During Hurricane Irma’s aftermath, I learned that an ex-gay/conversion ministry leader I used to work with is taking pre-orders for his self-published book. This leader created and distributed an in-house survey. This survey had no credible objectivity or scientific professionalism and was circulated to people who had been a part of his ministry in the past and present. Then he personally compiled the results of those who chose to respond (very much doubt many of those with a horrible experience answered) and is lauding them as proof that Jesus cures the gays.
Keep in mind, this whole effort is self-created, self-directed, self-assessed, self-edited and self-published … but is somehow convincing “evidence” of “change” and “freedom from homosexuality.”
Usually, I wouldn’t say squat about this. It’s his right to believe whatever he wants to believe and create whatever fiction he wants to create. I trust folks can think for themselves. I have no doubt that people will see, quite clearly, that this is simply his attempt to justify continuing spiritual stigma and bigotry against LGBT+ people. What spurred on this post is that a very dear mentor of mine, for 9 years, wrote the forward to this self-serving book.
I trusted this mentor with information and disclosures I have never told anyone other than my therapist. By him endorsing a book that outright attacks my friends and me reveals that his current priority is bias affirmation, not a relationship. After all the investment of my heart and soul into receiving advice and wisdom from him, I feel betrayed. You can’t so publicly endorse a book seeking to humiliate former friends/associates and seeking to discredit/dishonor a former protege without it being quite clear you have completely written off that protege.
Maybe that’s how he felt when I came back out; betrayed. Perhaps he thought I had written off all his advice over the years. Maybe he thought that my coming back out without consulting him (our relationship ended during the implosion at Exodus) was an insult; that I had abandoned him. I don’t know because he hasn’t responded to my efforts to communicate with him in years and has never initiated communication in all that time.
I loved him. I still do. The door is always open to him.
He was there in so many heartbreaking situations that had nothing to do with Exodus or sexuality. He was an anchor for me during my PTSD counseling. He helped me navigate incredibly difficult waters dealing with present conflict, past abuse, and pain. I’ll never forget his laugh and voice during the many positive times as well. With a deep hearty chuckle, he lovingly said I definitely had many gifts including the “gift of provocation.” And here he is, condoning the work of a man who has publicly and privately said, numerous times, that I am damned, going to hell, and leading others there as well.
One of my weaknesses is that I idealize people and situations too much. Before and during the implosion at Exodus all those pedastels I had people on, came crashing down. Now I realize that one was left standing with this mentor on it. Now, he too is no longer held aloft as an idealized figure in my mind. Mind you, it’s not his fault I put him up there, and it is unfair of me to expect him to act any different than any other frail human being. But I never thought he would align with pure hatred until today.
I miss him, and I wish it didn’t hurt, but it does. Where I need to forgive, I do. Where I need forgiveness, I ask for it. The good will always remain while the bad is something I need to let go and not empower to be the full context of how I see this person.
I will no longer create or celebrate false constructs to prop up untenable beliefs and instead enjoy the new life and beauty rising up out of the darkness.
Even when it hurts, being free is good,