Monday, February 21, 2011

Oh the kind hearedness of Marty Cerisano.

Today's blog is simply a reply to Marty Cerisano's comments on my blog. He left them annonomously last evening, I deleted them as I felt that there were personally offensive enough that the writer needed to stand behind his words. After my blog last evening, he reposted with him name. I hope that those who follow this blog, whether for or against, that know my story well, will add their opinion.
Marty, thank you for reposting your comments with your name. It is so nice to finally have someone show the courage to take any accountability for the former gossip and cruelty that so terribly hurt me, my good wife, and my children.

 It is nice to know for certain, as we expected, that you were part of this group who felt they could not support the individual that the "Lord had called by inspiration" if you believe in this type of spiritual direction.

Although we no longer hold to the tenants of your faith and therefore have had the integrity to have our names removed, or as you have indicated, sold my soul for a "mess of pottage", I still hold awe and wonderment for the teachings of Jesus Christ. His example and teachings showed the kind of person, I desire to become and am still choosing to work towards.

I see, in your comments towards me and my family, nothing of kindness, love or Christ like teachings.

It does not surprise me, it does not hurt me, and it shows me and my family what many individuals are actually learning by continued association with the LDS church. I never cared for nor held many LDS callings in my life, the best callings involved those of pure service to the youth and to this day I continue to have ongoing positive relationships with many of these former YM.

Sadly the service that I gave to minority of families in the Hamilton Stake was not as much appreciated nor valued. I am fine with that fact; I accept it and I do not judge you.

Your comments certainly sound judgemental in every respect, and maybe your term for this is 'righteous judgment' that is fine with me, I never claimed to be a righteous person, only one that truly wanted to do what is right. It is you that has placed yourself in this position of judge and I am fine with the numerous personal judgements that you have made about me.

Maybe the Cerisano family is more "righteous" then the Thompson family........good for you! I am no longer part of that shallow and unfulfilled contest.

I am amazed that trashing my name was not enough for you that you felt the need so long after all of this to continue to show your teeth on the subject. Certainly writing the blog has helped me to put aside some of these previously quite painful issues caused by the very few righteous members such as yourself of the Hamilton Stake.

If writing this helps you to finally put it all behind you, then I am fine with that.

I hope at some point though, that you are able to allow me my opinions, without judgement. That would show the type of maturity and wisdom that the LDS leadership is desperately lacking. I am certain that as you look to your future 'leadership opportunities' which are likely quite significant that you would more humbly consider these words.

I am uncertain how you gained the knowledge of the photo or what was entailed in it as to make your "pornographic" judgement, but as you consider your words, and your actual lack of 'knowledge' on the subject (you never actually saw the picture to know of the contents did you?) , please recognize that you have simply based your opinion on rumour and speculation. I honestly believe that if the tables were turned that my opinion would be simply that such matters are none of my business.

Taking a private photo of my wife that is kept in my bedside drawer is no business of yours or anyone else's. There is no doctrinal stipulation against it, nor was there any removal of my temple recommend by either Stake President.

If I was unworthy to serve, why was I not told so. Why did my wife and I within days of my release receive a temple recommend and considering the passage of time, if you felt it were ever an issue, how long would you think this would affect ones worthiness considering that the photo had been taken some 9 years previous to the call into the Presidency?

Over the past several years the LDS church has wisely made efforts to remove itself from control of the marital bedroom of the members, but maybe there are those like you that feel different.

My personal belief is that none of this really mattered, or I would have been told to repent, my belief is that it had far more to do with the amazing beauty and attraction of my wife and the jealous feelings that transpired in some homes, like yours when the issue was gossiped about.

In real world terms, in LDS doctrinal terms, the photo was completely insignificant and most kind members that have discussed it with us and had the courage to do so without doing so behind our backs these past three years, have indicated their absolute shock, that this is all it took to defame a good man’s reputation.

You may not have liked my leadership direction, I can understand that, but to remove someone from leadership by dishonouring and embarrassing their wife and family, in my opinion, shows the true character of yourself and the other individuals involved.

Although I no longer hold much pain about the matter, upon refection I still feel today that it was all quite cruel and disgusting what some participated in and were part of in the gossip chain.

Keep my wife out of your small mindedand petty LDS leadership issues.

The fact that it took any of you involved in this, including you Marty a full three years to finally acknowledge your role, shows me that true motive and feelings that all of you had about it.

I think a more honourable man would have had the courage to speak to me directly, at the time. Not one of you showed this amount of integrity to me directly.

In my way of seeing things, I was the one with integrity. I was completely forthright about the matter when asked at every juncture. I never tried to hide nor mask or pretend. It was not me who discussed this matter in the dark corners of the chapel with other members in hushed tones.

I offered to step down after the photo surfaced, I was told, I was worthy by all of my leaders, an Apostle laid his hands on my head and set me apart. The former Stake president said that the matter was resolved and the new Stake President prayerfully was inspired to call me. Even after I informed him of the entire situation and was completely honourable, he assured me that what the former SP had decided would stand, and that the members involved in this fiasco "were unrighteous and unkind". (I still have emails from him today showing his support and promise to resolve the matter without my release and all the while encouraging me to continue to work to serve the members of the stake).

Later when the members of threatened to make a couple of Ward conferences a possible fiasco, then the blackmail by you and/or the other good members put President Homer in an uncomfortable position and so I was told well after the fact that I was to be released. At no point was I unworthy, I was still conducting temple recommend interviews and setting others apart.

As you described by your "inspiration" when you indicated that eventually it would "all work out" I completely agree with you, wholeheartedly.

My relationship with my wife and children has increased in a manner that I cannot describe since our departure from the LDS church. We spend more fulfilling time together than ever before as the time demands of my former life have now ended.

You are absolutely right; it indeed did all work out for the best.

During all of this trauma there was real hurt and pain caused by you personally and some of your LDS friends, I always had the feeling that in the end, I would far better understand these things and be able to lead a wonderful and fulfilling life.

I had no idea that this inspiration could be so fully and wonderfully fulfilled.

We did not leave the LDS church because of the cruel and unkind judgements of people such as your and some of your friends. It is fair to state that your actions hurt our very big hearts enough, to lower our well engaged cognitive dissonance enough to ask significant and important questions.

Ultimately, we left because after unbiased and open minded study of LDS Church documentation, history and doctrine's it became undeniably clear that prophetic statements change according to convenience and cultural needs. It is clear that the Mormon God's opinion changes on a regular basis, when needed. There are numerous exacting examples of this today.

Marty I truly wish you well in your future LDS service and I have a feeling that this is part of your motive for your comments.

Even though I am surprised at the level of judgment that you so easily offer in your comments, I sincerely value your opinion and your willingness after so much time has occurred and our family has left the church, to finally, FINALLY have the courage to engage me. Wow!

I sincerely wish your family well; I hope that you find in the LDS church, in your life, in Leadership which is so obviously in your path, and in your career, all that you so desire and all that can bring you happiness.

I have never been close to the type of joy and enlightenment than we currently have. It is unbelievable how much color and beauty and wonderment this amazing world has to offer once we departed.

We have made many, wonderful and amazing new friends and I am truly moved by the compassion that has been given to our family on a regular basis from those outside the LDS faith.

I am sad that you never called me or offered a hand of kindness of friendship, until now, and no I do not consider your comments to reflect proper Christ like love or human kindness. It makes me question, what you have truly learned during your time their?



  1. Perchance we have discovered the identity of "Brigham Young"?

  2. Typical cult operations. Backbiting, innuendo, gossip... Norm, those that gossiped behind your back and who throw aspersions today are no Christians.

  3. I am outraged by this comment, and deeply saddened for a man and his family who have treated me personally with GREAT love, genorosity, gentle words and support.

    Normon Thompson is the most decent of men with the greatest capacity to reach out and help those in need. He never asks for thanks and certainly does not share his loving nature to 'endear' himself to anyone. Are you delusional or just bitterly jealous of the positions Norm held within the church?

    There is not one word in your angry rant that has anything to do with the teachings of Christ. If you believe Norm was called wrongly to the office of Bishop, maybe you need to ask yourself some serious questions. Did you attend the Temple whilst not sustaining your leaders? Since God would not wrongly call someone to a position of leadership, maybe you need to ask where the call came from? If it wasn't God, then the church can't possibly be true.

    I love Norm and his beautiful wife dearly. I'm thrilled for them that they are free to enjoy eachother as a family rather than spending precious hours in meetings.

    I really hope you can examine yourself and ask why you're so angry. Next time you want to project your ill-feeling and bitterness, please don't use my friend Normon as a punchbag

    I hope you're proud of yourself, I'm sure the Saviour isn't right now. He loved ALL men. Just sayin'.

  4. How about a comment from the dear wife's perspective? It was disgusting, cruel, unkind and just plain mean what was done to me and Norm. You have heard Norm, now hear me. What kind of organization creates these kind of people? I waited 22 years to have a relationship with the man I loved and chose to marry. I was 100% worthy to marry in the temple ... no dark secrets, no past indiscretions, no repentance needed. I was a damn good mormon girl. If, after 22 years, I am not allowed to arouse my husband, to use the body God gave me, to enhance my marriage, why the hell did I get married. I had already led a celebate life. I wanted more and did so within the bounds of marriage.
    Are church leaders not supposed to satisfy their spouse? Is that one of the unwritten laws of leadership. Are you more spiritual when you deny yourself those feelings or refuse to satisfy your spouse?
    I am attractive. I am fit. I stay that way for myself and my husband. I have no body image issues. It was a damn hot picture and I am not ashamed at what I did. Those gossipers tried to place shame and guilt on a wonderful and beautiful relationship between a husband and wife. They did not succeed. They may have caused great pain, but they did not tear us apart. We are stronger and happier than ever.
    With regards to a creepy interview with an apostle. What kind of church pits wife against husband. Who uses that trusting relationship to gain information? He said that they ask the wives these questions because they know the wife will be more honest. What the hell? I would never betray the trust between me and my husband. I will not devulge any secrets we share. That is sick. If you want to know something, ask him. If these men know that guys will not be completely honest, then why the hell are you calling men? Maybe women should have this precious priesthood. Isn't honesty an important part of being a leader?
    Marty, go ahead and stay in your 'happy' place and I will stay in mine. I was there with you at one time and am so glad to be out!!
    Gabriele Thompson - proud ex mormon

  5. One more thing from the lovely wife:
    I have no problems being seen in a bathing suit, in lingerie or prancing around naked in front of my husband. It is empowering and pretty darn sexual. I am not ashamed or afraid of my sexuality. If that is pornography to you ... it makes me wonder what your relationship is like. But no judgement. You do what makes you happy and I'll do what makes me happy. Am I'm damn happy.
    Oh ya, and if someone referred to your wife as 'porn' -- how would you react? How would she? It hurt me to my very core that people who I thought were my friends, would think that way about me. It was then that I discovered what nice religious friends I had. What a waste of time I took trying to foster friendships there. Oh ya.. and how did all those good mormon men know what porn is? Hmmm makes you wonder.
    Gabriele Thompson

  6. Wow..reading Marty's comments just helps to reaffirm my decision to not attend the LDS church!
    Thompsons: you have my full support!

  7. Mr. Marty,

    As a mere bystander, I must say that your comments were rife with many things you apparently have never liked about Norm, even when he was part of your church. It appears you never supported him as a church leader. Perhaps he was chosen for a leadership position you felt you better deserved? Your comments seem to indicate you have been harboring a great amount of hatred and animosity toward him for some time now.

    Or perhaps you feel justified in finally making your contemptuous feelings known now that he has chosen to leave your tribe, and your initial attempts to bring him back, which you considered selfless and christ-like behavior towards him on your part have gone unheeded? After all, how could he be so unappreciative of you and others extending the olive branch and magnanimously inviting him back, when he really didn't even deserve it, no?

    Isn't it true, though, that Norm's leaving Mormonism is him exercising his 'free agency', which you claim to believe in? Yet in reality, free agency in the Mormon Church is simply a marketing term for 'the choice is yours, but you better make sure you choose what we told you to choose'.

    Hopefully, by now, Marty, you have been able to thoroughly vent all of this hatred that has obviously been held inside for some time now towards a man who was a leader in your church. Perhaps now you can get back to helping yourself and your church with changing the unfortunate image much of the world has of you, that is, of being a great Mormon, but a very wanting Christian. A Christian would not have written what you did...but a Mormon would. Maybe Norm isn't so wrong after all...
    February 21, 2011 12:06 PM

  8. TGD added comment about Marti's accusation about the chair and the 80 year old man. I will admit, that was not the best situation, but there was no intent to harm anyone. It was simply an aggressive game of musical chairs where I got overenthusiastic.

    I likely should have handled the situation better. Once I realized the error in judgement I reached out to the man and his wife on a personal level. We took them both out to dinner with us and drove them with us to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I apologized and we are today, excellent friends still. In fact I spoke with him just last week and his statement to me was this "Norm we miss our favorite bishop ever". He is a wonderful man, and yes, I made a mistake. The difference is, I tried to repair the about you good Mormon folks?

  9. One this is for sure in this life, we can never truly know how we are perceived by others, nor can we truly ever have a correct perception about another person.

    We just do the best we can. My comment about the chair was in jest because I knew I didn't have the full story on that one. :)

    Norm, Welcome to the public sphere of blogging. It's quite a thrill ride isn't it? :)

  10. Hi Norm,

    Tonya and I have just read over your blog and Mr. Marty's comments etc. You are a good man who has done much good in the world for many people.

    It is interesting to see the 'real time non-thinking' of those who "know" the LDS Church is true.

    The #1 protective factor that we have seen to prevent the dehumanizing and demonizing of people by LDS members is that they do NOT "know" that the church is true and have doubt about a God of Love who can teach that it is ok to attack others and consign people, children and families to Hell for failing to obey His schizophrenic ever changing doctrines and rules of just what it 'takes' to get to LDS Heaven.

    LOVE and an innate INability to judge and or hate is the #1 protective factor that allows people to not fully embrace the cult-mindset, "know" they are right and therefore make everyone else 'other' and worthy of harm and ridicule.

    Marty is worthy of our love and prayers and we hope one day he too sees the light. And for now, we are glad that he is so brightly shining his light to the world to show the true fruits of "knowing" that the LDS Church is "true".

    Matthew & Tonya

  11. This Marty person is completely oblivious to his glaring hypocrisy, and a perfect example of the sort of elitist gossip that will always be present in the LDS church. Norman, I do not know you personally, but am proud to have the opportunity to get to know you via this blog and our mutual contacts on the facebook.

  12. marty, i am almost as unfamiliar with norm as i am with you and tried to read your comments with an open mind. unfortunately they came across as a personal attack about your dissatisfaction with his leadership. if that was truly your intent in writing, it seems rather petty. if you intended something else, it is unclear.

    marty's post made me truly feel sorry for bishops who try their best but are under scrutiny from every member. because of the belief that god has given them greater power than others, members like marty just stand off to the side, seeing clearly areas where they could assist - but looking down his nose must have been easier than lifting a finger.

    if members would realize the reality - that they are part of a simple community organization, then maybe marty would have paid more attention to his own actions all along. instead he developed an unhealthy obsession with norm, and appears to have stalked his every movement.

    marty, we all have to take greater responsibility to get what we want out of life. your unhappiness lies within yourself, not within norm.

    norm, in the comments above you acknowledge a time you were wrong. that takes guts, honesty, and open-mindedness. if only we all paid more attention to our own imperfections.

    gabi, you work it, girl! you have my utmost respect.

  13. Great blog post by you, Norm, and great comments by others. It amazes me that 3 years have past since all of this happened and yet this "Marty" person can't let go of his obvious hatred and judgmental attitudes. He talks of being Mormon and Christian, and yet, unfortunately, those two terms are apparently mutually exclusive in his case. Where the Bible says "Judge not that ye be not judged," it does not say "unless you feel you are judging righteously." And yet, that's the way a lot of Mormons look at that scripture.

    Norm, you have moved beyond all that went on way back when and have disassociated yourself from the Mormon Church -- and yet this Marty is obvoiusly still harboring ill will toward you. To actually locate your blog and then post what he did is mean-spirited and misguided. The hypocrisy is quite evident.

  14. It's interesting how many people, that were not even directly involved, feel a need to chime in and put in their two cents regarding this matter. I believe Norman's pain to be genuine, but I also think the truth is somewhere in between the two very different interpretations of the events. Unfortunately after all this time, there appears to be plenty of judgement cast from both sides. Time for the parties involved to move on, and time for those that were not party to the incident to butt out.

  15. Norm your wife is amazing!

    Anonymous 4:49 This is norms blog if you don't like it go read somewhere else.

  16. Loved reading Gabbys comments, it was great to hear how you feel/felt Gabby. I wish I could give you a big hug and then go bikini shopping in Bali or something. Enjoy your wonderful life, you and Norm both highly deserve the wonderful relationship that you have together :) hugs.

    Anonymous 4:49 you would be amazed at how many Mormons shun their family and friends who leave the church. Most of us have a terrible time of it and have found great solace in our online communities. I for one would probably be a heap on the floor without their support. We have been commenting on the things said here and I see no reason that we should butt out. We care for Gabby and Norm and want to help them out with whatever insight we might have in these matters after our own difficult journeys out of the church. And yes I agree w/one of the earlier posters that the LDS members who visit our blogs and complain about us not leaving the church alone need to take a good look at themselves. Maybe if LDS members could reach out w/love to apostates then there would be no need for ex-mo blogs for ex-mos to process all of the crap.

    As for the parties involved I believe that it would be a whole lot healthier if each is continued to be allowed to process the issue rather than 'move on' as you say. Enough stuff has been swept under the rug by the LDS leadership, let's not cover up even more.

  17. Just wanted to share this thought from a previous conversation - Apostasy - American Sociologist David Bromley describes it as this: Apostate role: defined as one that occurs in a highly polarized situation in which an organization member undertakes a total change of loyalties by allying with one or more elements of an oppositional coalition without the consent or control of the organization.

    This part is especially interesting:

    The narrative is one which documents the quintessentially evil essence of the apostate's former organization chronicled through the apostate's personal experience of capture and ultimate escape/rescue.

    Perhaps we DO need to be a little more careful about the words we throw around at people. By calling Norm & I apostates - according to Sociology - he is demeaning the LDS Organization as "the quintessentially evil essence" from which we had to endure "capture...and...ultimate escape & rescue."

    Just saying, for clarity purposes.

    (The term Apostate had been bothering me this evening, after being called that in print. So I thought I'd research the word and ramifications of the word - as opposed to what I "thought" it meant - which is what I'd been taught through the LDS Church.)

  18. Hey Norm!

    I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to get to know you! Over the last few months I have seen a man who has continually been reaching out to others in love and kindness. Someone posted anonymously encouraging people who were not intimately involved in your 'controversy' to "butt out". They fail to recognize that your many friends will inevitably come to your defense with the knowledge of your true character and motives. I am proud to call you a friend!

    I feel for your poor friend Marty. He has put himself in a position of either blaming you, or blaming one of his beloved apostles and Stake Presidents for not having the inspired leadership that would have protected the church. Good thing though! All of us on here may never have had the great joy of meeting you if you did not have this experience as a catalyst for your honest inquiry into the truth claims of the LDS church! And now you have continued to spend your time trying to help others. I appreciate everything you have done for myself and others, for listening and remaining positive in the face of negativity such as Marty's comments. Your contribution to the lives of others will live on for generations!

  19. 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 commenters and allow the Lord to judge between me and thee. Norm, please feel free to delete my comments.

  20. Marty, I do not have the time to fully respond at this moment, but please know that I sincerely appreciated your comment, your recognition of some of the bigger issues and your kind hearted and sincere apology. I will respond more fully and re post in area's of my blog so that everyone can see it and all of us can simply move on and allow feelings to settle. Thank you Marty. Sincerely

  21. Marty - I know I don't matter... I was not involved in this situation. It means a lot to me that you could both publicly and privately say what you have said.

    I'm not sure why I want to put this here... if its helpful, take it, if not, forget it.

    There is a big difference between forgiveness and healing. Forgiveness is when I stop blaming. Healing is when it stops hurting. I can make the decision to forgive today, and that doesn't mean that it stops hurting.

    Example: If you accidentally broke my leg. You could apologize. I could forgive you. My leg would still be broke, and it would still hurt until it was healed.

    I used to think that forgiveness was pretending like it didn't hurt anymore. I used to think forgiveness meant I would hide my wounds, so other people wouldn't have to see them and feel the pain.

    I prefer living in a world where I am open about the pain without blaming anyone for it hurting.

    Again, I don't know if that helps anyone besides me.

  22. Marty, although I applaud you for apologizing you also showed your inner thoughts with the shite you laid on the peoples' words that came to defend someone they appreciate and love.

    Over and over again I see this type of behavior from Mormons. I saw it for 40 years while I was a faithful member and see it now after leaving the church myself. None of the good in Mormonism is unique to Mormonism. And there is plenty of baggage attached to Mormonism that in my estimation makes it a destructive cult. Your behavior on Norm's blog being just one example.

    As much as you want to believe your church is the true church of God, the behavior of your leadership starting with Joseph Smith (i.s. marrying underage women and women already married, Kirtland Bank scam, lying, treasure hunting) and going down to the present time does not lend itself to being considered Christian. Look at the top 15. They are all businessmen and run the church as a business and not as a spiritual organization. Do yourself a favor and really look into the history and workings of the church. Take a look at the man behind the curtain.

  23. We had some bad things happen to my family from members in our ward. I thought critics and enemies of the church said bad things, but they got nothing on so called good Mormons who think they know. everything and think they are perfect and feel it is their right to judge and look down on others.
    We have been inactive for eight years because of the crap that was done to us. And my family is not the only victim. The bad behavior by Mormons who are self righteous and holier than thou seems to happen more frequently in areas where there is a higher percentage of Mormons, like in Utah and Arizona and Idaho. I wish to God the soul sucking culture in the church could be rooted out but it will never happen because 99% of Salt Lake leaders come from Utah and are all, still to this day, related to one another. I hope that God really is a non respector of persons.