Sunday, March 26, 2006

Anyone who has ever been in Love in Action, and I'm sure any other ex-gay ministries knows about re-introductions. A re-intro is where you share EVERY past sexual "sin" that you have ever committed to a loved one, friend, or anyone you wanted to have contact with while in Love in Action(yes, unless you tell your parents everything you've ever done sexually, or at least to the point that your counselor is content with, you cannot speak with them for the duration of your stay at LIA.) I didn't agree with it, believing firmly that confessing my sins to God was sufficient enough, not to mention a group of my peers, counselors. The logic behind the whole thing is that whom ever I tell is going to be my accountability, and my accountability needs to be fully aware of "what I'm capable of." So, being the obedient person I am, I told not only my parents, but 2 of my pastors, my brother, and my best friend. None of these people had any idea what to expect of my seemingly harmless "re-intro." Little did they know, everything they never wanted to hear was about to be exposed. I had to talk to these people I loved and that cared for me. I felt so alone and filthy at times, it was important to know that people loved me. Ergo, I got over the hesitation of telling them everything, so I could just hear their affirming voices. This, to me, is another example of exploiting the vulnerable. I believe this was partially(not the sole purpose, I don't think) to humilliate us in hopes that it would stop us from behaving "badly." Now, everytime my parents and I get in an argument over me making decisions for myself or I try to tell my best-friend about a choice I am making, they use what I told them in my re-intro against me. I admit I have done some horrible stuff...things that make me cringe, and at times I don't believe that they factor in that people grow and change. The things in my past do not make up who I am today. I have learned from many of these mistakes, and if anything, I believe I will be a better, stronger person in the future having had these experiences.

13 comments:

Bose said...

Golly, J, you're doing an admirable job of persevering through tough stuff.

During my coming-out and coming-to-terms process (and later, during my divorce) I had a close family member using intimate details about me as tools of abuse. I spent quite a while marginalizing that and making excuses for my loved one's abuse -- after all, the person was getting so-called "expert" support and affirmation for doing so -- before finally recognizing that the person was responsible, even if the others had contributed.

Self-forgiveness ends up being critical, I think. Any of us who has lived fully has made mistakes, and being healthy isn't about avoiding ever making mistakes, it's about learning from them. That opens the door to saying, "Yes, I did that. I take responsibility for it, for dealing with it, forgiving myself for it, and moving forward."

That's not generally going to prevent our loved ones from incriminating that our orientation is proof that something is still wrong, but that's when it becomes our job to find our own community, our friends and mentors, and to create our own families.

Take good and gentle care of yourself, J...

Irrational Entity said...

I think this shows one of the worst outcomes of LIA "therapy." To sharing your faults is one of the biggest things that you can do, and for someone to take the trust and use it against you is emotionally crushing. I hope that you and your family can work things out.

Benjamin Clark said...

Hey J. I don't know how old you are but your teen years are about establishing autonomy/independence from family, friends, etc. From what I am reading it sounds like LIA has done a terrific job in shaming you. I find that not only tragic but extremely manipulative and a frontal assault on your personal dignity as a human being. I would be extremely angry if I were in your shoes.

It never ceases to amaze me how these kinds of programs like LIA are actually the cause of a lot of addictive behavior (they tend to exacerbate addictive longing) because they miss the key componant and force you to do what they think is the right thing through manipulation. Free agency/free choice is the key to growth and progress. You know that God is an amazing being in that He allows us to get into some of the most difficult situations and learn on our own from them. He is not an enabler. He is not a parent who forces us to do this or that or else. He encourages us to learn from life's experiences. That's one of the main reasons we are all here.

You know God's grace is infinitely more far reaching than Christians can even begin to imagine. It is when they try to take His place as judge and jury not respecting the dignity of the individual that they fail miserably and take on the role of the Pharisee.

I hope that you are doing well and that you will one day realize what a grand gift God has given you in being one of his many gay sons and God loves that special creation that He has created so never be ashamed of who you are. The positive influence you can have over those who would try to make you believe that you are "broken" because of who you are will one day be enormous. They're wrong because they are ignorant of reality. I found that when I learned to differentiate between the voice of God and the voices of my church leaders, parents, family ,etc. that was when I began to truly accept myself for who I am. That experience is immensely liberating J. Authentic love and truth is what truly won out when I learned to hear Him directly.

Daniel Valdes said...

Dear J,

I would be you gave up all your rights to sue when you signed the extensive waiver upon admission, however, I would say get an attorney to read it over and see if you have a case. Something needs to be done about Love in Action. It's a disgrace. It's disgusting.

Dan Valdes

Contemplative Activist said...

Oh my - what an absolutely horrific practice. So grossly unethical :O!

The thing is, everyone, absolutely everyone, has done something that they are utterly ashamed off. Forgive yourself, be gentle with yourself and keep going forward.

I really feel for you that those close to you would use this stuff against you now.

CA

Anonymous said...

keep on keeping on man. I was also forced into ex-gay therapy, not as intense as yours though. its a roller coaster for all of us, and i pray that you find some solace in the aftermath.-john

kenny said...

Hey J
I am saddened that your experience with your loved ones has been one of manipulation. I have read the comments and I agree with some and with others not. One thing that could be good for you is to find some good friends, who you can be real with, who won't judge you or condemn you because of your past or present experiences. We all need people to walk along side of us on this journey called life. No one is meant to do life on their own.
I have been hurt badly by my family in the past, but it is what I do with that hurt. I can stay angry and just become like them...or I can set up healthy boundaries.
God's grace is so sufficient for us, his mercy is new every morning.
Above all, my heart really goes out to you. I know the struggle, both with depression and with unwanted same sex attractions. I have realized this is not an easy walk, but one that I do so with joy and reverance to God and to Him give all glory. Be good to yourself, realize that you are precious, and loved by so many.
praying for you.

Ben Clark said...

J. I was just thinking about an awesome God inspired organization called SoulForce. Check them out at www.soulforce.org . I also wanted to introduce you to an incredible Christian couple who have been singing together for several years now writing and performing Christian music. Their names are Jason and DeMarco. www.jasonanddemarco.com

Their lives are an incredible inspiration to the fact that God's love has no boundaries (His love is radical indeed) and that the fruits of the Holy Spirit can be expressed in a same gender relationship equal to an opposite gender relationship or marriage. These guys are amazing and they just let the Lord's light shine through their wonderful lives.

It is important to have good friends and you can have great gay friends who are Christians and who care about their walk with Christ just as you can with your straight Christian friends. It's great to have a diversity of friends who love you and who support you and love you unconditionally.

Evangelicals Concerned is another absolutely awesome organization filled with loving Gay and Lesbian Christians. www.ecr.org

God bless you J.

My best,

Benjamin Clark

Ben Clark said...

J. I was just thinking about an awesome God inspired organization called SoulForce. Check them out at www.soulforce.org . I also wanted to introduce you to an incredible Christian couple who have been singing together for several years now writing and performing Christian music. Their names are Jason and DeMarco. www.jasonanddemarco.com

Their lives are an incredible inspiration to the fact that God's love has no boundaries (His love is radical indeed) and that the fruits of the Holy Spirit can be expressed in a same gender relationship equal to an opposite gender relationship or marriage. These guys are amazing and they just let the Lord's light shine through their wonderful lives.

It is important to have good friends and you can have great gay friends who are Christians and who care about their walk with Christ just as you can with your straight Christian friends. It's great to have a diversity of friends who love you and who support you and love you unconditionally.

Evangelicals Concerned is another absolutely awesome organization filled with loving Gay and Lesbian Christians. www.ecr.org

God bless you J.

My best,

Benjamin Clark

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