Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Apology accepted --Marty's comments added


Yesterday was a tough day ... painful memories resurfaced and caused me to re-live a pain I had thought was finished.  I was touched by the outpouring of love and support from my cyberfriends that I personally know, and also those who made their first comments yesterday.  I didn't receive that support from anyone when I was living that hell - not a single friend stood up for me.  How wonderful to have felt that yesterday. 

So thank you all.
Yesterday afternoon I received a private email with an attachment from Marty indicating his response to the onslaught of comments many from exmormons and quite a few, surprisingly LDS members. I only read through it very quickly as it was family day here in Ontario Canada and we were spending time at the relatives. It was a continuation for the most part of his original post and an attack on those who believe differently than him (apostates, exmormon's etc). I did just now notice that there was a small apology at the end and I am sorry I missed that as my response was likely not as kind as I could have made it. I was not mean, just a bit 'you got what you deserved', or 'please add your comments to my blog more often' as its pretty much gone a little bit viral in the blogging universe.

This morning I received a comment from Marty on my blog - I posted it at the bottom here so you wouldn't have to bounce back and forth from blog entries.  I am posting it publicly because he received a lot of backlash and I want everyone to know that people can work out their differences.  That hurt can be healed. 

Here is my response:
Marty,
Thank you for your apology.  It really did mean a lot to me.  Our family went to hell and back over this ordeal, and not once for a very long time did anyone say sorry to us for what was happening.  Not even our 'best friends', whose son was the one who found the picture and began the sordid affair, apologized for his actions.  'Boys will be boys' was the excuse that was given. 


I can admit that I wasn't a perfect Bishop.  Hell I was so inexperienced, everyone new that.  My personality doesn't allow me to take things slowly ... so I jumped right in, probably alienating a lot of people in the process.  I was relatively new to the ward, didn't know the ward dynamics, and made decisions that unintentionally might have hurt people.  I released a lot of people that seemed tired and over used.  I didn't do that to punish them or let everyone know who was in charge now.  I simply felt they deserved a much needed rest from the burdens of heavy callings.  They probably didn't see it that way, nor did I explain it that way.  But that was my desire.  I truly only wanted to serve my Savior and the members of the ward.  And I did this under the direction and specific guidance of my ecclesiastical leader, the former Stake President.

However, the minute after I was called, things instantly changed for my family.  Friends were no longer friends.  A dinner invitation for that evening was immediately cancelled.  What was going on?  People shook my hand and offered their 'congratulations' one week and then refused callings that were extended by me the next.   Lack of support was evident from the onset.  Certain people refused to call me Bishop (not that I cared about the title).  I was sworn at.   Everything I did was questioned ... everyone knew how to do my job better and they didn't hesitate to tell me. 
I knew that some people were upset with me.  I tried to resolve those feelings by inviting some individuals into my office.  I asked them what I needed to do to fix it- to change their opinion of me.  I apologized for anything I might have done to offend them, in the past or right this instance.  I spent much of my first few months trying to smooth over a situation that I had no control over. 

I never wanted the mantle of a Bishop, but I was going to do my best.  I was likely the last on everyone's list of who would likely be called, that's the truth. Unfortunately, my best wasn't good enough for some people.  And unfortunately, those people were the vocal ones of the ward and shared their disdain towards me with others.  Those who approved of what I was doing were silent and just allowed me to do my job.  I know people complained about me to the Stake President, but I was only doing what the SP had asked of me.  I had his support, so these complaints fell on deaf ears.

Lets also remember that I am not the first bishop in the Stoney Creek to have struggled in this manner. Marty, I was not present in the ward, but my understanding is that your wife's father had numerous issues with the same group I did, and moved out of the ward after a short while, but like my situation this is really just gossip also, isn't it?


The rest is, as you say, is history.  I truly believe that my release had little to do with pictures, but had everything to do with me.  I ruffled feathers, made some people angry, didn't handle things perfectly.  I believe that previous Bishops have been run out of that ward also.  But the problem was mine and my wife and family had nothing to do with that and should have been left alone.  I did the honorable thing and didn't say a word about anything ... until now, in this blog.  Time didn't heal all wounds and this has been cathartic.  It also has allowed my side of the story to be heard.  To this day, some people think that I committed adultery which is why I was released.  That was not the case, but once again, rumor and speculation about Norm Thompson was allowed to circulate.  Why else was a member of the Stake Presidency released so quickly and under special circumstances?  Nothing was done to protect my name and reputation.  I was the sacrificial lamb to save a new Stake Presidency the embarrassment of my personal past. And this was done after personal promises from the Stake President, that it would NOT be done, and that he wanted me to continue to faithfully serve.

When I read your comments and saw it as yet another attack on me, I did what I didn't do previously ... I fought back.  I too, didn't want to hurt anybody, certainly not your family or its good name.  You are a good person, you and your wife serve faithfully and selflessly. I know what that feels like and how ungrateful people can be for your dedicated service.

The Stoney Creek ward needs that pure service. 

Thank you once again for your apology, it meant a lot, and hopefully this chapter in my life and the life of the Stoney Creek ward has been finished.  I wish you and your family the best.





Marty Cerisano said...












I told Norm in a personal email that I had nothing more to say on this matter. I would like, however to say a few more things and then the matter will be closed for me.

First and foremost I must admit that the resurfacing of painful memories has caused me some amount of grief. I have also learned that airing dirty laundry in a public forum is a colossally bad idea, regardless of the intention.

The severe limitations of human communication are enhanced by the use of social media, and this is the single greatest reason why I regret posting my 'issues' with norm on his blog.

I have zero concern for the bleeding hearts who can so quickly criticise given little or no information about the context of the painful experiences of which I made public. Herein lies my regret. These things should not have been made public simply because the people who so vigorously responded have so little information as to render their opinions entirely useless. My issues were with Norm and him alone.

I express my deepest regret for placing this information in the court of public opinion. A place where this kind of matter has no business.

I also publically ask the forgiveness of Norm and his family for airing this painful information in such a public manner. In retrospect I can clearly surmise that my actions have caused them additional pain, and I am deeply sorry. Indeed, my act of posting on Norm’s blog was neither Christ-like nor kind hearted. Again, I am deeply sorry.

The only explanation I can give for my actions is my very protective nature. I am deeply saddened by the Thompson's departure form the fold, but I am further pained by much of the negative information in circulation of late as well. I am quickly learning that the church does not need me to defend it nor be a crusader for my version the truth. And while the church is near and dear to my heart, there is no need for me to take offense at any amount of negative press or apparent discrepancies ‘discovered’ by enemies of the church.

I agree with some of the posts…indeed I am not without sin, and I will take the advice of well-meaning commentator's and allow the Lord to judge between me and thee. Norm, please feel free to delete my comments




NOTE


Although I have forgiven Marty for his unkind and un-Christlike comments, he still, in my opinion has a debt of obligation to apologize to the many others who did not agree with him that he so harshly and unkindly judged. Marty clearly stated at the end of his apology to me, that it was up to me as to whether I wished to delete his comments. For the context of the story and the blog, I do not wish to do so.

Here are Marty's words that caused a firestorm and that brought much attention to this blog.

Marty's words

Now that I have an account I will gladly take accountability for my comments.

There was not one word of gossip in my comments as they are all first hand information from my experiences with you.

You demand to be heard and to be able express your opinions freely, but you deny the same right to others.

Now that you know who made the comments...you can decide whether i am an unhappy or unchristian mormon or not.

Your delusions truly run deep. Its been three years since you were released and if you are flattered for being remembered as a bishop who had a tremendous negative impact on the ward, then you really are your own biggest fan.
I find it really interesting to read your take on things and to hear your description of the events you describe. While i cannot argue with your perceptions and feelings i do think there are some serious flaws in your analysis. Not the least of which is your description of the "creepy" interview with Elder Nelson. My wife and i would have gladly spent time in interviews with an apostle, together or separate. Describing your experience as creepy is really telling...especially now that your intent is clearly to disparage and denigrate at every opportunity. I Have struggled with whether I should make any reply at all to your blog. I don't think that anything i will say will make any difference ultimately. I can't change the way you think or say something magical to make all the pain and problems go away. I do think that there are a couple things that may be relevant to your assessment of the events though. You say a few times in this blog and in other spots that all you ever cared about was serving faithfully and humbly. That you only cared about the little guy on the back row and that you are a man of impeccable character and kindness. I cannot help but think that you are clearly your own biggest fan. I personally dealt with many situations while you were "humbly" serving as bishop where members wouldn't come to you. You where the most arrogant, condescending and self-indulgent bishop i have ever had. It didn't really surprise me that people couldn't come to you. We never had a meeting where there wasn't some amount of drama. You constantly reminded people that your were in charge. We grew so tired of hearing you say "as the bishop" it become a joke to count how many times you would say it in a meeting or a talk. I honestly believe that there was never a meeting where you didn't remind everyone that they needed to follow the bishop even when they didn't like what he said. The two years i spent serving with you were the darkest of my life. Your impeccable character was clearly evident when you pulled the chair out from underneath and 80 year old man when playing musically chairs. It was further displayed when you didn't even help him up. It became clear over the two years that i spent watching you that the only thing that really mattered to you was your position. You are to be commended for those few people you did reach out to. But what can be said of a bishop who was destroying the ward from the inside out. You said that the numbers were up and that the ward was better spiritually because of your service. This is the furthest thing from the truth. I spent many hours in conversation with active, faithful members who painfully wondered how long the Lord would allow you to have such a negative affect on the ward and the members. There was no spiritual growth, there was no unity, there was only drama, contention and frustration. I really believe to this day, that the way the events have worked themselves out is truly a testimony to the fact that the Lord is at the helm. I will never forget the day of stake conference when you were called into the stake presidency...one of your counsellors in the bishopric expressed how grateful he was that you were no longer going to be in the ward. And yet there were others who couldn't understand how a bishop who had done so much spiritual damage could be called into the presidency. At the time this was a great challenge of the faith for many people. All the while i had the strong impression that everything would work out for the best, although i couldn't see how.
As a side note, i must confess that i also received a noticeable spiritual impression that you were indeed called by god to be the bishop of our ward...even though i didn't like what was going on. Even though i hated the way you led the ward i was willing to support you as a member of the presidency...in spite of the rumors we had heard about pictures. I did wonder how you would be able to credibly teach the youth about morality when it was known that you had taken pornographic pictures of your wife. Another side note: I think the person who did the greatest disservice to you was the previous stake president who said that the picture issue was not a sin. In my opinion the fact that you had the picture(s) would have disqualified you from being called. Whether you like it or not leaders are held to a different standard...in and out of the church. You should know this from your business experience. Had the new stake president known you had pornographic pictures of your wife and that 'everyone' knew about them i don't think he would have called you as his counselor. This is just a guess. I do know that the new president also interviewed some less prominent members of our ward and certainly discerned the extent of the underlying negativity that was so tangible in our ward. I know the new president personally and from experience, and i am certain that he would not make the decision to release you lightly especially since he was the one who chose you. Part of the reason i even bothered to make comments to your blog was a conversation i had with a friend of yours and fellow "apostate". He told me when you were still both members of the church that i needed to talk with you to help you see how you were hurting the members of the ward. He thought that perhaps i could share with you how you could better win friends in the ward. I have felt bad that i didn't take the time to do that...although i do believe that it would have made little difference. Your story is almost a picture perfect example of cognitive dissonance and the fable of the fox and the sour grapes. I remember when a certain Texan told me after you were released, that you felt that you were now no good to the church. I knew that day, that you would eventually leave the church. You entire testimony was based upon position and stature in the hierarchy. And since you perceived that you would never have part of the hierarchy again...they were sour grapes. I know my comments will likely fall on deaf ears or even draw the ire of the apostate crowd your are so faithfully trying to endear yourself to. This doesn't matter to me much...i am actually reminded of the salt sermon delivered by Sidney Rigdon when referring to the enemies of the church, i think those sentiments are not entirely inappropriate now. I am saddened by your departure, whether you think i should be or not. I am saddened that you have been short changed by the adversary. I am saddened that you have exchanged your inheritance for a mess of pottage, that you have bought into the idea of short-term 'freedom' instead of enduring for the long-term reward. Shame on you for being so short-sighted. Shame on you for abandoning your testimony and for setting such a poor example to my family and the families in the ward. It is clear to me now that you never really understood what the church is really about. After all of the years spent "humbly" serving you missed the whole message and even now, not surprisingly, you have still have missed the message.


21 comments:

  1. Wow. I didn't comment earlier because I thought it wasn't appropriate and no good could come of it but you both really swallowed your pride and rose to the occasion to offer private and public apologies and I just want to offer my thanks and admiration for your humility. The next time I offend someone I'll remember your examples because it's everything that's right about humanity and I hope to be able to do likewise. You made my day. Thanks!

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  2. The measure of our discipleship is our ability to love and to have true charity for one another. I hope you can all begin to heal and have this kind of charity for one another. May God bless you as you endeavor to do so!
    Melanie

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  3. I would agree that issues that are between two people should remain between the two concerned. I would agree that it was probably a colossal mistake in judgment for Marty to air this for public eyes to view.

    However...when most people perceive that a friend has been unjustly attacked, or even slandered...if they hold affection for that friend, they are going to stand forth and defend him, come what may, and regardless of whether they know every last intimate detail of the incident concerned.

    We are all human. While most Christian faiths admonish that we are to live in a Christlike manner, or to emulate him...I don't believe that this is entirely possible. He was, after all (if you believe in deity)God in the flesh.

    What we CAN do as human beings is to conduct ourselves as courteously as humanly possible. And we can live, and learn from our mistakes.

    Janice Gordon

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  4. Obviously, Norm has decided to accept Marty’s apology, and that is his right. But to me, it seems that Marty's "apology" was completely and totally disingenuous. While Marty may have "apologized" to Norm and his family, in the process he vilified those who rose to defend Norm and his family. We had all read what Norm had posted about the situation, and had read Marty's comments. Although I do agree that we may not have had every single detail about the situation, I think we had enough to analyze what was going on, and since Marty had opened this up to public scrutincy, I think our responses were warranted. But for Marty to say, "I have zero concern for the bleeding hearts who can so quickly criticize given little or no information about the context of the painful experiences of which I made public. Herein lies my regret. These things should not have been made public simply because the people who so vigorously responded have so little information as to render their opinions entirely useless. My issues were with Norm and him alone."

    While I agree that Marty's issues are with Norm (although not Norm alone since this involves his family as well), and I agree that what he said should not have been posted on a public blog, I do not think that belittling the people who posted in Norm's defense was advisable in any type of circumstances. Calling us all "bleeding hearts"? If I had not agreed with Norm, I would not have posted anything that would have remotely been considered to be defending him. To basically say that all of us defended Norm simply because we consider him a friend is being rather shallow. And to say that we had "so little information as to render our opinions entirely useless" is diminishing the value of what we posted. Perhaps Marty can't accept or handle what was pointed out. That is probably the case. But to callously tell us all that our comments were completely invaluable is simply dismissive.

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  5. Marty, I have left the Mormon church. People like you say you are 'Christ like' and people like me leave because we are offended. Why do people like you get to act in offensive ways and we aren't allowed to take offense when you do?

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  6. I didn't say anything at first because I figured..well. what the hell.

    Marty, a Christian would understand that such insulting and ill-intended tripe is not only unacceptable for publishing in a public forum, but is also highly unacceptable for a private forum.

    I also love the "we just want you back in the fold" stuff. No. Saying that makes you look better, but it's all lies. Try honesty.

    And frankly, we don't care about your side of the story. Not after that. You speak like an spoiled, entitled child. Norm and his family deserve far better than to be treated like that.

    signed, a bleeding heart.

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  7. For the person who stated "I am not surprised by the lack of character by reposting but disappointed in the " hypocrisy" that you and your supporters are displaying"

    I have no problem with your opinion, or comment, but please repost with your name. Its pretty cowardly to attack my character without doing so.

    Also, Marty posted on my blog, this is my space, if I choose to leave his words up, it does not mean I have not forgiven him for them, it simply means in the context of the story of the blog, I felt it was necessary for both sides to understand the issues and arguments.

    If you repost with your name, I will leave the comments up.

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  8. So lets understand this... You have left up others peoples comments who were anonymous when they give you support but you will not leave up my comment I left because I didn't agree with your actions. Interesting... I guess you will delete this as well.

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  9. Correct, maybe I will write a blog about this issue.

    Who's blog is it?

    If I am personally attacked, which is exactly what you chose to do in a cowardly fashion I might add, then I can choose to leave the comment or delete it as is my editorial privilege. This is the exact editorial practice which is regularly and stongly enforced on any and all LDS monitored site regarding negative LDS content.

    The difference is, any negative comment on any LDS site is remeoved, name or no name.

    I use only one determination for any type of negative post directed at me personally, that is this, leave your name or it will be deleted.

    I actually liked your comment and I thought you made some valid points to consider and for others to add their comments to. Please repost with your name, and I will be happy to leave it up.

    Seems pretty reasonable to me, being that its my blog, not yours.

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  10. And since I do not consider your last comment to use language that is personally offensive, I will do as I have done with others and leave it up.

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  11. I can repost my comment and remove the " attack of your character" you felt to be offensive. I will not leave my name as I see that will cause me to become the next victim with attacks that happens to those who do not agree. I was openminded and didn't say anything offensive. Actually you requoted already the one part you thought to be. So there should be no problem reposting what I said since the part you thought to be an " attack to your character" is already stated in your above comments.

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  12. Dear bravely Anonymous, I think I was clear on what was required, however let me restate for clarity.

    Its my blog, not yours, if you wish to have the offensive comment allowed, please simply show your name and stop being cowardly. Thats all! Pretty simple, then it will be left up or I will repost with your name as I still have the original content. There was more than the few words I quoted that I felt were meant as a personal attack and you likely know that. Leave your name, move on, or even better my friend, start your own blog!

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  13. Not knowing if I am a co worker or friend or just someone who is a blog follower and doesn't even know either you or Marty is how it is going to remain. LEave the comment out and let the bloggers believe there is more to what I said then it really is... THe truth is this: reposting Marty's orginal comment when someone acknowledes what they did was hurtful does not show any kindness and the path of forgiveness.
    Actions speak so you really don't have to repost your comment

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  14. At this point, we are navigating in the 'blah, blah, blah' waters.

    "Actions speak so you really don't have to repost your comment"

    I think you mean, your comment not mine.

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  15. Correct! My mistake and gladly accepts it.

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  16. Canada is so odd! I understood pornographic pictures of ones WIFE to not only be acceptable but required to obtain the highest degree in the Celestial Kingdom to progress! My husband not only has pictures but video! Correlation on this type of thing should have been in place long before the ward scandal Norm lived. I smell a lifetime network film in the future! Not as riveting as the wife running over her cheating dentist husband no doubt but it should be able to pull 2 or 3 out of 5 stars!

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  17. I would like to quote "all of us can simply move on and allow feelings to settle. Thank you Marty. Sincerely"

    This is a direct quote from You saying this in your past post after Marty's apology. I can see you are following that well!!

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  18. Dear bravely anonymous.....I have a sincere desire to move forward.

    Forgiveness is one thing, healing is another completely separate matter. If you break my leg, as one friend put it, I can forgive you, but my leg is still broken and is in need of healing.

    These type of smug, judgemental and in my opinion cowardly statements are in no way helpful to encouraging healing in any manner. It is likely that it will only encourage more blogs, if you carefully think about it.

    That statement from my facebook page that you quoted, was simply a kind shout out to Marty personally, it was not present on my blog.

    My leg......its still broken.

    You so obviously and easily judge me, yet so obviously need to review your own "I can see you are following that well!" type of statment

    I just find this entire area of Anonymous to be problematic, it is your continued statements that are making me reconsider my settings.


    I prefer diologue not cowardness. Your opinion is valid only when it is yours....Stand up for it....Please!


    It would appear if I am judged as not yet easily moving on......that I am not alone in this issue. How many fingers do you have, pointing back at you, while you are pointing one....at me?

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  19. Anonymous @11:38 am

    Your a jackass buddy! Keep singing your Mormon hymns, keep gossiping on Norms page, behind his back, you have likely done it before to him and his family.

    Shame on you...FROM A. Cowardly Anonymous:)(just like you)

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  20. Alright lets stop this childlike communication. From here on, I will be moderating comments before they are posted. Sincerely

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  21. Dear Anonymous@ 11:38am.

    Just re-reading after many many months. What a great discussion! It was quite entertaining. Thank you for your comments and for expressing opinion from....the other side.

    Your welcome around here anytime.....anonymous or not!

    Pain....its all departed now. I am a big boy....I can take your critisism.

    Do your worst! :)

    Sincerely

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