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Religious leader: Guam's gay community "miserable"

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Members of Guam's gay community are miserable and in need of being saved by Jesus Christ. That's according to the controversial leader of Christian Fellowship Ministries Wayman Mitchell. Mitchell, the founder of CFM, which includes Guam's own Victory Chapel and 2,300 other churches in nearly 100 countries, was on island conducting a faith healing at Ypao Beach.

When I asked if he had a message for Guam's gay community, he said only Jesus can show them the way. "They're not happy, they're miserable and Jesus Christ can set them free," Mitchell said. "We have people from every walk of life that have come to Christ and been transformed - that's really what they long for."

With churches all over Micronesia - including Yap, Kosrae Palau and Saipan, Mitchell's following is growing - in fact Guam has 5 CFM churches. Mitchell has drawn his share of controversy - he's been accused of being a cult leader who "brainwashes followers" and he's also been the target of several investigative news pieces - including one by Dan Rather.

His use of a homophobic slur during a sermon about men who wear earrings raised eyebrows, but largely escaped national attention.

"I wouldn't wear anything that little faggots are going to wear - because those are things that little faggots put in their ears," Mitchell said in a sermon posted on YouTube. Adrian Davis, a social work intern with Guam's Gay and Lesbian Alliance, is no stranger to the slur.

"That's a term that I have dealt with over the past few years that I been growing up in school," Davis said. "I've been called that and it's hard. I don't think it's appropriate to be calling people that - but at the same time maybe we just need to help educate people."

Mitchell is a fundamental Pentecostal - and he preaches that certain "sins" lead to certain physical ailments - for example he believes idol worshipping can cause eyesight problems and homosexuality can cause deafness.

While these sort of remarks may have sparked outrage from LGBTQ groups in the states, here on Guam Mitchell's comments were met with tolerance and strangely enough -acceptance. "At the end of the day, it's what people choose to believe," GALA's Adam Eustaquio said. "People have become more accepting - like for one, my father - of the lifestyle," Davis said. "But at the same time comments like that may some confusion with people who are already trying to understand us."

Mitchell says what he preaches may offend some, but he says the word of God is not meant for everyone. "As a matter of fact, Christ was crucified because he was confronting sin," Mitchell said.

While GALA reps may disagree with what Mitchell is saying, they say they respect his beliefs - even if

they think those beliefs are wrong. "We're not miserable, and we're very happy," Davis said. Even Eustaquio said 'miserable' is not a word that comes to mind when thinking about how Guam's LGBTQ community lives life.

"No, not at all," Eustaquio said. "I'm actually very happy, thank you."

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