The ColdFusion documentation, although useful and thorough, is not perfect (yet). The writeups on XML functions lack a simple, easy to follow example of how to parse/manipulate an XML document.
I found the following article useful http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0MLU/is_8_5/ai_106770602. It explains how to parse an RSS feed using ColdFusion. I found that by reading thru the article and observing the sample code, I was able to learn how to parse XML in about 5 minutes.