What to Expect When You’re Excommunicated

WhatToExpectRockWatermanIf you’re drawn to this blog post by the title, I ask you to look past that to the subtitle. It is “The Believing Mormon’s Guide to the Coming Purge.” Although this will be a review of Rock’s book, I hope it will also provide background and detail on why long-time members of the LDS Church would be willing to lay it all on the line in defending an idea that many find shocking.

The idea is this: The LDS Church is in a state of apostasy and has been since before the death of Joseph Smith. The first time I posted about Denver Snuffer, I invited dialog on his teachings. I certainly did receive it – from both sides. One comment in particular stuck with me. I have been pondering it for years, wondering if it represented an accurate summary of Denver’s message.

This is the comment: “Snuffer’s position can be summed up as follows: I was personally visited by Christ who made my calling and election sure, told me I was part of the true church within the dead church, that he would soon call others like me, and it was my job to help with that.” This was from reader “Fred” on 27 April 2012. I wondered what Fred meant by “…the dead church.”

Gentiles Shall Reject the Fullness

Rock’s book answers that specific question. Rock, of course, is Alan Rock Waterman, proprietor of the “Pure Mormonism” blog, a saucy site that dishes out hot servings of LDS Doctrine with a small twist: “…much of what passes for doctrine among my fellow Saints appears to contain ‘the philosophies of men mingled with scripture.’" His writings focus on early restoration doctrine.

Rock examines the warnings of the falling away of the latter-day saints in our day as foretold in the Book of Mormon. Of course, most Mormons scratch their heads and say, “What warnings?” The discussion centers around 3rd Nephi 16:10 where the Lord says, “…when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fullness of my gospel…” Just who are the Gentiles?

In the dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland Temple (D&C 109:60), Joseph said the “revelations and commandments which thou hast given unto us, who are identified with the Gentiles.” In other words, the Gentiles the Lord referred to in 3rd Nephi 16:10 are in the LDS Church. I have heard the arguments opposing this idea and remain convinced Joseph had it right. We are the Gentiles.

The Higher Priesthood Was Lost

Of course, the next question to be answered is what is the fullness of the gospel? Regular readers of this blog know we have examined that question in particular. In summary, the fullness is the higher priesthood. It is actually more than that, but “higher priesthood” is a good summary. That includes the idea of entering into the presence of the Lord and receiving the Second Comforter.

When did the LDS Church reject the Higher Priesthood? Joseph taught in D&C 124:28 that the higher priesthood could only be restored in the Nauvoo temple, and urged the saints to complete it as soon as possible. Sadly, the temple was not completed before Joseph’s death. Instead of the promised blessings of verses 40-45, the church received the cursings promised in verses 46-48.

Joseph desired to bring the Saints into the presence of the Lord in the Nauvoo temple, where the Lord promised he would “bless you, and crown you with honor, immortality, and eternal life.” This is the same thing Moses desired to do for the Israelites at Mt. Sinai, but they insisted God speak only to Moses on their behalf, something Enoch and Melchizedek were able to overcome.

Introduction to Rock Waterman

That’s enough background. If you want more, you can read Denver Snuffer’s books and lectures. He certainly has enough of them to help anyone understand what the Lord was trying to bring about through Joseph Smith and which was cut short by his death. The Lord placed the entire church under condemnation. A modern prophet confirmed we are still under that condemnation.

On to Rock’s book. You’ve got to ask yourself why someone would write a book with such a provocative title. Rock tells you why right up front. He was told by his bishop, who said he was speaking on behalf of an unnamed general authority, that Rock must either 1) Quit blogging, 2) Resign from the Church or 3) Face Church disciplinary action in the form of excommunication.

I was immediately interested in reading Rock’s book for three reasons: 1) I have been an avid reader of Rock’s blog for years, 2) I recently met Rock at Sunstone and 3) I have also been told by my Bishop to stop blogging. I have tried to do as my Bishop requested but after a week-long examination of my feelings and beliefs, have decided I would rather do as the Lord has directed.

Not the Same Church of Joseph Smith

I can’t speak for Rock, but my blog has been a journey of discovery. It has been my vehicle for learning and sharing what I have learned. I love to study the gospel and early church history. I found Rock had a common pursuit in his blogging activities so naturally I was drawn to what he was writing. Rock is a talented writer who has an entertaining although somewhat acerbic style.

The book is 160 pages and can be read in a few hours. I took longer because I wanted to digest the content and compare it to what I was experiencing in my blogging activities. This is the story of a life-long Latter-day Saint who has overcome the blind loyalty to the current managers of the Church operating out of Salt Lake City, which is NOT the same church restored through Joseph.

And therein lies the crux of the matter. If you are convinced the Church today has not changed from the time it was restored, you will not appreciate this book. If, on the other hand, you have seen in your lifetime, as I have, evidences that the Church has become more and more corporate in nature, managed by professionals, then you will find the book helpful in facing the inevitable.

Correlation got Caught by the Internet

Am I suggesting there will be a mass exodus of Latter-day Saints from the Church? It is already happening and has been happening for many years. It started when the Internet became popular. Stories that were once suppressed were being shared in online forums and email reading groups. Today, social media is ablaze with groups dedicated to the sharing of the history of this Church.

The Brethren have made it clear they are concerned about the losses among our Internet-savvy young people, especially returned missionaries, where the losses are said to be as much as fifty percent. Many of these young people are not just going inactive, but are actively resigning from the church, even staging mass-resignation days and sharing form letters online to make the exit.

Why are they doing this? The answer lies in Rock’s book. Remember I asked at the beginning of this post to focus on the subtitle: “The Believing Mormon’s Guide to the Coming Purge.” That’s the key. These young people grew up being taught the “correlated” gospel, went on missions, got married in the temple and then found out surprising things about Church history on the Internet.

Listen to the Prophets but Follow the Lord

Rock is a believing Mormon. I am also. The problem is we apparently believe too much. We believe in things the Church has now abandoned, such as the importance of seeking an audience with the Lord in this mortal lifetime and not resting until it is received. Joseph taught this clearly as being of utmost importance. Today, this doctrine is not found in the LDS Church curriculum.

Instead, we are taught the most important thing you can do as a latter-day saint is to “follow the prophet.” Now, in and of itself, the phrase seems innocuous. The problem is that the phrase is false doctrine. You cannot find it in the scriptures. Or sure, you can find injunctions from the Lord declaring “whether by my own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.”

What the Lord said was “Come, follow me.” We are to listen to the prophets, consider their words carefully and then pray about them in order to know the truth of their words for ourselves. But that’s not what we teach our Primary children. We teach them the prophet can never go astray. That is simply not true and the Lord never said it, although Wilford Woodruff did.

There is Room for Everyone in This Church

Rock examines these and other examples of how the Church has changed from one led by a prophet declaring the word of the Lord by revelation recorded in the presence of others to a church that only responds to important doctrinal questions through corporate PR staff. He shares the recent case in point of how the church handled the Kate Kelly excommunication debacle.

One case that has come to light in recent years if that of the resignation of the daughter of Elder Malcolm S. Jeppsen, a recently deceased emeritus General Authority of the Church who became famous for his direct involvement in the excommunication of one member of the September Six. As it is contrary to scripture, General Authorities should not be involved in disciplinary actions.

Rock even mentioned my case (on page 106) in which I have been feeling the heat from local leaders for my blog writings about “Maverick Mormons” such as Brent Larsen, Will Carter, Denver Snuffer, Rock, Mel Fish and others. My heart goes out to these individuals who I have met, interviewed and shared their stories. Each is accused of or has been cast off for apostasy.

Get Ready for the Coming Purge

Rock concludes his work with detailed advice on how to prepare for a disciplinary council. Although I have serious questions about the guidance of the church today, I will not resign. Rock has stated the same. Why should we? We believe in the original revelations and in the mission of Joseph Smith. We know the Book of Mormon is scripture and the word of God.

Rock steps you through the process of what to expect from a Bishop's council to a Stake level council. They are similar but with key differences. Having participated in both for many years, I can tell you he has it fairly accurate. Rock supplies scriptures that dictate how such councils should be held, but of course, the Church Handbook of Instructions supersedes the scriptures.

I highly endorse this book. I give it five stars out of five. I found only two typos, not bad for a self-published work put together in just a few short months. I’ve already given my reasons above why you might not like it. I recommend you read it anyway. Try to put aside anger you might feel about the sharp presentation. If you have an open mind, you’ll find the book enjoyable.


Julie said…
I'm glad you're back!
flowlykeariver said…
The hardest part Tim will be looking into the faces of friends holding the stones and the worst yet those who are holding the coats. GOD bless you for your courage in defending TRUTH. Rock's book is timely and relevant. Love, Peace...
Rob said…
The internet will be to the LDS church what the printing press was to the Catholic church.
dbundy said…
Tim, you should know better than this, but you have convinced yourself by degrees that the Church leaders have erred, have not sought wisdom, have sinned, but have not repented, have not humbled themselves that they might be made strong and blessed from on high and receive knowlege from time to time.

Do you think you are justified in this rebellion, but Cain was cursed for looking on his drunken father's nakedness? The Lord has determined a consumption in all the land, and the scorners and all those that watch for iniquity shall be consumed, but do you think his servants, who are laboring to build up the kingdom of God on earth and establish Zion, are the scorners? Are they watching for iniquity? Are they making you guys offenders for a word? Are they laying a snare for you? Are they turning aside the just for a thing of naught?

You will answer for yourself, but, for someone who seeks to be so enlightened and guided by the Spirit of God, you don't seem to understand the scriptures very well, or else you would be able to discern the difference between the Gentiles who are numbered with the house of Israel, through acceptance of the fullness of the gospel, and those who have hardened their hearts against it.

The Lord promised the Gentiles that, if they would not harden their hearts he would establish his church among them in these last days and he has done so, and he has declared that its message shall go forth to all the earth and no one shall escape hearing it, and it shall go forth unto the fulfilling of the scriptures and no unhallowed hand shall stop it, because it is the great and marvelous work that Jesus said the Father would work for his sake.

But you say it is bogus and its leaders misguided? You are so mistaken my friend, so mistaken. If all those misguided souls Rock asserts are about to be cut off, are cut off, it won't be because the knowledge on the Internet enlightened them. It will be because it deceived them.
Anthony said…
Thank you for coming back, you are as a light on a hill...
laruebrough said…
Tim was this only an email? I couldn't link to the blog.

Sent from my iPad

TTriptow said…
We're the people with the BOM. Nobody else! So if Nephi is warning a future people in possession of the gospel ( not the Fullness, mind you), and Mormon included this part out of all the thousands of pages he had access to, don't you think he is speaking directly to us, the LDS ???
Remember, a type and shadow of all things to come.
If you think Denver has made up everything he claims then you better be sure you have received a witness that it is all false and meant to lead the small group astray who actually believe him. I for one believe his words and feel he is indeed a prophet!
We all still love the 15 and the LDS church, but it is just so obvious that we are off course. How can you not see it?
Tim, I met you at Sunstone and am grateful for your words. Much love and respect.
Donald said…
dbundy-are you sure it was Cain who looked upon his drunken father? could you please help me find this in the scriptures? thank you....and thank you Tim for your blog.
Dave Park said…
Dear dbundy, Thank you for your kind and gentle loving words to your fellow man kind. You have blessed us this day. As you are without sin as you have declared with stones ,please share with me how I may acquire your righteous judgement. And fall in line. Peace ,,David Park..
William Carter said…
Thanks, Tim, for the post. I enjoyed it (and bought Rock's book, based on your recommendation).

I'm glad you're writing again. However, your post above does not appear on your website. (Is it still de-activated?)

Welcome back.
Boo said…
Tim I for one are very glad you have decided to continue. I recognize what courage and inspiration this requires. I am teaching the gospel doctrine class next week about Jonah and maybe i will work your story into the lesson when we talk about the importance of doing what the Lord wants us to do rather than following the comfortable path
AnthonyR said…
Decided to continue kicking ass I see? I dig it Tim! But hey, that's what those who proclaim the word do! You're like Eastwood flinging those pistols and ain't whistling Dixie.
Thank you Tim for this review. I agree with you about the late Brother Jeppson (may he finally rest in peace) regarding the September 6. One of the excommunicated of the group said he/she had never seen a darker countenance upon the face of any man than Brother J.

Note: Until I started reapplying gratitude to my dying church and nation, apathy was my constant companion. I always look forward to your posts.
I think Brother Tim's attitude is much more enlightening than dBundy's. The problem for dBundy is he assumes the promises to the Gentiles is all past tense. If dBundy would read the scriptures with a future tense in mind he might have more understanding if his acquires some humility.
Nonrandom Set said…
I just hope people who might read this blog will read those scriptures in the book of mormon themselves and ponder them to see if they believe this interpretation. It is only one interpretation and I would argue not a very persuasive one. It uses a out of context verse from another book of scripture thousands of years later to try to make this point.

Read these verses and pray for understanding.
Jared Holden said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jared Holden said…
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