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More issues ...
are strange. In the Bible, the Exodus refers to coming out of the desert
experience, and leaving the years of bondage to Pharaoh. It was coming into
the promised land.
Exodus International has taken the name and the image to show how you
can come out of homosexual bondage and orientation and enter the promised
land of heterosexuality. They admit it's a long journey and there are
causalities along the way. Support groups are established in almost every
denomination and state, as well as many foreign countries.
People of all ages, broken by the guilt of failure to overcome their
homosexual orientation, seek out the support groups and follow rigid guidelines
of retraining their behavior, supported by Bible Reading and prayer. The
arrival at the promise land is an illusion for most of the men and women
on the journey because the premise is faulty. God will not change an orientation
that He has given to His gay and lesbian children.
I directed one of those ex-gay support groups in Hayward California
for almost 10 years. We were known as Paraklete - the term for
the Holy Spirit who comes along side to give aid and comfort. I was a
licensed minister with the Foursquare Church, and had written several
books and hundreds of articles on my "deliverance" from Homosexuality.
I was an instructor at several Exodus Conferences, and appeared nationally
on their behalf on such television programs as Jerry Springer and Sally
Jesse Raphael. I held down a full time secular job in addition to all
my "ministry" commitments and fully believed my lack of attraction to
women was an indication that I was truly "ex-gay." I had been active in
the gay community for over 17 years, and now I was free of homosexual
feelings and attractions. As an ex-gay leader I was on the fast tract
and a poster child of proof that the program works!
Imagine my surprise, shock and horror when I realized I was wrong! I
was the speaker at the Western conference of Foursquare women in the early
90's. The most beautiful woman I'd ever seen walked into the auditorium
and sat in the front row .It was as if the final piece of a puzzle snapped
into place and I knew she was God's gift to me. All the exodus teaching
and theology in my brain took a back seat to the intense attraction I
experienced the entire hour of my workshop. It took a couple months to
work out, but she felt the connection also, and we both knew that God
was bringing us together.
We prayed and searched the Scriptures, and challenged all the concepts
I had been taught and was teaching at my ministry. God couldn't go against
His own nature. He could not create someone with a homosexual orientation
and then condemn that person for acting on those instincts. He couldn't
call something sin that was His own creation! Exodus and I were not in
Exodus believes that homosexuality is a sin and that God needs to deliver
you from that sin. I believe that Jesus saved me from every sin through
His precious Blood, and that he didn't once specify homosexuality in all
of His teachings to the church. Des and I shared our lives for 12 years
until she lost her battle with Breast Cancer. She was totally amazed that
all my "friends" in Exodus were not pounding at our door to try and woo
me back to the fold. When I closed my support group, and was asked to
resign from the Foursquare Church, Des was certain those who were so into
marking the change of hundreds across the country would not let one of
their own go quietly. We waited, however no such outreach ever happened.
I longed to tell the story of freedom, and my own Exodus from the legalism
of confusing being numb with being healed.
Last year, I read a book that changed my life and put the Exodus experience
in perspective. It wasn't the Bible or a new pop psychology offering.
It was a children's book entitled "Old Turtle and the Broken Truth."
It tells the story of something falling from heaven and being found
by certain people. It was beautiful and amazing and the people began to
worship it. It had a message of truth, and the more they worshiped the
truth, it became the only truth. It read, "You are Loved." Soon there
were monuments erected to protect the Truth, and no one seemed to notice
that the object was broken, and no one wondered what else might be written
on the rest of the object. Battles were waged over the truth and much
opposition arose when anyone began to question the Truth. A little girl
set off on a journey to find Old Turtle, who in her aged wisdom, knew
everything. The little girl found the Turtle, and eventually the broken
other half of the truth. She brought it back to the people and it put
it together with the side that read, "You are loved…Her half read, And
so are they!"
As children, we were told that sticks and stones will break our bones
but names will never hurt us. That was one of the first lies we believed,
and it is a broken truth. We have spent our lives being wounded by rejection
and cutting names that separate "us" from the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
John 3:17 says that Jesus came into the world not to bring condemnation
upon His Children but to bring Salvation. God sent Jesus to bring the
healing balm of Grace into our lives and draw us to Himself, not with
a "blue light special" type of limited salvation of restrictions and guilt,
but with a love that nothing can ever separate us from the Heart of God.
That is the whole truth, and Exodus has spent over 25 years sharing only
a broken truth. My mission for the rest of my life is to stand with my
partner Becky and declare that God has created us and blessed our lives
as Christians and as Lesbians, and the whole truth is…He wants to do the
same for you. Jesus is the Way…the Truth…and the Life. Exodus truth may
be sincere, but it is a broken truth and at that, it is sincerely wrong!
Bogle is a former director of an Exodus ministry. She was a speaker
and instructor at conferences around the country and authored three books
and dozens of articles while promoting the ex-gay ministry. She appeared
on several national talk shows, such as Sally Jessee Raphael; Jerry Springer,
and CBS 48 Hours. She left ministry twelve years ago to build a life with
her Partner. They were active in their local church until Des's Death
from Breast Cancer in 2005. Des's last instructions were to go forth and
share the whole Truth about God's love for the gay community and tell
our story! In the past year many doors have opened for that message, and
God has provided another Christian partner, Becky, with whom to share
this journey! Darlene appears in a newly released documentary, "God and
Gay's, Bridging the Gap."
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