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Instead, Genelle's life has taken on a staged quality. For months this year, she worked with Bride's to plan her July 13 wedding ceremony--even though she and Roger had married on Nov. 7. (They went to City Hall to wed just before Genelle was baptized at the Brooklyn Tabernacle; she didn't want to be baptized while she was still a fornicator.) Gail and Lauren say Genelle allowed herself to be pushed around by the media planners of the wedding, which was largely denuded of Trinidadian culture. There was a jazz trumpeter instead of calypso, grilled snapper instead of curries and a whole army of p.r. people to flack all the donated wares. "That was just an example of how people are using her, using her story," says Gail. "And sometimes she lets it happen."
For her part, Genelle says her wedding was "beautiful" and "awesome." Roger calls it "scripted" but says he and his wife just laughed about all the orders they got from CBS and Bride's. ("There was no intention to say it's got to be this or that kind of wedding," says Peter Hunsinger, president of the Conde Nast Bridal Group, which publishes Bride's. "We worked with Genelle and Roger every step.") The couple say they love each other deeply and that any problems they had before 9/11 weren't serious. As for any internal injuries, Genelle, who isn't regularly seeing a therapist, says, "God is my psychiatrist"--that her faith can heal anything.
Her pastor emphasized that point in a sermon that partly focused on Genelle. Pastor Jim Cymbala told the congregation that in contrast to "the tremendous failure rate of psychiatry and psychologists, all things are possible for those who believe in Christ." A short time later, the minister called Genelle and Roger to the stage and said, "We say that God has a special plan for all of us. But if there's anyone he has a plan for, it is this beautiful child of Christ." A few days before, he had told Genelle in private that she is "the poster child for [the idea that] God has a purpose for your life."
But does Genelle know her own purpose? Is she ready to be a poster child? It may be paralyzing to be told that God has something huge in store for you. "She feels like she just can't make any wrong moves," says Gail through tears. Even a friend of Genelle's who shares her faith has some concerns about her. Angella Whyte, who has been helping Genelle study the Bible, says Genelle should be taking her heart medication, not leaving her condition up to God. "Sometimes the way the Lord wants you to heal is by taking your medication," says Angella, a nurse. Psychologically, however, she says, "Genelle has some avoidance things, but she is not depressed."