Sunday, August 16, 2015

Appealing My Excommunication


Previously: Why I Grieve For Boyd K. Packer

A number of people have expressed a desire to read the appeal regarding my excommunication from the LDS Church, but I felt the unwritten rules of decorum dictate that those at Church headquarters charged with reviewing the matter should have the opportunity to see the document before I make it public.

It has now been 43 days since I filed the appeal, and I have yet to receive a response from Church headquarters.  Given that I was originally allowed only 8 days notice before I was to appear in court to defend myself, and that I was not even informed of the charges against me until the hearing was underway, I feel 43 days is sufficient time for Church headquarters to rule on the issues.  I'm therefore publishing it here for those interested in understanding the procedural and substantive issues to which I objected.

It should be noted that even after the judgment of apostasy was passed on the evening of June 3rd, I was still not informed of the particular church law I had been found guilty of transgressing, though I asked repeatedly to have that or any other transgression identified for me.



Appeal of Disciplinary Council Decision

To The First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
In Care of President Douglas Hansen of the Sacramento California East Stake

Alan Rock Waterman
Shelfield No. 8
5800 Fair Oaks Blvd
Carmichael, CA 95608 


 Certified Mail No. 7010 1870 0003 6655 7952

 July 4, 2015  

Dear President Uchtdorf:[1]  

On June 7, 2015, I received a letter from President Hansen informing me I have been  excommunicated from the church. The charge is apostasy. I am writing to appeal the decision of apostasy. However, preparing a proper response is somewhat challenging because I wasn't provided any explanation of what specific sins or transgressions on my part constituted apostasy. Not only does this make an appeal difficult to address, but it also frustrates the repentance process, as what I presumably need to change has not been identified to me. 

As an initial matter, I want you to know that at some point I intend to post this appeal letter on my blog at www.puremormonism.blogspot.com. I believe in being open, honest, and transparent, since the scriptures frown upon us when we "seek deep to hide [our] counsels from the Lord."[2]  I also think it's important to raise these points more broadly, as what happened to me seems to be happening more and more within the church. The Book of Mormon teaches that we are to deal with apostates (Sherem and Korihor)[3] out in the open, so the priests may correct their errors publicly for all to see.  Closed proceedings provide no value to those who are supposedly led astray by the apostate. 

In the last couple of years there has been a rise of disciplinary councils resulting in excommunications. This increase tends to fall into two camps. One group has become troubled by church history issues and no longer believes in the Restoration, the Book of Mormon, that Joseph Smith was a prophet, etc. Some even abandon belief in God altogether.

The other group believes in the Restoration, believes in the Book of Mormon, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet, but they do not know if the LDS Church is led by a counsel with the gifts of translation, prophecy, seeing, and revealing, and so they are excommunicated for apostasy.[4],[5]

They nonetheless pray for the leaders in their service to the Lord. They want to fellowship with the Saints and are desirous to remain in the fold of God, and to be called His people; they are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; willing to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and stand as witnesses of God.[6]  My hope is that this letter might be found persuasive and allow the Church to reflect on this current course of casting out believers and those who would want to fellowship.  
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[1] I realize that the an appeal of excommunication goes to the High Council of the Seat of the First Presidency, but I request that it specifically be reviewed by President Uchtdorf for reasons that will be seen below.

[2] 2 Nephi 28:9

[3] See Jacob 7, Alma 30

[4] http://salemthoughts.com/Topics/Doctrine-Errors-Excommunications.shtml (this list is out of date, and there are at least four more.

[5] http://www.totheremnant.com/2015/04/abuse-and-favor-in-all-things.html


[6] See Mosiah 18:8-9

The escalating number of excommunications of people who have testimonies of the Restoration (and have committed no major sin or transgression) should be alarming to us all. The Lord has defined His Church:
"Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church. Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church." (D&C 10:67-68.)
I continually try to repent and come unto the Lord. While I do fail every day, I desire to fellowship with the Saints. 

I am dissatisfied with the decision of the council, and I request a rehearing.
“Should the parties or either of them be dissatisfied with the decision of said council, they may appeal to the high council of the seat of the First Presidency of the Church, and have a re-hearing, which case shall there be conducted, according to the former pattern written, as though no such decision had been made.” D&C 102:26-27.
My excommunication should be reversed because:

            1) My disciplinary council violated  many of the Church's own rules as laid out in scripture, and as given in the Church Handbook of Instruction, and 
   
2) The substantive charges of apostasy are clearly erroneous. I have not apostatized.

Procedural Errors

There is No Record of My Disciplinary Council.

The first procedural reversible error is that there is no record of my disciplinary council. Immediately after my stake president informed me of the decision, I requested a record of the notes and minutes of the disciplinary council so I could prepare this appeal. That request has not been honored. I was not permitted to record the proceedings myself.
D&C 128:4-9 explains the importance of record keeping; note verse 8.
"... whatsoever you record on earth shall be recorded in heaven, and whatsoever you do not record on earth shall not be recorded in heaven..." 
And verse 9:
"... whatsoever those men did in authority, in the name of the Lord, and did it truly and faithfully, and kept a proper and faithful record of the same, it became a law on earth and in heaven, and could not be annulled, according to the decrees of the great Jehovah."
If it's done with authority, it must be recorded. If my excommunication is to be recorded in heaven, a faithful record of it must be made on earth. Since there is no record of my disciplinary council, this appeal serves as the only record on earth. Verse 3 makes it clear that the proceeding itself should be recorded, and not just the decision of the council.
"... there can be a recorder appointed in each ward of the city, who is well qualified for taking accurate minutes; and let him be very particular and precise in taking the whole proceedings, certifying in his record that he saw with his eyes, and heard with his ears, giving the date, and names, and so forth, and the history of the whole transaction; naming also some three individuals that are present, if there be any present, who can at any time when called upon certify to the same, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established." (D&C 128:3)
This was not done. As such, there is no record, no evidence to support and maintain a decision of apostasy. My excommunication should be reversed on this ground alone. 

Discipline Was Not Conducted as the Scriptures Direct. 

The second reversible error is that the Disciplinary Council did not follow the disciplinary procedure as laid out in scripture.
"Any member of the church of Christ transgressing, or being overtaken in a fault, shall be dealt with as the scriptures direct." (D&C 20:80)
"And if thy brother or sister offend thee, thou shalt take him or her between him or her and thee alone; and if he or she confess thou shalt be reconciled.
"And if he or she confess not thou shalt deliver him or her up unto the church, not to the members, but to the elders. And it shall be done in a meeting, and that not before the world." (D&C 42:88-89)
I had no accuser. No member approached me, alone, seeking reconciliation over any alleged offense that I may have caused. I am not aware of any accuser who sought such reconciliation alone, who then felt unreconciled and went to the Bishop or Stake President. 

The rules of the Church require that discipline begin at the local level.[7] Here, they did not. When I first met with my Bishop, he told me that he had been tasked with delivering me an ultimatum from Elder Zachary Smith of the Seventy who told the Stake President that a disciplinary council should be conducted for me. Frankly my Bishop seemed uncomfortable delivering this ultimatum, and he told me he did not want anything to do with a disciplinary council for me. According to the message conveyed by the Seventy, I was given two options: 1. Stop blogging, 2. Resign from church voluntarily, or 3. Face excommunication.

I was disinclined to stop blogging as blogging has been encouraged by many of the Twelve recently:
"Now, may I ask that you join the conversation by participating on the Internet to share the gospel and to explain in simple and clear terms the message of the Restoration." -Sharing the Gospel Using the Internet, by M. Russell Ballard, Ensign, July 2008.
"Social media channels are global tools that can personally and positively impact large numbers of individuals and families. And I believe the time has come for us as disciples of Christ to use these inspired tools appropriately and more effectively to testify of God the Eternal Father, His plan of happiness for His children, and His Son, Jesus Christ, as the Savior of the world; to proclaim the reality of the Restoration of the gospel in the latter days; and to accomplish the Lord’s work. ... I exhort you to sweep the earth with messages filled with righteousness and truth—messages that are authentic, edifying, and praiseworthy..." -To Sweep the Earth as with a Flood," address by David A. Bednar, delivered on August 19, 2014, during Campus Education Week at Brigham Young University.
I sustain Elders Ballard and Bednar in their counsel as they have encouraged believers to share their testimonies of Christ, the Father and His plan, and the Restoration. I frequently testifiy of these things on my blog. The title of my blog is Pure Mormonism. I've tried to be true to the pure doctrine of the Restoration.
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[7] "Decisions [to discipline members] are made by local leaders and not directed or coordinated by Church headquarters. Official Church News Press Release, June 11th 2014

The Procedure of my Disciplinary Council was Inherently Unfair and Unjust.

I was given little notice of the proceeding and I was given no indication of what the charge would be. I was invited to have witnesses speak on my behalf, but it's rather difficult to decide which witnesses to bring without letting me know what I was being charged against. If I were being charged with being dishonest or embezzling, I might bring different witnesses than if I were being charged with some immoral conduct.

At the proceeding, I was informed I would  have only forty-five minutes to respond, including witnesses. It is worth noting that trials set for misdemeanor stalking can take more than a year for trial. Civil court proceedings for relatively small matters can take days. I am allegedly on trial for the blessings of my baptism, which has eternal consequences, and I get forty-five minutes to defend myself?!

This was not a just proceeding. My witnesses used up thirty minutes, so I was only left with fifteen minutes to defend myself against the charges. This was simply not enough time to address the points laid out by the State President in his accusations against me. 

I have to wonder: did I attend a trial, or an inquisition?  A trial consists of a prosecutor who makes the case on behalf of the state (church), a defender who advocates on behalf of the accused, an impartial judge who makes sure the proceedings happen according to the law, and a jury who decides guilt or innocence. In order to maintain justice, there is a separation of duties in a trial. An inquisition is where one person is essentially the  prosecutor, judge, and jury. I had no one there who defended me, and the Stake President acted as accuser, prosecutor, judge, and jury. 

I understand that in a world-wide church, it actually makes sense that there be some more general authority that may initiate church discipline across the world. Wards are small, and with the Internet, I may offend a member in a different continent. It makes perfect sense that the Church deal with this at a more general level. But those are not presently the rules of the church. There is scriptural support for public censure of an apostate.
"And if thy brother or sister offend many, he or she shall be chastened before many.
"And if any one offend openly, he or she shall be rebuked openly, that he or she may be ashamed." (D&C42:90-91)
The Church's procedure may not be practical for the situations the Church must address these days. But the Church has keys and can receive revelation or simply just change the policy; but until it does, I simply ask the Church to abide its own rules.[8]
“Thou shalt take the things which thou hast received, which have been given unto thee in my scriptures for a law, to be my law to govern my church; And he that doeth according to these things shall be saved, and he that doeth them not shall be damned if he so continue.” (D&C 42:59-60)
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[8] For behold, have I testified against your law? Ye do not understand; ye say that I have spoken against your law; but I have not, but I have spoken in favor of your law, to your condemnation. (Alma 10:26)


The Charge of "Apostasy" Itself is Unjust
Just laws are required to be published in order to put people on notice of what the crime actually is. Just laws cannot be vague or indefinite. Members must know what constitutes breaking the law of God and what does not.  Many civil jurisdictions have had a difficult time with loitering statutes. What is loitering? Is going to the park and sitting on a park bench loitering? Sometimes it might be. Sometimes it's not. Specifically whether it is or not needs to be defined by the statute, or it is indefinite or vague.

The present charges of "apostasy" or "conduct unbecoming a member" are unjust; they are indefinite and vague. No member is on notice of any transgression of "apostasy." They are at the mercy of whatever a stake president decides is apostasy. Neither before the disciplinary council, nor after, did my Stake President ever articulate what transgressions I had committed that met the threshold of apostasy. 

Deciding whether or not my disciplinary council was just or unjust would be far simpler had the council simply followed the Church's own rules with regards to discipline. The fact that they did not, leads to only one possibility: that the proceeding itself was unjust and it must be reversed.

Substantive Charge of Apostasy

Above I have illustrated that my local leaders committed reversible error by not following the procedures laid out in scripture and in the Church Handbook of Instruction. President Monson recently testified of the importance of abiding by the Handbook, and did so in the name of Jesus Christ. Even if I am guilty of apostasy, my excommunication should be reversed because the Church should not treat lightly whether it abides by its own rules or not. All members would be at risk of discipline that is arbitrary and capricious.

I am not guilty of Apostasy. I have not turned away from God, I have not turned away from the Lord, and I have not turned away from the scriptures. The examples of apostasy in scripture consistently exemplify turning away from the Lord. 

I Have Not Met the Definition of Apostasy Under the Church Handbook of Instruction.
While I maintain that it is unjust to charge a member with an offense he/she is not on notice of, the Church Handbook of Instruction (CHI), which is not Scripture, does provide guidance to local leaders for dealing with apostasy. The CHI defines Apostasy as:
"1) Repeated acts in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders. 2) Persist in Teaching as Church doctrine information that is not Church doctrine after they have been corrected by their bishop or higher authority."[9]
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[9] 3) and 4) do not appear to be applicable here. 
 In my first and only meetings, each with my Bishop and Stake President, each man said they were not very familiar with my blog. They never followed up by informing me of any error in my blog. My Disciplinary Council was convened one year later. Since no doctrinal error on my blog was identified to me before the Disciplinary Council, I could not have repeatedly acted in clear, open and deliberate public opposition to the Church. Nor could I have persisted in teaching as Church Doctrine that which is not Church Doctrine, because I was never corrected before the Disciplinary Council.

I have a testimony of the Restoration, including a testimony of Jesus Christ as my Savior; that Joseph Smith is a Prophet; and that the Book of Mormon is literally true. I have blogged about my testimony.[10],[11] I bore this testimony at the Disciplinary Council. However, the Council was not interested in that testimony.  They repeatedly asked if I "sustained the brethren."[12]

I pray for the leaders of the Church to be sure. But my testimony is not based on the men holding office in the Church. 
"As General Authorities of the Church, we are just the same as you are, and you are just the same as we are. You have the same access to the powers of revelation for your families and for your work and for your callings as we do.
"It is also true that there is an order to things in the Church. When you are called to an office, you then receive revelation that belongs to that office that would not be given to others.
"No member of the Church is esteemed by the Lord as more or less than any other. It just does not work that way! Remember, He is a father—our Father. The Lord is “no respecter of persons.” -Elder Boyd K. Packer, "The Weak and Simple of the Church," Oct 2007.
I sustain Elder Packer in this counsel. But the foundation, the rock of my testimony can only be Jesus Christ.
“We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. The plan of the Father was implemented by the Son that we may have the Spirit of the Holy Ghost. The way of the Father is the way of the Son. He said, 'Thou shalt have no other gods before me.'
"Only God can bless us. Only He can sustain us. Only He can cause our hearts to beat and give us breath. Only He can preserve and protect us. Only He can give us strength to bear up the burdens of life. Only He can give us power, knowledge, peace, and joy. Only He can forgive our sins. Only He can heal us. Only He can change us and forge a godly soul. Only He can bring us back into His presence. And He will do all of that and much more if we but remember Him to keep His commandments. What then shall we do? We will remember Him to keep His commandments. It is the only intelligent thing to do." Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge, "The Way," General Conference, October 2008
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[10] http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2012/06/who-you-callin-apostate.html
[11] http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2013/07/my-testimony-of-church.html

[12] The injunction to sustain our leaders is problematic because of the ambiguous nature of the phrase "sustain our leaders." Does this mean do I endorse them as a good candidate for their office? Does it mean that once ordained I pray for them and try to support them in their stewardship? Or does it mean that I will blindly do whatever they say? I cannot agree to the latter as it might cause me to violate my conscience and the Holy Ghost. If it is the former, I happily support those who are in positions of authority to fulfill their stewardship as the Spirit guides.

One of the most popular and attractive philosophies of men we have in the Church is to follow some person that seems greater than yourself. If you follow that man, he will not cause you to err. 
"But the Lord said, 'I am the way.' He said, 'Follow me.'  He said, 'What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.'
"Jesus Christ is the Way. Every other way, any other way, whatever other way is madness." Elder Corbridge, The Way, General Conference, October 2008 Ibid
I sustain Elder Corbridge in this counsel. With regards to leaders of the Church, I do believe D&C 107:91-92.
"And again, the duty of the President of the office of the High Priesthood is to preside over the whole church, and to be like unto Moses—
...to be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet, having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church." (D&C 107:91-92)
I do believe that it is in fact the duty of the President of the office of the High Priesthood, President Monson, to be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet. I believe that is his duty. Whether or not he has in fact fulfilled his duty and received the spiritual gifts of seeing, revealing, translating, and prophesying, is not for me to say. The scriptures do not require me to judge the President whether he's been faithful to his duty. Nor would I want to judge anyone in the Church whether they've fulfilled their duty or not. That is between the Lord and the servant. It's just not my place to say. 

It may very well be that President Monson is the only one who holds all the keys for the Church. Certainly he is the only one who has authority to speak for the Church. I think President Monson is generally a good man, and I pray for his well-being.  


The Evidence Does not Show that I Teach False Doctrine

In cases for one's life, the standard of proof is "beyond a reasonable doubt." It seems that since it is my baptism and temple blessings that are at stake, no standard below that would be warranted. My excommunication should be reversed because the evidence does not support beyond a reasonable doubt that I teach false doctrine.

The actual evidence shows that I do not teach false doctrine. I have received hundreds of letters from members thanking me for my blog and telling me that because of my blog they stay in the church. If people are staying in the Church because of my blog, how can that be apostasy? The Disciplinary Council committed reversible error because they gave no weight to any of this evidence. The Disciplinary Council only lasted about two hours, and it would have been impossible for them to review the evidence. Since they did not consider it, that is reasonable doubt that I am not an apostate. 

The "Evidence" Used Against me was Misconstrued

The "evidence" provided at the disciplinary council intended to support the accusation of apostasy does not even say what the Stake President said it does.
The Stake President pointed to three blogs in support of the ideas:
1. I teach people to not go to the temple, 
2. I teach people to not pay tithing, and
3. I teach people to not obey the Word of Wisdom.
First, and foremost, if these were the legitimate concerns, that I in fact teach people these ideas, this could have been remedied without all of this hassle. Because I do believe there is value for people to go to the temple, I believe we should pay an honest tithe to the Lord, and I believe the Word of Wisdom is important; people would be healthier by abiding by it. I do not teach people to not go to the temple. I do not tell people to not pay tithing to the Lord, and I do not encourage others to violate the Word of Wisdom. And I did attempt to make my position clear to the Council. However, that was nearly impossible to do in the short amount of time allotted for my defense.

I do not Teach that People Should not go to the Temple

It should be noted that in order for the Stake President to successfully accuse me, it was necessary for him to take my writings out of context and completely ignore the point I was trying to convey. I make no judgment on whether this was intentional or just a misunderstanding. But the fact of the matter is, what he understood from my blog was incorrect. Therefore, the position he advanced at the disciplinary council was incorrect. 

I never taught or encouraged people not to be sealed in the temple. In fact my blog explicitly states:
"By all means, get yourselves sealed in the temple..."[13]
The sealing blessings are the important eternal blessings we go to the temple to receive. I did offer the recommendation to not get married in the temple. This cannot be seen as an apostate view because in many countries around the world this is adhered to in the church. The only view I put forward was the view Joseph Smith had for the Church as printed in the original Doctrine and Covenants:
“All marriages in this church of Christ of Latter Day Saints,” the scripture stated, “should be solemnized in a public meeting, or feast, prepared for this purpose..."
“...The persons to be married,” are to be “standing together, the man on the right, and the woman on the left...” (D&C Section 101:1, Original 1835 edition) (Emphasis mine.)
I've seen enough heartache and distress due to families being divided over not being able to attend the wedding of their beloved family members, that it seems reasonable to get married publicly, as the Prophet decreed, and then go to the temple for the sealing ordinance.[14] 

I am hopeful that my excommunication will be reversed and my views on marriage and family not be infringed upon.
"The Church insists on its ... members’ right to express and advocate religious convictions on marriage, family, and morality free from retaliation or retribution." -First Presidency Response To The Supreme Court Decision Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage in the United States, June 29, 2015
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[13] http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2011/02/go-ahead-and-skip-that-temple-wedding.html
[14] Upholding my excommunication on the basis that I encourage people to be married outside the temple first, only to be sealed later will look silly when the Church inevitably changes its policy to differentiate marriage, which now is a legal right for homosexuals, and a sealing ordinance, which is not. If I am excommunicated, will my membership be restored when Church policy changes? 


I do not Teach that People Should not Obey the Word of Wisdom.

Another charge against me was that I encourage people to not obey the Word of Wisdom whereby they become unable to get a temple recommend. 

This is an odd accusation since the title of the post says "...I don't like Beer," and I actually end the post with an encouragement to live the Word of Wisdom."[15]  But I never encouraged people to not live the Word of Wisdom. And I also explained the harm of drinking too much alcohol. As I put it,
"An excess amount of beer can be detrimental to the liver and other parts of the body."[16]

The confusion possibly arises when I show that the Word of Wisdom not only permits the drinking of beer, but it actually prescribes it.  See verse seventeen:
"Nevertheless, wheat for man, and corn for the ox, and oats for the horse, and rye for the fowls and for swine, and for all beasts of the field, and barley for all useful animals, and for mild drinks, as also other grain."[17] (Emphasis added)
Verse seventeen explicitly states that barley is to be used for mild drinks (beer was known as a mild drink in the days of Joseph Smith, as opposed to strong drink—liquor or distilled spirits). Additionally, mild drinks is the modifier for "as also other grain." This means that other grains may be used for mild drinks. And sure enough, beer can be made from wheat, corn, oats, and rye. But personally, I don't like beer. I don't drink it. If anything, I've discouraged people from drinking beer because it tastes terrible. 

If I erred in this understanding, no attempt was made to correct me. No attempt was made to show me an alternative construction and understanding of the verse. And no superseding revelation was shown to me that this verse is not current Church doctrine.  
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[15] http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2009/06/too-bad-i-dont-like-beer.html

[16] http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2009/06/too-bad-i-dont-like-beer.html

[17] D&C 89:17

[18] http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2012/12/are-we-paying-too-much-tithing.html


I do not Teach that People Should not Pay Tithing

Another charge against me was that I encourage people not to pay tithing, whereby they become unable to get a temple recommend. I must admit that it does become frustrating to be accused of things when my writings explicitly say the opposite:
"Oh, [tithing is] very clearly an obligation, make no mistake about that. We are told that if we fail to observe the law of tithing (in this instance, at least, the Lord uses words such as "observe" and "keep" in lieu of obey), we won't have a Zion society.
"The Lord is very clear that it is to be strictly kept, at least by those who wish to remain worthy to abide in Zion."[18]
Not only do I write that we must pay tithing, but I also encourage people to be compassionate for our less fortunate brothers and sisters. I write that fast offerings and helping the poor in front of our faces tend unfortunately to be an afterthought. We as Saints can do better.   

I realize that many of my blog posts are long. I'm often surprised people actually read them all the way through. But if I am going to be accused because their contents, my accusers should do the diligence of reading them in their entirety and not misrepresent the ideas I am trying to communicate.

No name was brought forward by the court who claimed his or her testimony of the gospel was adversely affected by my writings, though I could have produced thousands who would affirm their testimonies have been strengthened.

Erring in Doctrine Does not Warrant Excommunication

Even if I am wrong, one should not be excommunicated for not having attained a perfect understanding of doctrine. Joseph Smith said:
"Elder Pelatiah Brown, one of the wisest old heads we have around us, and whom I now see before me, has been preaching concerning the beast which was full of eyes before and behind; and for this he was hauled up for trial before the High Council. 
“I did not like the old man being called up for erring in doctrine. It looks too much like the Methodists, and not like the Latter-day Saints. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be asked out of their church. I want the liberty of thinking and believing as I please. It feels so good not to be trammeled. It does not prove that a man is not a good man because he errs in doctrine.” (DHC 5: 340.)
I sustain the prophet Joseph Smith in this counsel.

There is a difference between erring in doctrine and knowingly teaching false doctrine. I do not claim that everything I've ever written is without error. There was no attempt by local leaders to persuade me that my understanding was wrong. I have invited correction.[19] If I am wrong, please show me, and I will correct my blog to remove the error. 

It is a salient doctrine of the Church that members are free to believe as they wish.[20], [21]

The Doctrine and Covenants teaches us there is no power in the priesthood but through persuasion. This means that if we are to use the power of the priesthood, we must use persuasion to change people's minds about their understanding of doctrine. And if we are unsuccessful, we must be prepared to be long-suffering, gentle, meek, loving, and kind. We must use pure knowledge to persuade, and we must not exercise unrighteous dominion with our little authority. [22]

Furthermore, Christ's instructions on what constitutes His doctrine are clear. He taught the Nephites to have faith, repent, be baptized, and to receive the Holy Ghost, and that this was His Doctrine.[23]
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
"And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock..." (3 Nephi 11:39-40)
The Lord said teaching anything more or less than this cometh of evil. Perhaps the Lord knew that different people learn in different ways and understand things differently. Perhaps he foresaw that if he established a complex theology there might be disputations. But if he kept the doctrine simple, this would allow people to have different points of view without the contention of chasing after heretics. 

I am hopeful that my excommunication will be reversed as the Church has stated that we are all free to find solutions to our doctrinal questions.
“Members who . . . have doctrinal questions should make a diligent effort, including earnest prayer and scripture study, to find solutions and answers themselves. Church members are encouraged to seek guidance from the Holy Ghost to help them in their personal lives and in family and Church responsibilities." -Background Material for First Presidency Response To The Supreme Court Decision Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage In The United States, June 29, 2015
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[19] http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2015/01/correct-me-if-im-wrong.html
[20] "Now there was no law against a man’s belief; for it was strictly contrary to the commands of God that there should be a law which should bring men on to unequal grounds." Alma 30:7.
[21] See Twelfth Article of Faith
[22] See D&C 121: 39-42
[23] See 3 Nephi 11: 32-40

Why Would I Want to be a Member?

Some may say that my blog recognizes differences between the way I understand the gospel and the way the Church operates today, so why would I even want to be a member of the Church if there are differences? 

How the institutional Church operates is not my biggest concern. I desire to be a member because I have a love for the Saints. I have fellowshipped with the Saints my entire life, and I will always be a Mormon regardless of the outcome of this proceeding. 

I love the pure doctrine of Christ. I embraced it so much, that after I received the baptism of fire I decided to dedicate more of my life to the doctrine, studying it out more deeply and more earnestly. I have written what I have learned in order to share with others. I find solace in the fact that many have thanked me and appreciated my work. 

I love the Lord. He is my Savior. He has helped me through all my battles in life. 
"[I] take upon [me] the name of [the] Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given [me]; that [I] may always have his Spirit to be with [me].' Everything depends on that.
"It is the power by which the Lord makes Himself manifest unto those who believe in Him. Every good thing depends on getting and keeping the power of the Holy Ghost in our lives. Everything depends on that." Elder Corbridge, The Way, General Conference, October 2008
Is There Room For Me?
I also believe President Uchtdorf's reasons are valid reasons for fellowshipping with the Saints:
"And, to be perfectly frank, there have been times when members or leaders in the Church have simply made mistakes. There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles, or doctrine.
"There is room for you.
"I say, my dear friends, there is yet a place for you here.
"Come and add your talents, gifts, and energies to ours. We will all become better as a result.
"If these are your desires, then regardless of your circumstances, your personal history, or the strength of your testimony, there is room for you in this Church. Come, join with us!
"If you seek the pure doctrine of Christ, the word of God 'which healeth the wounded soul,' and the sanctifying influence of the Holy Ghost, then here you will find them. In this age of waning faith—in this age when so many feel distanced from heaven’s embrace—here you will find a people who yearn to know and draw closer to their Savior by serving God and fellowmen, just like you. Come, join with us!" -President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Come, Join With Us," General Conference October 2013

President Uchtdorf, I would like to do just that. I sustain you in this counsel. But I am not the one walking away. While I am aware of the mistakes of the leaders, I hold no ill will against them. I am aware of the historical challenges the church faces and I pray for the church. I am a devout believer in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and I embrace everything God has ever revealed to the church in these latter days. I ask you, President Uchtdorf, will you cast me out? Is there not room in this church for me?

Alan Rock Waterman
Ashton Park Ward
Sacramento East Stake   
Sacramento, California                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                      

128 comments:

Jared Mata said...

This is a fine summary of who you are

Melissa J. Cunningham said...

Wow! Beautifully written! And very powerful. I am very surprised they have not responded yet. I think that is terrible. And so disrespectful on a variety of levels. I could go on and on about my feelings on this, but I'll stop here. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Rock! I love your spirit and your blog. Keep writing. You edify me and strengthen my testimony.

neigy CS said...

Well done. So, was this entire post verbatim the same exact letter you sent to the first presidency?

Good Will said...

Dear Rock,

I am SO tempted to copy and paste this appeal you've written and send it, verbatim, as my own (second) appeal...with attribution, of course! You nailed it! I could not have said it better -- or even as well -- myself! And I was given TWO HOURS to defend myself at my hearing, with NO witnesses. But other than that, my trial was the same. The same eerie lack of witnesses against me, no aforementioned charges (other than "apostasy"), one man acting as prosecutor, defender, judge and jury, no written record after the fact, etc. The stake clerk -- who supposedly kept the record of the event -- said EVEN HE couldn't figure out what happened...and didn't know what to write down! He urged me afterward to appeal the decision and said "you have a very good case for getting this overturned". But it was all for naught. I never received a written response of any kind, nor any clarification. (As recently as last month I asked one of the stake presidency -- a man whom I love and revere -- "Why was I excommunicated?" He couldn't articulate any reason, but remained silent.)

I would LOVE to come back to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints...but not under that guise that I must "shut up and do" WHATEVER someone else [not the Lord] tells me to do. I'm not willing to be a member of a cult, a mere follower of other men. I am a devout -- and definitely flawed -- disciple of Jesus Christ. Like you, I sustain the prophetic work of Joseph Smith and the historicity and truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I have fellowship with those of like mind and heart, so there OUGHT to be room for me in this great and wonderful LDS church.

I love you, brother. Thank you for sharing your talents and divine gifts with us.

Unknown said...

As with most all of your stuff, well written.
I am one of those who continue to attend, in no small party based on things you've written. So while I have no expectation that your efforts will be fruitful, I'd like to give you a heartfelt thank you.

Jacob Malouf said...

You can add two more people to the list of people benefitted from your blog. My wife and I have been quietly reading it for a couple years and have found it immensely helpful as we seek to obtain and apply truth (i.e. the Word of God).Let me know if you end up needing another witness.

Sue Krupa said...

Rock: I just love who you are. Your heart, mind, spirit, and decency. It'll never make sense that the church exed you.

Rebecca C. said...

They will feel threatened that you have had a baptism of fire because many of them or more have not. Excellent appeal. It stands on logic alone. We can pray the leaders will eperience a softening of their hearts for their own sake.

Log said...

Unless I am greatly mistaken, *original* D&C 101 was not a product of Joseph Smith nor of revelation, but was composed by others and canonized in his absence.

Log said...

FAIR agrees with me, though they assert that Joseph "supported its publication."

I am myself doubtful as to the veracity of that assertion, which FAIR characterizes as "probable."

Shawz said...

Rock, unlike the others I think this appeal is poorly done. You've mixed in to much preachy stuff, you didn't address the other two members of the first presidency. Your case has real merit to be overturned. But you couldn't hold of preaching to them. This appeal reads like it was designed for a blog post, I am sad that you will likely be the cause the appeal being denied.

Log said...

I will play the prognosticator and predict that Rock's appeal will be denied, and no explanation will be forthcoming that will explain it by reference to the scriptures, nor by reference to the CHI.

That's because he is being judged after "the unwritten order of things," in-house rules that aren't to be made public because they might harm the marketing efforts of the Church.

Though it has not been openly expressed since the '40s, when the Church got bad press for saying it plainly, it is the de facto doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that "when the [United 15 Apostles] speak, the thinking is done." (Contrast with President Nelson's October 2014 conference talk Sustaining the Prophets. He's declaring the same doctrine, couched in language which is plain to those within the Church, but perhaps plausibly deniable to those without.)

Expressing anything which tends to undermine belief in the infallibility and/or authority of the current leadership of the Church, and/or failing to do all things whatsoever one is commanded by one's immediate "priesthood" "superior," is the operational definition of apostasy currently.

Log said...

After all, this is the operational definition of modern Mormonism.

The Gospel is simple and the purpose of life is clear: find the prophet. Once you’ve found the prophet, the thinking is done. Just do 100% of what he says. No more and no less. And then you’re home free.

Of course, I've spoken of these points before, but they remain evergreen, alas.

As Elder Bruce R. McConkie once said...

It is not in your province to set in order the Church or to determine what is doctrines shall be. It is axiomatic among us to know that God has given apostles and prophets “for the edifying of the body of Christ,” and that their ministry is to see that “we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the slight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” (Eph. 4:11-16.) This means, among other things, that it is my province to teach to the Church what the doctrine is. It is your province to echo what I say or to remain silent. You do not have a divine commission to correct me or any of the Brethren. The Lord does not operate that way. If I lead the Church astray, that is my responsibility, but the fact still remains that I am the one appointed with all the rest involved so to do.... The Lord’s house is a house of order and those who hold the keys are appointed to proclaim the doctrines.

Now you know that this does not mean that individuals should not do research and make discoveries and write articles. What it does mean is that what they write should be faith promoting and where doctrines are concerned, should be in harmony with that which comes from the head of the Church. And those at the head of the Church have the obligation to teach that which is in harmony with the Standard Works. If they err then be silent on the point and leave the event in the hands of the Lord. Some day all of us will stand before the judgment bar and be accountable for our teachings. And where there have been disagreements the Lord will judge between us. In the meantime if we want to save our own souls we need to strive with all the power we have to be in harmony with the revelations and not to be teaching or promulgating doctrines that suit our fancy.


So even if they go wrong, you are ne'er to point it out.

Peter and Wendy said...

I hope and pray the delay is because they are taking your appeal seriously and are not just going to send a form letter denial.

mark moe said...

Rock,

Sorry to say just like when I posted pre-hearing your chances were nil, your chances of an appeal are also nil.

I don't say this to be mean or hateful, just to help prepare you for the next chapters in your life. To date, having truth on your side has never mattered in a church disciplinary hearing as far as I have learned/read.

Stay the course of seeking truth! This will matter more when judgement from heaven will occur.

Take care.

I meant that!

Ken Jensen said...

You MIGHT be lucky enough to get a phone call from the stake president saying that your appeal was denied--that is what happened in mine. It took a while-- longer than I expected. Of course, my appeal was not much of an "appeal." I had already seen that they would never "overturn" a decision of their minions, who were only trying to follow their masters.
So my "appeal" was more of a call to exercise their authority to eliminate the institutional idolatry. I would go ahead and post my own appeal letter here in comments but it would be kinda long, 6 pages in Microsoft Word format. Maybe there is a dropbox format I could use ? Anyway, now that they have made their choice-- good riddance.

Ken Jensen said...

Here is most of my appeal from about 6 months ago...

Dear First Presidency, February 8, 2015

On 11 January 2015, I was kicked out of the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Excommunicated. Expelled. Cast Out. Temple marriage and all blessings proffered through the Corporation revoked. There was no transgression. No moral lapse. No sin. No wickedness. No opposition to the Lord's commandments (in fact if anything, it was for keeping the Lord's Commandments). Not based on scripture or revelation, but all according to the secret handbook that nearly none of us are allowed to see.
I am appealing the decision not because I think there is any chance of there being a reversal or that you will reverse the "revelation" that the stake and high council claimed to have received-- in spite of the command to not take the name of the Lord God in vain. I am appealing in hopes that again you will take time to review the abominable procedures in place now for a member to obtain all blessings available through the temple.
The Stake Council were very careful to lay aside the scriptures in order to use the secret handbook as their guiding "procedural " star. In fact they requested that I not speak of scriptures at all. They did not care about what the scriptures say and especially if it had anything to do with why I was called into council for apostasy. The hearing was only about what is in the handbook--which the "common member" knows nothing about and does not have.
The local leaders did most everything as they apparently are told to do it in the Super Secret Handbook of Instruction. I feel sorry for them…at one point when the Stake President even said that it is his duty to "enforce" what is in the handbook-- my wife told him that he does indeed have the freedom to use the scriptures and the Spirit as his guide, and that he ought to "man up" to do it. Later on, in the few minutes of testimony that she was allowed at the hearing, she said that she was confused as to why somebody would be called up for apostasy when all he was doing is preaching repentance and baptism for the remission of sins, just like it talks about in the scriptures is the duty of every priesthood holder to preach teach and exhort (unto baptism for the remission and sins and reception of the Holy Ghost)--She explained that I had become more a of a disciple of Christ in the last year than I ever had been. Anyway, the stake president did not like that reality check--especially when his "first gods" are the ones who put together their ultimate guidebook/handbook. I say "first gods" because it is of "first" and "utmost" importance for the members of the church to FIRST "sustain" (ie. Worship) the brethren BEFORE they are able to Worship Christ "in its fullness" by partaking of all the blessing of the gospel afforded to saints in the temples in these times.
Apostasy was the charge. Preaching the gospel of baptism unto and repentance and reception of the Holy Ghost, teaching, exhorting--all duties of every priesthood holder in the church. If you ever do those things, make sure you get the royal permission before doing so--never mind you already have the common consent to do so since already being ordained to any priesthood.
It seems it was the great sin of Abinadi that likewise brought on my "demise." I had "reviled the king," by choosing to follow God instead of man.
Mosiah 17:12
And
Acts 5:27-29

Ken Jensen said...

Part 2 (continued)
But don’t worry-- I did belong and still do belong to Jesus Christ's Church…
D&C 10:67
So I am OK. The excommunication did nothing to my relationship with God except to strengthen it.
Of course the objective of them doing it will be accomplished--I will now have to deal with the intended and formulated shame and embarrassment being directed at me by means of now being an outcast (at most to be seen, and not heard). Friends and family now will either be hardened or softened toward the Lord. Others will now need to find out for themselves what this is all about, or simply pass by the opportunity and add their own "amen" to the proceedings….saying to themselves: "The Brethren must know what they're doing, so I guess I agree. I 'sustain' them, don't you know." They will figuratively cast their own stone (or at least hold the coats of those who are casting the stones)."

Compulsion and control are not the Lord's way. But once a man or group of men get a little authority, or so they think, they almost always begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.

The Doctrine of Christ is what we need--anything else cometh of evil……..yea, the E-word. See for yourself as we read the Savior's words in 3 Nephi 11:32-41

Yes. You saw it in Christ's own recorded words--more or less than this cometh of evil.

The Lord wants to establish Zion. Zion will never come in the Strongman Model that we (wait, no…you) still adhere to in the LDS Church.
If you strive within the LDS church to know God and commune with Him-- you will likely be struck down by the dark side in the attempt….that is unless you bow the knee and kiss the ring of the friar first…but in so doing you will offend God with your idolatry--for He alone is the Keeper of the Gate and He employeth no servant there.

You have a decision to make with your beloved Idolatry so cherished in the LDS Church. Good luck. Don't waste your precious time in this probation. Happily slumbering away with the mentality "that all is well" or "just follow the leader" will do you no good.

2 Nephi 28:24-32

God Bless You All… I hope you may come to the realization of the awful situation we are placed in by means of the institutional demands that only YOU THREE have the power to change.

Love,
Ken Jensen

PS
If you really just step back and take a look at the EXTRA (ie. evil) requirements that are placed on the members of the LDS Church, you will realize it is contrary to scripture and Christ's own words.
BEFORE we are able to participate in the "fullness of the gospel" in the temples, we must FIRST affirm with an "oathlike" sign and declaration that we "sustain" a man or group of men as something special and superior and essentially worthy of worship. You can not come completely unto the Lord (in this institution) unless you first KISS THE RING of those who have PLACED THEMSELVES as a barrier and an impediment to those who are seeking the Lord in His Fullness--the fullness of the gospel is, after all, to enter into the presence of the Lord (in this life).

I believe that the three of you are essentially good men, even great men…but you MUST come to the realization of at least this great abomination that is in place, that you alone have power to remedy--it is an unrighteous tradition that goes against God's word in a bazillion different places in scripture. As if the scriptures I mentioned above are not enough, shall I name a few more?

I went on to name a few unfalttering scriptures that I now leave out in the interest one time and space...

Clean Cut said...

As far as I can tell, this is a flawless appeal.

Sam said...

Rock, part of the reason it has taken them so long to get back to you is that the Brethren take off the entire month of July. Very little official business in conducted during the month of July as we learned from this official announcement regarding the Boy Scouts of America: http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/church-re-evaluating-scouting-program

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Neigy CS,
Yes, this isn an exact copy of the original appeal sent to Salt Lake City, with slight alterations in format as it was copied to the Blogspot template.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Good Will,
Your experience remains one of the eeriest, other dimensional, Twilight Zone excommunications of all time. When I reflect on the absolute injustice of my own experience, it still does not compare to yours. At least in my case there was a pretense of a reason ("you teach people not to go to the temple")however false and off base it was. But with you they were not even able to articulate a falsehood; they just plowed ahead, following the instructions of their corporate masters.

For those who don't know the craziest outcome, Will was presented with a letter from the Church's legal department telling him he is not to set foot on any church property. This he received weeks after he was continuing to attend church with no one suggesting he should not be there. Truly bizarre.

At least when someone suggests going with them to the City Creek Mall, you can tell them "I can't; that's trespassing."

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Log,
What we know of the provenance of the original D&C 101 (Rules for Marriage)is that Joseph was in Michigan at the time of the church conference where Oliver Cowdery presented it along with other revelations to be voted on by the membership. That doesn't mean Joseph did not author, co-author, or authorize it's inclusion; it only means he was not present for the sustaining vote. He did later have it published in the Times and Seasons, so we can be assured it's inclusion in scripture met with his approval.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Shawz,

You are concerned the appeal is poorly done because for one thing it contained "too much preachy stuff."

Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the format of a legal brief. Any appeal, whether in the civil or ecclesiastical courts, will consist of a combination of argument and citations. Whether you care for the tone of it or not, the format is perfectly acceptable. I did not create this thing by myself, but drafted it with the able assistance of a competent LDS attorney. I'm satisfied it was properly done.

The reason it was addressed to Dieter Uchtdorf in particular and not all three members of the First Presidency, is explained in footnote 1, and apparent by the close.

Further, the proper venue for an appeal from excommunication is not the First Presidency at all, but the venue required by scripture (D&C 102:27)no longer exists in this church (it was abolished by Brigham Young because the Church high council could undermine his ambitions).

So today those in authority pretend these appeals are heard by the First Presidency. In reality it is likely no actual body reviews them at all, as in virtually every case I've ever heard of, the judgment of the stake president is affirmed by someone at Church headquarters, the matter is forgotten, and all is well in Zion as Church administration soldiers on as though nothing untoward ever happened.

I note, Shawz, that you are sad that the tone and composition of the appeal may be the very reason it is denied. I take it you must have thought it would ever succeed. The truth is, this outcome is as predetermined as was the disciplinary hearing itself. It's all a charade. But at least they are being given an opportunity to repent.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Ken Jensen,
Nicely done. I would expect Shawz felt you cut your own throat by being direct, but your experience echos that of thousands of other faithful believers, and you put it to them without hesitation.

Eventually this avalanche of excommunications is going to actually get the attention of someone in the hierarchy, and maybe it will all stop.

But in the meantime It's critically important that we don't let them get away with it.

Priscilla said...

I just saw the movie, And So It Goes, with Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton. His son in the movie has to go to jail for something he was accused of that he never committed. It seems to me that you are being punished for things that you never committed or that are not even doctrinal. From reading your blog posts, you do not seem like you're rebelling against God's word. Actually you are very supportive of God's will, in every manner. It's very frustrating to see how areas of the original doctrine set up by Christ himself have changed. I truly hope they take your appeal seriously. This could very well be a stepping stone for the Church to grow. I recently did a talk on pride and humility and pinpointed moroni talking directly to us members about us being so prideful in our day. i will be praying for any pride to be lifted as they look over your appeal."If my people which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14." My prayers for you both, Rock and Connie

Log said...

Rock,

Let me try again. There is no evidence that Joseph had anything whatever to do with the production and canonization of "original" D&C 101. To therefore assert the opposite constitutes an argument from ignorance.

Also, it wouldn't matter if Joseph did co-author it, rather than it being simply a production of Cowdery et al; without "thus saith the Lord," nobody was acting as a prophet, and we both know no man is a prophet - spokesman for the Council - save he is acting as such. This was not the product of a man acting as prophet. Neither is "current" D&C 134, OD1, nor OD2, nor the Articles of Faith (canonized in 1880).

To assert that Joseph published it in the Times and Seasons and therefore he approved it is to make the same kind of unjustified and unwarranted assumption FAIR made, which is to implicitly claim that Joseph not opposing something is Joseph endorsing that something. Once a thing is done by common consent, it is done; people have put things the way they want them, and by the Golden Rule, it is just to let them have it that way. After all, the Golden Rule "is the law and the prophets."

When you screw up the Church, the Lord doesn't unscrew it. This includes letting the Church canonize the philosophies of men and other non-revelatory works (such as "original" D&C 101, "current" D&C 134, OD1, or OD2, or the Articles of Faith, and so on), or decanonize scripture (as some argue the Lectures on Faith were). That's agency; that's the Golden Rule. That's why new wine gets new bottles.

Lester said...

Even before reading your comment that an attorney helped craft your appeal I found it compelling, Rock. The mark of lawyers and wordsmiths is all over official church statements, pronouncements, declarations and some conference talks—seemingly substantial but with a subtle slipperiness around the edges as if the edges were made of holograms instead of material substance. You responding in the same vein as your accusers is delightfully instructive. Some poor drone at the COB is having heartburn at seeing one of the faithful responding in the mother tongue of the Magisterium. That you ground your statements in their own statements and the scriptures probalby has that poor guy lunging for his cookie jar full of Tums.

While it’s unlikely to contribute anything of substance to the serious conversation you’ve started, I’m reminded of the comic book and now movie character, Judge Dredd. Dredd serves the cause of justice in a mega city set in a dystopian future. As a ‘street judge’ he is empowered to summarily arrest, convict, sentence, and execute criminals.

The system of Judges is at the mercy of the strengths and weakness of the Judges. The tension of Judge Dredd making life-and-death decisions in real time is part of the story’s charm. Corrupt Judges always make for a lively plot point. Unwarranted executions are common as perpetrators attempt to escape the law. A single comic issue featuring a mashup of Elmer Fudd and Judge Dredd, entitled Judge Elmer Dwedd, is a back-handed compliment to both and deserves mention for its audacity.

I resonate with your sympathy towards your bishop and stake president. They are in effect street judges attempting to carry out the whims of an affluent ministerial class leading a corporation—while making it appear that it is they themselves who are bringing you down. It’s no wonder they’re behaving in a confused, illogical manner. Likewise this system of justice is at the mercy of the strengths and weaknesses of all involved, not the least of which is the fact that, despite a robust public relations department, the corporation has a soulless life of its own. At least in the case of Judge Dredd bringing the smackdown on some perp, the offender could see and reason directly with his accuser.

Thank you again for going to all the trouble, brother. Had you simply resigned, the world would understand this very broken part of the corporation much less clearly. Blessings on your bishop and stake president who were tasked with being street judges without the benefit of sensible criteria or the actual direction of God. Perhaps with time they will come to understand your genuine respect for them and your aspiration to simply be a humble follower of Jesus Christ.

Log said...

And the Golden Rule is why those who look for a reformation, cleansing, or purging of the Church look in vain. The process is that once the hirelings are corrupted sufficiently, they of themselves start casting out the servants of the Lord (the prophets) and beating the Lord's children (the saints). Once there are none righteous among them... well. We know how that ended for the Nephites.

See JST Matthew 21 for how the story ends for us.

Brett said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvJiYrRcfQo

Log said...

Ayup.

(Presuming he said it.)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Don't get me wrong, Log. I have not confused D&C 101 with a revelation from God. It is the doctrine of the church. It declares essentially that all weddings are to be conducted as they always have been throughout history and in all societies: in the open, witnessed before God and man.

Oliver Cowdery being the one who introduced and proposed it at conference is entirely justified. As the Second Elder in the church, he was second only to Joseph Smith, and was entitled to receive revelations for the church. (not that this was a revelation.)

So it matters little how much input Joseph Smith had regarding the actual text. That doctrine was consistent with Joseph Smith's teachings, and as valid as any other section of scripture that deals with the governance of church operations that did not come from the mouth of God. Are parts of the Doctrine and Coveanants questionable? Undoubtedly. Some smack of Campbellite influences. But the Rules on Marriage did not introduce anything new. It merely affirmed that marriages were not to take place in secret as some of the Cochranite converts were advocating.

It's not a new doctrine, and it's not particularly God's OFFICIAL doctrine, but I'd say it's much more consistent with God's law overall than the modern practice of marrying in the temple, which neither God nor Joseph Smith nor Oliver Cowdery ever declared to be the way it was to be done.

Temple weddings are based on the traditions of men. No one who ever received a revelation from the Lord had anything to do with insituting that practice.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

In other words, Log, I don't think Oliver Cowdery went off half cocked and introduced a doctrine that Joseph Smith would have taken him aside later and asked, "Oliver, why did you do that? Now we're stuck with it."

Joseph been present at the conference, there is no reason to believe he would not have proposed the same rules. They are consistent with his beliefs, and he had been expressing a lot of concern with how the Cochronite teachings were infiltrating the church. I am convinced he saw the need to clarify how the practice should be in this church. He said as much in his personal declaration.

Log said...

I think it is an open question whether Oliver and company did just that. After all, "original" D&C 101 runs contrary to Joseph's practices, wherein he was sealed - and it was called "marriage," wasn't it? - clandestinely to multiple women, starting possibly around 1831, and maybe as early as 1829. And did not Oliver exhibit quite the negative reaction towards such things?

However, the point remains that there is no evidence tying Joseph in any way, shape, or form, to "original" D&C 101, contrary to the assertion carried in your appeal that "original" D&C 101 "was the view [of marriage] Joseph Smith had for the Church."

I'm not saying this is a substantial point, and I'm not even saying you're necessarily wrong. After all, arguments from ignorance cut both ways. But arguments from ignorance are kinda how we got where we are, aren't they?

Unknown said...

Excommunication is antidisestablishmentarianism. Just sayin'...

Tom Kauffman said...

Rock,

It is clear that these local level authorities certainly don't know their scriptures, and they didn't know who they were #@&*ing with when they decided they could excommunicate you and that would be the end of it.

Clearly local leaders don't get any support from the general leaders of the church. I found it most interesting that high counselors were asked to sustain the stake president's decision without being allowed to participate in the discussion. Why were they even there?

This is an amazing time to be an independent thinking Mormon. Yes we exist, but I can tell you that we are not welcome. Any statement to the contrary is simply lip service. Ask me. I know. I used to give it.

Gregor said...

It is my opinion that the overall tone of your blog postings is worthy of the term apostate. While some of your ideas may have merit, and you have obviously researched things in great detail, your tone is almost always one of "I'm right and the (church, brethren, Mormon culture, etc) is wrong. It is difficult to be both intellectually informed and humble enough to be convinced that, although what you have discovered may indeed be alarming, but that it's not up to you whether your discoveries should have any wider distribution than your own soul. There have been and continue to be shortcomings in the Church, but Jesus has warned that a wholesale pulling up of tares might pull up wheat as well. We thinkers need to be patient for things to be done in the Lord's own due time, not our own agenda. I'm sorry that you have let your cart come before the Lord's horse.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Dang you, Gregor! You've revealed my scam!

Log said...

You know, I would once - relatively recently, in fact - have agreed with Gregor. No longer. When does authority fear sunlight?

Greg Jackson said...

Too bad that Boyd K. Packer wasn't around to inform Abinadi and Samuel the Lamanite that since they didn't have anything uplifting and faith promoting to say then they should just shut up and keep it too themselves.

mark moe said...

Gegor,
How about the basics... Post your first and last name not an Internet identity. Mesa Az even close to your hiding spot?


Ypu seem to me like the person whom can't cast the first stone (scriptural). rock whether right or wrong is man enough to not hide in an Internet identity.

Me? I agree with him a lot, not always...but also man/women enough to post in my name.

The #1 thing in my mind is that scripture doesn't equal application in the LDS faith. If it did explain D&C 132...

Ok?

When one takes a position as a stone thrower be ready to duck,

Moe

Log said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Log said...

Mark,

The reason some of us take upon ourselves new names - note the phraseology - is so that we may speak without being punished for it by our paternalistic overlords. One may call it cowardice if one likes, but for me, it is simply a reasonable precaution in the face of entirely predictable consequences for expressing sufficiently unpopular ideas (unpopular, that is, among certain classes of men). One might also call belligerence and aggression towards pseudonymous posters, as such, paranoia, if one was feeling uppity.

Incidentally, I have found that such paranoia is most definitely not a sign of being in possession of truth, but it is a rather reliable indicator of adherence to ideological dogma.

So rather than deride or censure Gregor, why not address what he's said? (And, what he's said is pretty darned close to "My dear friend, I am sorry for you!") What do you think that means with respect to his views on the Church? Have you never felt the same? Why are your feelings different? What brought you to this point? How can you reach Gregor, if you have truth to share?

Neil said...

I'm no apologist. Haven't been to church in years, but parts of this letter don't pass the smell test.

I don't get how you can say you can't even craft an appeal since nobody ever accused you of anything ... and then go on for pages with a pretty detailed list of very specific arguments and appeals? Looks to me like, at some point, SOMEONE accused you of something.

I hate lawyer speak. Everyone does. Just because you can legally contradict yourself in a lawsuit doesn't mean you should do it anywhere else. It robs you of the moral high-ground. And your letter is FULL of legal doublespeak.

ONE example of this was, "However, preparing a proper response is somewhat challenging because I wasn't provided any explanation of what specific sins or transgressions on my part constituted apostasy." Then later in your letter to Pres Uchtdorf you acknowledge a disciplinary council. And that you weren't allowed to record the proceedings yourself. So, what were you all talking about in your disciplinary council, if it wasn't the accusations of apostasy?

Also, you seem to be doing a bit of tap dancing around the issues you were accused of. ONE example of this is where you say you do not teach people to disobey the WoW. Then you say the church has it all wrong about the WoW. Then you say, "If I erred in this understanding, no attempt was made to correct me."

Dude, I read your beer post. You seem to have a pretty good understanding of what you were talking about, what the church's current policies on drinking beer are, and what specifically they can do with their policies.


There are lots more and I'm happy to illustrate them, but it's not the point of my comment. The point is, you have raised some extremely valid issues. Issues that are part of much broader problem with the LDS church. I wish you'd simply stand on the morality of the issues you've raised instead of stooping to technicalities and legalese to try and prove your points.

mark moe said...

Log,

Man up, first and last name... Those whom hide from truth... Hide from truth. That simple.. You are above that, right?

Why worry what your ward thinks if you speak/write the truth!?

At times I'm not popular locally with some, but ALWAYS when I speak the truth I'm approached and confirmed by people in my ward and the suprisimg thing is:: young,, old, man, women whom comes and says --thank you! Ex bishops , Stake position people, head of re lilies socieity ladies, these people read, study and know thebrethren in SLC hide and distort the truth.

Please know that 90%+ of the time I just what to fit in... Those that normally teach and speak the truth. have zero $ interest on the ward level. Me too. Sadly, The lesson manuals are not staying truth or correct much of the time... And I was the Sunday school president, trying to raise the standard, discovered this. And more. IMO some of this is simply to max the tithe $.... I'll tackle tha humanitarian $ anotjer tiem..,bottom line I'm sad to say my thing dollars simply don't hop those whom I see as Jesus's aim.

BTW: The LDS corporation-- WAY DIFFERENT from the truth! Open the books,!!!,

Rock, may not be right some of thime but always is upfront enough to state what he thinks from his true name.; this is a true sign how genuine and fearless he is. Thanks, Rock!!!

In fact,, only the truth, will help the LDS problems go away or LDS less than truth go away,The chips will fall,,were they may.

? (Not to you, specifically) who wrote the church essays? Without ownership they are early to revise, downplay etc.) The 1st Presidency need sto affirm or it will be taken over tiime as more dribble. W

Log said...

Mark,

1. I cannot confirm nor deny your claims to be using your real name. I don't even care. I am neither benefitted nor harmed by your claims.

2. Why do you seek to provoke me into revealing my name? Why do you care? How are you harmed by my anonymity? How would you benefit from revealing my true name?

3. If you cannot understand why a man would choose to take upon himself a new name, then why would you counsel him against it?

4. Hitler used his real name. That's how genuine and fearless he was. Should I say "Thanks, Hitler!!!"?

Bret Naylor said...

Rock, I really like most of your appeal; but I think saying that no one has told you why they have accused you of apostasy is incorrect. They told you it was because your blog says things they disagree with and that they feel are leading people astray. You may feel that they misinterpret your blog (which I think that most who have read it would agree with you) and you may also be able to show by many witnesses that you have helped many stay with the church instead of leading them out; -- but having different points of view on something doesn't equate to you not being told what the problem is. I don't think making that argument helps your cause.

Also, for an appeal that speaks about correct procedures; I think you would have been much better served by at least addressing it to the First Presidency and not to just the second councilor. As such, it could be interpreted as simply a personal letter and not an appeal of your excommunication.

mark moe said...

Ok Log... Go your way. I'm not a hater, just had an opinion.

Log said...

I'm sorry, Mark - are you trying to weasel out of answering those straightforward questions about your "opinion"? After all, I gave my reason for my anonymity.

R. Daniel said...

Not to put words in Rock’s mouth, but I think I can see what he is trying to do with this appeal.
Those who ask, “Why is it addressed to Elder Uchtdorf?” simply haven’t read it. It’s obvious why it’s addressed to him.
The company I develop products for may or may not produce a product line depending on the outcome of an appeal that’s in litigation. I attended the oral arguments to see if I could get a hint at where the judges were leaning. The appeal was reviewed by three judges, however, during oral arguments, the attorney once directed her comments to only one judge, because she was specifically addressing that judge’s previous opinion as precedent for why her appeal now should win. I don’t think Rock gets to dictate which of the First Presidency reviews the appeal, perhaps they all do, this actually begs the curiosity for how all that is handled. But what it does do is it calls attention to precedent set by Pres. Uchtdorf. Even if Pres. Eyring reviews it, the fact that Pres. Uchtdorf is specifically called out--because he’s addressing Pres. Uchtdorf’s precedent, I would think Pres. Eyring might say, “Pres. Uchtdorf, you might want to take a look at this one.” Because the decision has implications for Pres. Uchtdorf’s own integrity, seeing that his previous talk seems to preclude the appropriateness of this disciplinary action.
One thing I learned about winning appeals is that a good appeal should focus on the strongest one or two arguments, no more than three. However, Rock’s brief lists tons of grounds. This tells me that he knows from the beginning that he knew he was never was going to win his appeal. Just like he was never not going to walk out of his disciplinary council without being excommunicated. This appeal simply shows everyone else how many grounds the church violated its own policy and its own rules. This should shock and offend those who love the Church. While I can’t imagine my bishop participating in a kangaroo court such as this, it concerns me very much that it does happen—and SHOULD concern the First Presidency.

One of the reasons Pres. Uchtdorf said people leave the church is because leaders have made mistakes. This is one illustration of where that has happened. And it gives Pres. Uchtdorf the opportunity to correct it himself.

R. Daniel said...

Some above have said that Rock is being disingenuous about saying that they didn’t identify any reason for excommunicating him, but then he was able to spout off this long appeal. Suppose the following:

A young man is arrested at a party. There dozens of high school / college age people partying at a home without permission. There is alcohol and drugs being consumed. The young man asks, on what basis am I being arrested? Lots of accusations have been listed, trespass, damage to property, drinking under age, or doing illegal drugs, but which am I arrested for? Under these circumstances should he have been arrested?

Now assume that the young man is 22, is the nephew of the owner of the house, and was the one who called the police about the party in the first place. Yes, lots of accusations were made, but after the investigation of facts (disciplinary council) it turns out he is not guilty of any. Merely listing allegations is not a final decision.

Rock is trying to appeal the final decision. There is a difference with what was accused, and what was the final decision. There was no record of the hearing. There is explanation of the final judgement. What is the basis of his “apostasy” when it doesn’t even fit within the definition of the Church Handbook? (1) Repeated acts in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders. 2) Persist in Teaching as Church doctrine information that is not Church doctrine after they have been corrected by their bishop or higher authority."

Since you can only appeal once, Rock is in the difficult position of addressing every possible basis that might have been used to support excommunication. What if the evidence showed, and the Stake President was persuaded that the blog on getting married outside the temple really didn’t encourage people to not get sealed in the temple (since the blog expressly says, “by all means get sealed in the temple"). But he wasn’t persuaded about the article on Tithing?
It is unfair to Rock to have to sit around and wonder what the final decision was based on.

What is he to repent of? Can he take down one blog post, maybe two, and then he’s okay?

R. Daniel said...

At the end of the day, one thinks, the Church can do whatever it wants, so why worry about being so “legalistic”? Well, the Lord set up this Church under a foundation of laws. I’m concerned if the Church just decides that those aren’t important.

And if the Church wanted to get rid of Rock, and other “dissenters” for their “tone,” there are ways to do that under the Church’s own rules. (Where does it say tone apostasy? Wasn't Abinidi's tone part of the accusations leveled against him?)

The Church would look far better off if it simply had followed its own rules. Then no one would really be able to challenge the outcome here.

Publishing this appeal is showing what is really going on in the COB. And it’s disconcerting.

The worst though would be for the Church to reverse the appeal, then start the disciplinary process all over again following its own rules. I would imagine this might just exhaust poor ole Rock and he might simply resign and then the Church would have what it wants.

Log said...

The problem, for the Church, in that approach, is that her own rules don't permit the outcome she must have. The actual, unstated charge, the one that Rock was actually excommunicated for, is that his writings destroy faith in the Brethren. Inasmuch as Rock appeals to the scriptures to prove his points, he's "reading it wrong," or "that has been superceded by the Church Handbook of Instructions or this-or-that Conference Talk by President So-and-so." To Rock's inevitable response that scripturally such things require common consent, it will be responded that by the uplifted hand at the sustaining of the GAs, they have common consent to do all things whatsoever seemeth them good in the execution of their stewardship, and if Rock doesn't think so, then that just proves he is an apostate for he covenanted to support and sustain and he does not.

And inasmuch as Rock appeals to historical documents accepted by the Church as authentic, well, "mistakes were made." That's why, of course, we've gone from "the Prophet cannot lead you astray" to "the Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles cannot lead you astray (whenever they agree as touching anything)."

Etc.

mark moe said...

Log... You really want to call me out as a weasel?

Wow.

A person not confident enought to reveal their identity; calling someone out. After I tried to be "nicer" Done with the likes of you.

Log said...

Mark,

So, that's a "yes," you are, in fact, weaseling out of answering my straightforward questions about your "opinion"?

Thus it is demonstrated that "sincerity," "fearlessness," and "niceness" are utterly unrelated to claiming to use one's "real" name.

Which, of course, tends to suggest that the explanation I offered in the beginning for demanding someone give up their "real" name - paranoia - is, in fact, the real reason. It is a sign, not of strength, but of weakness, despite the aggressively belligerent attitude struck when making the demand. (Belligerent aggression is, on its own, a sign of weakness, but that's for another day.)

Robert Horning said...

Between this response and your previous post about President Packer, kudos to you, Rock!

To be perfectly honest, my own thoughts about my continued membership in the LDS Church have definitely been something I've questioned quite a bit as a result of your excommunication and in particular the apparent responses I'm seeing from the LDS Church headquarters. I've seen local high council disciplinary meetings go amok with a stake president who didn't know his boundaries (in my own family no less) and exercise unrighteous dominion in a very unChrist-like manner for others, so it doesn't really surprise me when it happens from time to time. The issues of the leadership at the top reacting to this are far more concerning though.

My own grandfather was excommunicated on the charge of apostasy.... because he advocated for and predicted that eventually the black members of the church would be given the priesthood. Yeah, that one is real ironic too. To this man's credit (my grandfather), he was eventually rebapatized and the recognition of his priesthood restored within the church in full membership upon his death. That wasn't without a toll upon his family though, including some issues where it lead to some things that I have no doubt many will need to eventually answer for in the next life and before Christ himself... but that is up to Christ's judgement to deal with and not for me to belabor as many of those involved have definitely passed on to the next life.

Just keep faith in Christ and keep an eye single to his glory. You are my brother in Christ, and I am indeed inspired to improve my life as a direct result of reading your blog. You can't ask for anything more.

Brett said...

Re: unrighteous dominion

"And with that enmity I will raise up ... false priests who oppress..."

The sign of a false priest is oppression.
The sign of a true priest is persuasion.

Log said...

Question: how do you get an authoritarian hierarchical power structure using solely persuasion (broadly construed, as per D&C 121)?

If you do not, then what does that imply with respect to churches generally, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, specifically?

Is heaven an authoritarian hierarchical power structure?

If you're not the lead dog, what never changes?

Brett said...

Question: how do you get an authoritarian hierarchical power structure using solely persuasion (broadly construed, as per D&C 121)?

You probably don't.

I was trying to be concise by only listing persuasion. But persuasion is not the only tool. There's persuasion and then when that doesn't work you move onto long-suffering, gentleness and meekness, love unfeigned (the love seemed to be feigned in Rock's DC) kindness, pure knowledge, charity towards all men, and virtue.

My mission president said that there are two powers in this world love and authority. And if you ever have authority, never use it. Use love.


But my original point was to illustrate that the opposite of that is oppression, which is the sign of a false priest. If ever a priest is oppressive, they are false, and amen to the priesthood of that man.

Log said...

Brett,

To ask the same question from the other direction, is it not the case that every authoritarian hierarchical power structure is, by its very nature, oppressive?

Log said...

There are two powers in this world indeed: love and fear. They are opposites, as is light and darkness. And perfect love casteth out all fear, while the fearful shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Brett,
It's interesting to note that at no time during my disciplinary council did anyone indicate the proceedings were a "court of love." In every case I've ever heard of prior to mine (including those of noted "apostates" Paul and Margaret Toscano), those holding forth frequently reminded all in the room that what was what was taking place was motivated entirely by love for the person charged.

I don't know if the handbook no longer requires procedures to move forward under that guise (and it is a guise; those on the hotseat rarely feel anything that could be mistaken for love and compassion toward them), or whether my stake president simply forgot to include the protocol in his opening statements. Whatever the reason, I can't really accuse the men in the room of showing love feigned or unfeigned, when there was not so much of a pretense of love in the first place.

The overall feeling I got from the men in the room was they had been forced to put on their suits and ties and leave their families for a couple of hours on a weekday night in order to dispatch stupid bastard who who was a danger to their church. They didn't want to be there, but as long as they were there they would do as they were ordered.

So they came, they saw, they conquered without questioning the propriety of what they were allowing themselves to be part of.

Then they went home. Probably told their wives they excommunicated some arrogant fool who had the gall to preach repentance to THEM, of all people. But otherwise, the whole thing meant nothing to them but wasted Wednesday evening.

Log said...

I asked above "when does authority fear sunlight?"

Here's what it looks like when "authority" doesn't fear sunlight.

Helaman 11:22 And also they had peace in the seventy and eighth year, save it were a few contentions concerning the points of doctrine which had been laid down by the prophets.

23 And in the seventy and ninth year there began to be much strife. But it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi, and many of their brethren who knew concerning the true points of doctrine, having many revelations daily, therefore they did preach unto the people, insomuch that they did put an end to their strife in that same year.

Q: Why didn't they just excommunicate those who contended?

A: Because they had the ability to ask of heaven and be answered and were able to give those answers and by answering, not excommunicating, the contenders they ended the strife. It was this same power Joseph was to give Hyrum.

D&C 124:94 And from this time forth I appoint unto him that he may be a prophet, and a seer, and a revelator unto my church, as well as my servant Joseph;

95 That he may act in concert also with my servant Joseph; and that he shall receive counsel from my servant Joseph, who shall show unto him the keys whereby he may ask and receive, and be crowned with the same blessing, and glory, and honor, and priesthood, and gifts of the priesthood, that once were put upon him that was my servant Oliver Cowdery;

96 That my servant Hyrum may bear record of the things which I shall show unto him, that his name may be had in honorable remembrance from generation to generation, forever and ever.

Indeed, Joseph said "All men are liars who say they are of the true Church without the revelations of Jesus Christ and the Priesthood of Melchizedek, which is after the order of the Son of God."

It goes without saying that those who have the revelations of Jesus Christ can answer disputations and contentions. Those who do not must either excommunicate their opponents or be shown as liars if they claim to be of the true Church.

Here's another fun one. The Church has begun limiting scripture search results; this is similar to how the Catholics literally removed the scriptures from the possession of the people. It's on purpose. It takes specific effort to omit stuff from comprehensive database searches of the scriptures, and the Church's IT department has been informed multiple times of these things over the last several years and the problematic results are still omitted from searches.

I have had occasion to look at this one recently:

D&C 77: 11 Q. What are we to understand by sealing the one hundred and forty-four thousand, out of all the tribes of Israel—twelve thousand out of every tribe?

A. We are to understand that those who are sealed are high priests, ordained unto the holy order of God, to administer the everlasting gospel; for they are they who are ordained out of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, by the angels to whom is given power over the nations of the earth, to bring as many as will come to the church of the Firstborn.

Yet...

D&C 42: 11 Again I say unto you, that it shall not be given to any one to go forth to preach my gospel, or to build up my church, except he be ordained by some one who has authority, and it is known to the church that he has authority and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the church.

The direct implication is that the Church's priesthood will not be recognized of Heaven, or else angels would not be required to ordain, right? D&C 77 is omitted from search results when the phrases "temporal existence" or "out of every nation" are input. One may surmise why.

The Church can't stop publishing the scriptures, but what she can do is insist only the manuals be used in classes, teach bad interpretations from the pulpit, and drop other scriptures down the memory hole by never once referring to them and by omitting them from search results.

Lester said...

What a cool find, Log. Google, of course, goes right to D&C 77 when "temporal existence" and "mormon" or "out of every nation" and "mormon" are input.

Searching on "temporal existence" or "out of every nation" on the lds.org > Scriptures > Search the Scriptures brings up nuthin' in D&C 77 just like you say. It seems way too specific to be a programming anomaly. The Memory Hole starts here! I wonder if Daymon Smith ever ran into stuff like this when he worked at the COB.

Miguel Aveiro said...

Log

I'm having trouble understanding this:

"The direct implication is that the Church's priesthood will not be recognized of Heaven, or else angels would not be required to ordain, right?"

I thought you were going to write something like, one needs to be ordained by angels or it is not valid. There's a blog post out there, linked on Rock's homepage, that I think is entitled "I am not a high priest". He basically says that brethren who held the Melchizedec Priesthood were given a yet higher priesthood during a conference, via a sort of endowment ceremony (or it was THE endowment ceremony) and thus became high priests. These brethren were told by Joseph Smith that they would see the Lord by the end of the conference. I thought, maybe, you were alluding to this. If so though, if I were you, I would not have phrased it the way you did and also the church's authority was valid with those brethren but then became closer to a fullness of priesthood by a manifestation of heaven, which I suppose, involved angels.

Log said...

Miguel,

I'm not treating Rock's essays. I'm solely analyzing the Church's claims in the light of the scriptures she publishes. And the scriptures don't support her claims, but rather undermine them.

The Church teaches that the purpose of the restoration was to restore to the world The One True Hierarchy To Which All Must Submit Or Go To Hell, aka The Priesthood.

And, I seem to recall it being taught that angels won't do what mortals can - such as performing ordinances or ordaining. That one I can't think of a reference for right this second.

The Church teaches also that there cannot be a competing claim to priesthood from outside the hierarchy by referring us to D&C 42:11 and other teachings of Joseph. But if angels are going to be ordaining high priests who will administer the gospel per D&C 77:11, then per D&C 42:11, the Church's priesthood and ordinances will not be recognized of Heaven. The Church, in other words, will not usher in the Millennial reign of the Savior, but will rather fail and be destroyed at his coming - not that this should be surprising, given D&C 84 and JST Matthew 21.

What constitutes the failure of the Church? Might it be having a priesthood with no power and no knowledge of heaven? If the Church were to fail, would it be admitted, or would it be denied? What would this failure look like? Might it look like leaders, unable to receive revelation from heaven to settle disputations over doctrine and practice, instead modifying things according to their own understandings, crafting creeds to which one must assent or be kicked out, and claiming that their consensus is identical with God's truth, excommunicating those who notice and speak of the differences between the Church's current practices and teachings versus the scriptures and Church's own historical record?

And if some arise claiming ordination by angels, will the Church recognize them, or, citing D&C 42:11, cast them out for "apostasy?" (See JST Matt 21 for a hint.)

Log said...

Indeed, the excommunications of Denver Snuffer, Alan Rock Waterman, Will Carter, and others, already show those with eyes to see exactly which path the Church is, and will be, taking.

None of these men were accused of teaching falsehoods, but in speaking of their opinions - or even speaking solely of undisputed facts - they were accused of being faithless to the leadership of the Church. What was called "apostasy" in their cases is better understood as a cry of "treason."

"Truth is treason in an empire of lies."

16 Cursed are all those that shall lift up the heel against mine anointed, saith the Lord, and cry they have sinned when they have not sinned before me, saith the Lord, but have done that which was meet in mine eyes, and which I commanded them.

17 But those who cry transgression do it because they are the servants of sin, and are the children of disobedience themselves.

18 And those who swear falsely against my servants, that they might bring them into bondage and death—

19 Wo unto them; because they have offended my little ones they shall be severed from the ordinances of mine house.

20 Their basket shall not be full, their houses and their barns shall perish, and they themselves shall be despised by those that flattered them.

21 They shall not have right to the priesthood, nor their posterity after them from generation to generation.

22 It had been better for them that a millstone had been hanged about their necks, and they drowned in the depth of the sea.

23 Wo unto all those that discomfort my people, and drive, and murder, and testify against them, saith the Lord of Hosts; a generation of vipers shall not escape the damnation of hell.

24 Behold, mine eyes see and know all their works, and I have in reserve a swift judgment in the season thereof, for them all;

25 For there is a time appointed for every man, according as his works shall be.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I got a phone call yesterday from a long-time friend who wondered why I did not respond here to certain comments. She wondered in particular why I had not intervened between Mark Moe and Log as their exchange became more and more heated, and also why I had not responded directly to Neil, who accused me of "stooping to technicalities and legalese in order to prove your points" or Bret Naylor who seemed of the opinion that those trying me for apostasy had properly made their case. She also thought it was a bit impolite of me not to acknowledge those who have paid me compliments. In short, she felt my presence lacking in my own comment section.

So I thought I'd take a moment and explain. First: although I am gratified by the many compliments I receive on this blog, I'm somewhat uncomfortable receiving praise. Perhaps if this blog platform provided a "Like" button, I could click that as a way of acknowledging the kind words had been read and acknowledged. Otherwise I wouldn't know how to go about thanking someone who had just heaped effusive praise upon me. My ego is not as submerged as I would wish it to be, so I do appreciate being appreciated. If you are one of those who have paid me a compliment here, be assured I am grateful for your kind words even when I don't thank you back directly.

As far as the unfortunate little feud that took place between Mark and Log, I was sorry to see it go on the way it did, as I consider both men to personal friends. But I prefer to allow people unfettered room to disagree on this forum in whatever manner they care to; we're all adults here. You need little moderation, and the spat petered out on its own without my help.

As for the concerns voiced by Neil and Bret, I felt R. Daniel and Log answered their concerns quite adequately, so by the time I got on here and saw their comments, I did not feel I had anything to add. Just because Neil failed to notice the logic of my arguments did not mean those arguments were not sound. It only meant he did not understand the reasons for them, nor does he seem aware of the purpose and intent of an appeal.

This is not a slam on either Bret or Neil; I doubt the majority of members understand what an appeal is intended to accomplish, or why a proper appeal should take the precise form mine did. An appeal in a church court, just as in the civil or criminal courts, is not made simply because the person convicted did not like the outcome. An appeal is concerned primarily with pointing out procedural errors that took place, and contains arguments showing how the conviction would not have been possible had due process been followed on the part of those who did the convicting.

That's the reason for the careful arguments, and the plethora of citations. In my case, as was the case with other victims of the modern purge, these expusions would not have been possible had the persecutors not been so blatantly dishonest in the way they conducted the proceedings.

I'm thinking I will explore this topic a bit further in my next post, so others can have a better understanding of how Church law is consistently violated in these matters.

Scott said...

I am quite serious about this, Rock. You are in a rather unique position, with unique capacities to communicate and teach. Not in the spirit of vindictiveness - but in the attitude of "rescuing" others - go to the press and mainstream media. Expose the hypocrisy that is engulfing the Church.

Remember..."If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine."

MrHFMetz said...

That's an interesting document you wrote, but I predict you will be stonewalled or smokescreened, because that is the tactics these days by the “brethren”, showing the unwillingness to communicate in matters like this, which is their prerogative, as they suppose (but it is not, it is priestcraft). Anyway, these people and those who advise them are one day going to fall in the pit they are digging for others right now.
The unlawful procedure leads to an outcome that is null and void, in a legal sense. But it is more than that, of course, because this is about religion, and about faith and trust in God. This case is a also disgrace and a joke actually, and an offence to God, and again one of the evidences showing how far this Church has apostatised from the principles of the Priesthood. No religious institution that is operating in this manner can claim the keys of the Priesthood after the order of the Son of God.
“If you seek the pure doctrine of Christ . . . etc . . . then here you will find them” says Pres. Uchtdorf. The Prophet Joseph Smith could say that, and he did, but that time has long gone, I concluded after many years of research. We really have to open the books ourselves, as one of the commenters wrote.

mark moe said...

Rock (and the person whom called),

I'm A-OK, IMO no intervention needed or expected. I have opinions and I'm hoping to read other opinions even if they differ.

My point is that you are open enough to even have included your address via the letter, those that post here should be straight up about who they are. I do post from my own name. This isn't an NFL site where a sign in like Vikingfan makes any sense. When it comes to matters of religion/eternity, I relly appreciate those that don't hide their identities. Log makes very good points, I'll take the high road and leave it at that.

Rock, you are the kind of person I apreciate very much. You walk what you talk.

I seek the truth and do enjoy many aspects of the LDS lifestyle but my heart aches from the deceit from the leadership. The pattern has changed but still a long way to go.

To everyone here, I hope you and yours are doing well. And as I always say, the truth only hurts when if it should.

;)

Mm



Neil said...

Rock, I get it. Truly I do. I've been involved in more legal issues than I care to discuss, or remember. It is not lost on me WHY you wrote the appeal the way you did. Neither is it lost on me that you did so in the manner you did. It WAS the first time I've ever heard this process called "logic[al]." That was new.

What strikes me at odds is that, on one hand you RAIL on the manner in which the church does business, directs policy, conducts discipline & etc., yet on the other hand, seem perfectly fine with responding to them in kind.

Throughout your site (which is brilliant, by the way), you make salient point after point, in post after post about how the church (the brethren?) continues to lose its way by increasingly adopting a more worldly and corporate-like structure. Yet (in my mind anyway), you appear to adopt their strategies when confronted by them with charges of apostasy.

Oh, I understand why you did it. I just disagree with doing it that way. I'm trying to think back upon my studies of the BoM. Like I said, its been a long time. But I'm having a hard time remembering a great prophet who used anything but the spirit to emphasize his points. I dunno, maybe Abinidi would have had more luck using legal procedures and jargon of his day to make his points to King Noah, rather than standing on ONLY the word of the lord?

I respect you immensely. I support your plight. I'm sorry my comments seem to be coming across in a negative manner. They aren't meant to be negative. I was going to offer my support by way of praise only, but realized it would be hypocritical of me and probably not very helpful to you. By writing from my perspective, I hope only to give you a new POV on the situation. IF that helps you I am glad of it. If not, please disregard and give no more thought to it than you have previously given.



DMF MD said...

Great article! I wonder if those who still believe in the restoration could start their own group of worshipers, we have seen this happen so many times in Book of Mormon where a small group of believers detach themselves from the institution and start fresh with power from heaven, blessings, revelations etc... The church own's origins started that way with Joseph Smith separating himself from the creeds and institutions of his time.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Neil,
I appreciate your kind response, but I'm still confused and I'm not following your reasoning. You seem to lament my relying on legal reasoning and procedures rather than relying on the word of the Lord, yet my appeal does just that: relies on the revelations of God as to how these things should have been handled, and shows how the church today on the local and Corporate level have discarded the rules of Church government as laid out in scripture.

So could you give me some specifics regarding what you found objectionable? It would help, because I'm truly not clear about what you are trying to say.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

DMF MD,
What you are suggesting, that those who still believe in the restoration could start their own group of worshipers, is precisely what is happening across the country. This is the phenomenon I addressed at my recent Sunstone address titled "Leaving the Church But Remaining a Mormon: The Rise of Uncorrelated Mormonism."

It is a movement that is not really a movement, as believers come to realize that the Firs Century Christian Church (Which we Mormons claim to emulate) as well as the church in Book of Mormon times was a church without a hierarchy, and without a leadership class. The recognition that the leaders of the LDS Church today do not receive revelation has rendered them irrelevant to the truth church -by which I mean the church as defined by Jesus Himself in D&C 10:67.

That particular presentation was videotaped, but I'm still trying to find where I can lay hands on that video. In the meantime those wishing to hear the audio can order it through Sunstone. All of the recordings are available for sale, proceeds going to support the Sunstone Foundation. You have to order it by number, so my presentation is No. 361. Here is the link:

https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/2015-symposium-audio/

There was an amazing presentation that followed mine featuring Denver Snuffer, Daymon Smith, David Read, and Bryndis Roberts. That one is number 371. That one is NOT to be missed.


Log said...

I think there is a miscommunication here, Bret.

"I feel someone might potentially be influenced in a direction I think is wrong by something you wrote" is not an explanation of "specific sins or transgressions."

Therefore I fail to see where Rock is being inaccurate. "Feelbadz" and "disagreez" is not actionable per the CHI, nor is it scripturally "sins or transgressions."

Bret Naylor said...

Hi Rock, I think you misunderstand what I wrote when you wrote "Bret Naylor who seemed of the opinion that those trying me for apostasy had properly made their case."

I do not feel that the church properly made their case. Rather, what I was trying to say is that they did tell you the "why" and the "what" of their position.

So I am simply saying that phrases in your appeal such as "I wasn't provided any explanation of what specific sins or transgressions on my part constituted apostasy" is inaccurate. You were told what specific sins or transgressions constituted apostasy (from their point of view) - in summary it was because you have posted posts on a public blog which they feel is teaching things that are keeping people from the temple.

Again, I am not saying that the church is right or proved their case against you. I don't think they did. I believe many of the blog posts they used in your appeal say the opposite of what they presented. I also believe the posts in general present a more accurate picture of the original church doctrines than that which is taught in the church today.

So I am just saying that it is inaccurate in your appeal to claim that no one ever pointed out to you what the problem was (from their point of view) - because they have.

Bret Naylor said...

Log,

The specific sin they are accusing Rock of is leading people out of the church (or at least away from being temple recommend worthy) by publicly teaching things against current church doctrine. This does fit their current definition of apostasy.

Making an accusation and proving an accusation are two entirely different things. I don't think they have proven the accusation for three reasons:

1. They did not accurately portray what Rock had written
2. Because of this, they did not show that he had written anything that is false doctrine.
3. They did not show any cases where someone was denied a recommend or left the church because of what he wrote. I

Rock's appeal claims that no specific accusation has ever been made against him, but it has been made. At least it is clear to me what they are accusing him of specifically. To me, it just hasn't been proven.

Log said...

Again, this is the "law" of the Church.

“Faithful members of the Church can distinguish between mere differences of opinion and those activities formally defined as apostasy. Apostasy refers to Church members who: ’1, repeatedly act in clear, open and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders; or 2, persist in teaching as Church doctrine information that is not Church doctrine after being corrected by their bishops or higher authority; or 3, continue to follow the teachings of apostate cults (such as those that advocate plural marriage) after being corrected by their bishops or higher authority.’ (General Handbook of Instructions, 10-3.)"

1. A private, second-hand order from an anonymous "area" "Seventy" to shut up or leave or be excommunicated might seem to fit the bill here. But, oddly, it wasn't what Rock's disciplinary council was concerned with, and wasn't mentioned. What was mentioned, time and again, was the divergence in understanding between Rock's writings and those expressed by sundry GAs, and whether Rock or his witnesses agreed they were bound to obey the leaders in all things whatsoever they should command.

2. Rock hasn't been corrected by his bishop or higher authority. "Shut up or leave or be excommunicated" is not correction. "President Hinckley disagreed with your view of tithing" is not correction. Again, "disagreez" or "feelbadz" doesn't suffice - except in a kangaroo court unconcerned with justice or truth. And if the Church is not concerned with justice or truth, then this leads to an ironic examination of point 3.

3. Here's the irony. If the Church is unconcerned with justice or truth, and not abiding by the scriptures, and even breaking the rules she's made up for herself, then it would be a live possibility that the Church could herself be an apostate cult, being divorced from God. And the supreme irony would be that if Rock were to remain a member in that case, then (heh) by the Church's own definition of apostasy, he'd be apostate, regardless of what his bishop or higher authorities would have to say about it.

Remember - the Church is supposed to be the body of Christ. Can one imagine Christ telling any part of his body "shut up or leave or be cut off"? Does that pass the Golden Rule test? It seems easier to imagine an apostate priesthood, lacking knowledge of God, concocting creeds to which one must assent or be cast out, for whom orthodoxy, loyalty, and obedience are the supreme virtues - hell, given enough power, it seems easy to imagine such a priesthood doing stuff like Inquisitions, or Crusades.

Man, I feel like I've seen this all before.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Okay Bret, I get it now. And there's no question that you understand the core problems with these disciplinary courts, as your own blog (which I had not seen before today) contains probably the best analysis I've seen on how corrupt these things have gotten.

http://servantsinthevineyard.blogspot.com/2015/07/on-courts-of-love.html

My initial point of appeal is contained in this statement near the beginning of the document: "preparing a proper response is somewhat challenging because I wasn't provided any explanation of what specific sins or transgressions on my part constituted apostasy. Not only does this make an appeal difficult to address, but it also frustrates the repentance process, as what I presumably need to change has not been identified to me."

The charge, (which I had not been given until the hearing was underway) was "teaching others not to go to the temple."

Well, of course it was a simple thing to deny. Nothing in my writings so much as hints at any such thing.

But suppose I HAD been teaching people not to go to the temple? How is that apostasy? In order for there to be a transgression, there must be a law to transgress. I might just as well have been told they didn't like the color of my eyes. So what? Is there a scripture prohibiting members from having brown eyes?

The reason I stated it was difficult to know how to properly respond to the accusation stated by the court, was because there is no Church law prohibiting a member from telling another they should not go to the temple. I was not accused of transgressing any rule or law. Without a transgression of the law, there is no sin. Where church discipline is concerned, everything begins and ends with D&C 20:80: "Any member of the church of Christ transgressing, or being overtaken in a fault, shall be dealt with as the scriptures direct."

After I was informed of the court's judgment of apostasy, there was a short back and forth between me and the stake president where, among other things, I asked to know what sins I was guilty of. "Apostasy" was the answer.

"No, apostasy is your judgment. What sins have I committed that make up this apostasy?"
"Apostasy is the sin."
"Let me rephrase the question: where is the transgression? What Church law did I violate?"
"Apostasy."
I realized I was talking to a fool, and gave up.


Without being told what sin I have committed, how can I even begin to appeal the charge? How can one be found guilty of committing a sin if no one can name the sin? More importantly, how can I repent, if no one will tell me what specific sins I have need of repenting for?

No one ever called me in prior to the disciplinary court and suggested I stop teaching people not to go to the temple. Do you know why? Because they would have had a difficult time pointing to a place in my writings where I taught such a thing.

Good Will said...

I wish it were that simple, Rock.

Seven months after I was excommunicated for apostasy, a sister in the ward reached out to me for help (she needing a listening ear, more or less). She told me the bishop wouldn't help her financially, but I urged her to return to him and ask for help again. Meanwhile, I was no longer allowed to pay tithing (and had extra income), so I offered my services, having great affection for her and being sympathetic to her plight. (It's all recorded on my blog, in200wordsorless.blogspot.com, under the post "Love Letters".) She went to the bishop and (from what I've been told), he inferred from my efforts that I was trying to seduce this woman or start my own church -- and informed my wife of as much. He then had me "banished" (a rare punishment, indeed) even though I was minding my own business at church, generally, not disturbing anyone. The woman, oblivious to my plight, continued to ask for and receive help from us. We didn't have the heart to tell her what the bishop had done, separating us from each other and me entirely from my family during all forms of LDS activity and worship on LDS Church property. The strain on our marriage has been enormous! The woman has since moved away and though I have spoken with the bishop and members of the stake presidency, asking them to clarify why I was excommunicated in the first place so that I might repent, no effort whatsoever has been made to "reclaim" me (if that was ever their determination) since my excommunication 16 months ago. It appears I am considered "expendable" and "unredeemable".

I never did get a written answer to my own appeal, only a telephone call from the stake president telling me his decision was "sustained" by those above him. I doubt very much a member of the First Presidency ever read it...or knows who I am.

There is no point to submitting to their requirements now for "restoration" of the privilege just to sit quietly with my family and enjoy worship in a church as a nonmember. They said I would have to receive psychological counseling, take any necessary medications, probably take down my blog, get permission from the bishop to enter the building and promise never again to mention to ANY Mormons my current status or beliefs as an excommunicant of the Church.

I really can't do that, even though I have no interest in proselyting Mormons. I will never return to the "Mormon" cult in evidence today. Invariably SOMEONE will ask me why I'm not a member of the LDS Church. And I will tell them. And that will be that. It will happen all over again. What's the point?

Ironically, Denver Snuffer has more privileges in the LDS Church now than I do!

Acts 4:18-20:
18 And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.
20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."

They have wrested the kingdom from the Master; they think now that they own it (or at least have the "keys"); and they have no intention of giving them back until He returns to reclaim them Himself. Meanwhile, I can't be too sure they're even looking for Him. Elder Oaks told us recently that seeing Him wasn't necessary. (See "Boise Rescue".)

I fear they are oblivious to what they are doing now with regard to persecuting the saints, even as they teach for doctrines the commandments of men from their secret books.

Good Will said...

The parable below was written about the prophets and apostates of Jesus' day, but it might just as well be written for ours.

Mark 12:1-9:
"1 And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country.
2 And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard.
3 And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty.
4 And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled.
5 And again he sent another; and him they killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some.
6 Having yet therefore one son, his wellbeloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son.
7 But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours.
8 And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard.
9 What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others.

Those servants of God who appeal to the husbandman in charge to receive the fruit of the vineyard are repulsed, smitten, and injured. They are taken in a fault -- "caught" as it were -- beaten and sent away empty.

Those in charge have cast stones at us, wounded us, sent us away and shamefully handled us. They have beaten and killed (excommunicated) some of us. They have done this no less to a prophet of God. And I fear they would do it to no less than the Master if He came among them in disguise.

Bret Naylor said...

In the Matthew version of this parable, Joseph Smith added the following:

Matthew 21

JST 47. And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.
JST 48. And they said among themselves, Shall this man think that he alone can spoil this great kingdom? And they were angry with him.
JST 49. But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they learned that the multitude took him for a prophet.
JST 50. And now his disciples came to him, and Jesus said unto them, Marvel ye at the words of the parable which I spake unto them?
JST 51. Verily, I say unto you, I am the stone, and those wicked ones reject me.
JST 52. I am the head of the corner. These Jews shall fall upon me, and shall be broken.
JST 53. And the kingdom of God shall be taken from them, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof; (meaning the Gentiles.)
JST 54. Wherefore, on whomsoever this stone shall fall, it shall grind him to powder.
JST 55. And when the Lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, he will destroy those miserable, wicked men, and will let again his vineyard unto other husbandmen, even in the last days, who shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
JST 56. And then understood they the parable which he spake unto them, that the Gentiles should be destroyed also, when the Lord should descend out of heaven to reign in his vineyard, which is the earth and the inhabitants thereof.


Verses 55 and 56 would seem to agree with your conclusion that the parable can be applied to our day as well.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Will,
I am of course aware of your persecutions, and with the consequences that befell you as you tried to help another with Christian charity. I haven't experienced anything to compare with the unjustness and dishonesty that was heaped upon you, as at least in my hearing they pretended to have cause against me, even though the particular sin they accused me of is not a transgression even if it were true.

In Will Carter's case, no one, including his own bishop, has been able to articulate the reason he was expelled. It all comes down to what Log suggested in a comment above: the truths that Will, me, Denver, and others are conveying have the potential to destroy faith in the Brethren. Well, of course they do! The scriptures themselves are designed to destroy faith in the leaders, as typified by the parable cited in Mark and Matthew above.

"Trust not in the arm of flesh" the scriptures warn repeatedly. But wo unto him who dares echo that theme. For if you do, you will be cast out of the counterfeit church as sure as you live, because that Church is ALL ABOUT worshiping the arm of flesh, and little else.

andrew said...

had a thought that sums up my perception of the church - they are as ritualistic as the catholics and as hypocritical as the pharisees

mark moe said...

Will,

Do I understand that tithing isn't accepted from one excommunicated?

By the way, a lot of the last sections of posts, leaders would be inspired by Luke 15 if they truely were shapers of their flock.

erichard said...

My question to Rock is this: are you absolutely sure that your Stake President even sent in your appeal? When I was excommunicated from the church in 1984 the only charge against me was "apostacy". Yet I did not claim to "be right", I simply claimed to "have the right" to not sustain the church Presidency and to have a controversy over them according to D&C 107:81-84. After the trial I asked how I could appeal it. I was told that it could only be appealed through a letter sent to the Stake President. This I did, explaining my concerns, but the Stake President refused to send the appeal in. A couple of years later, however, I was able to convince the next Stake President to send in my appeal. It came back with a one line response that the appeal was rejected. I doubt that President Benson even seen the appeal.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

ERichard,
I did not assume my stake president would forward the copy of the appeal I sent to him. I am familiar with the requirements of section 107 regarding appeals, and it was clear to me trusting an appeal to the very party that had rendered judgment was not the way it should be handled. Given the blatant dishonesty President Douglas displayed throughout the hearing, I certainly wasn't going to trust him with my appeal.

Within a few days after the hearing, I received the standard letter from President Douglas officially notifying me of the decision of that court. In that letter I was told that if I desired to appeal the decision, I was to send my appeal to him, and he would forward it to the First Presidency. Here is my reply to that letter, which I sent to him via certified mail:

Dear President Hansen,

I am in receipt of your letter of June 7th informing me of my excommunication from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This letter will serve as my notice of appeal to that action pursuant to D&C 102:27.

That section holds that should either party be dissatisfied with the decision of the high council, “they may appeal to the high council of the seat of the First Presidency of the Church, and have a re-hearing, which case shall there be conducted, according to the former pattern written, as though no such decision had been made.” I am hereby demanding that promised re-hearing.

I appreciate your offer to forward this appeal to the proper office, as I cannot find an address for the high council of the seat of the First Presidency. It does not appear that council remains in existence today, though it clearly existed originally, and is the only body authorized to accept this appeal. As I am indeed “dissatisfied with the decision of said council,” I trust you to forward this appeal to the proper address, and look forward to the promised re-hearing.

I assume the stake high council has already complied with the rule in D&C 102:26 to immediately transmit the record, but I have yet to receive copies of those documents myself, which I will require before I can adequately present a defense at my re-hearing. This letter will also serve as formal request for all notes, minutes, testimonies, statements, etc. that were presented during that proceeding and deliberations. In particular I am requesting copies of statements read by you from all sources relied upon by you in the prosecution of this case, as well as the full names and offices of everyone who was present in the room. I trust you have already forwarded the written testimonials I left with you, including those I was not able to read aloud due to the time constraints you placed upon me.

Once I have received the requested documents, you will receive from me a brief delineating the reasons for my appeal, which I trust you will also transmit to the high council of the seat of the First Presidency, as required by standing Church law.

I remind you that in our September meeting, I gave notice that I expected you to follow D&C 20:80 to the letter, which requires that any member transgressing “shall be dealt with as the scriptures direct.”

Sincerely,


Alan Rock Waterman



Alan Rock Waterman said...

ERichard,
As I mentioned in the appeal, the stake president did not respond to my request for a copy of the record (I know there was no recording made, but I was unable to discern whether someone in the room had been charged with taking notes. At the very least, I expected, and was entitled to, the notes the stake president relied on and which he read aloud as "evidence" of my crimes.

Even though the stake president was not responsive to my request, I went ahead and prepared an appeal to the best of my ability, a copy of which I forwarded to him within the 30 day time period he had imposed in his letter. Then I sent another copy of the appeal plus that letter to the Area Seventy, along with this cover letter:

To:
Zachary Smith
1102 N. Chinowith Street
Visalia, CA 93291


Dear Brother Smith,

Enclosed is a copy of my appeal regarding my recent excommunication from the Church.

On June 7th of this year I received a letter from Douglas Hansen, president of the Sacramento East stake inviting me to submit an appeal to that excommunication, which he said I was to send to him. President Hansen allowed me only 30 days to file my appeal, so I immediately responded with a notification of appeal, as well as a formal request for a copy of the record, which I would require in order to prepare an adequate appeal. I did not receive a response to that request. Nevertheless, yesterday I mailed the enclosed appeal to him by certified mail. It was therefore submitted in a timely manner, within the 30 day window imposed by him.

Because President Hansen failed to provide me with a record of the proceedings (he adamantly refused to allow me to record the proceedings as they were taking place), and because of his obvious inability during the hearing to follow the rules of procedure as outlined both in scripture and the CHI (as documented in the enclosed appeal), I am not overly confident he will properly file this appeal in a timely manner. If there is indeed a deadline for when this appeal is presented to the high council in Salt Lake, I wish it to be known that I did follow thorough on my part. I am trusting you to see this gets presented to the appropriate body at Church headquarters.

Enclosed also you will find my notification of appeal and request for records. Both that and the appeal itself were filed timely at the Carmichael California post office via certified mail.


Sincerely,

Alan Rock Waterman
Ashton Park Ward, Sacramento East Stake

Alan Rock Waterman said...

ERichard,

I received a letter back from Brother Smith indicating he had forwarded the copy of the appeal I sent him to the office of the First Presidency.

As I noted previously, the First Presidency is NOT the body authorized to accept appeals, and no one really believes the first presidency spends its time reviewing cases of excommunication anyway. The high council of the seat of the first presidency, the authorized body, no longer exists. It was disolved by Brigham Young because that body was the authorized governing body in the Church, and he had the Twelve usurp that authority.

Nevertheless, as the high council of the seat of the first presidency that is the only body to which the scripture directs such appeals be sent, I sent a third copy which I addressed to that body via certified mail. Someone at the Church Office Building signed for it, so I am satisfied I followed Church law, even if no one else involved in this debacle feels they need to do so.

The copy I sent was not addressed to the First Presidency at the top of the letter as was the one I sent through the stake president, but was properly addressed to the high council.

Do I expect my appeal will be properly considered, and the judgment reversed? If it is, it will be the first time Church management has ever done so in modern times that I am aware of. Typically, the appellant never even receives a response from anyone at Church Headquarters either upholding or reversing the judgment of the stake high council. Typically the stake president contacts the appellant and tells him HE (the stake president) has been notified that the Brethren sustained the decision of the local leaders, and the excommunication stands. The treatment you received, Richard, is quite typical of the procedure the corporate Church follows every time.

There seems to be an unspoken assumption at Church headquarters that if they were to acknowledge mistakes had been made at the stake level, members of that stake might lose confidence in their leaders. Confidence in Church leaders from the top down is extremely important to them today. Therefore unfair, unjust, and dishonest judgments are never reversed in the Church anymore. Never.

I don't expect my situation to be treated any differently than yours was. But I appeal anyway because my stake high council has cast out a believer from their midst and the Lord wants all involved to be given every opportunity to repent of that sin.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Mark Moe, regarding your question on excommunicants and tithing, the stake president typically sends a letter informing the excommunicant the person he has officially been ex'd, and what that entails. He is invited to meet with his stake president to begin the process of repentance. He is encouraged to continue to attend church meetings (a strange invitation extended to a person who has just been formally cut off from the society.)

He is told he cannot pray, speak, bear testimony in meetings, nor can he partake of the sacrament. And he cannot pay tithing. Again, a weird prohibition, seeing as how if a non-member desired to pay his tithes to a local bishop, those tithes would be not be turned away.

But here's what I find interesting: it is frequently suggested the excommunicant saves his tithes in a savings account against the day when he is restored to full fellowship, at which time he is welcome to pay those tithes in full.

So you can show up, as long as you shut up. Oh, and we'll also take your money, but not just yet. Wouldn't want the Lord to think we're being grabby. Rules, you know.

erichard said...

Rock, I do agree that you sincerely tried very hard to live by the law given in the D&C, and it would be very wrong for them to throw out your appeal based on some technicality. For sure it was automatically dismissed in some way. But rejoice! Zion is coming, and it is coming BEFORE the second coming of Christ! So the "God will not allow the leaders to fail" mindset is going to be totally disturbed at some point in the near future. Here is an important example to help others see that "the prophet will never fail" mantra is the exact fulfillment of the "all is well in Zion" idolatry spoken of in 2 Nephi 28:21 that will lead a soul to hell: http://www.2bc.info/pdf/pbfraud.pdf

ldsanarchy said...

I think your appeal is well crafted, but, unfortunately, likely in vain.

Your mention of D&C 102 brought to mind Article VII of the NAC. Have you had a chance to review that, yet? Compare Article VII. Section 1. to D&C 102. Notice any clarification of the revelation in that section?

LDSA

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Although I have STILL not finished reading that entire document, Anarchist, I did get as far as that section and did indeed notice the scriptural inspiration for that direction. By the way, the provision in section 102 that requires 6 members of the council to take the side of the accused is seen as merely ceremonial these days. The men who drew lots to stand with me just sat there silently like everyone else, and threw their votes in so the outcome against me would be unanimous. You'd think Church leaders these days don't think the scriptures mean a thing, wouldn't you?

By the way that is a well thought-out constitution. I've always thought that if the founders had seen what has become of their original intent, they might have been much more thorough and detailed. Of course, the anti-federalists tried to warn them, but we ended up with a constitution with enough cracks for the devil to slip through.

Nice work, by the way. I meant to get back to you about that, but things got away.

And I agree with you that the appeal in the end will have no effect on men whose hearts are as hardened as King Noah's. But someone has to follow the law on these things, and it looks like these days that responsibility falls on the appellants.

Log said...

Was it not in the Law of Moses somewhere that a unanimous verdict was invalid by reason of its unanimity - because it showed that none took the part of the accused?

Something I may have to go look up.

Log said...

Closest I could come.

Take it for what it's worth.

Rock, as long as the forms were obeyed, they have no cloak for their sins.

Mother has angered me. Her only saving grace is she honestly thinks she's doing this for the good of the children - and, perhaps not coincidentally, it just happens to be aligned with her self-image and self-importance, too.

mark moe said...

I think sometimes people overthink things. All of the technical details of an excommunication, for example.

If the big stuff like in D&C 132, e.g. only marrying virgins (making polyandry basically forbidden), wasn't important... ...Why would the small stuff matter?

erichard said...

Mark Moe, you should consider the evidence that Joseph was not practicing polyandry as he is accused. https://youtu.be/n-nWLXUAg48 Also, the 2BC 231 revelation clarifies more of why it was not polyandry.

Log said...

Mark,

The so-called "technical details" were, at least on paper, intended to facilitate the so-called 3 purposes of excommunication.

From where I'm sitting, Denver, Rock, Will, and others, are simply being purged on the flimsiest of pretexts and without even a scintilla of a claim of justice - "someone might disbelieve the Brethren based on what you say." Even if what they say is entirely truthful. As Emperor Kuzco said, "Well, anything sounds bad when you say it with that attitude."

Or, as a corporate (business, not LDS) manager of my acquaintance has said, "All negative people must go."

And that is what's happening here. The corporation is firing wayward employees who are off-message. You're either "all is well in Zion" or you're out. At least if you touch the twin issues of Apostolic Infallibility - Vox Apostoli, Vox Dei - or the ability to bind heaven to her dictates, then you better affirm she's always right and has the authority she claims, or yeeerrr out!

Greg Jackson said...

How about Joseph Smith was not practicing polygamy, polyandry or any such abominations.

http://confessionsofanelder.blogspot.com/2012/06/case-for-joseph-smith-case-against.html

ldsanarchy said...

Rock, do you still consider yourself a member of the church, given my post, "The doctrine against dissent," and the fact that the elders weren't used to try you, that the high council was used, instead, that no witnesses testified (I assume), that none of the high council spoke up in your behalf, etc.? Btw, did the congregation lift up their hands against you in a meeting to officially ex you? Also, when they drew lots, how many ended up speaking? Two, four, or six? Did they think it a difficult case or an easy one, (according to the high council procedure?) Lot of questions, I know, but I'm just curious.

Re: the NAC. I'm glad you like what you've read, so far. If you find anything off in it, please let me know. There is a man named Bill Wierzbinski who is taking the lead on promoting the NAC. He is not LDS, but Catholic. If anyone wants to get involved, let me know and I'll pass along his email address so you can take part in the coalition he is beginning to organize.

LDSA

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Anarchist,
I consider the action of the stake high council null and void. In my first and only meeting with the stake president last year, I put him on constructive notice that if he intended to excommunicate me, I expected him to do so according to D&C 20:80, "according to scripture. I told him that if he handled the procedure according to the CHI (which is copyrighted by the Corporation of the President), I would consider that prima facie evidence that I was being expelled from the Corporation of the President, and not from the church of Jesus Christ.

I'm happy to report that I have experienced no loss of the spirit since the high council took that action, and nothing in my relationship with the Lord would indicate I am on the outs with Him. I do, however, sense a disconnect from the Corporate Church, but that suits me fine.

By the way, your piece on the Doctrine of Dissent, as you know, was the initial springboard that launched me on my personal recognition back then that the Church councils are almost never lawful. No one need fear a church court in modern times. They are meaningless, null, and void on their face.

Miguel Aveiro said...

I'm still not clear on what is apostasy, in as far as an individual's preaching or advocating is concerned. If someone stops following Christ, as in outright, not just lacking in keeping certain "lesser" commandments (e.g. "read your scriptures" rather than "do not kill"), then yes, he or she has gone apostate. But what about when someone teaches something that is false?

If say, someone is having sexual relations outside of marriage and tells everyone that it's ok to do this. If they are corrected and then they repent and stop, they are no longer in apostasy. But if they continue, then yes, they are apostate. Thus, that individual is sinning and teaching others to commit sin and such should be corrected. This sort of situation is found in scripture and I don't think anyone has a problem with it.

What about sins of omission?

What if an individual teaches that one need not be baptized and continues to teach it after correction? Or to go to the temple and receive ordinances? Or teach that tithing isn't needed anymore?

What if it was an alteration, rather than an omission?

What if the person taught that baptism can be done by sprinkling water? Or tithing is given by donating two percent, or all your excess?

Or what if they alter doctrine like saying that the Holy Ghost isn't an individual? Or Jesus has come back in the form of a woman? I think this area is more vague, because It should depend on what level of importance the doctrine is and how it affects someone's life. Elder Bednar defined doctrine as the teaching of Heavenly Father to His children that are pertinent to their salvation (he may have added "and exaltation"). So, I'm not including things like the remaining twelve tribes live somewhere in the arctic (which I've heard before) or kolob is the centre of the galaxy. But still, certain alterations or omissions of doctrine might affect people more than others.

Log said...

Miguel,

Apostasy, at its core, is disloyalty to the leadership of the Church. Disloyalty includes both disagreement and disobedience. The response to apostasy depends on the degree of damage the leadership believes that the particular apostate causes to how others may perceive the authority, power, and infallibility of the leadership of the Church.

It's all about controlling the minds and hearts of the existing membership and the perceptions of potential future members about the Church.

I can't put it more succinctly or comprehensively.

But, again, the charge of apostasy only matters if the leadership has actual authority from heaven, power from heaven, and infallibility.

Miguel Aveiro said...

Log,

the leadership would indeed need to have actual authority and power from heaven but, as only Jesus was infallible, they would not be required to be infallible. I believe they need to be righteous, however, and follow the Spirit in their judgement. But isn't that what the church teaches? The idea of infallibility is that people presume that the leaders are following the Spirit in all their decisions. Rock reported a lack of such Spirit hanging around the men who accused and tried him.

Miguel Aveiro said...

In any case, I meant what apostasy actually is, not what it has been turned into.

Anyway, Rock.

You said something about the leaders from the top down never being corrected but I think many people can think of examples where bishops were corrected by stake presidents. As an example that I came across, I heard from a lady in Utah that her bishop refused to give her welfare due to her being inactive but then the stake president overturned that decision. I've also heard of the parents of a sister missionary raising concerns about what her mission president said to her and he getting released. Basically, she related to him a dream about being his wife and then he told her that polygamy is supposed to be coming back, so... Yeah, it was a dodgy thing to say. The thing is, these are members complaining. Even the concerns of inactive ones are dealt with seriously sometimes. But an individual excommunicated for apostasy complaining that the proper procedures weren't taken? Well, I hope they do take your case seriously!

Log said...

Miguel,

The leadership of the Church claims that whenever the 15 agree, that is revelation.

Can God lie? Can revelation from God fail to be truth? Can the united 15, whose agreement tautologically means they are speaking with the voice of God, fail to be right? Isn't claiming to always be right the same as claiming to be infallible?

And if this teaching is false? Do they have authority and power from heaven if they are teaching falsehoods? Who, again, is the father of lies?

Log said...

Do I really need to rehearse the history of the teaching that "the president cannot lead the Church astray"?

Which morphed into "the Council of the First Presidency cannot lead the Church astray" when it was discovered - or held - that certain of the presidents in fact taught what are now accepted to be falsehoods?

Which has morphed into "the Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles cannot lead the Church astray" because the aforementioned Council of the First Presidency echoed some of the previous (and now accepted to be) falsehoods taught by the president(s)?

So we went from 1, to 3, to 15 men being required to agree in order to imbue their words with the guarantee of infallibility - the next logical step is to start enfolding the Quorum of the Presidency of the Seventies, maybe even all the Quorums of the Seventies themselves, just to make extra specially sure the Church isn't being led astray, whenever it is discovered that the 15 have agreed upon and republished some claim or other that turns out to be socially or politically unpalatable.

Or they could just shut up. But what's the point of being infallible if you can't tell others what to do or think?

But what, one wonders, does it mean to lead astray if it doesn't mean to teach falsehoods?

And if apostasy, in its classical definition (rather than its newfangled LDS disciplinary definition), means a falling away, what else would suffice as prima facie evidence of apostasy from God - who cannot lie - other than teaching untruths?

The implicit LDS definition of apostasy uses the leadership as the standard of judgement - their infallibility is the fixed point against which all others are judged. But that's not necessarily God's definition... unless the leadership is, indeed, infallible in all their judgements.

Are they?

mark moe said...

Greg and Erichard, checked out your links re: Js didn't practice polygamy. Brigham Young "hijacked" the church. I've seen this stuff before and my conclusion is thy JS did enter into polygamy or at least adultery. Cowerdry, Fanny exposure for example, predates BY. William Law wasn't under BY's control at all, was a prophet, seer and revalator according to JS and was excommunicated by JS when he claims JS made indecent proposals of polyandry.

So, in the end I think JS was a polygamist. The proposition. The BY lead the church astray is almost certian (blacks, Adam God etc) but that he started polygamy don't have traction with me. Way more evidence than I will type that JS invoked polygamy, practiced it and polyandry.

Sad part is probably the scripture, such as evidenced by D&C 132 , has many substantial errors AND the prophets were not speaking for God.

A one on one relationship with our Lord is the best way to find the truth... Too many times church leaders (LDS and others) lead us away from the truth.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Miguel,
Addressing your question to me on the 27th, first, as usual, Log hits it on the head when he reminds us that the leader's definition of apostasy is far removed from what the Lord would call it. Their infallibility is the fixed point against which all others are judged.

But in answer to your question, D&C 20:80 HAS TO BE the starting point in deciding whether a person is in apostasy. In fact, that scripture is the alpha and omega, the crux of the matter. Everything hinges on that one short verse. Here's how it reads:

"Any member of the church of Christ transgressing, or being overtaken in a fault, shall be dealt with as the scriptures direct."

Here are the elements to consider:
1. Is the person a member of the church?
2. Did he transgress a church law? If so, which law?
3. If there is no trangression of a specific law, has he been overtaken in a fault?

Let's take your first example, the guy who commits adultery and teaches others that it's okay. Well, he committed adultery, so that's a transgression. There is specific commandments in scripture prohibiting the act. It's a sin to commit adultery, therefore he has transgressed. If he continues unrepentant, the church (meaning the community) has the right to withdraw the hand of fellowship in order to maintain the purity of the community. Can't have people going around breaking a clear commandment, maintaining there is nothing wrong with his doing so, and still claim membership in the church. His presence taints the community. The SCRIPTURES DIRECT the manner in which he is to be dealt. (I won't go into the particular scriptures here.)

Let's say he has NOT committed adultery, but is teaching that adultery is okay. Well, he has not transgressed, so he can SAY anything the hell he wants. Is anyone likely to believe him, or be convinced by his "teachings"? Not likely. Everyone knows adultery is wrong. Everyone can readily see the man is a fool. There's not much chance anyone is going to be swayed by his theories.

Is he an embarrassment to the congregation? Maybe, in as much as we are embarrassed to have an imbecile among us. But look at the case of Peletiah Brown. Joseph Smith apparently thought Brown's interpretation of the Beast in Revelation was laughable. But grounds for excommunication? Puh-leeze.

As long as Mister Adultery Should Not Be A Sin doesn't commit the sin, he has not trangressed any law; he's just blowing hot air. Still, can something be done to shut him up? Well, the SCRIPTURES DIRECT this person be taken aside and corrected privately D&C 42:88). If he persists, well, the bishop has the bully pulpit. He has every right and obligation to get up on the stand and rebuke Mister Adultery's false teachings and to embarrass him publicly.

If the guy still won't back down AND OTHER MEMBERS COMPLAIN THAT HE SHOULD NOT REMAIN IN THEIR MIDST then you have a couple of accusers, and an action can move forward to withdraw the hand of fellowship from him. It isn't enough that the bishop doesn't like what the guy is saying. The bishop can embarrass him from the stand. He has a sword to wield. But if action is to be taken to get rid of this embarrassing fool, witnesses must come forward and accuse him.

What would be the appropriate action? Disfellowship the guy. That's because members of the congregation (not the leadership) get to decide they want to withdraw the hand of fellowship from him until he comes to his senses. Why? Because it would be untoward to have someone constantly advocating for adultery and still be seen by outsiders as a member of the church (i.e. community)in good standing.

(Continued)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

(Continued)
Granted, a case like that above is not likely, for the simple reason that a member who really believes adultery is fine and dandy is not likely to remain in the church of his own accord. He's likely to leave on his own.

But there is still one element of section 20, verse 80 that has not been addressed, that of being "overtaken in a fault."

In order to be overtaken in a fault, one must have an obligation to do a certain thing, and then failed to do it. Suppose someone accepts a calling to teach Sunday School, and then never shows up to teach. How do the scriptures direct he be dealt with? Excommunication?

No, the bishop or the Sunday School president would take him aside and ask him what the deal is. Most likely he would be released from his calling as teacher, and that would be that. He was overtaken in a fault, and released for failure to perform as agreed.

If a bishop openly taught that adultery was not a sin, he would be overtaken in a fault, because he has a special calling to teach the commandments. How do the scriptures direct he be dealt with if he fails in his obligation? Again, section 42 requires he be taken aside, presumably by the stake president, who asks him, "what the hell?" and then if necessary that bishop is released. Also rebuked publicly "that he might be ashamed" pursuant to verse 91 if necessary, for using his position of authority to teach that sin is okay.

(Continued)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

(Continued)

At my hearing, the charge laid against me was that I was teaching people not to go to the temple. The charge was demonstrably false. By which I mean it could be demonstrated to be false by simply referring to my blog, where not only can such a teaching not be found, but it can easily be demonstrated that I taught the opposite.

But what if I had? What if in my blog I openly taught that people in the church shouldn't go to the temple?

So what? Who the hell am I? Do I have a special calling that would require me not to voice that opinion? Are we honestly to believe that anyone with a testimony of the temple would be swayed by some dumbass with a blog telling them they're making a big mistake? Why would anyone listen to me?

If I, as a regular rank and file member of the church happened to go around preaching that people shouldn't go to the temple, not only would I be largely ignored, but I would not have transgressed any laws of the church. There is no scriptural prohibition against expressing one's opinion on such matters. If there is no law to transgress, there has been no transgression of the law.

But what if I had been called to teach the temple preparation class in church, and it's discovered that in my private life, on my blog, I have been teaching people not to go to the temple?

Well then I would have been overtaken in a fault. Why? Because I had accepted a calling to help prepare people to go to the temple, but at the same time I'm online trying to talk them out of it. I had an OBLIGATION to help get people to the temple, and I had failed in that obligation. That is what it means to be overtaken in a fault.

So what should happen to me? Should I be excommunicated from the church? Well no. That's a bit extreme. I have not transgressed any law, so there is no apostasy to point to.

The scriptures direct that I be taken aside privately and corrected. If I persist, I get released from the calling. I'm no longer the Temple Prep Teacher. That's my big punishment.

If I've actually done some damage by persuading the students in my class in teaching them they shouldn't go to the temple, then the bishop can take them aside individually and point out where their teacher was out of line. He might even find it necessary to go to the pulpit and rebuke me openly per section 42, verse 91. I would be ashamed, as the scripture indicates, but I would deserve it, wouldn't I? I had accepted an obligation to teach one thing, and I had taught the opposite. I SHOULD be be ashamed.

Are you beginning to see how this extreme action of excommunication is being wildly abused? If I were overtaken in a fault, I should be dealt with AS THE SCRIPTURES DIRECT, and the scriptures direct that first it must be determined that I had a certain obligation, and when I failed in that obligation, the scriptures direct I be released from that obligation. But above all, it must first be proven that I HAD taught something antithetical to what I was supposed to.

In my case, I had transgressed no law, and I was not overtaken in a fault. Because 1. I had no obligation to teach a certain thing, and 2. I did not teach what they claimed I had been teaching.

There was a transgression of the law taking place during my disciplinary hearing. The stake president repeatedly lied about me. Because bearing false witness is a sin, he transgressed the law. And because he had an obligation by dint of his sacred calling to act in a just and true manner, his lies are evidence that he has been overtaken in a fault.

I wonder how long I'll have to wait before my stake president is dealt with as the scriptures direct?

Log said...

Per doctrine and covenants section 121, it's automatic.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

So it is, Log. Not only is any authority null and void, but any power those men once had will now be inoperable. I wonder if any of them wonder why it is that when they give their sick children a healing blessing, nothing happens.

Will they connect the dots and trace the loss of priesthood power to their own transgression committed on the night of June 3rd, 2015?

I doubt they will.

Gregory Hemsley said...

An organization that uses coercive methods to control behaavior is not Christ centered.

Clearly an organization can not tolerate abuse of any kind among members. Membership has to be protected from known predators. But short of that, withdrawing love and communion and fellowship and friendship is perhaps the most painful punishment humans can inflict upon each other. That's nothing more than conditional love (which is another name for conditional hatred) and that's not what Christ taught. Its also arbitrary considering all are sinners and all sin separates us from God. If you believe in big and little sins, enjoy self justification. We don't know and can never know what causes some to make the decisions they make. Even in the case of "Mr Adultery", can one presume to understand the myriad life events and pain that led to that choice? I think not. I believe if we were forced to walk in another's shoes, we might find ourselves making the exact same choices (sins), they did. That's why we are not to judge each other. Only Christ can know our motives and hearts.

Force is not consistent with Christ's gospel. Using punishment, shaming, withhoding fellowship and love, in order to modify behavior is the exact opposite of love and leads members to freely judge, find fault, compare sins and to hide sin for fear of retribution. Force is never love. Fear is not love. Ends never justify the means. The Church lost its way the moment Emma was threatened with destruction, as well as all of the other early excommunications.

I understand how it got to this point because I think the Brethren really don't know what to do at this juncture. They are afraid of mass exodus. For an organization to claim they follow Christ and then act completely at odds with Christ's teachings, doesn't pass muster to me. Doctrine is not the main issue for the Church. People have been shown to believe in many things despite overwhelming evidence against the belief. It's more about how the Church treats it's members and the example they set. I may be an idealist but so is Christ. The Church is pragmatic and justifies behavior on conflicting doctrinal points. Using punishment, fear and reward to keep people marching lock step in a straight line is not agency. That is the other guy's plan. As if God wants a bunch of clones, or "yes" men and women populating his world for eternity. Have fun with that. It isn't the Father in Heaven I believe in.

Mormons Complain said...

http://mormonscomplaining.blogspot.com/

Log said...

Rock,

I don't know about you, but even I lack power to heal or work miracles, and I never had it. I don't know what date I should trace this back to - maybe before I was born. So I'm not sure that's a fair thing to say.

It is interesting, is it not, how heaven's favor doesn't necessarily follow the imposition of hands by D&C 121. Thus it is that the Church may continue in all her pomp and glory, boasting of her venerable lines of priesthood, and yet can be utterly bereft of both authority and power.

After all, if 'worthiness' were irrelevant pertaining to 'authorized' ordinances or ordinations, the Catholics would be the true church today, having a valid line of priesthood stretching back to Peter (or so they claim).

There is no way from the outside to know who is a member of the body of Christ. They only are his who hear and obey his voice - and that is as the wind that bloweth. Joseph said all men are liars who say they are of the true Church without the revelations of Jesus and the priesthood of Melchizedek. I take it the revelations of Jesus must be had on an individual, not institutional, level, and so also with the priesthood of Melchizedek, the authority and power of which is to have the heavens opened unto one, etc, as listed in D&C 107:18-19. I wonder if having the heavens open unto one, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, is what is meant by "the revelations of Jesus."

If so, then let us go onward and inward to the pure Mormonism. After all, after one has entered the gate of repentance and baptism by water, and has received the baptism by fire, this is the call.

John 14:21-24
21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?

23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.


The sayings of Jesus are, of course, those delivered in the Sermon on the Mount.

Marcelo Theodoro Moreira said...

Rock,
You nailed it when you chose Pres. Uchtdorf. I know he will shed tears when he reads your defense...IF HE EVER GETS TO READ IT! You know they skim all mail directed to the Brethren, and yours, particularly, is not likely to make it to him. I honestly pray that THE lame creep show that was your excommunication will be reversed, but if that does not happen, know that Pres. Uchtdorf hás not read your appeal. I AM praying for you my brother.

Jasonlynn Christine said...

I know that I am way behind, I have actually never commented on a blog before. But your articles have caused me to stay in the church when I was very close to leaving. You have brought peace to my family and joy to my husband as he has learned more about the gospel and how to live in it joyously and not worry so much. I am a convert from the age of 17 so always felt confused by much of the guidelines and frustrated by the "shut up and do what your told" atmosphere. My husband was raised in the church and believed completely that questioning anything was a sin. He was more dedicated to the church than me (I felt) mentally and very childlike in his unthinking devotion. He had great stress in trying to assimilate at the expense of all else. For example, Polygamy always bothered me but like every other TBM he told me if that if it was asked of him he would say yes. This broke my heart and I realized he had completely turned off all promptings from the spirit, which is not surprising considering what the church teaches. Then I convinced him to read your blog and his is more Christlike, thoughtful, kind, relaxed and our relationship has improved tremendously. Our belief in the gospel and belief in ourselves to guide our own lives and the lives of our children have been restored through your work. Thank you. I have many friends in the church whose marriages suffer because we are taught to be devoted to the church first and our family second. Which is so ironic considering the party line. At any rate, I was heartbroken when you were excommunicated. Can you give us un update on any response you may have received from the Presidency? Uchtdorf is an amazing man and an example of how the church should/could be. I pray they will see the error of this decision.

ericnsabrina gaskins said...

I wrote on this blog and if you don't agree with Bro. Rock it won't be published. It's a one sided blog. Wrong in so many ways. Good luck to you.
Sabrina Gaskins

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Ericnsabrina,
I publish everything that is submitted to the comments section on this blog except for obvious commercial spam that sometimes gets through. The only exception was one particular reader who would not curb his vulgar language, so after repeated warnings, he was expelled.

If you wrote something previously and didn't see it, I wish you would repost it. Sometimes people think they have submitted something when the program didn't get it for one reason or another. As you can see from reading other comments on this blog, I allow for vigorous disagreement, and don't censor anyone's contrary views.

Since you assert this blog is "wrong in so many ways," I would appreciate if you would be specific. If you will point out any instances where I have posted anything doctrinally incorrect or historically in error, I will happily go back in and make the corrections. So I hope you'll do me the favor of pointing those things out for me.


Alan Rock Waterman said...

JasonLynn Christine,
Thanks so much for those kind words. I'm always happy to hear about a couple getting closer through following God's word than they were when they followed the traditions of men.

I have not yet heard anything about the appeal, and frankly I don't expect to. Sometime in the next few months I intend to write a followup piece going into greater detail about the many transgressions of Church law that occurred in that hearing. But I don't want to appear self-serving, so I'm still waiting for an answer to my appeal.

I also have heard absolutely nothing from my stake president, who invited me to meet with him regularly so I could come back to the fold. He told me he would be contacting me for a meeting time, and indicated he would like to meet with me regularly but that never happened. I thought I might initiate these meetings myself, but I was hoping first to get a final answer on the appeal, as that is the proper procedure, in my mind.

If the similar actions of other "heretics" is any indication, they really don't want us back into activity. If I were an inactive member with a daily addiction to coffee, they would send ward members around to fellowship the hell out of me. But guys like us tend to make inflammatory statements like the apostle Peter did when he said "we ought to obey God rather than men." That sort of thing gets Mormons thinking, and there's nothing more dangerous to the modern LDS Church than a believing Mormon who thinks things through.

Jasonlynn Christine said...

Thank you so much for your kind and quick response. I agree completely that thinking members who read the Book of Mormon and Bible are considered outlaws. My husband and I take turns guarding the parking lot on Sundays to avoid Relief Society, Sunday School and Priesthood while our kids go to primary. When I do go to class I usually have to bail about 20 minutes in or I will say something I know they don't want to hear. Staying quiet has gotten harder and harder to do over the past couple of years so we decided the next time we have something to say, we will say it. I'm sure it won't go over very well. I know that a response to your appeal will not happen, but magical thinking is hard to break. Oh - to know the Book of Mormon is true, but hate the church is really the worst possible scenario. We can't deny our testimonies and leave, but it is misery, and possibly sinful, to stay.

I'm okay with people choosing to live in their ignorance and don't want to tell people they are wrong. But they so often want to judge others that I have a very hard time listening to it. I leave church almost every Sunday feeling dirty for holding my tongue when they are bashing whomever is on the list that day. I would never do that in my daily life, but I am afraid to speak up in church - irony that I can be Christ-like outside of church but being Christ-like inside of church is frowned upon - lol.

My husband is Samoan and all of his "adhere to the leadership" viewpoints were taught there. They are very dedicated and don't rock the boat. But, because the LDS church in Samoa does not teach a lot of the things the American version does he didn't run into problems like he has since moving here. For example, there are no long detailed "chewed gum" chastity lessons in church except "obey the law of chastity" and then govern yourself. No Bishop would ever take it upon himself to ask details about anything or call in the youth for interrogations. He didn't even know about polygamy until moving here and most of my in laws who live there still don't know. Tithing is also taught as payment on increase not net or gross income.

The Polynesian culture is exceedingly compassionate and it shows in the LDS church there. My frequent visits to Samoa show me what the church should look like. Because we know the church here is not how it is everywhere, we stay. Without that knowledge, I'm sure I would have left already. Being taught to live with no compassion and be so ridiculously judgmental is a much greater sin, and one day the church leadership in Utah and in the wards throughout the United States will be held accountable.

One last comment, my son got the Priesthood last Sunday and I am having a very hard time knowing he will progress through the young men's program being indoctrinated that masturbation is wrong and possibly becoming so sexually stifled that it will affect his future relationships and marriage. I have a meeting with the Bishop on Sunday to let him know that he will NOT be allowed to ask my minor son anything about masturbation, etc. He may say "do you obey the law of chastity" starting at age 16 but that is all. There are a few blogs out there that have covered this topic, but I'd love to read something of yours on the topic of Bishop interrogation of youth.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I haven't specifically covered the topic of bishop's interviews with youth, and how innappropriate they often are, but I did touch on the topic of confessing to the bishop. Little did I know growing up that there is absolutely no scriptural authorization or historical precedence for this practice. It was something we were all taught was the proper step to repentance.

Here is that blog post: http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2012/08/lake-wobegon-mormons.html

In there you'll find a link to an essay by LDS Anarchist showing there is a very narrow area where a bishop is to be consulted when a member sins. Annual "worthiness" interviews are wholly a recent construct, they do little good, but a lot of harm.

Sins are to be confessed to the Lord, and to the person who was sinned against. Bringing the bishop into the equation is a very big mistake. The best thing you can do for your son is tell him to NEVER talk to a church leader about anything. If he feels the need to talk something out, he should go to anyone BUT a Church authority. Leaders feel their duty to enact punishment, and that is not the Lord's way.

ericnsabrina gaskins said...

Well said Gregor! Thank you for your post!

Jasonlynn Christine said...

Thank you thank you, I'm speaking to the Bishop on Sunday. I agree completely. I was trying to figure out a way to protect my son but not upset the Bishop or anyone in the ward. I just realized through your response that I would never do that in any other facet of my life, so I am not going to sacrifice my son's emotional and spiritual health to politeness either. I hope if he wants to he will still be able to attend youth activities. We shall see. Thanks again Rock. You are awesome

Unknown said...

Rock, I find you to be filled with pride and zero humility. Meet God well brother. Good luck to you in your future. I believe you are going to need it. ..

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Thank you, Unknown. I can use all the encouragement you can give.