reversal in spending drove the economy into what could have been a recession.

    The appropriate response, then, is for the federal government to borrow to offset the glut of savings at the local level. In addition, smart people who didn’t over-extend during the bubble, should be spending with the money that saved up during sunny days.

    In fact, I think spending and investing money during a downturn is exactly the right time to be doing so. This is somewhat analogous to what Joseph did in the Old Testament during the 7 years of famine and 7 years of plenty. During the time of plenty, he stored up the corn, only to flood the market with the corn during the famine. We weren’t experiencing a glut of corn in our recession, it was a glut of jobs – especially construction jobs (among others), injecting the economy with construction jobs seems like an appropriate response to me.

    I honestly don’t have a good opinion on whether or not it makes sense for a church to be building a mall. I’m not sure why building a mall is in itself a bad thing and I’m not sure why a church should be prohibited from doing it.

    But one thing I am sure of, Waterman is making an anti-Keynesian argument and I (very much a Keynesian sympathizer), simply have to disagree with it :-).

  15. One more quick comment I forgot to mention, the church never claimed that tithing went to the poor, check it out. That’s why we have fast offerings, check it out:


    Maybe you disagree with the purpose of tithing, but in the podcast, Mr. Waterman was critical that such a small percentage of tithing actually goes to help the poor. It seems like this is by design.

    1. Scott,

      The Church came up with ‘fast offerings’ so that it could use the cash cow ‘tithing’ on things other then the poor, which it all should be used on. Then the Church can still look like it’s helping the poor, even though it pockets most of the money coming in for themselves and their projects and to grow their corporation.

      Those who study and follow Christ know that righteous people and prophets would not use 1 penny of tithing on anything but the poor.

      Only after there are no more poor among us, would contributions be used to build churches or temples, etc.

      But contributions from members should never be used to financially support able bodied church leaders, for they are to serve for free and support themselves just like everyone else, just as the Book of Mormon prophets taught.

      Even a ‘righteous’ ‘needy’ male Church leader would never get in line in front of any woman or child, for it would be like a man taking up a seat in a life boat while there were still women & children on the Titanic.

      Today’s highest LDS Church leaders are like men who get into the life boats before women & children.

      1. Lilli, my primary point is that the church has been more than up front about the purpose of tithing and as I said, you can disagree with it.

        And even if you believe that 100% of church funds should be used to help those who are financially poor (something I personally don’t believe), there’s an enormous amount of disagreement about how exactly one should go about doing this.

        Should you just put all of the poor on the church’s payroll, sending them a income check each month? Should you try, as Bill Gates has done, to tackle the root causes of poverty and invest in charter schools in the US and malaria drugs in Africa?

        The idea of building churches and temples throughout the world is premised, I believe, on the idea that if you provide an infrastructure of community and spirituality, this community will find their own ways to help the poor in a way that makes sense to them.

        The side effect is that the church doesn’t exist just to lift people out of financial poverty, it exists to help all people, rich or poor, with their problems whatever that might be.

        Again, there’s a lot of disagreement on this and I’m not trying to convince anyone, just making the case that there’s a lot of different ways at looking at these kinds of issues.

        1. Scott,

          Actually, I believe most members assume the Church is helping the needy ‘far more’ then they really are. They assume the leaders are righteous and thus give them their money and then don’t worry about the poor, thinking they will be taken care of.

          Hardly anyone I know is aware just how little widows & single mothers are really helped, if they are helped at all, most usually being sorely neglected, to put it mildly.

          When I found out just how the Church uses it’s contributions I couldn’t believe I was so blind and duped to support such evil. I think most people would also feel betrayed if they knew.

          Since Joseph was right, that almost all men can’t be trusted to be righteous in leadership or with power, it is best to hand out help to especially singles mothers ourself and not trust leaders to do it. For we see that even in the Church, all highest leaders take money to support themselves before helping out widows & single mothers.

          Only when we help out our close family members and friends ourselves do we know for sure that it gets where it should. No single mother should have to work and leave her main role, just unrighteous leaders will never support women as they should.

    2. Scott, if you read my piece “Are We Paying Too Much Tithing?” you’ll see I agree that tithing is not meant to go to relief of the poor (at least not primarily, though an argument could be made from the Lord’s statement that it is to be used for the building up of Zion).

      I may not have made myself clear in the interview, but what I was attempting to put across was that the members are discovering that their money is not going for the purposes that they assumed it was, foremost among these purposes -in the mind of the average member- was that their tithes actually were intended to help those less fortunate.

      I apologize for not being clear about that.

      And I still maintain it is a crime for men who live upper-class existences to be taking some of their “allowance” from the mouths of widows and children while insisting that doing so is a test of faith for those widows.

      1. Rock & Scott,

        We have become so entangled with the philosphies of men (including the philosophies of Joseph Smith, who is only right either if he preaches & practices what Christ taught) about tithing and what it should be used for that we don’t put what Christ taught 1st & foremost.

        It is useless to listen to anyone else but Christ, unless someone is not going to call themselves Christian. So it doesn’t matter what ancient prophets or Joseph, Brigham or Monson teaches about tithing, for they could all be wrong, it only matter what ‘Christ’ taught about tithing (at least as long as we are going to call ourselves Christian)

        Christ never commanded anyone to build a chapel or temple or use tithing on church business or to expand it’s holdings. Christ commanded everyone, including apostles or leaders of the Church, to care for the poor and the fatherless. He also backed up this teaching with the Golden Rule. So if we were fatherless and had children to raise without a husband to support us, would we rather watch our children suffer while members instead give their money to build a chapel or temple or buy computers for the church or support able bodied leaders who could easily work to support themselves? No, we would hope people would value the well being of children over buildings or businesses.

        The scriptures teach that praying or church worship does no good and is all in vain if we don’t 1st take care of the poor. So to build a chapel, temple, church business or pay a church leader is all in vain and will condemn us as long as we still have poor among us.

        Who would think anyone is religious or Christlike if as they walk to church they pass by the widows & fatherless and ignor their suffering, choosing to give their money to build big and spacious buildings instead, that really have no need, for anyone can have church in their home or park or down by the river.

        So I don’t understand why anyone could or would justify or think that Christ would want tithing used 1st and foremost on the poor, before anything else. What come before the suffering of the fatherless? What is so vital in a church that children should suffer instead?

        If it was happening to you and your children would you still prefer to have a nice church to meet in instead of food to feed your children?

        Do unto others as you would have done to you & yours. Christ didn’t usually go into specifics but he gave us the Golden Rule that does.

  16. Mormon Socialism, Ayn Rand and Mormon Judeophilia,
    Mormon Objectivism runs off the rails: if it makes money it is good

    On Mormon Polygamy and Mormon Philo-Semitism.
    Mormon Judeophilia is inspired by the Melchizedek Priesthood and the Levitical Rites afforded the worthy. Assuming such an elevated status has its Moral Hazard countenanced by the Law of Witnesses.
    Tribe Levite: The Jewish (Melchizedek) priesthood was the only tribe in the Jewish Tradition to be rewarded with extra wives for sport and pleasure, The Levys counted the money too.
    Thus by the visitations of John the Baptist, Joseph Smith was compelled to adopt these precepts by John the Baptist.
    Confirmed by apostles Peter James and John these revelations are all part of the baggage of Mormonism.

    Mormon Philo-Semitism is taken to the level of Kitsch using Levitical Rites and Mormon Crowdsourcing. And so the Baggage is dragged into the light of most correct thinking. Playing fast and loose on “The Lawless Frontier” created Magic Realisms of all stripes, American Exceptionalism is Mormon Execptionalsm. This Religious Tradition carries on today.
    Like the Gentile, the chosen-poor get to cut bait too.

  17. We do have a leader, His name is Jesus Christ. Those who seek His voice and do His will are within the Church and without and they are preparing for His coming. Some are called to preach, some are not able or willing but the Spirit of the Lord is resting in those who seek His face.

    When we stop expecting the Church to show us the purpose of Christ and we take Christ as our head, He will show us the purpose of the Church.

  18. If I were still a believer I would like the Rockwell style mormonism. Great interview Rock! I really enjoyed it!

  19. Nullius in Verba

    Rock, I haven’t listened to the podcast yet but am really looking forward to it. I love your blog and find everything you say insightful and thought-provoking. Thank you for having the courage to establish an open and candid dialogue for those like me who are bored to tears at church each week and know things are terribly amiss with the Corporate Church but don’t know what to do about it.

    And to Brett Bartell: kudos to you for your incredible guest post on Rock’s blog. You nailed it. Grand slam. It was hard-hitting, spot-on and even quite funny at times. Simply put, your exposition was brilliant, captivating and left me wanting more. Keep up the good work you two!!

  20. We do have a leader and his name is Jesus. Denver is a prophet in the way scriptures portray them. Listening to what he has to say (or Rock or Daymon) does not mean they are our leaders. I suppose you could call us religious anarchists.

    Great interview, Rock.

  21. Great interview Rock! Thanks for sharing your insights with us; and as always thanks so much to John for giving us Mormon Stories.

    I think Rock’s tentative repudiation of JS’ polygamy is being overstated. Even if JS practiced polygamy it was not in any way the same as the form of polygamy as practiced once Brigham and Co. had led the Church to Utah; that is something that everyone can agree upon. If JS practiced polygamy the evidence indicates that it primarily had to do with the esoteric theurgy of the Nauvoo Temple and very little to do with sexual gratification or the begetting of a large number of offspring according to the evidence (if you accept it). So even if the circumstantial evidence of JS involvement in polygamy is correct Rock’s conclusions about the present day Church being wrong about Utah-era polygamy are still accurate.

    Moreover, Rock’s views on the Church’s corporate structure and the moral bankruptcy of our leaders is what is most poignant.

  22. On the polygamy issue, a couple of people have mentioned Richard and Pamela Price’s book “Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy”. This is actually volume one of a three volume work. (By the way, Richard Price passed away on 1st January). Subsequent volumes were never printed but they are available online and are, to my mind, far more interesting, and convincing, than the first volume. I would suggest all the Price’s evidence is read before it is rejected.

    On the tithing issue, I don’t believe tithing is or ever was for the relief of the poor. Certainly D&C 119 – the law on tithing – doesn’t mention it.
    Regarding church welfare, I can confirm that in my ward the amount given out to single mothers etc, far outweighs the amount taken in in fast offerings; the ratio is currently nearly 30/1. In fact, when I was called to my current calling I asked about how careful I needed to be in distributing church welfare to those in need and was assured that I didn’t need to worry at all, and that for all intents and purposes it was a bottomless purse. I therefore always assume those who come to me with financial struggles are telling the truth and I react accordingly. I believe it is one way of establishing a little piece of Zion in the midst of a Babylonian system, for “there were no poor (meaning “destitute”) among them”.

    1. Robin,

      It sounds like you may be in a very rare ward or stake, where the needy and the fatherless are taken care of. Or then again, you may not be really taking care of them as well as you think you are. I do not know, for I don’t know how much actual support you are giving to the fatherless (single mothers). Are you financially supporting all of them in your ward so they don’t have to leave their children and home and go to work? Or are you just helping them with a little food, an occasional utility bill and some old DI clothes? Remember, Christ said we must treat the poor as equals, let them be able to shop where you shop.

      With the vast amounts of money the Church brings in in tithing, I believe it would financially support all the needs of the single mothers and truely needy among us and thus it would be an easy thing to eliminate all the poor among us. But the Church leaders seems to put other things before the poor, which only reveals their true natures and that they don’t have Charity and are not really interested in relieving the suffering of the poor or establishing Zion.

      All the wards I have been in during my adult life have grossly neglected the needy and fatherless. And ‘all’ the single LDS mothers I know of (and I know alot) and many widows are severely neglected by Church and their leaders and not being taken care of by them, despite their great sufferings and even their wonderful faithfulness and righteousness and that they paid tons of tithing all their life and then when the tables turn and they are in need it’s like pulling teeth to just get a little food from the Bishop’s storehouse, (thus most give up trying or asking for help) let alone ever being really completely financially taken care of by the Church as they should be.

      And not to mention that the Church totally supports their husbands who have abandoned their wives and children and their responsibility to them to completely support them the rest of their life, even despite a divorce or any meager decree the courts may have said he should pay. A righteous man goes by God’s laws not man’s and would always continue to completely support a wife and children the rest of their lives, even if she left him.

      And the Church allows such abandoning husbands to dump their wife and children and to even go on to date and remarry another woman, despite that Christ said remarriage is always adultery.

      So the Church not only doesn’t support and take care of the fatherless as it should, but it also supports the guilty and lets them go free and get away with the vilest of evils, such as continued adultery, abandonment and abuse.

      I don’t believe in any man, leader or church who ignores or supports such evils. Men prove they are righteous and true disciples of Christ by if they have true Charity or not, which shows in how they protect and completely provide for women and children so they don’t have to suffer when abandoned by the death or divorce of their husband.

      I hope you really do completely support all the single mothers in your midst as you claim so they don’t have to work and further hurt their already injured children, but you sadly would be a rare Bishop or ward if you did. Most of the Church and it’s leaders do not seem to so such.

      1. Lillie,
        Things are very different here in the UK. Single mother’s are reasonably well provided for by the government welfare system (and so they should be in my view), so they’re not destitute. However, I have been able to assist a number of them when things get tight. In addition to providing food (we don’t have a Bishop’s Storehouse, we just purchase it from the regular supermarkets) I have also authorised the payment of rent and mortgage payments, utilities, petrol, insurance, clothing etc. In fact, tomorrow I am going to the store to buy a new washing machine for a young mother.
        Don’t make the mistake of looking at the church through a Utah lense and then assume that’s how it is everywhere.

  23. Fascinating. I am not caught up in the argument over polygamy as fact or post-hoc fabrication, I think much of what Rock posites is interesting but because I have discarded more fundamental assumptions, (existence of God), I can’t follow his logic through to the same conclusion. That said, so much of what Rock says and expresses hits home as familiar and rational. It was fun to listen to this one. I can appreciate what Rock is going after, even if I can’t fully understand the foundation of where he is coming from.

  24. I found this episode very interesting. I have to agree with John when he said that Rock was a kind of enigma to him. It seems Rock has a testimony of the gospel and the foundations of the early church, but has lost faith in how it’s managed today. I personally believe Joseph Smith practiced polygamy, but it’s interesting to hear other opinions on the subject. In the end, I thought it was nice to know that there are plenty of people out there who question the church we have today and have a desire to change things. Thanks to both of you for your time and effort in this.

  25. Too many mental gymnastics for me. I am from the Benjamin F. Johnson line. BFJ wrote in his journal that he guarded the bedroom door for the prophet during a visit while Joseph and his sister….what….made beds? No, he didn’t see them have intercourse but you can sure make a lot of assumptions. This is one area where the church is starting to own the history.

    1. BF Johnson is my Great-Great-Great-Grandfather. He told his grandson Alma Dayer LeBaron (my Great Uncle) that Joseph Smith bestowed the “Right of the Firstborn” on him and foretold that the Saints would migrate to Mexico in order to continue polygamy. Alma acted on this by becoming a polygamist and settling in Mexico. Alma’s sons then proceeded to murder people in order to establish a unified polygamist sect. How reliable do you really think my Third Great Grandad was?

      1. AC,
        It appears we are related through this jumbled mess of polygamy. I don’t know what you mean by reliable. In terms as a human being? Was he reliable in acting upon his order from the person/s he reported to? Was he honest? I don’t know. I can only go off of what has been documented numerous times by those who wrote the biographies. I have read Compton….there is a point in reading those diaries where your heart is torn out for what they went through. I believe JS was a narcissist and loved power….his historical mosaic says as much.

      2. AC,

        I would also like to know where it is documented that JS bestowed upon BFJ the “Right of the Firstborn”. I missed that in the two biographies I have read on him. OT…have you looked at BFJ’s family line? You can read a lot into the screwed up psyche of some of our relatives…..just saying.

        1. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, BF never said he didn’t confer the “Right of the Firstborn” on Dayer. Its Dayer’s word alone that his Grandfather secretly handed down to him some kind of authority, and since BF is not around to either confirm nor deny, we can’t for certain say that he didn’t. There is no way to definitely prove such a thing never happened.

          I strongly doubt that BF conferred anything whatsoever on Dayer LeBaron. Just like I have reasonable doubts concerning Joseph’s involvement in polygamy. Joseph publicly condemned polygamy, there used to be a section in the D&C forbidding polygamy and secret marriages. I am inclined take Joseph’s word over William Clayton’s or Wilford Woodruff’s Journals, over the affidavits of the wives of the leading Utah polygamists who claimed to have been sealed to him, and over the scholarly consensus which bases their assertions of certitude of Joseph’s origination of polygamy on recollections that are in many cases contradictory, in almost all cases separated from the occurrence of the events by some 40 plus years and when a clear ulterior motive is present. As you say of BF, Joseph as well was human and had his share of shortcomings.

          I too have read all the pertinent scholarly work on the subject. Nevertheless, I am not committed intellectually to the view that Joseph wasn’t involved to polygamy, but there is certainly no “smoking gun” evidence, and plenty of room for reasonable doubt.

          I agree the LeBaron polygamists are mixed up bunch. Fortunately none of my forebears got involved with polygamy.

          Even though we don’t see eye to eye, it’s nice to find a distant cousin here.

        2. Mike,

          Have you considered the possibility that Emma wasn’t lying and the Utah Church was? Do you also think Joseph taught Adam-God? Brigham Young said he did. No evidence at all for that. My point about BF Johnson is that he as well as the rest of the Utah Church leaders had clear motive to misrepresent what had occurred in Nauvoo regarding polygamy. Just like many Latter Day Saints in Utah enthusiastically claimed to have witnessed the transfiguration of Brigham Young in many cases when its provable said individuals were present when the alleged supernatural occurrence happened.

          Emma and Joseph III have a better track record than Brigham and Co. on accuracy regarding Joseph’s life. Even so I candidly accept the real possibility that in the context of the “for eternity” ordinances of the Nauvoo Temple Joseph engaged in sealings to women other than Emma and the equally real, and in one instance almost certain, evidence that Joseph may have had extramarital affairs that were in no way plural marriages (as is in all likelihood the case with Fanny Alger, Brian C. Hales pleas notwithstanding).

          1. pardon, its provable individuals were NOT present when the alleged supernatural occurrence happened.

          2. You’re right about the Brigham transfiguration accounts. Nobody, and I mean nobody, not one person, actually recorded anything at the time. No voice of Joseph, no mannerisms etc…….. nothing.
            An RLDS source I read even quoted Brigham himself rubbishing the claims (I’ll try to find the reference if anyones interested).
            Personally, I feel the absense of a supernatural occurance at that time gives greater credence to BY’s claim that the Twelve should lead the church, and the strength and persuasiveness of the argument amongst the saints.
            I don’t believe Joseph had an affair with Fanny Alger. The story goes she got pregnant by him and went away, never to return. However, it has now been demonstrated (DNA) that her child was not Joseph’s. There was a young man in the church disciplined for fornication with a young girl at the time Fanny left. Coincidence?

          3. AC,
            Is Joseph Smith on trial here? The preponderance of evidence, journals, testimony is not in his favor…as far as practicing plural marriage/polygamy. This interview brought up some interesting points. If pure Mormonism exists it sure doesn’t exist in the current structure. If you are trying to protect JS where does that leave you? With the Community of Christ?….or some other organ? For me plural marriage is just a piece of the puzzle that has come together over the past 13 years of study. I totally agreed with GBH when he said that story of JS is either a grand work or a complete and total fraud. Incidentally you do come from polygamy lines if you are related to BF Johnson. Which great grandson do you claim as relative?

          4. I know about BF’s polygamy and my descent therefore. I meant my family wasn’t involved in Dayer’s polygamous cult. My Great Great Grandfather was BF’s nephew and married BF’s daughter. I am not defending anyone. I am trying to be objective. My point is that the journal and affidavit evidence could be false. I will reserve judgement and acknowledge the possibility he was not until there is concrete evidence that he originated polygamy. There is plenty of room for doubt. I am not concerned with the truth claims of any Latter Day Saint group. I’m not an active member of any Latter Day Saint group.

          5. AC
            Hopefully I have not offended you (we are family after all). It’s interesting that even though you have indicated that you no long are active or affiliate with any Latter Day Saint group…and I am totally disaffected from the Mormon church….we find ourselves still listening to the oddities of the Mormon religion….posting on Mormon stories. My family went to Canada instead of Mexico…it seems that you know quite a bit of our genealogy and the zig-zagged lines. Back on topic and my point. IMO polygamy was wrong….it was instituted incorrectly, it was not inspired or divine, it has screwed up generations of people and gave us fundamentalism…..and for years we believed it was all blessed by the hand of god. Was JS responsible for initiating plural marriage….I believe so…not based just on a couple of journals…as mentioned there is a mountain of evidence that suggests other wise (IMO). I truly am glad we bumped into each other….glad there is another family member brave enough to question…..bless you cousin.

          1. And who would believe the testimony, writings or journal of any man or woman who supported or believed in the vile abuse of women by polygamy?

            Whether BF stood by a door for JS or not doesn’t really matter. What matters is that it appears BF would have done such a thing, and thus he and his testimony loses all credibility and trust. For no righteous respectable man or woman would believe what he said for he had every reason to lie if he would support such evil.

            Whether JS ever fell for polygamy or not doesn’t really matter, what matters is, if we do or not.

            For not matter what Joseph did or said, Christ condemned all polygamy, in any age of time, forward or backward, thus it’s easy to discern the righteous from the unrighteous, and false or fallen prophets from true prophets (who would never fall for polygamy).

  26. William Law was lying?

    Kidding??…the man was an apostate who hated Joseph. He lied from about everything regarding Smith like all apostates do.

    Thinking that W Law didn’t lye is as naive as believing that Joseph was never a polygamist.

  27. Getting back to Mormon Millennialism:
    by the unreliable narrator: So many visions, so little time
    Hyper-Neo-Mormon-Restorationism is Jihad.
    Submission (obedience) is what’s it’s all about –– and remember all the revisions to visions.
    Like in Mohammedanism, If Pure Mormonism could become Perfect Mormonism the work would be done and the planet could rest and we’d all enjoy Mormon Law just like Muslims enjoy Sharia Law and the Muftis would rule over perfection till the second coming of Christ. Mormons must sit on their hands and wait.
    There will be balance and harmony for all but gentiles who would still cut bait.

    You see, even in Prophecy it’s about the money, or is it about the premise? In Mormonism that has never been fleshed out, or, perhaps it was fleshed out to much, but it’s still about the premise of ephemeral prophecy; squishy and flabby conjecture.

    to Rock Waterman,
    Certified: “Institutionalization of Apostasy” and the Collective Subjective.
    So much for the Neo-Orthodox Correlated Curriculum.
    The Apostatized Vision: Pure Mormonism makes claim to see Obedient Idolators in the counting house (temple) to tally the piles of lucre. But I too, personally, prefer reading the original BOM (Book of Mormon) naked in bed by candlelight (worts and all), makes me curl my toes in religious revery while Angel’s wings flutter, fanning my countenance.

    I’d really like to see a grudge match between Robert Millet and Rock Waterman; A fight over the PLAN OF SALVATION to negotiate a more Humane Mormon Correlated Curriculum.
    Perhaps a solution can be found by consensus or just continue dissembling to the last digit or the end of time, whichever comes first.

    1. Oh Ephima, I have no desire to get into a grudge match with anybody, least of all Robert Millet, who I admire. I’m just waddling along looking for the facts. I like an intelligent argument, but I’m not looking to quarrel. Especially not over the plan of salvation, which I know very little about.

      1. “Robert Millet, who I admire.”
        Oh Rock, by your admission of ignorance of “The Plan of Salvation,” I can only conclude that your are descended from risen apes and not defended from Fallen Angels; on this we agree.
        As a “Facts Man” there is much to divine starting from our humble stirrings as tribals.
        Tribals keep their myths until it is unproductive for the individuals within the group to sustain the myths.
        This is the juncture at which the Mormon Tribes are facing.
        Being of the Earth and not in the earth is a convenient conceit, But, a conjecture of little veracity considering the current body knowledge available to both Mormons and The Natural Man and their descendants.
        It’s chastening revelation to realize one’s status is relegated to “being of the earth and being in the earth.”
        I do realize how compelling magic realism is, “being of the Earth and not in of the earth” makes for Mormon Exceptionalism spawned from Frontier Magic.
        I too had my boughts with magic-realism back when I was about the age of Joseph Smith’s visitations with divine spirits.
        I grew out of it.
        For the sake of “Planetary Awareness,” I hope Mormons can follow the path of Liberation Theology and forget about Prosperity Gospel –– Treasure Digging. Mormon Pharisees are like the Great American Sloths, they were dispatched by the rise of a new breed of opportunist. The the thinking individual is that opportunist.

        1. Ephima Morphew,
          I did not intend the impression that I know nothing about the plan of salvation; of course I do, but I don’t consider myself expert enough to expound upon it.

          I consider myself neither a fallen angel nor a risen ape. I see myself more as a Fallen Chimp (with Jupiter rising).

          1. Rock, I appreciate you honesty and zen-like outlook, “I see myself more as a Fallen Chimp,” although I’m not sure of the Jupiter rising. By his agency Robert Millet is the penultimate authority on the “Plan of Salvation” and the “Religion Making Business.” I’m thankful you are innocent of these claims.
            I’ve looked at graphs of the “Plan Of Salvation” and it appears there are many gatekeepers, ushers, shepherds and overseers, certificates to be stamped and tests of faith before being swallowed whole into The Mormon Afterlife –– which is a very material affair.
            Seem like there is much to know perhaps too much; the FYI in The Salvation Plan is not at all straight forward. I think I understand why you want to simplify the Bureaus of Mormonism. I see your Pure Mormonism is reformist. I see you want to cut out the middle men; the management heavy and very expensive opportunity costs of Mormonism. I wished your, breathy, interview with John had been paced to fewer topics. Apostate Rock, fare thee well on your path into the radiance for brighter day. Remember: Knuckle Walking remains the most efficient form of locomotion.

            Since we stooped to stand from a crawl . . .
            Is The Book of Mormon the answers?

  28. A marvelous interview, John. Rock is perhaps one of the most radical and refreshing folks to cross the path of your podcast and you’re known for conversations with some radical and refreshing folks. Your own faith journey and your interest in helping those who question are a great context for the questions you raise.

    As I listened to the podcast–and I listed to it twice–I thought of the landmark survey your foundation did about what motivates people to part ways with the Church. What if Rock, Brett Bartel, Damon Smith, and Denver Snuffer are on to something here? What if the messy details of the Church that your respondents cited as reasons for leaving are due in part to the Church being out of alignment with its true purposes and the author of those purposes?

    Rock, your joyful embrace of Jesus Christ and his way speaks to me. Over the years I’ve listened to and watched John’s interviews with hundreds of guests from all over the spectrum of Mormonism. I’ve become increasingly less troubled by the organic mess that is the Church and increasingly more devoted to Jesus Christ and the works of his servant, Joseph Smith. While I wouldn’t wish it on anyone starting with you, your experience helps me understand the role and reality of prophets in the scriptures. Good strength to you and your beloved Connie. First Denver’s and now your cheerful dismissal of excommunication is enlightening.

  29. I’m a regular reader of Rock’s blog.

    @Toni, I appreciated your comment about religious ‘anarchists’.

    @anyone who wants to read a random person’s ramblings–
    I think it would be hard for most people to understand Rock and others who believe the way he does–

    without understanding that some of us don’t identify ourselves as ‘either/or’–

    neither Republicans nor Democrats; neither liberals nor conservatives. Neither ‘in or out’ of the “Church”. Not all quite anarchists, but certainly independent of most of the ‘slots’.

    Someone pointed out that Rock is not a Keynsian. Many of the people who read his blog are not Keynsians.

    Many LDS, *I* believe, have an either/or attitude. You either accept science/popular LDS historians or you don’t. If you don’t you are backwards and cranky. Or close-minded. Historical truth isn’t easy to find, and it is a constant effort, often elusive, and it’s not always wrapped up neatly.

    There are so many other ways of looking at everything. Thinking independently is never easy, but it is possible.

  30. You had me at Kahlil Gibran… then lost me at Joseph Smith was not a polygamist. You’re telling me EVERYONE else was lying? *Scratching my head*

      1. Well, our people did have a penchant for embellishing things if they felt the outcome would be faith promoting. That happened to be a trait shared by virtually every official historian of the 18th and 19th centuries, who never let reality get in the way of a story that would stir the heart and instill pride of country. So Mormons weren’t all that different from anybody else. They lied so much they started to believe their own lies.

        Hell, the decendants of the pioneers even erected a statue to a seagull, of all creatures, even though there is little evidence that the so-called “miracle of the seagulls” ever occurred as it was reported years later. People will believe what they want to believe, and if it promotes the faith, well, who’s going to stand in the way?
        See my piece “Why Mormon History Is Not What They Say”:


        1. @rockwaterman1 is it possible that Joseph Smith was one of these types of people who you say embellish the story? First vision? Angels?

          1. That’s just my point, J. Unlike some folks, when I hear a seemingly outlandish story, rather than dismiss it without investigation, I examine it carefully.

            I have therefore concluded that I find it very likely that Joseph was visited by an angel. As for the seeming anomalies of the First Vision, I refer to Brett Bartell’s account in the current post on my blog “The Actual Message of the Book of Mormon.”

            Paul Toscano has pointed out, by the way, that our assumption that the first “personage” Joseph referred to is not necessarily our heavenly father. That personage is not identified, yet as a result of that assumption, we ignore everything in the Book of Mormon that identifies Jesus as the very father, and rather than pray to Christ as we should, we bypass him and pray to the father whom we know virtually nothing about.

            Former Mormon Sean MacCready, who is now an active evangelist preacher, points out that we Mormons think we know Jesus, but asks how can we know him if we never talk to him?

            I say he has a point.

  31. I find it interesting that the hardcore believers get exed but then people which don’t believe are embraced. Why is John left alone (well, he was bothered a bit but then left alone) but Snuffer is exed? Snuffer doesn’t want people to leave the church either, like John. It will be interesting to see what happens to Rock.

    Maybe because Snuffer pointed out the fallacies of modern day hierarchy where Dehlin only points out the sins of the past leaders.

    1. I believe it’s because the Church only wants ‘yes men’ who ‘doubt their doubts’ & who can be lulled to sleep by the line that ‘all is well’.

      So they ex those who ask questions, or who see & talk about errors & problems, (especially errors of leaders) and those who study out the real truth & think for themselves & don’t blindly play ‘follow the leader’.

      The Church can’t answer the questions (or the whole house of cards will come falling down around them), so they just ex those who ask or talk about all the problems (past & present), thus hoping those people won’t wake anyone else up as they’re being shown the door.

      The last thing the Church needs or wants are people who can & will see the problems and discern the truth and search out the facts about church history and then lift a light up to what the current leadership are doing and saying.

      You can only get obedience, service & money from blind dumb-downed members who are too scared, lazy or unrighteous to read, study, think or discern truth for themselves.

  32. Michael Francis

    i found this interview enlightening !

    i have been agonizing about where i go to pay respects to God. like Rock i love the gospel, but find problems with the (big C) Church. one thing i dislike is the lack of acceptance of the lgbt community, the extreme views on what constitutes the law of chastity, and the lack of financial and statistical transparency that top leaders give the general membership.

    if the Church is to change for the positive the top leaders have to listen to members for what they want. wouldn’t it be nice if conference was about leaders attending a meeting where members could pitch ways to make the church better ?

    i was quite taken back by the claim of Joseph Smith was never a polygamist but fought it. polygamy is totally opposite what the Book of Mormon preaches against (book of Jacob i think).

    i will have to buy the book “Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy” to read up on this claim by the Prices.

  33. Michael Francis

    i found the idea of Joseph Smith having never practiced polygamy but fought against it as “remarkable” because the history i have been taught is that he practiced it. he seemed to be fighting opposition since he had his first vision and honestly do consider that polygamy may have just been another lie that his enemies used to defame his character. i have got to read that book by the prices !

    days before discovering this new interview i had been agonizing over where i go as a believer of mormonism when i feel honestly something is wrong with the church (the gospel delivery system).

    thanks John and Rock for this interview. i am glad i am not alone in how i feel about the church.

  34. Since most topics were rushed over pretty quickly, I’d like to see him come back for another round sometime to get more in-depth.

    1. A great suggestion, Frank. Despite John’s interviewing skills, for those not family with Rock’s blog the interview may have had a stream-of-consciousness quality about it. I’ve read almost the entire Pure Mormonism blog and I’d personally love to have Rock back for a return engagement.

      1. Educated criminals work within the law

        Totally agree. This should have been a longer podcast. Too many topics covered. Love to see Rock come back.

        1. I wouldn’t mind the opportunity to take another crack at it myself, this time at a time when I’m calmer and more reflective. I’m the first to admit that I was all over the map on this interview, stammering my way through and rarely finishing a thought or a sentence.

          As discussed at the very end, John invited me back to discuss whatever happens with the Stake President interview, and I’d love to relate a blow by blow account of the Court of Love if any of this takes place.

          Right now I’m curious as to what I might possibly be charged with. Apostasy doesn’t seem likely, since I fully embrace the religion. Lacking proper deference to Church leaders is not a violation of any doctrine that I can find. Likewise, wondering why the prophet has not issued any revelations seems like a reasonable question, and hardly cause for getting the boot. That leaves the catch-all charge of “being out of harmony with the Church” which has no real meaning or definition, but has been used to justify expelling members of the September Six 20 years ago. So my money would be on that as the official justification.

          Anyway, we’ll see what, if anything, happens, and then I’ll report on it to John.

          1. Back when you were playing the tall characters for Disney parades and embracing everything the Church taught and thought, who would’ve imagined you’d end up a thorn in some pharisee’s side, Rock? More remarkably yet, a thorn not by design or guile or some perverse love of mischief, but an inclination to take Jesus Christ at his word. Here’s hoping it goes well for you and your poor stake president tasked with showing you the door if it plays out like that.

  35. Great interview, guys! I always enjoy hearing Rock’s perspective. Thinking about John’s question: why was the restoration necessary? If the gospel is really about Christ and unconditional love, what’s the need for the restoration? It really is a good, thought-provoking question. I think it boils down to the Book of Mormon, which is a guidebook for establishing Zion. The Bible provides the message of Christ; the Book of Mormon expounds on that message, and it gives us a guide as to how to establish Zion, a guide very prescient to our day. Its message of the love of riches, self-righteousness, and war leading to the downfall of a society (not failure to “keep the law” as modern Church culture would lead you to believe) couldn’t have been more appropriate for a post-1830 audience. Also, it gives a further witness that God lives, he speaks with us in these times, and that miracles can still happen.

  36. @rockwaterman1

    I agree with you about late recollections. I’m aware of the FRLDS criticism of 132 and the Nauvoo Clayton journals possibly being forged later, but what is the non-polygamous interpretation of these two contemporary records?

    The 1842 Whitney letter revealing JS’ polygamous sealing ceremony:

    Also the Laws’ 1844 affidavit which appears to be talking about the 132 Revelation:

    1. JPV,
      Again, no concise answer I could offer would give justice to the questions you raise, which are more thoroughly covered in the books I refer to above. One would have to be familiar with a significant amount of background to the events, and I’m a firm believer in supporting the scholarship of those who have put years of effort into researching these questions, so I don’t find it my place to attempt to summarize.

      Support the authors. Buy their books. Or read JSFP for free online, and then buy the books. I’m not the guy you want to ask. Go to the source, then after reading everything available on the issue pro and con, you can draw your own conclusions. Or you may find there is no definite conclusion to be drawn.


      1. Thanks, I have Brian’s 3 volumes, but not the Prices’.

        Let me know if there’s a specific reference you have. As in my view, these are the only contemporary documents that tie JS to the practice.

  37. Rock,

    You mentioned that you believe in ‘sealings’. I am curious as to why you do. Do you have any evidence where Joseph published teachings about sealings while he was alive? Or is all evidence hearsay, people saying Joseph taught about sealings but we really don’t have proof?

    Joseph counseled couples to keep their vows ‘forever’ in D&C 101, and I believe he understood the eternal nature of marriage, not just for LDS but for all couples who ever marry (at least 1st marriages). So why would you think he believed there would be a need for sealings?

    I have never seen any proof that he believed in sealings, just like I have never seen proof he believed in polygamy, so if you know of proof about his belief in sealings could you point me in the right direction so I can further study that? Thanks!

    1. Lilli,
      When I say I believe in something, it’s not the same as saying I “know.” For right now, I see no reason to disbelieve the sealing ordinance, though I realize I have need of further research before that belief can harden into something firmer.

      Brigham Young’s unwarranted claims do indeed throw a lot of this stuff into doubt. He attempted to portray himself as Joseph Smith’s best friend, but that seems a stretch to me. Hyrum was Joseph Smith’s best friend, Sidney Rigdon was second to Hyrum, and the person who was Joseph’s constant companion was James Whitehead, who, because he expressed disgust over Brigham’s blatant usurpation, has been completely written out of our histories. Very few of us have ever heard of Whitehead, yet it could be said that James Whitehead was closer to Joseph Smith in Joseph’s last three years than anyone other than his brother Hyrum. He was constantly at the side of Joseph.

      The quorum of the Twelve, of which Brigham was a member, did not manage the church at Nauvoo. They were away most of the time; unlike today when the Twelve take an active role in Church management, the Twelve Apostles in Joseph’s day were known as the Traveling Elders forever on missions far from home.

      Brigham’s claim that he got the endowment ceremony word for word from Joseph Smith is a claim I find dubious for at least three reasons. Anyone having gone through the endowment knows that it takes numerous times through to get even close where the ritual can be recited from memory. Secondly, just when was it that Joseph revealed all this to Brigham? When was Brigham in Nauvoo long enough to get this extensive education?

      Third, why was nothing remotely resembling what goes on in the temples today ever performed in the Kirtland temple, the one that was finished and utilized during Joseph’s lifetime?

      I “believe” in the sealing ordinance -for now- only because I like the idea of being connected to my wife forever. That desire to believe doesn’t make a thing true; it just says I want it to be true. Eventually I’ll look into all this stuff deeper and I may change my view. Who knows?

      The main thing is that I don’t claim certainty. I prefer to weigh all the evidence and then come to a tentative conclusion.

      1. Rock,

        Thank you so much for explaining all that, I now understand what you mean and I agree with you. I also want to believe and do believe that marriages are eternal, I just don’t believe it takes a ‘sealing’ ordinance to do so, I believe all 1st marriages are just naturally eternal.

        I don’t believe in Brigham Young and anything much he instigated. I believe he was about as evil as a person gets. So I would never believe his claims that sealings or endowments or garments or anything else pertaining to the temple came from Joseph or God, just like I don’t believe BY’s claims that polygamy came from Joseph or God either or that Joseph lived it.

        I believe Brigham created secret sealings and endowments, etc. to help make his illegal whoredoms seem more official and divine.

        But I believe Joseph knew that marriage was eternal and thus families are eternal also. I believe we will know, love and live among our spouse & family members through eternity. Though not all family members will become God’s.

        It is said that Joseph also said that divorce is ‘impossible’, even if one has an unrighteous spouse. Thus he must have understood how ‘eternal’ marriage was and that there was nothing that anyone could do about it.

        I believe Christ taught that marriages and families are forever when he also taught that it’s impossible to divorce & remarry someone else. He knew that remarriage was futile and is in fact adultery, for once a couple is married they are married forever, no matter what man may come to allow.

        One of the few things I agree with Elder Oaks on is his recent quote “Human laws cannot make ‘moral’ what God has declared ‘immoral’. Thus even if courts or churches allow divorce & remarriage because that’s what everyone wants, God still doesn’t.

        The only exception Christ gave for divorce was for ‘fornication’, which mean’t unfaithfulness by a fiancee during the engagement period (for he knew the laws of his day required a bill of divorcement if a fiancee was unfaithful), just like Joseph was about to give Mary, thinking she had been unfaithful. But once the marriage is consummated it’s a done deal forever and no divorce or remarriage is allowed by God.

        Even Christ’s Apostles (who were surely tutored by Christ on this subject) taught that people shouldn’t even remarry after the death of their spouse, for they surely understood that the person would eventually be reunited with their 1st spouse and that there is no such thing as polygamy in heaven, so marrying again would only bring unhappiness for the spouse who is waiting faithfully in heaven and eventual pain & remorse for the spouse who remarried.

        The apostles also taught that ‘righteous’ spouses can save ‘unrighteous’ spouses (1 Cor 7:14). Thus giving eternal reasoning & reward for difficult marriages.

        Christ certainly understood what a tall order he was giving when he declared there was no such thing as divorce or remarriage. He knew that meant many, if not most, people would get stuck in unhappy lonely marriages for the rest of their life, so he must have known that marriage is eternal no matter what, or he would have had compassion on people in abusive adulterous marriages, for surely he got asked about divorce all the time during his life by people in unhappy marriages, for most marriages experience abuse & adultery to some degree.

        Just like many today would ask him about divorce if he was walking around teaching his Gospel.

        Anyway, For these and other reasons I too believe in eternal marriage, I just don’t believe Brigham’s ‘sealings’ are needed or valid.

        Eternal marriage is just an eternal law that even God has to live by and did not invent, there is no way around it, and it’s impossible to get out of a 1st marriage even if we wanted to. Just like it’s impossible to divorce your natural parents or children, no matter what they are like, so it is with our spouse.

        Though that doesn’t mean we have to stay living with them if they are abusive, we can separate for safety reasons until they one day repent as everyone eventually will, in this life or the next.

        1. Frank,
          Whitehead’s testimony is the first in the Temple Lot Case, which you can find online, but the transcript of the entire case is quite long, so I recommend buying the whole thing in book form from RestorationBookstore.org

          Joe Geisner has made me aware of rumors put out by Orson Hyde some years after Whitehead “defected” from the Brighamites to the effect that Whitehead was a womanizer. I would imagine those accusations were the result of the Utah branch of the church taking such a drubbing in that case, but that’s just my uneducated guess. Others have said he exaggerated his importance to the prophet, as Joseph had several scribes during that period, which is correct. In his testimony James Whitehead does not claim to be the only one, and names others.

          (It’s interesting to note that a salient reason Joseph Smith made certain he had scribes and secretaries with him at all times was to squelch the rumors that he was secretly marrying women. Essentially, he made certain that there were witnesses with him at all times so that it could not be said he slipped away and engaged in the practice he was vigorously denouncing.)

          I haven’t yet followed the links Joe provided me regarding Whitehead, but you can find them on the Mormon Historians Facebook Group. Joe is careful to observe that just because Hyde said it, that doesn’t make it dependable,and I concur. So there is more stuff for me to learn about James Whitehead, and as I have learned about Mormon history, you can rarely get to the truth about what happened, especially during the period when the Brighamites and the Josephites were involved in so much bickering and finger pointing.

          It occurs to me that you might ask Restoration Bookstore if they have anything on James Whitehead. That would be one source.

  38. My how the waters have become muddy.
    Do you ever feel that the internet transmits static due to everyone talking at once?

  39. Rock, I loved this interview! Maybe you talked more about this on your blog or even the interview and I missed it, but what are your sources in knowing all the details of how tithing is spent?

    1. Iris, the reality is we don’t know how all the tithing is spent because our leaders, who are so keen on demanding our obedience to their supposed authority, have chosen, since 1959, to disobey the Lord’s clear commandment that expenditures must have the vote of approval of the membership in April conference.

      There have been attempts by some to estimate how much the Church brings in through tithes, and also where a lot of it goes, by extrapolating the public records available in some countries like the United Kingdom, which requires public transparency. A lot of member in Britain were quite upset to learn how much of their tithing money goes to supporting BYU, a school most of them will never attend, but which siphons off a good chunk of their tithing that they thought was going to more charitable uses. You should be able to do an internet search of “Mormon Church Finances” (I’m guessing here on the search terms; experiment with your own).

      Others have estimated the value of GAs homes, the cost of automobiles and chauffers, etc. Daymon Smith’s “The Book of Mammon” reveals a lot of the waste through credit card accounts, fancy dining, etc. There was a book published twenty years or so ago by a couple of reporters who attempted to estimate, but I don’t recall the name of it right off.

      The bottom line is we don’t really know how much they take in or how much they spend or what they spend it on because they ignore the commandments of God in the D&C and refuse to tell us.

      Check out this petition:


      1. My personal opinion is that the church has an embarrassment of riches right now, and that is the reason for withholding the financial information from the saints. That wasn’t the original reason though.

        I believe they suspect that times will become hard for many of the Saints in the future and that tithing income will reduce significantly. This is the reason for investing heavily in things such as the City Creek Mall and umpteen other major, and even more minor, investment projects. They are trying to position the church so that it can function without having to rely on contributions from the members; much like the Roman Catholic and even the Church of England operate today. Both of these churches continue to receive regular contributions, but that is the icing on the cake rather than their bread and butter.

        The Corporation of the Presiding Bishopric are trying to position the church in a similar way in my view. I think this is laudible.

  40. Rock-
    Knowing what you know, having friends working in Church HQ, which are your favorite apostles (or High-15)?

    1. My favorite apostles are all dead. LeGrand Richards comes to mind as a favorite conference speaker in my lifetime. Before that, Stephen Richards, J. Golden Kimball.

      My quarrel with the modern apostles is their penchant for leading the Saint into believing they have seen the face of Christ (which is a requirement for apostleship), yet when asked a direct question about their experience, they become evasive.

  41. Waterman seems to want to have cake and eat it too. I won’t argue that he has a born-again testimony of Jesus. He seems sincere on that front. However, he seems quite naïve and opportunistically selective about what he counts as revelation.

    He also appears to have a very naïve and revisionist view of Joseph Smith. Just an uneducated simple farmboy with no ambitions to run a political, commercial or religious enterprise and no hint of polygamist scandal. Really!!?? To suggest Joseph’s polygamy was an invention of the Utah church as a way to defend their practice is kind of like saying that Republicans invented Bill Clinton’s infidelity because it supported their cause. You have to close your eyes to a mountain of Missouri and Nauvoo history to embrace that narrative. My sense is that Rock has invented for himself a version of Joseph that is absent of all of the human failings he wants to accuse every Mormon leader since Joseph.

    Like many aspects of the modern LDS church, I am bothered by the lack of financial transparency. However, I don’t see anyone in the LDS leadership getting rich off the church, like one sees in a Fortune 1000 corporation of similar size. I have known general authorities, people that work at church HQ, and I have done business with the church in the past. While some basic living expenses in some situations are reimbursed, I do not see anything egregious enough to be called “priestcraft.” That just seems me a gargantuan overstatement.

    Rock has developed his own fundamentalist definition of Joseph Smiths history, tithing, the Word of Wisdom, revelation, and wants to paint current church leadership as corporate robber baron idols. Like a classical fundamentalist, he has found that the current church does not meet his binary definition of purity so exaggerates its current deficiencies and invents a time, place and person that meets his impossible standard. Sadly, he and\or his adherents will eventually find that this perfect time, place, and person did not exist either and they will invent another.

    1. Mike Maxwell,
      If you got the impression I believe Polygamy was an invention of the Utah Church, I was not making myself clear. Plural marriage was already an open secret in Nauvoo, such that Joseph Smith denounced it vigorously on several occasions. He was aware that some closest to him were advocating it, and three weeks before his murder had vowed to stamp it out. He warned the sisters that if any man, even the prophet of the Lord, came to any of them advocating spiritual wifery, they would know that man was a demon of the fiery pit, and to shun him.

      Polygamy was not invented in Utah. It was imported there from Nauvoo by way of Saco, Maine.

      As for whether any members of the hierarchy are getting rich off their positions, there are those who have investigated the perks and come away with some astounding estimates based on value of homes, cars, carte blanche credit, etc. The stipends they receive don’t appear to qualify as “modest” by any measure. But we can’t really know what the dollar amount is that each gets as a salary because contrary to the commandments of God, they won’t let the members have a voice in where the money goes.

      1. Perhaps the lavish stipends are considered ‘modest’ because they are hidden… just as one can be ‘modestly dressed’.

      2. Rock,

        I just don’t find your taking a few statements by Joseph Smith condemning polygamy as viable evidence that he did not engage in the practice. The level of conspiracy you have to drum up to believe that a host of people for and against the church in Missouri and Nauvoo believed it and that the entire Utah church believed and many had observed it.

        My wife is a direct descendent of Orrin Porter Rockwell, one on Joseph’s closest confidants, and while Porter never personally practiced polygamy, he had very specific knowledge that Joseph did and told his children this was something that “Joseph and other men more righteous than him” did. There is a mountain of evidence from many other individuals who shared similar knowledge. I have not seen any credible peer review of the assertions of those who claim he did not practice polygamy and until this claim gets that level of scrutiny, it is just a conspiracy theory.

        I do share your concern for the lack of transparency into church finances. That is a scandal just waiting to happen and I have no problem with constructive criticism of that policy or of the church spending billions on profit-making ventures like City Creek.

        However, as for the “investigations” I have seen of the “perks” received by general authorities, they tend to point to ownership of a house plus a second home, valued at $500,000 to $1,000,000 (absent of any specifics as to whether the church contributed anything to pay for the residence). That level of personal wealth would be an embarrassing failure to any fortune 1000 senior executive running an organization anywhere near the size of the church. Most of these leaders come from private-sector jobs where those kinds of investments would be easily affordable, before they moved into full-time church service. The lack of church finances transparency leaves the potential for “unrighteous dominion” abuses but I just don’t see any evidence of that in current church leaders.

        Rock, I think people who agitate and challenge the status quo do important work but you need to make credible arguments. The outlandish and overstatement of some of your claims work against you.

    2. Mike,

      I agree with your excellent assessment of Rock. I have tried to hold his feet to the fire on numerous occasions to get him on the record about many of his “core” beliefs, but he either ignores me completely, or hides behind the nebulous comments made by his groupies.

      The biggest problem I have with Rock is that he wants to destabilize the church amid his tirades, yet he has no answers or solutions to the so-called problems that he has identified. Inotherwords, his arguments have nowhere to go. Does he want to start a new church? He says no. Does he want to reform the church? Good luck with that…he doesn’t have the authority so he can only take cheap shots from the sidelines. So we are left with a clueless Rock that knows something is wrong, but doesn’t know how to fix it. Did God tell him to speak out in this manner? He is like the multitude of complainers throughout church history that thinks that his version of the facts is the right version. In the end he has no authority, or blessing from god to create havoc.

      1. AW! You Found me again!

        Dang it, I was trying to hide from you. I’ll be having a word with my groupies about this, because they are charged with protecting me from your burning interrogations.

        Heads will roll, believe you me.

        1. My eyes are rolling already… I’ve never considered myself a ‘groupie’ before. Sheesh, what am I thinking? What AW hasn’t acknowledged, or fails to realize is that Rock is giving a voice, (albeit only his voice, to the concerns that are troubling or have troubled many, many members for a long, long time. His blog resonates strongly with those who care about the gospel message and the direction the institution is taking and has taken since correlation bestowed the title of prophet on the corporation sole. Yet precious little that can remotely be considered ‘prophecy’ is ever uttered by him. No new revelations, no new insightful seeing. Lots of good, sound grandfatherly wisdom and advice for sure, but there’s many sources saying much the same things elsewhere. So I consider Rock the voice of one crying in the wilderness.

        2. Rock,

          It’s just this type of childish response that leads me to believe your latest blog about getting along in a Christian sense is just a bunch of baloney. Lest you think I am stalking you, it was you that mentioned my name (In an unflattering way) on your blog.

      2. Groupies, AW? You must have the wrong Rock in your sights. Maybe you’re confusing Rock Waterman with Rock Hudson.

      3. Mike Maxwell

        Aw…. I do think it is healthy for our church to have agitators on the fringes. They create dialogue and challenge the status quo. Lester Bush was seen as an agitator when he wrote his 1973 “Negro Doctrine” article but the record shows that absolutely had an impact on church leaders motivation to ask for God’s revelation on the topic.

        I also believe that all people, including our church leaders, will be inclined towards “unrighteous authority” if left without any checks and balances on their activities. Our own D&C revelation tells us that is the case.

        However, I think it hurts the dialogue more than it helps when terms like “priestcraft” are used to describe leaders who in my personal experience, are honest, well-meaning, inspired, make some mistakes, but are definitely not making big personal financial gain off the church. That just feels like name-calling, to me.

        It also hurts the dialogue when conspiracy theories like “the Utah church invented Joseph Smiths polygamy to justify their own practice” are promoted from sources that have not been challenged against peer review or any other standard. It just is not credible.

        I agree the point you are making that there does not seem to be a productive objective in what Rock says. Does he want to improve the current church? Does he want current leaders to seek some new revelation? Does he want a new church? Or is this nothing more than a lot of self-indulgent complaining?

        1. Mike,

          A careful reading of Hosea Ch 2+3 reveals that the Lord has led his people into the wilderness and left them alone to see if they would remain faithful. I personally believe that the church is messed up, but it is a church that is/was ordained of God and no man should taketh it upon himself to undo what the Lord has started. The Lord tells us in the D+C that he will send one mighty and strong to set in order his house. So why do all these wanna-bes think they need to kick-start the process? Why does Rock think he knows the correct interpretation of what constitutes a correct tithing? Why does Rock think he knows the “true message of the Book of Mormon”.

          Satan uses well-meaning people to muddy the waters and throw confusion into the process. In the end, we have the scriptures and everyman should be capable of finding the truth for himself. When one sets out to interpret, expound, enlarge upon and orate, then one has crossed the line, and is actively trying to “show others the way”.

          Don’t take my word for it. Read the simple scriptures I have quoted and decide for yourself.

          1. Aw… You and I are of like minds on your views of the Lords people going to the wilderness. I think that is a great paradigm for both the church as well as our personal spiritual lives.

            That said,… Our scriptures a full of stories of prophets who get kick-starts. Emma initiating the Word of Wisdom revelation, Lester Bush accelerating people of African descent getting the priesthood, etc. Moses repeatedly went to the Lord to fulfill the requests of the Children of Israel and they were usually blessed, as a result.

            I sustain my church leaders not because I believe they will always make the right decision. I sustain them because they are called to consider the right options (“study it out in your mind”), including hearing the voice of the members (common consent), and seek inspiration to make the right decisions.

            For me, the kick-start question is a question of the motivation of the person initiating the kick-start. Are their actions the result of personal revelation, faithfully trying to improve things, or are they just displaying a self-indulgent temper tantrum. I get the feeling that Rock is more the latter.

        2. Mike Maxwell,

          I’m guessing the reason you’re having a difficult time understanding the motives of those of us who take notice of problems in the current Church structure, is that you assume we must therefore have plans for fixing it, or an expectation that if only we were in charge we would institute reforms.

          I realize that in the interview there was much that I wasn’t perfectly clear about, but I thought the one area with which I was crystal clear was that I have no inclination to fix or reform the current Church structure.

          No one has the right to take charge of the church. The church belongs to God (D&C 10:67) We can only reform ourselves; we have no business trying to control each other.

          I’m just a dumb schmuck running off at the mouth with a two-bit blog that happens to have gained a bit of attention lately. So What? Why would anyone insist I offer more? Last time I checked, a part of our creed was that We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege.

          Of course, there is a solution to reliance on the Church, and that’s reliance upon Christ. But each of us has to do that individually, there can be no reformer step in and make them.

          Some of our members rely upon Church “leaders” as a key form of their worship, while others find those leaders to be irrelevant and unnecessary to their mode of worship. Maybe even a stumbling block. Okay, to each his own. So what’s the problem?

          My posts are nothing more than a series of discoveries noting where I feel I had been diverted from the path God desired for MY life. I don’t speak for others. What I do is point to the vain traditions I once embraced that I believed at the time to be doctrinal but which turned out not to be. If anyone reading my missives can benefit from my mistakes, fine. Others may feel I’m engaging in “a lot of self-indulgent complaining.” That’s fine too.

          My blog apparently has nothing to offer those people. But why then assume I have an obligation to do more than offer my views? Why assume I should seek reform of a corporate system that I don’t recognize as having any relevancy to me in my worship?

          I can only reform myself. The church is made up of individuals whose duty also is to reform themselves. They have no control over me, and I seek no control over them. Each of us is charged with working out our own salvation. I have no inclination to lead anyone else anywhere. Besides, anyone who followed me would be a damn fool. My life is a series of mistakes and false steps, and I expect it will continue to be. Someone wants to look to me for wise counsel and sage advice? Go ahead, and see where it takes you.

          On a parenthetical noet, readers here may wonder what all this flak is about our friend AW. He became the target of some good-natured ribbing from myself and other readers after displaying some bad manners. If you’re interested you can follow the brouhaha in the comment section of February’s post.

          He made some angry demands, and eventually became unnecessarily insulting. He what it came down to was this: AW demanded I devote an excessive amount of time responding to his inquiries, and when I suggested that other commenters had already expressed views that he could take as somewhat reflective of my own, he became even more demanding and increasingly insulting, insisting that I should be man enough to speak for myself.

          AW wanted me to provide him answers that I told him would require an entire blog post to address, and that some day when my thoughts on the matter were more fully formed, I might do so.

          Because I suggested he could be satisfied for now with the responses given by some of the other readers on that subject, he called me a fraud, a hypocrite, and a liar who “hides behind groupies” instead of speaking for myself. Some of these other readers found his rants somewhat entertaining, and their joshing remarks only fueled his ire.

          AW is always welcome to comment on my blog. I just ask that he be a bit more patient with me.

          1. Rock,

            You are a self-serving and opportunistic jerk. Lord knows why you decided in the middle of your response to Mike Maxwell to trash me. Are you currently in need of narcissistic supply?

          2. Replying to AW at 10:46.

            A jerk? Now now. Settle children. But seriously, pot black? I think we’re all messed up. The amount of time and energy spent in these circular threads where we are arguing over just how putrid the carcass is, or was.

            If someone needs to cling to something that is obviously nonsensical let them. It’s only a matter of time before they will abandon that too.

  42. Okay, I’m a little late to make this suggestion, but I believe a good way to categorize Rock Waterman’s beliefs would be Mormon Primitivism. It’s a “back-to-the-basics” version of Mormonism that emphasizes the original, or “primitive,” version of Mormonism — Book of Mormon, Book of Commandments, etc. over the later innovations in Nauvoo and especially from Brigham Young onwards. How does that sound? It’s better than neo-fundamentalist, I think.

    1. I like that better. Thanks to extremist you can’t say Neo without the connotation of that next word kicking in.
      How about Mormon Prodistant? Seems like Denver, Rock & Damien all have a bit of the Spirt of Martin Luther. Critical of the religious powers that be and going backwards looking for the pure religion.
      Great show John and Rock. My wife and I have been full tithe payers since your show whereas before it was so overwhelming it was hard to pay anything. Wonder how much more tithing would be offered if Rocks views on it became corrolated?

    2. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before, but the title of Daymon Smith’s blog, “Mormonism Uncorrelated” seems to be a fit description. So for myself at least, I think I’ll start referring to myself as an Uncorrelated Mormon.

      1. I like that, too, Rock. I still team teach the Gospel Doctrine class in my ward, go help clean the church every couple of months, help folks move in and out of the ward, joyfully partake of the sacrament and attend the temple–but I longer fawn over the topmost ranks of Church™ leaders as some infallible Magisterium. When you blurted out in the interview that they are ‘fat cats’ I almost fell off my chair to hear someone put a name to the elephant in the room. Having lived on the cusp of financial embarrassment most of my adult life I won’t lose a wink of sleep worrying about not having the wherewithall to share 10% of my gross income so the corporation can perpetuate itself and insure college educations for its directors.

  43. Rock,
    Moroni 6 states:
    1.After they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and a cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost.
    2.They were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God.
    3.To keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ. who was the author and the finisher of their faith.
    4.And the church did meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls. And they did meet together oft to partake of bread and wine, in remembrance of the Lord Jesus.

    You call yourself a follower of the Book of Mormon, but you deny Moroni’s words in that: You deny that the HG cleanses soon after baptism, you seem to be indifferent about being numbered by a church, you are not being nourished by the good word of Christ because you discount teachings from current members, and you don’t meet oft, in fact, you don’t meet at all.

    1. I think the question you should be asking when reading this scripture is why the Mormon’s “Baptism of Fire” is nothing like the powerful experience described in Acts. And also, reread 2 Nephi 31:14, in which the baptism of fire is discussed. It says that after the baptism of fire, if one should deny it would be better that one had never known Christ. In the footnotes to this scripture, it references the unpardonable sin. So, if what happens after an 8-year old gets baptized is really the baptism of fire, then that 8-year old is eligible to commit the unpardonable sin. Now, does that make any sense at all?

      No. The baptism of fire is something different than what happens after the dry clothes are put back on. And the fact that we as Mormons aren’t being taught this is frightening to me. Because the baptism of fire seems mighty important to me.

      Besides, you say the Holy Ghost cleanses, but aren’t we also taught that going into the water and coming back up makes us clean? Which is it?

      We have allowed too many fine traditions to creep into our doctrine regarding something as vital as the baptisms of water and fire.

      1. PJ,
        I don’t know how you got the idea that I’m indifferent about being numbered among the Saints, or that somehow I prefer not to meet oft with my fellow believers. I feel it’s extremely important for us to meet together oft and partake of the fellowship of fellow believers.

        I think I made mention that the reason I do not attend regularly is because my wife is an invalid who requires my attention at home, particularly in the mornings. I am however able to participate in ward social and service projects that take place in the evenings or afternoons, but last year’s ward Christmas party was the last time I made an appearance. My home teacher was reassigned and I am not always kept abreast of what’s going on. (I have made email requests to my bishop by to be assigned a new home teacher or to at least be kept informed about ward activities, but my requests have gone unanswered.)

        I treasure very much my membership in the Church of Christ (see D&C 10:67, as I referenced in the interview). What I don’t care about is whether or not my name is removed from the records of the corporate Church, which is the only power the institution has me as long as I remain faithful to the Master. They don’t have the power or authority to unbaptize me, nor can I be cut off from the presence of God unless I actually commit a sin. “Being out of harmony with the Church,” which appears to be the accusation of the day, is not the same as being out of harmony with Christ and His gospel. If I fall out of favor with the Lord, THEN I’ll be concerned.

        As for your reference to Moroni 6 that the Holy Ghost should follow baptism, I agree that is what SHOULD be happening in the church today, but for whatever reason, we don’t seem to be seeing that experience taking place immediately after baptism, but that is not because I reject the idea.

        I’ll have to concur with Jman’s assessment above that the baptism of fire is a different thing, because I just don’t have the answer as to why we don’t immediately see gifts of the spirit manifest these days after a candidate comes out of the water.

        1. Rock,

          Why would someone, if they were righteous, receive the Holy Ghost after an LDS baptism and not before?

          For I think you know as well as I do that the Church can’t have any Priesthood authority or keys to baptize or do anything else, for wicked men like all the leaders of the Church since Brigham Young on up to today can’t maintain or pass on true Priesthood authority or keys, etc. For just their support alone of such an evil church would not only cause them to lose their Priesthood but also the Holy Ghost if they ever had it.

          Thus the LDS today have as much true Priesthood power to baptize as the Catholics or Baptists or any other Christian Church does.

          So obviously the Holy Ghost does not have to wait for a fake baptism to be performed before he becomes a constant companion to a righteous person.

          In fact, I believe the Holy Ghost will be a far more constant companion to those who are ‘never’ baptized (deceived) by the LDS Church or who don’t attend or support it, then for those who are deceived to support the Church and be baptized by it.

          I believe all righteous people throughout the world have the Holy Ghost as soon as they are worthy of his companionship and it has nothing to do with baptism, at least not any baptism on the earth today, for no one has true authority to baptize anyone.

          Didn’t Joseph Smith at least claim to have God’s authority to baptize people? Whether he really did or not is another question, but it seems he at least stressed the importance of true authority. Or did Joseph Smith think that other Church’s baptisms would suffice and they didn’t have to be rebaptized when they joined Joseph’s Church?

          If Joseph taught that authority was vital, as the Book of Mormon seems to teach, then clearly we can understand why no one receives the Holy Ghost after an LDS baptism today, for it’s a false baptism done without true authority, not to mention done by a totally corrupt and evil Church that brings one under condemnation from God to even become a member of it or support or give money to it.

          For Joseph Smith warned us over and over about how we will be damned for supporting false prophets and false churches like the LDS Church is, which is about as far from the Church that Joseph started as any Church there is.

          So I don’t believe we get any brownie points for attending or being baptized by a Church just because they claim to be the same Church as the one Joseph or Christ started, especially when it is just the opposite.

          Are you also surprised why the Catholics or Baptists or FLDS don’t receive the Holy Ghost after their baptisms?

          Why do you think God would honor a false baptism done without authority? Yes the person is doing a good thing in wanting to show they want to follow Christ, but they are also showing they haven’t studied or followed Christ’s teachings and have allowed themselves to be deceived by false prophets, even to join a false church. Joseph Smith said such people are damned for doing so, so that means Joseph taught it was impossible for someone to receive the Holy Ghost by a false Church like the LDS Church, for he says they are damned. Last I checked a damned person can’t receive or maintain the Holy Ghost until they repent.

    2. PJ,

      The BoM is talking about a ‘true’ church of Christ, not about being numbered by just ‘any’ church. If the true Church of Christ goes into apostasy, like it did in Christ’s day and in Joseph’s day (assuming Joseph restored the true church, which is a big ‘if’ the closer you look at Joseph and what he did and said).

      Also, even in Christ’s day the people met in homes, and didn’t go to a church house, thus people can still be a member of Christ’s Church (which is not the current LDS Church), for it’s more a spiritual thing then an actual physical church, since the true church has so rarely been on the earth for more then a few years before going into apostasy and even when it existed so few even knew about it or lived close to true prophets.

      So anyone can be a member of Christ’s Church and numbered in his Church by unseen angels, and they can meet together oft in their own home with family and friends and be nourished by the good word of Christ, even alone we can do this.

      You seem to be assuming an awful lot, that Brigham Young was a righteous true prophet with true authority (which couldn’t be farther from the truth) and that the current ‘LDS Church’ is Christ’s Church, despite it preaching and practicing totally contrary to his Gospel and warnings.

      I believe that those are truly are part of Christ’s true Church would only be meeting in homes or small groups, with Christlike likeminded people, who truly believe in and live Christ’s true teachings, and not Joseph’s or Brigham’s or anyone elses who add to his teachings, or preach contrary to this teachings, for Christ warned us to beware of such false prophets.

  44. I really enjoy Alan Rock Waterman’s Blog. These moderated views on Mormonism allow me to remain a member of the church. One thing that I don’t understand with regard to Rock is how he will say that Brigham Young was never a prophet, but then ascribes value to his comments about what revelation is. Unless I am misunderstanding the context of these statements, I find that he will attribute value to LDS presidents comments, but then in other posts he will state that only JS was a prophet. I’d like to understand this damic better.

    I also like the Mormon stories podcast. Though some might feel that these blogs hurt the faithful, I’d argue that the people who end up here, are already wounded by feeling betrayed(lied to)about church history, theology, BofM anachinisms, etc……. If they excommunicate Rock and other “outside the box” thinkers, there are thousnds out there who will/can take their place(s). Anyone with a free WiFi connection and a used $200 computer can now compete in the marketplace of ideas. The LDS church is not the sole entity that can commment on its history, theogy and issues.

    One thing that I have said to my LDS friends is: If JS or Brigham Young were to be reincarnated, and spoke in conference and proceeded to teach various “eternal truths”, their microphone would be turned off, they’d escorted from the building and excommunicated for teaching falsehoods like, polygamy, praying to Jesus, women performing healings, drinking alcohol and using tobacco products, substantial and meaningful changes in the BofM, Blacks with regard to marriage/priesthood, etc, etc, etc …..

    You may be a member of the of the church of Jesus Christ, but all his assets are held by a 501(C)3 corporation, and you aint’ a member of that one!

    When lamenting these feelings of berayal that I feel to a friend, he said to me, “you were lied to, Buddy, that’s what religions do to their members, why do you think that your religion would behave any differently than anyone else’s religion. Get over it and grow up!” great words of wisdom from a believing Chrstian/Mormon.

    Great interview John Dehlin!

    1. David Fife,
      I have no problem quoting Brigham Young when he says something I agree with. That doesn’t make him a prophet anymore than if I were to quote Billy Graham or Mahatma Ghandi to bring home a particular point. My apologies if I wasn’t clear on that in the interview. (Was I really clear on ANYTHING in that interview?)

      Brigham Young has said “I’m not a prophet like Joseph or Daniel, but I am a Yankee Guesser.” Elsewhere he asserted that he understood his role to be that of a mere place-sitter until the time either Joseph III or David Smith came of age to claim their rightful place as leader of the church.

      Here is the statement Brigham Young made regarding revelation, which I hopelessly mangled during the interview in my attempt to paraphrase it:

      “ ‘Well, Brother Brigham, . . . . have you had revelations?’ Yes, I have them all the time. I live constantly by the principle of revelation. . . . I have never received one particle of intelligence [except] by revelation, no matter whether[my] father or mother revealed it, or my sister, or [my] neighbor. No person receives knowledge [except] upon the principle of revelation, that is, by having something revealed to them. ‘Do you [Brother Brigham] have the revelations of the Lord Jesus Christ?’ I will leave that for others to judge. If the Lord requires anything of this people, and speaks through me, I will tell them of it; but if He does not, still we all live by the principle of revelation. Who reveals? Everybody around us; we learn [from] each other. I have something which you have not, and you have something which I have not. I reveal what I have to you,
      and you reveal what you have to me. I believe that we are revelators to each other.” (Journal of Discourses 3:209)

      So what I was trying to get at in the interview, David, was that Brigham Young understood the meaning of “revelation”; that is, a revelation is something revealed that was heretofore not known. When we use that word in the church, we properly presume it refers to something revealed from God, but Brigham was skirting the issue and defining it (also technically correct) that a revelation is information that one person “reveals” to another that the second person had not been previously aware of.

      You’ll note that Brigham is careful not to claim he himself had ever received a revelation from God. But he doesn’t seem to mind if some people take away that impression on their own. Even though our traditions have converted Brigham Young from simply President of the Quorum into a latter-day Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, you have to give Old Brother Brigham props for not stooping to making that unwarranted claim himself.

  45. Rock, on the baptism question, doesn’t Jesus in the BOM instruct that we should baptise saying “Having authority given me of Jesus Christ,” so — authority matters. Second, on the same point, the Kingdom of Heaven, according to the scriptures is Heaven, the Kingdom of God is what you were referring to, ie the Council of Fifty.

  46. Bro Waterman,

    Thank you for your kind and thorough response to my question.

    The charicterization that you gave to Brigham Young seems to me to be a bit on the manipulative side (referring to BY, not you!). More of a politician using purposfully ambiguous language to game or trick their believing members. I understand his use of the word “revelation” as used above. But I think that definition of revelation is very different than the definition attached to the word used by JS or the current church today. That definition makes “revelation” seem rather pedestrian in its occurance and does not make Thomas Monson higher up on the food chain than the rest of us. It begs the question “What does it mean to be a prophet, if everyone is a prophet?”

    It reminds me of when George Bush II decided that he needed to topple Iraq/Saddam Hussein. He had his minions in the press and talk radio associate a connection between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein/Iraq. But when confronted on that specific question by the media, he would deny the connection. It got to the point where the vast majority of Americans thought that there was connection between 9/11 and Iraq. As a result, great evil happened due that purposful misdirection of public perception.

    The description of BY above makes him seem like a slimy politician taking advantage where he can get it, rather than a prophet of god.

    I read my post and it seems like I am coming off as argumentative. I’m not feeling that way if I am perceived that way. I do like your Blog tremendously. You were on a radio talk show in SLC last December. You were a hit!

    I think that your references of people leaving the church in droves might be understating things. I would also say that living in Salt Lake City, I am aware of quite a few people who are atheists/agnostics who are active in the church and serve in seminary, high council and bishoprics. I would guess this issue is wide spread. These people are not on the church records as casualties, but as active TBM’s.

    If you keep doing what you are doing, you are going to keep getting what you are getting. It appears that the church is on a trajectory to become just another watered-down, vanilla, protestant church.

    Thank you,


    1. David,

      According to Christ, prophets are not suppose to receive revelation for anyone or to even lead people or a church, they are only supposed to be examples of keeping all the commandments, that’s how you know they are true prophets.

      Why would we follow or trust an imperfect person to be our leader ?

      Everyone is supposed to discern truth and error on their own, that’s the test of this life.

      Christ taught us not to trust or follow any mortal, even prophets, for even if they do keep all his commandments they will still often be wrong about things and thus always lead people astray, while thinking they are right.

      Christ taught us to follow our conscience and the Golden Rule, not prophets or leaders.

      Churches are a man made idea and not something Christ invented or wanted, for he knew there are no angels on earth to lead those churches and mortals would always just lead each other astray unknowingly, no matter how sincere.

      The Bible was not written by Christ or God but by very fallible men, most who didn’t even seem to follow Christ but just claimed to speak for God or Christ. But it’s common for most everyone to think one’s inspiration/revelation is from God and from not our own mind or a false spirit.

      A false prophet will say he speaks for and has revelation from God. A true prophet will not claim revelation (for he will know how fallible and wrong he might be) and thus will tell you to get your own revelation and just follow the Golden Rule.

  47. What is Wanted

    It was going ok until he started on Joe not being a polygamist, horses in ancient america during BoM time and Native Americans coming from Japan and had Mid Eastern DNA….

    Come on!…. This is so easy to research it is disappointing he was clueless on so many things

  48. Rock’s a good guy. I don’t agree with everything he says, nor most of what he says actually. But he does have some useful insights that make one question the received wisdom.
    On the Joseph Smith/polygamy issue; in my view Rock’s right on the money here. I came to the conclusion a number of years ago that Joseph was not a polygamist. I did this by examining the evidence, rather than allowing other people to interpret it for me.

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