Skip to comments.ANGLICAN EX-GAYS TELL THEIR STORIES
Posted on 09/07/2004 1:20:50 PM PDT by churchillbuff
By David W. Virtue in Ottawa
OTTAWA, ON-(9/2/2004)--These are the stories that both embarrass and convict revisionist Episcopal and Canadian Anglican priests, bishops and archbishops. They also anger theologians like Jeffrey John and William Countryman and send former bishops like Jack Spong and Walter Righter into theological orbit.
They are also the stories that confuse and confound the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams author of The Body's Grace, whose desire it is for us all to get along, acknowledging our differences but staying together no matter what.
But you see it's the 'no matter what' part that is troubling to so many. And for three former homosexuals that included two rectors, one a woman, and a layman the 'no matter what' rings hollow when you listen to their stories of God's saving love and redeeming grace to change and heal.
These are not stories of blinding Damascus road experiences, but the dogged, plodding, realization that something is deeply wrong in their sexual psyches and impulses, and they are powerless without God's help to change.
And one by one their moving stories of deliverance from the homosexual lifestyle, addiction to pornography, rape, abuse and violence are told.
There are no dry eyes as 700 orthodox Canadian Anglicans listen, attentatively, to these stories of God's marvelous, redemptive work in individual lives.
There is the story of Dawn McDonald, now an Anglican priest. "Being an ex gay is even more difficult than being gay. To many in the Anglican Church, my story is politically incorrect, and there is opposition from every corner. Many are quick to disqualify my story: many have told me that I was never homosexual, or that I am still homosexual and living in denial. I know where I have been, and I know what the Lord has done in my life, and I do not need you to believe me. Take it or leave it, this is a story of the Gospel and how it transformed my life."
"As far back as I can remember I always had a feeling that I was different: partly due to the fact that I was a missionary kid growing up in Japan, but because I carried a feeling that I was Gods mistake, and caught in the wrong body. As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a boy and I delighted in nicknames like Tomboy. I had three brothers that I played with, and most of my friends were boys. For all intents and purposes, I was certain that I was a boy in a girls body."
"For grade 7 I was sent to a girls' school. There I met up with a very strong attraction toward one of my classmates. My father told me that it was simply forbidden, and it was wrong. After that school year, I was transferred to a local Japanese school and encouraged to date the boys who came asking the Canadian girl for a date. I was always aware of my homosexual tendencies, but I felt my faith in Christ required me to live my life out as a straight person. But when I was 20, I met an Australian woman who managed to coax me into giving up fighting the battle that I was going to lose anyway. I entered into a homosexual relationship that lasted 13 years; the lifestyle felt so right, and I was certain that I was born homosexual."
But Dawn's story included also what she calls the dark stuff. "When I was born, my father wanted a boy, and I grew up feeling I was a great disappointment to my father, and no matter how hard I tried, I was never able to please him. Today, I believe he actually passed on the feeling to me that l was a mistake. I was also growing up in Japan where being a boy was better than being a girl."
"To complicate things, I was being sexually abused by my fathers students, and because I felt my father disapproved of me, I was unable to tell anyone of the abuse. Like all kids who are sexually abused, I felt very dirty and ashamed of myself, and I was certain that my father would punish me for what was happening. For years, I hated myself and carried a sense of dirt and low self esteem with me."
When she was 18 her parents sent her to Nova Scotia to live with her grandparents. She was raped by her grandfather, and when she sought help from her uncle, he raped her as well. She ran to California and ended up on the streets. She was solicited by men wanting sex for money. An uncle helped her get money to return to Japan. Her father greeted her with anger and told her she should not have come home. She was no longer able to trust any man.
At 20, she became a missionary in a Pentecostal church in Japan. "The church was catering to mainly second and third generation Koreans in Japan who were brought over to Japan as slaves during the war. I had no formal training and I was not prepared to face the sufferings that came from discriminations they faced, nor was I prepared for the high suicide rate. I was questioning the very existence of God when I met the Australian woman who offered me the comfort that I desperately wanted. I made my choice then to walk away from my Christian beliefs, and surrender to the need to hold and to be held."
"Leaving the position as a missionary, I returned to Vancouver and began the relationship that lasted 13 years. But during these years, I was not faithful. I loved the security of having a partner who gave me a sense of having a home, and the affirmations that new lovers gave me. I am ashamed to say, I was pretty promiscuous, and most of my lovers were other women who were in long term relationships as well. There was plenty of affirmation from my lovers. But whenever my father visited me in Vancouver, he was always preaching at me, and telling me that I was going straight to hell for my lifestyle. In fact, that is what most Christians that I knew managed to tell me."
One day she went to see a friend. He was a Catholic monk, who had spent so many hours listening to her problems when she was a teenager, and a friend who had been there for her whole world crumbled. "He talked to me, and treated me as though I had never left the faith... in spite of where Id been. And through him, I met my heavenly Father, the God of Unconditional Love. I wanted more of this unconditional love... but I was not certain about the rest of Christianity, nor where my lifestyle was fitting into all this. And I remember shooting up a prayer that day, asking God to reveal Himself to me."
A couple of months later, Dawn was in a car accident, and found herself in hospital. "Through this experience, I came to realize that I was given a second chance to make the most of my life. Shortly after the accident, I found myself waking up in the middle of the night singing, "Father, I adore you... Jesus, I adore you... Spirit, I adore you". I knew that before my mind ever understood, my spirit knew the God of Unconditional Love. I was claimed for Christ at my baptism, and God was now claiming me back!"
About a month later, Dawn went to an Anglican parish church for the first time in 14 years. Her life began to turn around. Today she is the priest at Holy Cross Japanese Canadian Anglican Church in Vancouver, Canada, right under revisionist Bishop Michael Ingham's nose. Despite his pro-gay stand he dare not touch her. Her story destroys his cherished inclusivity. Now she stands before us, her testimony told, she lifts her face and smiles through the tears, she has been made whole...the crowd rises to its feet.
Then there is the story of 42-year-old Darryl, a man who first felt same-sex attractions when he was fourteen. Raised as a cradle Anglican in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and who later made an informed commitment to Jesus Christ. He always cherished his Anglican heritage and valued the sacramental and apostolic traditions of the church. He was confused about his homosexual attractions in junior high school, feeling ashamed and embarrassed, sensing he was different from his peers. His church, however, was full of supportive friends, and he was part of a vibrant youth ministry all through my teen years. He dated girls in grade school, but felt a growing attraction to men after puberty, which filled him with fear and confusion. "Only God knows how often I prayed and begged Him to change my unwanted orientation. In an abusive cycle of fantasy, pornography, masturbation, guilt, and begging forgiveness, he tried, in his own strength, to turn away from homosexual desire. "I agonized for more years than I care to remember."
Darryl regarded homosexual attraction as an error - something to be hidden and defeated. He bought or stole pornography, only to get rid of it a short time later and all the while pleading with God in grief and confession. This cycle continued well into adulthood. At 22, he moved to a different city to study Psychiatric Nursing. "Using pornography as a tension reliever, I came in contact with other men with similar desires, but I was too terrified to cross that line behaviorally and to act-out with another person. Feeling frightened, I went to my parish priest who was empathetic and prayerful, but I felt that he did not understand me, and I never went back to see him."
Returning to Winnipeg at 26, he started cruising gay areas in his car, eventually acting out with another man. "It was a very dark day for me. It quickly led to out-of-control behaviors and the development of an addiction to anonymous sexual contact with other men. My anguish intensified as I kept this life secret. I began dating my future wife, but kept my same-sex attraction hidden from her. I sat in church, listening for clues in sermons, and seeking a safe place to unload my burden. I lived in fear that the Lord would give someone a gift of knowledge concerning my behaviors."
Darryl reached the end of his rope when he got a call from the Public Health Department. "I was named as a possible contact for Chlamydia. Testing was involuntary. If I tested positive, I would have to name all my sexual contacts. That was compulsory. Mercifully, all my tests were negative. I remember receiving a very strong temptation as I stepped off the bus after getting the good news, Youre clean, you can keep doing what you are doing . . . just be more careful.
But Darryl had made a promise to himself: "If Im clean, then Im going to get help. I immediately went home and made an appointment to see my priest. A long season of counseling began, then a referral to New Direction for Life Ministries, a parachurch ministry that specializes in healing for gender-related issues. It is an affiliate of Exodus North America. "I continued in counseling, and later, group therapy. Ive attended conferences and have received training to assist others who have decided for themselves that same-sex attraction is sinful behavior, not unlike other sinful behaviors that affect people everywhere. I was delighted to discover that my long walk of recovery towards greater wholeness has taken a much shorter period of time than did the development of behaviors from my 'darkest days'."
Darryl remembers the most difficult day of his life: "telling my girlfriend of my homosexual struggles, and offering her the choice of continuing or ending our relationship. She bravely said Yes to us, and we have continued to tackle our issues together. She is now my wife of ten years. My gratitude to her is second only to that of my God, who has been faithful in making all things new in me. We also have two wonderful daughters, ages 16 and 7. Never have I felt so whole or complete. I live differently today, guarding my heart and exercising discipline in my daily life, which is my own responsibility. In essence, this has been both a healing and a maturing process."
"My personal commitments reflect my professional ones. Mental health literature contains many valid examples and documented cases of men and women who have successfully changed their sexual orientation. Psychology, Psychoanalysis, Rational Emotive Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Pastoral Counseling attest to the same conclusion: that change is possible, and that determination to change is the key to success. Negative reinforcement, such as an aversion therapy, should never be used. It is also important to realize that the degree of healing is also unique to each individual struggler."
Darryl says he has personally witnessed hundreds of people who have found release from same sex attractions. "You can be free," he told his fellow Anglicans.
The secret he says is to be open before God and trust others, and to receive His grace.
This crowd of 700 Anglicans are once again moved b y this testimony of God's grace and rise to their feet. Tears are observed in Pittsburgh Bishop Bob Duncan's face, a bishop who constantly faces hostility in his own diocese from unrepentant homosexuals.
These stories are compelling. Later when he addresses this gathering he has this to say. "These are splendid testimonies and we see in them God's power to change individual lives, it is the power of God to save, transform and heal."
Then there is the story of Don, now a priest in his 50s. He grew up seeing very little of his father. He admits he never got quality time with his dad and longed for male companionship. He early on engaged in boyish sexual activity. "I equated homosexual activity with the desire for male bonding. I wanted to please a man as much as possible, beyond sexual activity."
Don went on to university and graduated in Los Angeles at the time of the emergence of AIDS. He got deeply involved in pornography and masturbated obsessively. "A few moments of sexual pleasure did not touch my deepest needs." Don became a lapsed Anglican.
But in 1989 Don had a born again experience. "I saw in the sermon that I wanted to blame someone and not myself. I now saw that there were no excuses. I could no longer blame God, my father or brothers."
Don believes the cruelty of liberal theology is that it prevents people from experiencing the liberating power of Jesus Christ. The crowd roars its approval.
These stories reflect the scope of what God has done and continues to do in surrendered lives to Him. They are, above all, stories of love and forgiveness, wholeness and healing, redemption and grace; they are the stories of grace that is greater than all our sin.
Sadly, the other side will pull out three Ex-Anglican "Gays" to counter the effect.
I grew up Anglican. My grandfather was an Anglican priest. By the time the changes came down mid-70's I was 19 or 20. I began attending the break-away churches that held to the old teachings. That, now, has been so infiltrated by the lavendar mafia in the hierarchy (and believe me, I feel that churches are hospitals for sinners, me among them) that I could no longer reasonably attend and take my kids there. I am now a practicing Roman Catholic. My grandfather must be spinning in his grave. I am pleased that these people saw the error of their ways. God does NOT make mistakes in His creations. The stories brought tears to my eyes.
I dated this girl from Brown U years ago. She picked up my copy of "American Spectator" one evening and began flipping through it, with all the expected disapproving responses. Then she happened across an ad for "Gay to Straight in 30 days", and I believe it also contained the word "cure" in reference to the gay lifestyle. She went insane; raving, frothing, violently mad, swore she would never speak to me again, and charged out the door. Ultimately, she changed her mind, but the whole subject was off-limits for the remainder of our relationship, which, as I recall, ended over the Rodney King verdict. (Do the jury expect me to believe that I didn't see what was on that tape? No. The jury expects you to believe that what you saw on the tape wasn't a felony).
The New Testament says that people can be delivered from the sin of homosexuality..I don't see why this should be a surprise to anyone who knows the Bible.