The following are some of the “witnesses” that have been written in behalf of Gina Colvin, who is being summoned to a disciplinary court on December 20, 2018. If you’re interested in submitting a witness… please share with me at email@example.com. I will continue to update… or create further posts as I receive them. I will keep blog posts to about 1500 words… that’s why there will be more than one “page.” Please offer your love and support at this painful time for Gina, her family and so many of us who are affected by this vicariously.
Dear brothers Ormsby and Shaw,
I’m writing you because I have heard the disturbing news about Gina Colvin’s upcoming disciplinary council. I just wanted to let you know that if it hadn’t been for Gina, her podcasts, her support, and her influence, I would no longer be a member of this church.
I went through a faith crisis about two and a half years ago. I was very active: RS president, return missionary, a mother of six and when I learned that the history that I had been taught my whole life was not true, I was decimated. It sent me into a depression and into a deep identity crisis. Nobody, save those who have experienced this kind of loss and crisis of belief, can fully understand how completely destructive this is.
Shortly after my faith unraveling I discovered A Thoughtful Faith podcast hosted by Gina Colvin. I had no idea who this woman was but only that she knew what knew and she was still engaged in Mormonism in a positive, albeit middle nuanced, way. She was a salve to my very wounded soul at that time and an answer to my prayers.
During those months I would lay in bed because I was spiritually and physically sick from this complete deconstruction of my soul, and I would listen to podcast after podcast. Gina spoke truth to my heart and helped me see that I didn’t need to throw out all the good in Mormonism just because it was no longer “true”. She was eloquent and articulate and had a way of speaking straight to my wounds and binding them with her words. Gina helped me find some space and perspective when I was convinced the only way to be honest and authentic was to leave the church after 44 years.
A short time later I had the privilege of attending a retreat where Gina co-taught a group going through faith transitions. It saved me. Meeting people just like me going through the same pain and confusion was incredibly healing and helpful. Most of those people are still positively engaged in the church on some level today. Gina was a huge factor in helping so many of us have a softer and kinder approach to past and current leaders who have made mistakes as well as members who might judge us for questioning the truthfulness of the church.
I’m so grateful for Gina and find it ironic that someone who has been such a profound influence for good in this church is being disciplined. It strikes me as something very similar to Jesus. He spoke truth and pushed against the status quo in the patriarchy of his day and he was crucified for it. The truth is never popular, especially when it steps on egos. As one of my favorite monks put it, “Without the self critical aspect of religion, religion is always idolatrous. It will always worship itself… It becomes an exclusive country club, comfortable with itself and it’s unquestioning members…The genius of the Bible and the prophets in the Bible is the inclusion of the negative. The Jews actually had the nerve or courage to include in at least one third of their sacred scriptures a finger pointing at themselves, calling them out, showing them (and others) that they were full of crap.”
Gina has done nothing but ask for honest introspection within our institution and within ourselves. Without this introspection there is no progression. She has made me want to be a better Christian and seek after the true God who can only be known through experience. She has encouraged me during the darkest time of my life and I’m so grateful for her guidance that has lead me through that dark night.
I hope you will consider my words as a witness to her character and to her conduct as a true disciple of Christ.
Gina’s voice within Mormonism has guided and motivated me through many difficult periods of the modern-day LDS Church. Her love for Mormonism is plain to see in all of her efforts to make this a better church for all. The disciplinary council is an ironic unfolding of the very spiritual abuse she sought to root out. Disciplining church members who love our church and have caused no harm is the antithesis of the gospel of Christ; it is casting a stone and it is grievously harmful. I stand as a witness for Gina.
Gina Colvin’s eloquent voice has helped expand my love for myself and all my brothers and sisters around the world, and helped bring me much closer to God in my own spiritual journey. Her fierce love and care and courage and honesty in speaking out for the marginalized is a true example of living a Christ-like life. If there isn’t a place for her in this church, then it’s obvious there isn’t a place for me.Erin Bratsman (California, USA)
Gina Colvin is precious to me.
The only other words that I can use to describe her, do not do her justice in the telling. I have witnessed her character, her integrity, her strength and her good common sense. She gives everyone a fair shake and is not afraid to speak her mind, raise her voice or share her story. She is rare among women. Nobody works harder and because of her exquisite work ethic, she is leaving her mark on the world while teaching us all how to change it. Sheowns who she is and expects others to do the same. If you will listen to just about anything she has to say, you will be enlightened, surprised, taken back–and taught something you thought you knew–but didn’t. She teaches me constantly.
It breaks my heart that she is being excluded or cutoff (little do they know) from this “particular part” in the body of the man she calls her Savior. They have done nothing more than to give her a little more sadness, a little more heartache at home, and a little regret that the man she cherishes most in all the world will be collateral damage and will need help with his own broken heart. And this serves who? And this is loving? Not where I came from, and not where I sit now.
I stand as a witness to her goodness, her compassion and her character. I stand as a witness to everything that I know to be holy about this woman. I stand as a witness that even though I call her my friend, she is oh so, much more than that and I will stand by her in the days ahead.
I love you Gina Colvin
Kim Sandberg Turner
President Jared Ormsby and Bishop Josh Shaw:
I am writing in love and support for Gina Colvin.
Years ago, I recall teaching our ward’s primary the song, “I Will Be Valiant.” Since the word “valiant” isn’t in our everyday vernacular, I explained its meaning: to be courageous even when it is difficult. Valiance is a necessary trait if you are to fight on the Lord’s side.
My sister, Gina Colvin, is valiant.
Gina continually demonstrates selfless service and devotion to Christ; she uses her gifts and talents to lift and inspire people like me. I may be half a world away in California, but I am eternally grateful for her contributions to my testimony, faith development, and my emotional and spiritual health.
A few years ago, my faith journey took an unexpected turn. I had questions my bishop could not answer. I felt completely devastated and alone. My ward and stake leaders generously listened to my questions and sat with me in my turmoil. I am thankful for them. They showed me my Savior’s love as they listened. However, the shame I felt from having questions kept me in isolation. I read somewhere about Gina’s “A Thoughtful Faith” podcast and found it right away. In part, Gina’s valiance saved my life. During a time when I felt only my Heavenly Mother could answer my questions, Gina was like a gift from Her, showing me I was not alone. Because of Gina, I found my own divine courage. It changed me and I grew.
Gina’s voice continues to be a light in my life. If there is a place for her in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there is a place for me. That knowledge brings me comfort from my Savior, who in His holy ministry taught we should minister to the one. Gina’s valiance has brought me closer to my Savior. She is my minister and I am a “one.”
Please consider my witness as you meet together.
Leslie Price Newman
Natasha Helfer Parker, LCMFT, CST can be reached at natashaparker.org and runs an online practice, Symmetry Solutions, which focuses on helping families and individuals with faith concerns, sexuality and mental health. She hosts the Mormon Mental Health and Mormon Sex Info Podcasts, is the current president of the Mormon Mental Health Association and runs a sex education program, Sex Talk with Natasha. She has over 20 years of experience working with primarily an LDS/Mormon clientele.