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2291Re: [ExExGayMinistry] Re: coercion to join ex-gay ministries?

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  • BearJER@juno.com
    Jun 3, 2002
      Just curious, Norm. Specifically, what fundamentalist doctrines did you
      believe then that you no longer believe?

      --Jerry in Michigan

      On Mon, 03 Jun 2002 05:23:48 -0000 "nojam75" <nojam75@...> writes:
      > Thanks for sharing Pat & Chris!
      >
      > Pat, you make an important distinction in that you didn't "decide"
      > to leave ex-gay ministry, but you "gave up". I relate very much to
      >
      > your experience. Toward the end of my ex-gay experience, I had to
      > deal with the feelings of being a failure and a 'gay Christian
      > sinner who should know better'. After commiting most of my
      > spiritual life and identity to upholding fundamentalist doctrines
      > and ex-gay theory, I felt that I was betraying my entire faith
      > system when I began reconsider these commitments.
      >
      > What I began to realize though, was that I was not fully informed
      > when I made these commitments. Being raised in Christian
      > fundamentalism, I took certain doctrines for granted without ever
      > seriously learning about the history and source of such doctrines.
      >
      > Similarly, as a young, confused conservative Christian dealing
      > with 'homosexual tendencies', I was vulnerable to any conservative
      > Christian group that was willing to address the topic -- such as
      > ex-
      > gay ministries. And yet, I was forced to deal with the flaws of
      > fundamentalism and ex-gay theory. Toward the end, I began to
      > "give-
      > up" trying to reconcile the increasingly complex and confusing
      > theories behind fundamentalism and ex-gay theory.
      >
      > In hindsight, I view my ex-gay experience as part of my growing
      > process. In going through the ex-gay process, I applied a set of
      > beliefs that didn't work out for me. I view it as
      > necessarily 'giving up' but as 'moving on'.
      >
      > - Norm!
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > --- In exexgayministry@y..., "Chris H" <itschris@r...> wrote:
      > > Hey Pat,
      > > Thanks for this post- your story is uncomfortably familiar to
      > me!
      > > I think that one of the most damaging messages is that 'If you
      > don't
      > > change (your sexuality), you don't have enough faith, and are
      > therefore
      > > not good enough/ a failure'. That ends up with one feeling 'not
      > good
      > > enough for God, otherwise I would have been healed'.
      > > I too went earnestly to a Living Waters course (run by Exodus
      > > ministries), and believed that I was 'truly seeking God with all
      > my
      > > heart'.
      > > I guess I left because, like you, I gave up. I think the
      > despair
      > > associated with that process is one of the most potentially
      > damaging
      > > outcomes- and is positively nurtured by those from whom 'help'
      > and
      > > 'support' have been sought. I know I, for one, am blessed to still
      >
      > be
      > > alive. I also know now that I am not alone in that sentiment (and
      >
      > there
      > > are many more who didn't make it.).
      > > Yes, I am happy and secure in the knowledge that God created me
      > > lesbian, and the loving, faithful God I have always believed in
      > would
      > > have changed/healed (whatever.) me if that had genuinely been
      > God's will
      > > for me.
      > > My partner now tells me she thinks I should ask for a refund
      > (the
      > > course cost me considerably, and I made significant sacrifices to
      >
      > get
      > > there). However, I am secure in my faith, and knowing that I am
      > where I
      > > need to be (and that is truly a position I spent 30-or-so years
      > getting
      > > to, and longed for for the greater period of that time).
      > > Cheers!
      > > Chris
      > >
      > > -----Original Message-----
      > > From: patthecatwv [mailto:patthecatwv@y...]
      > > Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2002 3:00 PM
      > > To: exexgayministry@y...
      > > Subject: [ExExGayMinistry] coercion to join ex-gay ministries?
      > >
      > > I think its far too simple to assume that the decision to join an
      >
      > ex-
      > > gay ministry is one of either being forced into it, or choosing
      > > entirely freely. I know that I grew up in a dysfunctional family
      >
      > and
      > > went to dysfunctional churches where the authority of the head of
      >
      > > household/preacher was all encompassing, where disagreement was
      > > punished and love and acceptance withheld if there was not
      > immediate
      > > and total compliance. I learned to obey, that only one way was
      > > acceptable, and it wasn't mine- it was their interpretation of
      > God's
      > > will for me. I really did not know how to think for myself, how
      > to
      > > separate what I had been taught from reality. I didn't even know
      >
      > it
      > > wasn't real, that there was another way to be that was actually
      > > healthier and more spiritually based. There was incredible
      > pressure
      > > placed on the members of those churches to comply, to think and
      > > believe the same. If you doubted, you lacked faith, you did not
      > > believe in God, and therefore could not be a part of- to be
      > different
      > > was a sin in itself. I was so damnably brainwashed, I could not
      > see
      > > any other way. I had a church pay for me to go to an exodus
      > > conference, and I went willingly because I believed I would in
      > fact
      > > go to hell if I could not change, and because I wanted God to love
      >
      > me
      > > and for them, the people I considered my friends to accept me. I
      >
      > > stayed just as gay as ever, just more guilt-ridden and ashamed.
      > >
      > > The first time I questioned out loud with a friend of mine whether
      >
      > > the bible was word for word the word of God, we both cringed,
      > > literally expecting some kind of terrible judgement-a bolt of
      > > lightning or something equally drastic. Of course, it didn't
      > happen,
      > > and I was quite relieved. I laugh about it now, but it took a
      > long
      > > painful journey to change those spiritually abusive beliefs.
      > > Of course, I became that "godless liberal" we all feared so much
      > as a
      > > result of seeking, questioning, doubting, and exploring truth.
      > And,
      > > they have rejected me, but, as a result of all that reaching out
      > is
      > > that This person my old church buddies reject now has real faith
      > in
      > > God. I love him, I do not doubt his love for me now. I believe
      > he
      > > is there for me always, and that he created me Lesbian- and
      > treasures
      > > his creation.
      > >
      > > There are books that explain that kind of Christianity/religiosity
      >
      > in
      > > detail and explain what is wrong with it- "The Subtle Power of
      > > Spiritual Abuse", and "Toxic Faith" for example. And, there are
      > > books that explain the journey to learn to think for yourself,
      > that
      > > journey into self-actualization like "Women's Ways of Knowing".
      > >
      > > To say people are forced into ex-gay ministries does not take into
      >
      > > account the power of culture, the indoctrination of religion and
      > the
      > > socialization process. I think most of us try them because we
      > > believe what we've been taught- that we are terrible, sinful
      > beings
      > > that will be rejected by God if we don't change. I don't know
      > about
      > > you, but hell sounded pretty scary to me. And, I wanted the
      > > acceptance of my fellow church members as well, my church family-
      >
      > > that is tremendous pressure, to lose the respect of the people you
      >
      > > trust and depend on.
      > >
      > > I didn't leave the ex-gay ministry because I changed my mind. I
      > left
      > > because I gave up- realized I was not going to change- nobody else
      >
      > > really had, we all still felt "lust" for our own sex (amazing how
      >
      > > they always left out the tenderness, love and romance involved.)
      > > My attitude changes came much later, after a lot of painful soul-
      > > searching and prayer, and a spiritual awakening. I'm very
      > grateful
      > > to God that I made it here, and that there is even more to come,
      > more
      > > to learn, more growth to experience. Im grateful to know I am
      > loved
      > > by God and my prayer is that all glbt will come to know that in
      > their
      > > hearts as well.
      > >
      > > One thing that makes me really sad though, and sometimes afraid as
      >
      > > well, is knowing that many of my brothers and sisters in Christ
      > will
      > > always reject and castigate me for being the creation God intended
      >
      > > for me to be. Part of me craves that acceptance even as I know I
      >
      > > will never get it from most of them. But, God loves them too, and
      >
      > > there is hope. After all, I made it out, so can they. Love you
      > > guys, Pat
      > >
      > >
      > > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
      > > exexgayministry-unsubscribe@y...
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo!
      > > <http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/> Terms of Service.
      > >
      > >
      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
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      >
      >

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