The excommunication of Rock Waterman is complete. Another Mormon pushed away, punished, and exiled from Mormonism for expressing his thoughts and exercising intellectual analysis. Some people call this border control or boundary maintenance. I call this an infringement on intellectual freedom of expression. Of course, there is no bill of rights when it comes to freedom of expression in a private institution like the LDS Church. Private clubs can set their own rules, but when the foundational documents invite all to come and partake, it seems counter-productive to exclude some who express their views.
A disciplinary council is where a group of volunteer ecclesiastical leaders gather together to judge a person who is accused of a serious offense. It is often referred to as a court of love. Rock said the only love in the room was the love he brought with him. He compared his excommunication experience, just as Paul Toscano once did, to being raped by a group of Care Bears. Rock’s wife described the scenario like a corporate firing: a dead feeling in the room followed by a series of charges, a moment to say something, and then the execution of said firing. Having been the victim of a corporate firing, I can relate to the deepest level of the deathly feeling of that room. I would likely go ape-nuts if I were to be called to a disciplinary council, so I can only imagine the gut-wrenching feeling of those who face up to it.
Back to the topic at hand: was Rock an apostate? Some would say that his refusal to follow every word of the living prophets constituted his apostasy. Others might say Rock appealed to a higher authority in his arguments. Some might say the situation is unfortunate, but a church can do as it pleases as a private institution (as long as it doesn’t cross federally protected lines). Others might say that the definition of apostasy is too broad and loosely applied.
It hurts to be part of a church that acts this way to those in dissent. I was so angry when John Dehlin and Kate Kelly were ex’d. I was enraged after reading about the September Six. Now, Rock Waterman has been handed the same fate. I cannot summarize all of Rock’s positions, but several ring true to me:
- Getting married civilly should not carry a one-year ban from the temple sealing ordinance for those couples who wish to have family and friends of diverse faiths attend. There is no such ban in Europe where only civil marriages are acceptable, so the same should be worldwide. link
- Tithing is based on one’s increase, not on one’s income. link
- Corporate Church is not the same as the Church of Christ. link
- Polygamy was a mistake and should be denounced. link
- Word of Wisdom strictness may not be historically supported. link