The things that are being said about my Church have stirred an anger in me that I have never had before. Countless rumors, fables, exaggerations and just plain lies have been spoken about my Church for as long as I can remember, and I have never stepped up to the plate to speak out about the absolute goodness, sincerity, truth, and dedication to the Gospel of Jesus Christ that this Church has always had. Those days of not speaking up are over.
I grew up in Oregon as the youngest of 8. My siblings were the most impactful influences as I grew up. The ones closest to me in age not only were trouble, they also taught me to live the same way. I was a shadow to my brother, Jesse Morris, both literally and figuratively. Thus I began to follow in his footsteps.
The first turning point in my life came when I was 13. My pastor, seeing the direction my life was going, knew that I needed to get away from the horrors of these influences. Thus, I moved to Kauai to straighten out my life and get right with God.
Living in Kauai is a dream. But for the first 15 years I lived on Kauai, I remained the most stubborn person in the world. I fought back on everything – thought I was right and everyone else was wrong. I lied – cheated – stole – did whatever I wanted whenever I could. I did the bare minimum just to get by. Just like my brother Jesse.
How can I stand for Truth, and not directly address my brother, Jesse Morris, who has so directly and viciously maligned this my Church?
Jesse Morris is a liar. His accusations conveniently leave out the sexual pervert he was within the house with siblings (as hard is it is to speak about), making holes in the bathroom walls to watch through, setting up cameras in closets to watch my sisters undress and many more explicitly immoral actions I don’t want to put out to the world. Outside of our home he was a peeping tom on church members as well as members of the community. He had a big mouth and a bad temper. In 7th grade he was accused of abuse by a girl he went to school with. He was into pornography, stole dirty magazines, sold my mother’s belongings for money, snuck out of the house at all hours of the night repeatedly. Lied about most EVERYTHING. He was a very sneaky conniving individual. If you ask me Jesse was the most troublesome individual that has ever attended the Church. My mom and dad were constantly trying to figure out how to change him and direct him away from his cruel, criminal, and hellish ways. He was repeatedly warned that he would end up in prison, and in 2005 these warnings were fulfilled.
Jesse seems to have forgotten that he wrote over a hundred letters in his three and a half years in prison. I decided to go through the binder my mom kept. In these letters he praises the way the Church acted in trying to help him in his youth. He repeatedly begs me specifically to listen to what everyone in the Church tells me and do not follow in his footsteps. Thank God I didn’t!
He also states that he has no one to blame for his crimes but himself.
How he can turn and point his finger at my Church, I can’t quite grasp his broken train of thought. It is hard to see how he can rise from his criminality so swiftly and turn to judge our righteousness, as if his criminal instincts somehow just vanished overnight.
In these letters he writes home apologizing, wishing he could be home with the family and the church, speaks of the good talks he had with Kale several times while in prison, and encouraging my sister Marcy and I to stop our evil ways so that we didn’t end up like him. “Listen to what the church tells you,” he said. Does this sound like someone who was abused and beat up and hated on? While in prison he was “free” from his family and the church, so why wouldn’t he write letters of hate and blame? Not one was sent.
My pastor, Kale, wrote a letter to the Board of Corrections on Jesse’s behalf. Mom and dad went up to visit him as much as they were able. Even Bob James visited him in prison. My brother got out of jail and it took all of 6 months for him to return to his old ways. A cop showed up at my mom’s house saying that Jesse was soliciting some woman for sex as she jogged down the street. How quickly a person can forget the truths they once stood by and go back to pathetic lies and falsities.
I thank my Father in heaven for detaching me from this laughing stock of a man. He is no man, for a man puts away his childhood games of lies, self-pity, and self-indulgence and rises to become a new creature in Christ. I hope Jesse will take responsibility for his own actions.
In spite of all my rebellion there is only one promise that I have ever kept in my life: that I would never leave the Church. Why? I could always see the difference between those that wanted to stay in the Church and live for God, and most that left the Church and live for themselves. Just walk straight and love Jesus Christ with everything in you. That’s all my Church ever asked.
Now to finish up my own story. I stayed in the church but continued chasing every whim of my flesh. Everything changed when God left me and I felt like my world was coming to an end. It was the most void feeling and I will never forget it. Thanks to my Father in Heaven and the wise counsel of those people around me, I finally gave in and said “God change me”. And he did. One early morning, at 3 AM my Father spoke to me personally and from that day forward, I knew I was never going to leave Him again. No one can take that experience away from me.
This Church is the reason I am alive today. This is no credit to me – only to the mercy and loving kindness of my Father in Heaven, and to the wise, long-suffering shepherding of my pastor, Rev. Kale Aluli. My fruit speaks for itself.
My life has had its ups and downs – has had its struggles – has had its times of troubles and sorrows. But if there was anything that I would change today, it would be that I would have given in to God much sooner.
I LOVE my life and where God has brought me – but I want more. I want all of Him and none of me. I feel and see the difference of who I was and who I am, but I know there is so much more. So bring the fire, Lord, and burn out of me all that isn’t like you.
I love my family. I love my Church. I love all of the people that God has put around me. Without them and the love and support I glean from them each day, I would be nothing.
Jesus (and the Father) knows our needs and how to shape us. He is the potter and we are the clay. Let him mold us and make us – after his way.
Aloha from Kauai,
The heart of the righteous studieth to answer:
but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.