Hi, I’m Marishia

In this post, we’re chatting with the author of a mormon.org profile that caught our attention.

Chino,

I’m sad for people like you because you deny the fullness of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. You choose to put down others like myself who have finally found peace and acceptance with their homosexuality. Rather than be happy for the few of us who are free from depression and suicidal thoughts, you and your friends choose to tear us apart, falsely accuse us and condemn us without ever even talking to us or knowing us. You will never understand the amazing witness I received from the Holy Spirit, if you never accept the Savior and his true gospel fully. I never underwent any Church treatment. I am not involved with any PR for Mufi Hannemann. You and your friends are wrong on everything you have tried to accuse me of.

I hope and pray that you will receive the special witness like I did because then you’ll know for yourself what others like me are talking about.

God bless you Chino.

Aloha,
Marishia.

Published by

Chino Blanco

--- We are men of action, lies do not become us. ---

54 thoughts on “Hi, I’m Marishia

  1. agh, i just wrote a reply and got de-nied.

    ok. so i have so many thoughts on this issue, some of which i posted on my blog this morning and others i’m expressing on John Dehlin’s facebook thread.

    first, i totally saw this coming and was STILL surprised.

    second, i hate what this woman’s story teaches and reinforces:

    a) that people who leave the church don’t *really* not believe

    b) that people who leave the church are always bitter, angry, and get themselves deeply entrenched into alcoholic and drug substances (not in a responsible manner, no, always excessive). Oh, and they leave their loved ones.

    c) that homosexual people have a “physical defect” that will, if not in this lifetime then in the afterlife, be “fixed” and they will have “natural” desires for a member of the opposite sex.

    d) it also teaches current, straight members who can’t see past the end of the church’s nose that ALL gay people have to do is suck it up and that it’s ALWAYS possible.

    It feeds the rhetoric and the bigotry.

    e) if you leave, you’ll come back.

    This whole thing just totally tore me apart.

  2. I first spotted this on that same John Dehlin facebook thread, Lisa.

    The bit that especially tore me apart over there was this comment from a certain Russell Stevenson:

    “I’m fully convinced that there are both the Stuart Matis and the Marishia experiences in the Church.”

    My reply:

    “Well, those are two swell options to choose from, aren’t they?”

    Dead or crazy. Heckuva job, mormon.org.

  3. Russell hasn’t even bothered to acknowledge my response to his question: “If we’re happy that someone can find peace and contentment, why are we focusing on how the “real point” is the Church’s so-called spin. Again, why are we skeptical of the Church while we sing praises to academics/activists who are equally capable of being selective in their facts?”

    I don’t know if his silence is because he hasn’t seen my reply, is mulling over what he’ll say, or doesn’t want to bother with it for whatever reason. I’m waiting with baited breath.

    Anyhow, it’s the active/believing mormon responses that are the worst–and i do think this particular profile is mostly for the members. sure it shows…kind of…to non-members that “we do have teh gays in our church” but to what end?

    People need to start using their brains to think beyond what they’re told or mine is going to explode.

  4. It’s like the church has really found a new way to reinforce stereotypes and rumors such as the one that exmormons will inevitably become addicted and spiral into disaster outside of the church — they don’t need to say it from the pulpit if they can have testimonies and anecdotes from people who have had that experience.

    What upsets me more is that if someone like John Gustav-Wrathall tried to make a profile, it would be rejected. Even though there are a lot of similar elements here (e.g., period of anger, near-suicide, etc., and then a profoundly spiritual experience)…what’s different is that John has full testimony that God wants him to stay with his husband instead of viewing his sexuality as a temporal challenge or sin. As a result, Marishia is seen a paradigm of a member back from the brink, but John — who seems far more inspirational, despite the fact I don’t see things spiritually in the same way — is just another excommunicated dude dwelling in sin.

  5. If the best the new mormon.org has to offer is a rehash of North Star, pls don’t waste a brain explosion on such a sad effort. This is really, really awful stuff … awfulness that is compounded by what looks to be exploitation of an unstable church member. Andrew Sullivan mentioned the new mormon.org campaign in an 8/15 entry. This merits a mention as a postscript to that initial post. Otherwise, folks like Wayne Besen or John Aravosis should be up for calling attention to this crap. Whatever it takes, we’ll figure out a way to call out these snake oil salesmen for what they are.

  6. The church might as well put up a link on lds.org to Evergreen International right now. I had no IDEA that these Christian ex-gay therapies were so effective! Why doesn’t everyone try them??

    /snark

  7. Where’re you finding this stuff, Chino? I’m dying here looking for it! haha

    Interesting stuff I *am* finding, though. Not at all surprised the Masons are endorsing this fine LDS fella 😉

  8. I thought the same thing, MC–that it might be some strange PR work.

    Hard to say. To my knowledge, the church worked against gay marriage/rights in Hawaii before it ever worked against it in California.

    I think it’s safe to assume they’re related.

  9. That is a very disturbing web page. It does seem to me that COJCOLDS is taking advantage of an unbalanced person. I have known many, many “fringe” people who have been unbalanced in some way and have been attracted to COJCOLDS and most of the time they are shunned in one way or another. Here they are exploiting this woman. Her long-term future does not look bright, and that is so very sad. A church that at least purports to care about its people shouldn’t be so callous.

  10. Just showed the profile to my husband and realized something:

    Those aren’t even her words.

    She might’ve typed or written them, sure, but she’s a mere puppet to the ventriloquist church.

    It’s just heartbreaking.

  11. > When I prayed to know why I was born homosexual a few hours later I received my answer. I have come to understand that homosexuality is similar to a physical defect and in the next life I will no longer have this physical defect, therefore I will no longer be a homosexual.

    Homosexuality is like a physical defect. The Holy Ghost told her so. Got it.

    This project could be revolutionary as far as Mormon doctrine goes. I’m just thinking this through:

    Used to be all the emerging doctrinal memes came from the top down. Then recently, LDS leaders found it useful to farm the job out to apologists. It meant that any missteps the apologists made could be safely and easily disavowed, and the leaders would never be found wrong, because they weren’t saying anything except ‘Doodle doodle doodle doodle…’.

    These recent efforts in crowd-sourcing are the next step. Get the crowd to originate memes, but keep a tight control on them. Even easier to disavow, and more chance of originating something useful.

    The problem is: will some members with their new-found online voices become turned off when the lid comes down on them? And will the crowd-sourced memes escape the watchful eye of the correlators?

  12. Daniel: Actually, her rationale on this is not that much different from the hogwash Elder Hafen was telling folks at Evergreen last year. . . about being resurrected in their perfect form and having natural attraction for women in the next life and all that garbage. So, in this instance at least, there is some top-down precedence for her doctrine of having a “physical impairment” that will be fixed by her faith.

  13. Okay, let’s say it’s not for meme generation, since very little is new under the sun.

    Could it instead function as a barometer of meme success? Checking what goes down well with the masses? I’m thinking out loud here.

  14. Daniel – Throw enough mud at the wall and some of it will stick? Yeah, their ad campaigns feel like that. Especially those “Finding Happiness” ads for the European market.

  15. Well, I just received a note from Marishia, who’s been following our conversation here, and I’ve asked her if she’d be available to field a few questions from our readers. So, if you’ve got anything you’d like to ask her, please leave your question in comments here and she’ll see it.

  16. Aloha,

    I have read all your comments/opinions/guesses/false accusations, etc., and I’m happy to see so much interest in my conversion story of Jesus Christ and his true Church and my new found understanding on homosexuality.

    To answer some of the false accusations: No, I am not doing PR work for Mufi. I’m just a private citizen who is very concerned about my island home’s economic future No, I did not go to any Church program for overcoming my homosexuality. And no one wrote my story or told me what to write. I voluntarily wanted to share my personal story and the Church had no prior knowledge that I was going to do this.

    I apologize if I offended anyone, it was never my intention. I hope and pray that one day soon your hearts and minds will be opened to receive the truthfulness of these things.

    May God’s blessings and love be upon us always.

    Mahalo,
    Marishia

  17. Well, I guess I’ll go first with a question to Marishia:

    Thank you for clarifying that you’re not doing PR for Mufi. But you’re a supporter, yes? If so, I was wondering if you could confirm his views on civil unions. According to my friend in Hawaii, he spoke at a christian rally against equality under any name. Would he veto a civil unions bill like HB444 just like Gov. Lingle did last month? It sounds like he would, but I can’t fathom why.

  18. HI Jason,

    Mufi is my cousin. We were both raised in the Mormon faith. Unlike myself, Mufi has always been an active member of the Church. I can’t speak for him on what he would do with the HB444, but given that he is an active member of the Church, it wouldn’t surprise me if he did veto it.

    Having said that, let me also say that Mufi has many qualifications and a lot of leadership and executive experience that makes him the right person to lead Hawaii, especially right now when we are heading down an economic landslide here. Mufi is the only candidate with an action plan to get Hawaii back on it’s feet again.

    Please check it out these two websites below on Mufi and you can be the judge on whether you think he is qualified to lead Hawaii at this time.

    http://mufihannemann.com/who-is-mufi-hannemann.html

    http://news.pacificnetwork.tv/

    I know civil unions is an important and big issue to some people, but right now for Hawaii, the most important and crucial issue at this time is our economy and generating tourism dollars which is our mainline for our economy. Mufi is what Hawaii needs right now more than ever, a smart and a strong leader, that is proven!

    Thank you for letting me share with you my feelings and thoughts on my cousin Mufi and HB444, I hope it helped.

    Mahalo,
    Marishia

  19. Marishia – Glad you posted here. Just wanted to voice my support of you. I don’t get all the haters. i guess when someone challenges their worldview, they have to strike back. Good for you for sharing your story! I wish you all the best.

  20. Marishia, because you consider your homosexuality a defect or disability, I wonder what you think about individuals who consider their homosexuality a blessing and gift from God, or who do not feel broken at all, but instead whole and deeply loved in their relationships.

    Nobody here is offended, I don’t think – that’s not the right word. Speaking for myself, it breaks my heart that you would consider something so basic about yourself to be corrupted. It amazes me that you are prepared to live your entire life without the most important companionship any of us will experience, under a promise from leaders who have demonstrated the sincerest lack of truthfulness on more occasions than can be counted.

    And yes, it does disturb me that you’ve been so thoroughly indoctrinated in your church’s systematic bigotry that you would even fight to prevent your brothers and sisters from experiencing said companionship.

    I appreciate your willingness to take the time to tackle these questions. Good luck.

  21. Thank you Mormongirl and Chantelle for expressing your feelings and thoughts.

    In 1994 I wrote the Church a letter and asked them to remove my name from the Church records. I did not believe in the Church at all and I wanted absolutely nothing to do with the Church or anybody affiliated with the Church. When I had my special witness from the Holy Spirit it totally took me by surprise. I was totally blindsided by it.

    The truths the Spirit bore witness to me about was everything I didn’t believe in anymore and everything I detested Yet, I can never deny now that these things are true. I have never know anything to be more truer than the these truths the Holy Spirit bore witness to me of because it rings true to me down to the very core of my being.

    I’ve had relationships with incredibly beautiful and highly intelligent women who I thought could give me the joy and peace that I wanted, but yet none of these relationships ever did. I even married a man for a couple of years because I thought that would bring me the joy and peace and that never did either.

    It wasn’t until last year on August 9, 2009 when I finally found the joy and peace I was always looking for in life, and which came so unexpectedly. Through my relationship with Jesus Christ I have finally found the joy and peace I was always searching for in life. For those of you who cannot understand what I’m saying or maybe look down at what I’m saying, I have one thing to ask you; don’t knock it until you’ve experienced it. I now understand what Lehi meant in the Book of Mormon when he talks about the sweet and precious fruit of the Savior’s love, and how he wanted his family and everyone to taste how sweet and delightsome it was, well that’s how I feel too. There’s something about the Savior’s love that when you taste how sweet and delicious it is it makes you want to share it with your brothers and sisters.

    Chantelle, I’m not saying that there aren’t any, but I have never met one homosexual that has ever felt blessed for being a homosexual, which means that they are few and far between. However, I have met several homosexual Mormons who have come back into the Church, and are living a virtuous life, and are happy and at peace. My nephew is one of them. He was married in the temple two years ago, has two wonderful adopted sons, and he just had a new baby daughter eight months ago. When you see him now, compared to what he was like before, there is no comparision. He is the poster child for “Man is that he might have joy”. If you could see the pictures of him with his brand new beautiful baby daughter, and his beautiful new wife and family you would know exactly what I’m talking about. Like the Savior says, “By their fruits you shall know, if it is a good seed, or a bad seed.”

    I hope that I was able to explain how I feel without offending anyone. If I did offend anyone, I’m very sorry and I hope you will forgive me because it is not my intention to do that. Thank you again for the opportunity to share with you my feelings and thoughts.

    Have a beautiful aloha day and may God’s choicest blessings be upon all us always.

    Mahalo Nui Loa,
    Marishia

  22. “For those of you who cannot understand what Im saying or maybe look down at what Im saying, I have one thing to ask you; dont knock it until youve experienced it.”

    I appreciate reading your perspective and I don’t feel that I’m looking down at what you’re saying. However, I feel I need to respond to this comment. The assumption you seem to be making is that the people here have never been through experiences like those you describe. On the contrary, the feelings you describe and the very language you use to describe them are completely familiar to me. I have had, within the context of my own life and the things I have struggled with, very similar experiences, thoughts and feelings. Of course, I cannot know your exact experience as a gay person generally or as a gay mormon more specifically. That is an aspect of your experience that I certainly cannot fully understand. I can’t presume to judge your experience of being gay and being gay in the church. It would be tantamount to saying that even though I have never dealt with that set of issues and struggles, I know better than you how that feels and what it IS. (Which is also not to say that those who have dealt with those issues in their lives couldn’t speak legitimately and compellingly to what you have to say.)

    However, in terms of the religious experiences you’ve described–I have in fact been there, and more than once. Without getting into detail on the context of those experiences (which is not my purpose here), I can say very confidently that I’ve “experienced it” as you put it. And I’ve also experienced quite brutally, viscerally, and painfully that such experiences are not reliable pathways to truth. They are entirely subjective and can happen in response to many stimuli, including stimuli which are obscure to us at the time. So my request to you and those who’ve characterized people here as “haters” is that you consider that many of us have been through an experience that you–as far as I can tell- have NOT been through, which is the realization that even an extremely intense spiritual experience is very subjective and can lead one to completely erroneous conclusions (just generally–not laying that on you specifically). Don’t judge that experience until you’ve, well, experienced it.

  23. Mormongirl — I’m glad that you’ve come here to support Marishia, especially since Marishia has been kind enough to come here and answer questions in a forum surrounded by people who don’t think highly of some of the things she’s written.

    That said, remarks like “i guess when someone challenges their worldview, they have to strike back” and calling people “haters” isn’t constructive. I’m not going to say it’s against the rules here (I’m not sure it is), but you admit that you don’t “get” the attitudes here — and lashing out yourself ultimately just escalates the misunderstanding.

    This is a highly emotionally-charged issue, and, naturally, it’s a real challenge to keep the discussion civil and constructive. I’m glad people here have been making an effort. I realize we got off to a questionable start, considering some of the things people said to/about Marishia before she arrived here at this forum, but I hope we can bring this back around to this site’s usual high standard of civility.

    Marishia — regarding your story @28, I’m curious as to what you’d make of someone like John Gustav-Wrathall (whom Andrew mentioned @4). He has had just as powerful an experience as you, and he has a full testimony that God wants him to be the way he is and honours the love he shares with his husband.

    What would you say to him?

  24. chanson, thanks for being more specific.

    It amazes me that Marishia has never met someone who thought of their homosexuality as a wholly integrated and normal aspect of their personhood, something they wouldn’t change about themselves. The gay men and women I know don’t consider themselves broken at all; they live average lives no different from straight people except that, y’know, occasionally folks get together to vote away their rights.

    Marishia, I must concur with belaja that you are reporting nothing out of the usual; I’d venture to say that most active Mormons have experienced, at least once, a “witness” of “the truthfulness” of _____________, fill in the blank. As do those of any other faith. It’s pretty mundane, actually.

    Finally, you are free to behave as you wish – if you’d rather be celibate, then so be it. What I do NOT believe you should be free to do is rise up against your fellow human beings, exerting yourself as part of a tyrannical majority, stripping others of rights and isolating them as a hated and oppressed minority. That such behavior is condoned by a person who is, herself, a lesbian is truly abhorrent.

  25. Aloha from Maui:

    I appreciate your comments and questions Belaja and Chanson. I will address each of you individually.

    #29. Belaja wrote: ” I feel I need to respond to this comment. The assumption you seem to be making is that the people here have never been through experiences like those you describe.”

    Belaja, you have misconstrued what I wrote. I never said or made an assumption that I am the only one who has ever had to deal with the struggles of being a homosexual, or has ever had the Spirit bear witness to them of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am only sharing my own personal spiritual experience.

    #29 Belaga wrote: “I cant presume to judge your experience of being gay and being gay in the church. It would be tantamount to saying that even though I have never dealt with that set of issues and struggles, I know better than you how that feels and what it IS”.

    You are contradicting yourself there. You say you are not judging me or my experiences, but then you turn around and say that you know better than me about how it feels to be gay and and what it is like, but yet you’re not even gay. So you’re not making any sense right there.

    #29 Belaga wrote: “And Ive also experienced quite brutally, viscerally, and painfully that such experiences are not reliable pathways to truth. They are entirely subjective and can happen in response to many stimuli, including stimuli which are obscure to us at the time.”
    No one has the right to discount or undermine someone else’s personal experiences whether it be spiritual or non-spiritual. It’s like trying to compare the experiences of two hikers who climbed up the same mountain, but at different times of year. The first hiker went and climbed the mountain in the winter and came back and told everyone that the mountain is covered in snow. The second hiker went and climbed the mountain in the summer and came back and told everyone that the mountain was covered with flowers. Both hikers climbed the same mountain, yet they each had their own personal experience which was very different from one anothers. How can you judge another person’s experience, if you weren’t there to experience it or witness it for yourself?

    The last part of your statement you say; “…including stimuli which are obscure to us at the time.”

    Belaga it may be obscure to you, but not to me. What you call “obscure “I call the Holy Spirit. What you call “stimuli” is a softened heart and an open mind. The Holy Ghost is known to bear witness to those who’s hearts are softened and who’s minds are opened to receiving the truthfulness of all things.

    #29 Belaga wrote: “So my request to you and those whove characterized people here as haters is that you consider that many of us have been through an experience that youas far as I can tell- have NOT been through, which is the realization that even an extremely intense spiritual experience is very subjective and can lead one to completely erroneous conclusions (just generallynot laying that on you specifically). Dont judge that experience until youve, well, experienced it.”
    First of all, I have never referred to anyone on this site as “haters”. Secondly, there is absolute nothing you can say that will discount or make me doubt the “awesome and powerful” witness that I received from the Holy Spirit. It’s obvious, you have never experienced what I have experienced because if you truly did, then you would be agreeing with me rather than debating me.

    To answer Chanson’s question #30, regarding what I think about John Gustav-Wrathall’s experience. To be honest with you I didn’t know who he was until I Googled him and read his story on his website. Like I mentioned above, no one has the right to discount or undermine someone else’s personal experiences whether it be spiritual or non-spiritual.

    However, I will add this, God is also known as the “Great Creator”. His plan for all his children is to become like him. How can we become like our Heavenly Father, if we are not able to create children like him. The family unit is not only the most important unit in God’s plan, but it is also very vital to God’s plan. In this life some homosexuals are able to adopt children, but what about in the next life? The way God created the inside plumbing of a man and a woman is perfectly designed and fitted togetherf or a great purpose, to procreate here in this life and for all eternity.

    Having a belief and understanding of the true gospel of Jesus Christ has made a huge and wonderful difference in my life today. The Gospel has given me an eternal perspective about life and about my homosexuality. I know now that I was given this cross to bear to help strengthen my faith in Jesus Christ and teach me to be obedient to my Heavenly Father. I believe what the Savior says, “That all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good”. D&C 122:7.

    Thank you again for the opporutunity to share my experience, thoughts and feeligns with you.

    Peace and blessings, Marishia

  26. Marishia — thanks for clarifying your perspective.

    I think that different people have different beliefs about the nature of God. For example, some believe that He is omnipotent, in which case the details of plumbing shouldn’t be that big a deal.

    Also note, your argument seems to imply that you can’t be like Heavenly Father — rather you can be like His wife.

  27. Hm. There seems to be some talking past each other going here. I’ll try again. No, I haven’t misconstrued what you wrote. Your exact words were that you are telling people to not “knock it until you’ve experienced it.” So what you’re saying is that we haven’t experienced it and shouldn’t comment on it because in fact we have not had the spiritual experience you’ve had. That IS what you’re saying, that we haven’t experienced the religious witness that you have. I’m saying that, in fact, I have.

    I don’t think, nor did I say, that you feel you’re the only one who’s every had the experience of being homosexual or has ever had a spiritual experience. You’ve put words in my mouth here. What I asserted (and what I think is clearly demonstrable) is that you are saying that people here who disagree with your conclusions simply do so because they haven’t undergone the spiritual experiences that you have. That is a far different thing than saying that you believe you’re the only one who’s ever had such an experience. I’m speaking only of how you have characterized people here in this discussion.

    Next, I did not in fact contradict myself in the sentence you say I did. If you will read it more carefully I am saying exactly the opposite of what you’re reading. Here’s the exact wording: “That is an aspect of your experience that I certainly cannot fully understand. I cant presume to judge your experience of being gay and being gay in the church. It would be tantamount to saying that even though I have never dealt with that set of issues and struggles, I know better than you how that feels and what it IS.” I am saying that I can’t judge the conclusions you’ve come to about being gay BECAUSE to do so would be for me to say I know better about the experience of being gay than you do. It is simply a way of restating my point, rhetorically. There is no contradiction. I am making an assertion and then simply restating that assertion in a slightly different way. In NO WAY did I say or imply that I know more about the condition and experience of being gay than you. In fact, I have said–emphatically–quite the opposite.

    As to your next point, well, it’s rather convoluted and not entirely responsive to the point I was making, but I’m game. I was responding to your assertion that we couldn’t possibly know what it was like to have the kind religious experience you’ve had: “don’t knock it until you’ve experienced it.” The clear underlying point and assumption here is that we have NOT experienced such things. What you seem to be arguing for here is the idea that YOUR experience is unique in this regard and that if we didn’t come to the same conclusion you did, we’ve somehow had an experience was different in kind than yours because we didn’t come to the same kind of conclusion you did. I am saying that to wag your finger and lecture that you shouldn’t “knock it until you’ve experienced it” is rather presumptuous. Your experience is NOT different in kind from what others here HAVE ALSO experienced. You can call it whatever you want, it really doesn’t matter to me. Calling it the Holy Spirit or whatever may be satisfying to you, but it doesn’t really carry water with anybody else, has no more authority than anybody or anything else, simply because you call it the Holy Spirit. I think we’re speaking from two completely different points of reference here obviously–not because I haven’t had experiences like yours, but because you haven’t had an experience like MINE. When you have had the experience of realizing that what you emotionally and psychologically believed utterly was TRUTH and GOD and the SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE , actually turned out, objectively speaking, to be quite profoundly in error, then you’ll have had a similar experience to mine. My point is limited to this. You are presuming something completely unfounded about the experiences of those who disagree with your conclusions. You are presuming that they have not felt the kinds of things you have felt. This is not the case. As Chandelle said above, what you’re describing is a pretty garden-variety religious conversion experience. Your personal and subjective experiences are not epistemologically authoritative. You claim I have no right to judge your spiritual experiences, but you have no right to that either. That I do not accept them does not mean that I “judge” them in some kind of ultimate moralistic sense. It means I do not accept the conclusions that you have drawn from them. I do not accept your assertions about their etiology. You can’t just insist that “I felt good about it, therefore it’s true and if you don’t think it’s true that means you can’t possibly have experienced what I did.” Your mountain analogy is completely beside the point here. You can call it what you want, Holy Spirit, light of Christ, revelation, whatever. I used to call it the same kinds of things. I don’t anymore and for very considered reasons. You’ve simply dismissed my experience and the experience of those like me with a rather smug wave of your hand. Don’t knock MY experience until you’ve experienced it. Do unto others and all that. I have not “discounted” your experience. I have no doubt you’ve experienced exactly the feelings and emotions that you that you said you did. I’ve had similar experiences. I also have not “undermined” your experience. You can believe whatever you want about it. My point–again–is simply that I HAVE had those experiences, your assumption that (and any others here who don’t agree with your CONCLUSIONS) simply can’t have had experiences like it is unfounded and you are dismissing any possible experience that we may have had to the contrary. Who is discounting who here?

    As far as your next comment, I never said YOU referred to anyone as a hater. Please read again what I have said with a little more care. You asked that people not knock your experience until you’ve experienced it. I made a counter request to “you AND to those who have characterized people here as haters.” There was no overlap in my Venn diagram, as it were. I think it’s clear from the structure of what I said that I was making a distinction between you and those who DID call people here haters. But my request to stop and consider that maybe 1) It’s possible that we HAVE had those experiences and 2) It’s also possible that you are just as likely to be possible that we’ve had experiences that you haven’t, was made to both you AND those who brought up the H word. If you want to be understood, it might behoove you to seek to understand yourself.

    At this point, I think you are willfully misunderstanding me and quite possibly building up some testimony bearing points for yourself. I really DON’T CARE what you believe about your experience. I am not trying to convince you to jettison what you believe about the meaning of those experiences. I am simply saying that your assumption that we haven’t experienced something like what you have simply because we disagree about its meaning CANNOT be supported. And it is disingenuous of you to demand that we acquiesce in your conclusions when you make no attempt that I’ve been able to pick up on to understand what anybody else’s experience has been–other than to discount it and try to undermine it of course.

    And finally this:

    Its obvious, you have never experienced what I have experienced because if you truly did, then you would be agreeing with me rather than debating me.

    is just insulting. It’s rather hypocritical as well, considering the kind of uncritical acceptance of the authority of YOUR subjective experience you are insisting on, nay, demanding here.

    However, it is hardly surprising. I had a sneaking feeling that we were going to arrive here eventually. I can’t have really ever had a testimony because now I have somehow fallen and if my experience had been true I would never ever have deviated from my conclusions at the moment of that experience. What I felt wasn’t REALLY the spirit because I don’t agree with you in all the particulars of what it is and what it means. Only your interpretation of these experiences is authentic. Any other interpretation is flawed and the experience itself suspect. I actually get this, where it comes from, and the not-so-obscure origins of it, because it was the thought-stopper I used to use myself when confronted with something that might challenge me to think about it, to have the courage and the humility to question myself.

    I am probably quite naive to feel disappointed in the tone this exchange has taken. You have, it seems to me, willfully misread and twisted what I have said in every single particular. You have put words into my mouth and flipped the very clear things I did say completely on their heads. You seem to have been determined from the outset to take offense and in the process do the exact negation of my experience that you have accused others here of doing to you. If your experience is what you say it is and comes from Christ, from God, from the Holy Spirit, then you certainly don’t seem to have gleaned any lessons about kind treatment of others from it.

    I feel I went out of my way to be respectful of you while asking for some respect in turn for a differing view. You have responded by mischaracterizing me completely in what appears to be a bid to score some cheap testimony bearing points for yourself. I would imagine it’s made you feel all warm and squishy inside for “defending the truth” or WTF ever. But the ends don’t justify the means. Insulting people, negating them, and making them feel like crap make me doubt, more than any objective reality, the nature of a so-called “Christ like experience.”

    As far as the issues we were (or at least I) was attempting to discuss with some thoughtfulness and respect–I officially don’t give a crap any more. Believe whatever the hell you want.

  28. Hello again,

    Here are my responses to your comments:

    Chanson: Heavenly Mother is also a Goddess. It’s written in the scriptures that the Kingdom of God is a house of order, so it makes perfect sense to me that God would have specific roles and duties for men and women in his kingdom. I have no problem with being a wife, mother, and a creator. I put my faith and trust in God and in his plan, because after all, God knows all things from beginning to end, therefore God knows best.

    Chandelle: In response to your comment that I am “reporting nothing new or out of the usual”, I say to you; God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever, so why would he change the way he bears witness to his children about the truth?

    Andrew S: I read each link you asked me to read and I really feel for John and the dilemma that he’s in. Now that’s definitely not a usual experience. Christ says in Matthew 12:25; “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand”. If John has received a special witness of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his true Church where homosexuality is not accepted; then later he receives another witness that it’s okay to stay with his partner in a homosexual relationship. It sounds to me like something definitely is amiss there.

    There are only two forces in this world that influence us. One of those forces can never duplicate the emotion of peace. From my own experience, whenever I have made a decision to do something and I feel peace inside then I know that I made the right decision. That’s our compass that Heavenly Father has given to us his children so that we can return back home to live with him and our Heavely Mother again. This compass is called the Holy Ghost and that’s he “roles” in God’s Kingdom.

  29. Marishia, I’m only going to call you out on one detail of your essay, because you are completely, totally, 100% wrong about it…
    You’re NOT defective. Don’t let them tell you that.

  30. From the last General Conference:
    I hope that we welcome and love all of Gods children, including those who might dress, look, speak, or just do things differently. It is not good to make others feel as though they are deficient. Let us lift those around us. Let us extend a welcoming hand. Let us bestow upon our brothers and sisters in the Church a special measure of humanity, compassion, and charity so that they feel, at long last, they have finally found home.

  31. Marishia –

    I’ve been thinking about the question you posed to Chandelle in your #38:

    God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever, so why would He change the way He bears witness to His children about the truth?

    Because His method seems to be causing a lot of confusion?

    For example, you’re not even in agreement with your fellow believers at mormon.org, Marishia.

    What would you say to someone who happened to compare your mormon.org profile with Jonathan Tye’s?

    Here’s an excerpt from Jonathan’s mormon.org profile:

    What is the Churchs attitude on homosexuality? Why is homosexuality and same-sex marriage important to the Mormon Church?

    The Church’s opposition to gay marriage is often misunderstood and mislabeled as hateful. To the contrary, we are taught that homosexuals are children of God, worthy of respect and love, and that there is no place for “gay-bashing” and hate. The Church promotes the rights of gays and lesbians as human beings, and has openly supported laws which prohibit discrimination against homosexuals in employment and housing.

    The Church teaches that feeling same-sex attraction may not be a choice, but that acting on those feelings is. Though we believe that homosexual behavior is contrary to the Lord’s will as revealed by His prophets and apostles, the Church also teaches that gays and lesbians have the right to choose how to live. Indeed one of the primary doctrines of the Gospel is agency and free will. The Church teaches its members to “disagree without being disagreeable” and to see the beauty and value in people who don’t share our beliefs or lifestyle.

    That said, those who are members of the Church are expected to live by its teachings. Church members who experience same-gender attraction are not considered sinners, “broken,” or flawed for having these feelings; they are, however, expected to abstain from homosexual behavior.

    The Church’s opposition to gay marriage is not an attempt to stop homosexual relationships or label gays as being less than anybody else. It is simply an attempt to maintain the institution of marriage as being between a man and woman, the foundation of society, and distinct and separate from other relationships.

    Can we agree that Jonathan’s understanding seems to differ from yours in important ways? He clearly thinks you’ve misunderstood Mormon beliefs when you state:

    When I prayed to know why I was born homosexual a few hours later I received my answer. I have come to understand that homosexuality is similar to a physical defect and in the next life I will no longer have this physical defect …

    There is definitely something amiss here.

  32. Experiences are certainly important but our perceptions cannot always capture reality. Humility requires that we own up to our limitations. We are not an omniscient God but mortals with limited knowledge.

    No matter how we experience gravity, our perceptions do not change gravity. If we misinterpret the nature of gravity, we will make suboptimal choices that will hurt us. In the worst case, our misperceptions will hurt others.

    Since we cannot change gravity, we have to adapt to it if we want to prosper and contribute to our community.

    Humility also requires us to admit that we are not in charge of life. Sexuality is part of life including sexual orientation.

    The nature of homosexuality is a matter of life, no matter how we perceive it. We can, however, understand sexuality and sexual orientation in light of logic and evidence.

    Our feelings about homosexuality do not determine the nature of sexuality.

    Logic and evidence exist outside of ourselves. Humility requires that we submit our opinions to logic and evidence.

    By contrast, our feelings are a product of our bodies. When we rely on our feelings, we are relying on the arm of the flesh.

    Despite the best intentions, privileging emotional experiences over logic and evidence is an arrogant choice. If God is the creator then he will reveal Himself in his creation.

    When we fail to accommodate reality then we reduce our religion to a superstition. Worse, believers will get hurt. That would be sad.

    I am concerned, Marishia, that you are embracing ideas that have been contradicted by medicine, psychology, and zoology. Your misperceptions about your sexuality will hurt you and the people around you.

    It is not easy to live a fulfilling and responsible life when our parents and our culture has not adequately prepared us to deal with the nature of our sexuality. Figuring it out can be disorienting and damaging.

    But in the end, you are better off embracing reality than clinging to misperceptions that place you in spot that will slowly but surely grind you to bits.

  33. Hi Chino,

    In response to your comment #41: Let me see if understand what you’re saying as to why God has changed the way in which he reveals the truth to his children. You said it is; “Because His method seems to be causing a lot of confusion.”

    Your perception of God is a God that is confused and makes mistakes. That doesn’t sound like a God who is know to be all knowing and all powerful. That explanation just doesn’t make sense or ring true to me.

    You’re trying to compare my understanding of the “Church’s stand on homosexuality” to one man in the Church’s understanding on the subject, who isn’t even a high ranking Church leader, well that just doesn’t sound like a fair comparison to me.

    There are a lot of things that John Tye wrote about the “Church’s stand on homosexuality” that I agree with and some that I slightly don’t agree with. Overall, I agree with the most part of what he wrote.

    If you wanted to expend the energy Chino you could also pull up Prophets, Apostles, General Authorities, and other Church leaders writings on homosexuality that would back up my understanding of the “Church’s stand on homosexuality”.

  34. I guess the issue is that most of us perceive the god of the church as a god that is confused and makes mistakes.

    In fact, many of us have evaluated many concepts of god, and that’s what they all look like.

    I guess the reason Chino compares your understanding to some other guy’s understanding is that both of you are showcased on the church’s new website to acquaint people with Mormons and their beliefs. So, both you and John Tye act as missionaries in part. I don’t see how this is an unfair comparison…it would be unfair to cherrypick the (changing) words of the general authorities against you, instead of matching one member against another member and showing how people don’t even share beliefs at the average member level.

  35. Marishia, belaja covered this issue so well I very nearly stood up and clapped, all by myself here in my kitchen, but I will simply reaffirm that this:

    “Its obvious, you have never experienced what I have experienced because if you truly did, then you would be agreeing with me rather than debating me.”

    is unbelievably arrogant and short-sighted, and to follow up with this:

    “God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever, so why would He change the way He bears witness to His children about the truth?”

    is interesting in light of what you say above, because you seem to feel that anyone who has had a cosmic experience of God would never turn aside from that experience, which, as you say, is the same for everyone… and yet, here we are.

    Indeed, I HAVE had such an experience as you relate. Many of them. The first time I went through the temple, I felt awash in God’s infinite love; it was such an intense experience that when I arrived on the other side of the veil, I burst into tears of happiness, which had never happened before and has not happened since.

    When I was in my first year of marriage, I clearly heard a voice speak to me, warning that my husband and I should not stay in our house that night. We slept at my in-laws, and the next morning, we found that someone had broken into our house. For years, I held that experience close to my heart, sure that it testified of the Holy Spirit. I felt special to have heard the actual voice of God. I wondered what amazing things were in store for my life that God had preserved my family in that way. When I had doubts, I conjured that memory, and that of passing through the veil in the temple, to assure myself that The Church Is True.

    Later, when I was not paying tithing and not attending church, when I was watching R-rated movies and swearing and seriously considering a cappuccino, I had another experience in which I knew I was to have another child, she would be a girl, and I would give birth to her standing up in our living room around 10 in the morning. The image was incredibly clear and powerful. Nine months later, my daughter was born in just this way, except we were in the bedroom. I felt certain that this was yet another testimonial of the Holy Ghost.

    And yet, about three months after my daughter was born, I resigned from the Church. I no longer believe these experiences I’ve related to be supernatural; I don’t believe in God at all, or an afterlife, or an eternity of babymaking, so the Church is not only untrue to me, it is irrelevant.

    So please, stop with these assumptions. Most of us have had intense experiences of the existence and direct assistance of the Voice of God or the Holy Ghost or the Light of Christ or what have you, and yet we have found our understanding, our interpretation of events to be flawed and, in most cases, self-serving. For you to say that if we had experienced what you’d experienced, we’d agree with you, is akin to an ex-Mormon saying that if a believing member knew what s/he knew about the Book of Abraham, the believing member would resign, too.

    Don’t go so far out of your way to prop yourself up by claiming that we couldn’t know what you know or we wouldn’t be apostates. You shouldn’t feel threatened by the reality that others have shared your experiences and beliefs and yet found them to be false or unimportant. You have your beliefs, and we have ours. As I said above, my only objection to this situation is if you use your beliefs to oppress others, which is something your church encourages.

  36. One last thought and then that will probably it for me, as anything I say after this will probably be repetitious.

    ‘There are a lot of things that John Tye wrote about the Churchs stand on homosexuality that I agree with and some that I slightly dont agree with.’

    This is an important point, Marishia. The Church demands a lot of its members as far as adherence to the rules and understanding of doctrine. If two average members can’t make sense of the Church’s stance on homosexuality, or even share a cohesive argument in favor of it, that’s a problem that reflects poorly on the leadership, especially when the Church demands that its members give money and time to campaigns against gay marriage.

    How can your leaders expect you to behave in an obedient manner when you can’t even explain the Church’s stance without making a serious mistake, like assuming that homosexuality is still believed to be a physical disability? This means that in your profile on Mormon.org, you’re promoting false doctrine to investigators. I assume that your profile had to be approved by a moderator before being posted to the site, so that means that the moderator (or maybe more than one) is allowing you to say these things which are no longer supported by the prophets. So I suppose that another active member could post a profile calling Black people “fence-sitters,” and someone else could explain that women don’t have the priesthood because after they become goddesses they’ll be like the Mother Goddess(es) and give birth throughout eternity while the Father God makes worlds, except that oops, Gordon B. Hinckley said that the whole “God is as man may be” thing isn’t actually doctrine, so that isn’t a good example. I’m not sure I could come up with one that’s more salient.

  37. I want to thank everyone that commented on my conversion story. It was a good experience for me because I was able to learn more about what other people’s views and feelings are about homosexuality and the Church.

    I hope and pray that one day we can come together again and focus more on our similarities rather than on our differences. I apologize again if I offended anyone.

    I leave you with my testimony, that I know without a doubt that this Church is the true Church of Jesus Christ and that it contains the fullness of the his Gospel. I also know that if you are truly open to accepting the truth that the Holy Spirit will bear witness to you of the truthfulness of all things.

    Much Alofa,
    Marishia

  38. And thank you again for participating, Marishia.

    As you’re probably aware, your profile is no longer available at mormon.org (it lives on in the Google cache).

    I hope you don’t take it personally. You’re not the first and you certainly won’t be the last to have your profile pulled from mormon.org. There’s too much confusion among the members about what constitutes current Mormon doctrine to expect otherwise.

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