“At New Hope Ministries we do not attempt to make heterosexuals out
of homosexuals. Rather, we attempt to change a person’s identity, the way
a person looks at himself.”
These are the words of Frank Worthen, a leader in the world of ex-gay
ministries. It is a telling sentence. Mr. Worthen admits that gays and lesbians
will not lose their natural God given sexual orientation toward members
of their same sex. They will not attmept to make heterosexuals out of homosexuals.
Instead, they will teach gays and lesbians to control their sexuality and
change their attitude about it. In short, gays and lesbians will learn how
to hate themselves and praise God for their new found misery and loneliness.
In this issue of Whosoever, we will explore the tactics of these ex-gay
snake oil salesmen and how they are destroying the lives of innocent gays
and lesbians who believe the societal lie that they are not “normal.”
The leaders of these “ministries” will tell you to expect a struggle,
to expect to “fall” back into your old ways, but that ultimately
God will “heal” you of your homosexuality. It’s all a lie. God
has blessed each of us with the ability to love and God has made us to love
those of our same gender. That is a gift from God. It is a sin to throw
that gift back into God’s face.
The lapses that “ex-gays” feel during their brainwashing at
the hands of these evil “ministries” are only the true essence
of these people battling to be free from the bonds ignorance and misinformation.
One of the most powerful stories of how ex-gay tactics do not work is
that of Mel White. Once a ghostwriter for some of the leaders of the modern
religious right, White spent thousands of dollars and many years of his
life denying his sexual orientation. God did not “heal” White,
instead, White discovered he was “praying the wrong prayer” all
those years. Now his prayer is that he can help others avoid the pain of
feeling they must change to be accepted by God.
Several other writers explore the inner workings of these ex-gay ministries,
and one ex-ex-gay shares his experience and how God saved him from one “ministry.”
After reading this issue and exploring the stories you may come to agree
with another statement by Frank Worthen.
In an article called “Ex-Gay: Fact, Fraud or Fantasy” Worthen
writes: “When one has seen the hand of God at work in his life, it
is easier to trust God and to rely on [God] in times of trouble.”
I agree. I have seen God at work in my life every single minute of the day,
and I can truly say God is my hope in times of trouble. I can say that,
and at the same time, I can freely and joyfully praise God for making me
Whosoever founder and Editor Emeritus Rev. Candace Chellew earned her Masters of Theological studies at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., was ordained in December 2003 and trained as a spiritual director through the Omega Point program of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. Her first book, “Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians,” was published by Jossey-Bass in 2008. She currently serves as the Spiritual Director of Jubilee! Circle in Columbia, S.C.