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2292Re: coercion to join ex-gay ministries?

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  • nojam75
    Jun 4, 2002
      I have already had the discussion regarding my views on
      fundamentalism. Nor is this an appropriate forum to get bogged down
      into all the nitty-gritty theological details.

      What is more relevant is the nature of fundamentalism. The ultimate
      goal of fundamentalism is to defend doctrine while attacking all
      alternative ideas. Similarly, the ex-gay movement seems to be about
      pressuring participants to defend ex-gay theory while attacking any
      alternative ideas about sexuality. Both movements, fundamentalism
      and the ex-gay sub-movement, do not empower their participants, but
      seek to ensure that their participants blindly maintain doctrine.

      - Norm!



      --- In exexgayministry@y..., BearJER@j... wrote:
      > 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@y...> 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...
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
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