Witnessing for our Kiwi Mormon – Page 3

Witnessing for our Kiwi Mormon – Page 3 December 13, 2018
Continued…
The following are 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 nhelferparker@gmail.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.”
My first contact with Gina was when I was serving as bishop of the Bracknell Ward (UK) from 2011 to 2016. Towards the middle of my tenure, I started to struggle with my own faith. This was partly due to several members of my Ward asking me appropriate questions regarding Church history. As I looked into ways of supporting them I discovered much of what they had told me was indeed correct. At one point feeling I’d had enough, I began discussing a potential release with my stake president. Gina gave me the insight and support to stay until I completed 5 years and a few months of service as bishop. My stake president could not quite give the support needed, whereas Gina did. Without her support, a bishop would have been lost. I still hold a temple recommend, being active and involved in my ward and stake. I hope you are able to reconsider holding the disciplinary council for Gina. Or if you still feel the need to hold it that there will be found no action required so that Gina, along with her family, may remain a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Many thanks,

Neil Loffhagen
Anyone who even remotely knows Gina Colvin understands this is not about convincing Church leaders that she is a deeply spiritual person, seeker of truth insofar as that is knowable, a member dedicated to improving the faith experience for herself and other Mormons through examination of those elements which do not exemplify Christ. My heart is with her, my Mother’s arms protect her.

But I refuse to lend credence to this circus, this muscle-flexing sideshow they have created to press the point that they have the apparent power to excommunicate. Truth is, I don’t believe they do. And I know they have no desire to be convinced otherwise or they wouldn’t have had the temerity to accuse her. This is a witch hunt, that’s all. Unrighteous dominion (assuming they ever had the authority to misuse in the first place.) Perhaps the broader question is, “What is going on in the LDS faith, that a woman is left to hunger, to seek truths, ritual and comfort she couldn’t find on her own? How to make the LDS church a safe, faithful place- expansive enough to grow a soul rather than stifle it?”I have come to believe this church has walked so far off the path of God that I decided to walk away from it myself. They are lucky she stuck it out as long as she did.

Kimberly Fitzpatrick Lewis
Bishop Shaw,
I write to call upon you to follow your own witness of Gina. There is nothing hidden, nothing deceptive, nothing disrespectful in all the evidence you’ve been asked to gather. I’m familiar with the pressures of appearing certain and unmoved in the letter of the regulations and policies (not commandments or invitations from Jesus). But I encourage you use the formula set forth by Joseph to know truth: engage your best critical thinking including weighing logic and facts within context and add not just emotional reactions but ponder the actual messages, teachings and comments of Gina. Within you’ll experience a familiarity and safety even though the words might unsettle what you want settled. Gina speaks clearly, calmly and in search of greater relationship with personal and embodied divinity. She seeks God and heavenly union, nothing more. She is the first to kneel before the savior fully willing to follow where his spirit calls. You know this. You can’t deny your resonance and draw to Gina’s vulnerability before heaven and courage of conviction, one that circles in LDS truths. As Alma encourages, experiment upon The Word and her words. Let them paint the portrait of her as divine supplicant not institutional rebel.
Gina will not contest your judgment. She will not retaliate or disinvite you and your family from her table: a table set with spiritual and temporal food. Your reward, if simple functional and dutiful discipline is your declaration, will be not one of lasting satisfaction but a stone hanging on your sense of being, a siren dismissing your blamelessness before god, Gina and the community of seekers.
Gina is good. Gina is a sinner like all of us. Gina is your neighbor not enemy. There is little love or justification for either formal disciplinary option. She’s not left the course, or mortally sinned so turning back again (repentance) is not required. You know this- this rings truer than the alternate outcome labeling her apostate and lost.
I wish you inspiration and struggle with your growth as you witness Gina before your congregation and church leadership.
I love Gina’s voice inviting a deeper introspective and intellectually honest Sainthood. So do you. Don’t succumb to fear and obligation but embrace with compassion knowing love doesn’t discard, it embraces and integrates. Randy Moss Ph.D.
To whom it may concern…
My heart hurts as I write this.  My spirit groans under the weight of this burden.  I don’t think you’ll listen.  I don’t think you’ll care.  I believe you’ve already made your decisions and now devote your energy and mental stamina justifying your conclusions and piling up all those mental darts you’ve collected over the years from the church and it’s never ending mission to worship itself more devoutly.   
But…here it is anyway.  I am a life long member.  My husband is a life long member.  We both come from generations of members and were raised by very active and faithful parents.  I have struggled to reconcile LDS teachings with my very innate sense of right and wrong, light and dark since my early teen years.  I am married in the temple.  I no longer attend the temple because I choose not to.  There are too many things I just don’t believe in anymore to find value there.  My husband does.  My daughter is 13 and just started doing baptisms. I have two other children ages 10 and 8.  My children have all been baptized.   My husband and I are struggling mightily to  honor each others beliefs and individual truth seeking.  It is HARD.  It is heartbreaking and difficult to navigate marriage and family when beliefs change and grow in ways that don’t exactly match up.  
Gina and others like her have been Godsends to our family.  This church needs her.  It needs you to respect and honor her agency, her ability to discern, her quest for further light and knowledge…honor her journey. We need her honesty, her bravery, her intelligence, her humor, her irreverence, her guts and her diligent search for greater spiritual understanding.  She is a treasure and an asset.  Don’t do it.  Stop this barbaric and violent act of excommunication.  It’s wrong.  It’s cruel.  The church will be weaker and have less integrity without her.  Don’t do this to Gina.  Don’t do this to Nathan and their children…and don’t do this to yourselves.
Chelan Clason 
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.
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