Skip to comments.The Great Escape
Posted on 05/23/2004 5:12:48 PM PDT by scripter
Focus on the Familys Mike Haley recounts his nose-dive into homosexuality and his ensuing spiritual recovery that came about through the help of concerned believers who reached out to him during his lowest hours
|On Sunday, May 16, Mike Haley, manager of the Gender Division within the Legislative and Cultural Affairs Department at Focus on the Family, addressed the Thomas Road Baptist Church congregation. He underscored his 12-year plunge into homosexuality and the subsequent extensive spiritual recovery that has taken place in his life since he returned to the foundations of his faith in Jesus Christ.
While the powerful Hollywood community and influential mainstream media routinely discount or denounce those coming out of homosexuality, the fact is that thousands of Christians are now living out their faith, fully restored to spiritual health through Christ. However, as Mr. Haley pointed out in his address, the road for these Christians is often difficult and they frequently require the help of members of the church community who are willing to mentor and guide them through the often chaotic road to spiritual recovery.
Since 1992, Mr. Haley has shared with audiences totaling tens of thousands, both nationally and internationally, on the issues surrounding homosexuality. In addition to his role at Focus on the Family, he serves as chairman of the board of Exodus International, the worlds largest Evangelical Christ-ian organization helping men and women overcome homosexuality.
This year, Mr. Haley authored his first book, 101 Frequently Asked Questions About Homosexu-ality, which is impacting the church in regard to addressing the needs of recovering homosexuals.
National Liberty Journal is reprinting Mr. Haleys message, with minor editing for space purposes, in order to educate readers on the needs of this growing group of individuals who are escaping their former chosen lifestyles and coming back to Christ. With the help of the church, these Christian brothers and sisters could have a dramatic effect on the nations cultural landscape.
I was born in Southern California and raised in a Christian home. Every time the church doors were open, my family was there. I walked the center aisle at the age of eight and came to trust Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior; and I truly believe that for me that was a salvation experience.
It is also important to understand about my upbringing that I have two sisters who are 10 and 12 years older. You can imagine what my father, who owns sporting goods stores, had in store for his only son. I was going to be the best athlete that my dad could possibly make me. And it never happened. But you see, in my fathers world, masculinity was equal to athleticism. If you were a jock, you were a man and there was nothing else that met that standard.
My dads way of making me invest in his world of masculinity was to verbally ridicule me. He would refer to me as Michelle or his third daughter, thinking that ultimately that would make me embrace his definition of masculinity.
Let me step aside now and do a little teaching because I think it is important for all of us to understand that there is a healthy developmental process that all little boys go through, where, at the age of about 18 months, little boys begin to dis-identify with their moms and begin to identify with their fathers. It is a very healthy, normal developmental transition that needs to take place. But because of the breakdown in the family, if the father is not there because of divorce or death, or if that father is verbally or physically abusive in some way, or if that father is not able to bond with that child emotionally, that healthy developmental break from the feminine to the masculine doesnt take place and we are left with what is known as a gender identity deficit. It is not homosexuality. It is just a God-given need that all of us have to be accepted by our same-sex peers.
But because my fathers world represented humiliation for me, I became what most of you would know as a mommys boy. I was more comfortable being around my mother and my sisters, than I was being around my father, because his world represented humiliation to me. If there was one phrase I heard out of my fathers mouth more than any other, it was that I was worthless and I was never going to amount to anything. And we all know what the Scriptures say about the power of the tongue. And so it was very difficult for me as a young boy. I longed for affirmation and attention.
I desperately wanted to know that I fit into the mans world.
Well, at the age of 11, life began to blossom for me. There was a man that worked for my father who took me to Disneyland. He taught me how to surf. He invested in my life. And all of a sudden, I thought I was important to a male figure. The problem was, a couple months into the relationship the attention turned sexual. From the ages of 11 and 18, I was a victim of sexual abuse. But to this 11-year old little boy, it didnt feel like abuse.
Proverbs 27:7 talks about this very thing. It says, the man thats full loathes honey. But to him whos starving, even whats bitter tastes sweet. And I was so starving for male affirmation and attention that, when this man offered me the bitterness of sexual abuse, it met a need in my life.
Now mind you, this was happening to me from the age of 11 to the age of 18. I was growing up in the church. As a matter of fact, I was that kid in the youth group that every youth pastor would have wanted. But it was a very confusing time for me. The problem was, the attitude from the pulpit of the church that I was raised in was there was a hotter place in hell for gays and lesbians. So church began to become a very uncomfortable place for me as a young boy that was struggling with same-sex attraction.
So the church wasnt talking about it and I surely wasnt going to talk about it with my parents because sexual issues are hard enough, much less same-sex attractions.
Well, at the age of 16, I sought a counselor at the school and shared with her what I was feeling. And she said, Mike, from everything I understand about the issue of homosexuality, this is how you were born. This is how God has made you, so to live a healthy productive life, youre going to need to embrace that.
So I decided that I would test the gay community; I went to a gay bar for the very first time at the age of 16. I grew up in an area Laguna Beach, which is very gay-friendly. And Ill never forget that first time I walked into a gay bar. I felt like I had come home. Here were people that understood me. Here were people that didnt judge me. Here were people that didnt ridicule me. It was very different than what I felt as I sat in the pews of church where I felt as though I didnt fit in.
So at that point, it started 12 years of involvement in the gay community. About a year later, I did go back to church. So at the age of 17, I sought out someone that I could trust, a youth pastor. I shared with him what was going on in my life. And because he didnt understand the issue of homosexuality, he threw out what he thought he should, as a good Christian man, and he said, Mike, you know what you need to do? You need to read your Bible and you need to pray more.
Id read my Bible and I would pray. I remember as a 17-year-old junior in high school kneeling next to my bed, saying, Lord, Im not going to stop praying until I feel different, only to wake up feeling the same as I had when I had started to pray.
Now Im not saying this in any way to minimize the power of Christ. If the Lord wanted to change me instantaneously, I absolutely believe that He could. But I have a very gentle, sovereign Lord that knew that there was an unhealthy developmental process that had taken me a number of years, that had gotten me to the place where I had accepted my same-sex attractions. And to do the most healing work in my life, there were going to be some things that I was going to have to face, some pains that I was going to have to confront and some issues that were going to have to be resolved.
But, I was told to put God in a box, pray to Him, read His Word and He owed it to me to change me. Well, how many of you have been Christians long enough to know you dont tell God what to do? So when God didnt do what I told Him He should do, I got angry. I left my faith. I left the church and I delved into the gay community for the next 12 years.
One of the things that I did when I was involved in the gay community is I looked for that long-term monogamous relationship that the gay community often promises. I wasnt finding it. I wasnt seeing any of my friends that had it. Twelve years of involvement I was there. I went through relationship after relationship. I continually thought that I could find what would make me happy. I didnt believe there was anything else because I had bought into the lie that I was born gay. And that was the problem. There was no possibility of change for me.
So it was very difficult. I would go home to visit my family during these times because I wanted to be around my family. But I couldnt stand them because they were Christians. And I didnt want to be around them too long because their light shined on my darkness. So Id go home for my sisters weddings or Id go home for the birth of a newborn niece or nephew and Id hold those nieces and nephews in my arms and my heart would just break because I desperately wanted what I saw in the lives of my sisters. I wanted to be enough for somebody. I wanted that relationship that was going to last. I wanted to be a father but I knew that I couldnt because I was born gay. I believed that lie.
I was working out daily. I was doing injectable steroids. I was bulimic because I had to have the perfect physique. And I lived on that treadmill. It was very tiring. But I became a gay activist and began to fight for the rights of my people. I would go to the gay pride parades. If you ever want to find a group of Christians, all you have to do is show up at a gay pride parade. There they are, on the sidelines holding up their signs that would say things like, God hates fags, Turn or Burn, No Tears for Queers. Or my favorite was the one that said Leviticus 18:22. As though as a gay man I was reading Leviticus in my spare time and supposed to know what that means. Or the sadder thing was, that those groups of Christians would believe that I would read those signs, fall to my knees and give my life to my Savior. But folks, if you are reading the same Book that Im reading, that isnt how it works. It says, Its his kindness that leads us to repentance.
Play it ahead a few years. Im in my late 20s now. One night, I found myself in a gay gym in Southern California. I was headed toward an illicit situation with another man. We got out to his car and he said, Im sorry that Ive led you on but Im a Christian and Im trying to walk away from this. And I just unleashed venom on this poor guy, and condemned Christianity.
But he said, Would you just get in my car and listen to what I have to say? So by this point, I had nothing else to lose. I got into his car and we began to drive around and he started talking about the root cause of his same-sex attraction, how he too had not bonded with his father, how he too had been ridiculed in high school and called fag and queer and sissy. And he explained that he too had been sexually abused.
We pulled into a parking lot and he was going on and on about this man that was counseling him; this mans name was Jeff Konrad. And all of a sudden his eyes got really big and he said, Oh my goodness, theres Jeff right now! So I got what I now know was the Holy Spirit goose bumps. He brought Jeff over to the car and I felt the Lord say to me, Is my arm too short to rescue you? He brought Jeff over and that night started a five-year godly mentoring relationship with this man named Jeff Konrad; he would not leave me alone. He committed to me for five years even though I continually tried to escape him.
Let me tell you, there are many people that grow up in a Christian or conservative environment that struggle with same-sex attractions that dont believe that they have a home that they can go to. But this man provided me something different. One night, I picked up the phone and called him, saying, Jeff, if you can be this faithful to me, surely the Jesus and the God that you know can be that much more faithful. I want to come home and I want to know your Savior.
My next call was to my older sister who flew out to Dallas. She knew I was at the end of myself. I packed up every earthly belonging that I owned in a little white convertible Cabriolet -- couldnt have been a gayer car! And she and I drove home.
In December 1989, I left homosexuality. And Id love to tell you that from there its this wonderful incredible God-pleasing story but thats just not the reality. The year of 1990, frankly, was the closest thing to hell I believe Ill ever experience in my life. I left the community that I loved, that understood me, that I didnt feel judged me and I was coming back to a community that I didnt think liked me. It was very difficult. I was going to good, godly Christian counseling. Id be dealing with some issues, my sexual abuse issues, some of my father wounds. Id be dealing with some of those things and Id be open and vulnerable and I would be feeling things that I had never allowed myself to feel in my life before.
Well, often on the way home from counseling, the only way that I knew how to comfort myself was through a sexual encounter. So often on the way home from counseling, I would engage in a sexual encounter. Its not a whole lot different from what happens to someone that has any other coping mechanism, whether it is alcohol or drugs. When they are uncomfortable, they dont know what to do, they go back to that which is familiar. And homosexual behavior was familiar for me and thats what made me feel comfortable.
I was failing miserably. But one of the reasons I was failing was because I didnt know about accountability. I didnt know that I needed the body of Christ, that I needed to hear from Christians about how you were struggling with pornography, or how you were struggling with your eating disorders. I wasnt hearing people that were willing to be that honest in the body of Christ, and I was failing miserably.
Well, finally Jeff said to me, Mike, theres a conference that I want you to go to. This conference is called Exodus. The year was 1990, and I went and I will never forget it as long as I live.
Remember me talking about the feeling I had the very first time I walked into a gay bar? How I felt that I had come home? Well, multiply that by about a million and this is what I felt in this room.
Here was a room of 800 people that knew how much they needed the Lord. They had same-sex attractions that they didnt want. They knew that those attractions had led them into things that they ultimately couldnt justify with their faith. And when you take a group of people like that and you offer them worship, it is worship like you have never experienced in your life. I was so drawn. I met men and women that had been out of homosexuality five, 10, 15 years. The night that I got home from that conference, I went to visit my best friend and he was dating a girl named Angie. And that night I met her. She was just coming back to the Lord herself. She introduced me to a college group of Christians that I couldnt believe was real. They were talking about their sexual struggles. They were talking about all these things that most people are uncomfortable with. But I thought if they can share their stuff, then I can share mine and I was able to open up my life. They surrounded me with accountability; but it still was difficult.
Well, I later got accepted into a Christ-centered residential program that helps men and women walk away from homosexuality. One of the first Sundays that I was there, the pastor took 21 of us and stood us up in front of the congregation and said, These are the individuals that want to walk away from homosexuality. He got back in the pulpit, crossed his arms and said, And what are you, as a congregation, going to do about it? People got out of their pews. They came forward. They laid hands on us. They prayed for us. They adopted us into their homes. It was the body of Christ responding as the body of Christ should always respond.
And people will say to me, Mike, werent you humiliated by the fact that they paraded you in front of the congregation? And frankly folks, I feel like one of the most fortunate Christians alive that I can stand before the body of Christ and say, what was once my greatest shame is now His greatest victory.
Soon, I had gone 365 days sexually sober. That, in and of itself, was a miracle. In my early 30s then, I really wanted to be a youth pastor; but I was thinking, what church in their right mind would take me, somebody with my past? So I instead applied for my teaching credential. Well, a couple months later I got it back and my credential had been denied, because two years before I left homosexuality I was arrested for prostitution. When they find a sexual arrest on your record, they tend to not want to let you be around kids.
And I felt the Lord nudging me to go on staff with this ministry that was helping men and women walk away from homosexuality. And I did that. I worked with them for the next four years. Well, during this time, Id go down and visit my family in Southern California. And Id run into this girl named Angie who, years before, was dating my best friend. She had broken up with him and I began to realize that when I was around her I would feel different things that I had never felt before. I began to be intrigued about her relationship as a woman with God, and her feminity.
About three years into my process I realized that this ministry was going to be moving cross-country to Memphis, Tenn. And I also realized I had fallen in love with this girl, Angie, and that I did not want to move alone. So on December 4, 1994, I married Angie and the Lord began to restore the years that the locusts had stolen.
So, I got married, went on a weeks honeymoon, and moved cross-country to Memphis, Tenn. But while working with this ministry I began to become disillusioned. I really wanted to be effective in the lives of students. I couldnt be a school teacher. I knew I couldnt be a youth pastor. And so, I went on with this ministry and I was counseling the youth; more and more of them were struggling with same-sex attraction.
Well, there was a man who spoke at our church one Sunday and he spoke about how Gods call is irrevocable. If God put that call in my life, then there is nothing I can do to mess it up. But I thought, I dont believe that to be true. I want to be a youth pastor but there is no church in their right mind that would take me with my past. Well, two weeks later a youth pastor position at an 8,000-member church opened up. And I thought, Im going to go and apply but I know what theyre going to say because this church was in Memphis. I mean the buckle of the South, the Bible belt. Well, they said, well put you through the process. I gave my testimony to the students, to the deacons, to the elders. And Ill never forget giving my testimony to the parents. You can imagine me standing before a packed room of parents saying I would like to be one of the spiritual leaders for their children.
The whole time Im giving my testimony there was a man sitting with his arms crossed. Not only did he have red hair, he had a red neck, if you know what I mean. I was done giving my testimony, much of what youve heard today. They invited my wife to come and stand by my side and they opened it up for questions. Well, who had the very first question? My red neck friend! He stood to his feet and he said, Son, I dont think
And I thought, Oh no, this Christian bigot is going to absolutely humiliate me in front of these people. But he went on and said, Son, I dont think that what this church has done to you is fair at all. If anybody would have to air their dirty laundry like youve had to air yours, there wouldnt be a man that would hold a position in this church. I think youre the man for the job. I couldnt believe it. So nine months later I was a youth pastor!
So there I was. I was serving. It was incredible. I was respected. I wasnt having to deal with this ex-gay thing that the church often doesnt get; that society tries to say is impossible while there are thousands of us proclaiming this message.
A couple years later I got a call from Focus on the Family. And they said they had a job for me. And I thought, You dont have a job for this Mike Haley because I surely dont want to work for that right-wing fundamental Christian organization. But see, thats where my heart was. All those years as a gay activist, I hated Dr. Dobson and Focus on the Family. I hated Dr. Jerry Falwell.
Just the simple fact that Im standing in this pulpit this morning at his invitation speaks to the forgiveness and the reconciliation that is only afforded us in the cross. And I praise God for that.
So I turned the job down three times. But I began to realize that I needed to apply for the job. And I took the job at Focus on the Family.
But let me tell you, leaving those students was one of the hardest things my wife and I have ever had to do. And we were struggling with another issue -- my wife couldnt conceive a baby. Earlier in life, shed had two abortions and she would say, Honey, Ive killed two babies; Why would God give me the chance to have another? And I would say, God gave me you, and gave me the youth pastorate but maybe God still wants to punish me and not give me children because I was gay for 12 years. I needed the body of Christ to tell me that I was a new creature in Christ, that Gods grace is sufficient. But I didnt believe it. I accepted the fact that those kids in the youth ministry were possibly the children that we were sent to love. And I was okay with that. So leaving them was very difficult.
We moved to Colorado Springs. And I came home from work one night and said, Im depressed, Im going to bed. But soon, my wife woke me up and said, Honey, I have a verse that I want to read to you. And she read me this verse: Behold, children are an heritage from the Lord. The fruit of the womb is the reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of ones youth. Happy is the man whose quiver is full of them (Psalm 127:3-5).
And I didnt say this, but I was thinking, why would she wake me up and read that verse? Then she handed me a gift. I opened it up and out came a quiver. She said, Heres your first arrow because we are pregnant.
So December 15, 1999, at 9:39 in the morning, my son Bennett Michael was born. Bennett means little blessed one and its also the last name of my brother-in-law who, with my sister, took me in when I left homosexuality.
Then on April 8, 2002, at 5:20 in the evening, my son Brenner Hamilton was born. Im hoping this morning that what youve heard is not the story of an ex-gay man, but is the story of a God who will go out of His way to reach one that many believed to be beyond His grasp. And may we always uphold the truth of Hebrews which says, Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess for he who promised is faithful.
Homosexual Agenda Ping - Here's the story from the last ping, now you don't have to click a link.
|What We Can Do To Help Defeat the "Gay" Agenda|
|Homosexual Agenda: Categorical Index of Links (Version 1.1)|
|Myth and Reality about Homosexuality--Sexual Orientation Section, Guide to Family Issues"|
Homosexuals are made, not born.
Sinners are born, not made.
Jesus saves. Period.
I just read this whole article, and it brought tears to my eyes. The more people hear these very personal and painful stories, the more people who are currently enslaved by homosexuality can get freed.
Real love doesn't necessarily mean approval. Also brings up the point of how terrible Mr. Phelps' "God hates fags" junk is. God doesn't hate anyone and to say so is very hateful. And God doesn't want *us* to hate anyone. But we can and should certainly hate evil, and speaking out against evil is a form of love.
I just wish stories like the one above would get into the mainstream media.
Oh well, I wish I had all my teeth, too.
There are many others, too. I need to find them in my notes and post them in the next revision of the categorical index.
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. SourceYes, that's what some of the Corinthians were. Homosexuals can change their behavior. They can leave the lifestyle.
Great story! Thanks for posting it.
Our Christian brothers and sisters need to remember that homosexuals can be saved and forgiven as well as the rest of us.
Thank you for posting the story, it brought tears to my eyes.
It's definitely a sad story with a happy ending. What grieves my heart are those that deny change is possible.
Bumping a year old thread that needs more media attention.
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