Where is the repentance?

Where is the repentance?

mailbag_3

John,

I have been reading your posts since the beginning. Every week I have more questions. I’m sorry, I don’t understand where repentance fits into all of this. I don’t mean to be harsh….I just honestly don’t understand.


Are you saying homosexuality isn’t wrong or are you saying it is wrong, but we have to be patient while God’s goodness brings the homosexual to repentance? I see that you are saying homosexuals can be Christians, but can they remain that way…never expecting a change?


A Dear Friend




Dear Friend,

Thanks for your question. I know you have been reading through the blogs and appreciate your willingness to read them.


You have asked a very difficult question to answer. In order to understand homosexuality, and Christianity, it is important to look at the much larger picture of our faith.


Repentance from something means it has to be something you can control, like actions.

So often people will say someone needs to “repent” from homosexuality. It is something that actually cannot be repented of! People are, or they are not, homosexual. It is an intrinsic part of their being or personally, my being. One cannot repent of something that is unchangeable. I have gone through a tremendous amount of grief over the many years that I spoke of change, repentance, reorientation and such, when, barring some kind of miracle, none of this can occur with homosexuality. The article today is a great example of how we as Christians pervert the gospel as it relates to homosexuality as though homosexuals aren’t welcome in the kingdom unless they repent (which many interpret to change). But since homosexuality is not “repentable” then we put homosexuals into an impossible bind. (I’ve written another article that also addresses the subject of repentance – Click Here to read it.)


Surely, indiscriminate sexual behavior, stealing, gossip, and other “behaviors” are things that need to be considered when we speak of walking in the kingdom of God. God desires to transform us into His image more and more each day. But in the larger story of the gospel, biblical repentance means to turn our lives to God’s kingdom and away from the kingdom of the world. To change our allegiance from the god of this age, to the Lord of Lords! In this repentance, it allows God to be in the forefront of our lives and we decide to allow His kingdom to reign in us. Therefore we enter into a road of change, transformation. The issue then is what will that change look like for each of us.  Yes, there are homosexuals that make dramatic changes in their lives as they walk through the transformation process with Jesus. I have heard story after story of changes that have occurred as men and women find the grace of God in their lives as homosexual people.  But, I’m sorry, this transformation process may not meet the expectations of many Christians. I also want to reiterate here that the transformation for the vast majority of homosexuals will not include a change of sexual orientation. Actually I’ve never met a man who experienced a change from homosexual to heterosexual. I have met some women who claim that is the case but then again, male sexuality and female sexuality are vastly biologically different so this would not be a fair comparison.


I have met men who find their transformation to include marriage to a woman and having a family and it is something for them that is a wonderful life experience.  I’ve met some who find their transformation to include satisfaction in living a single life in Christ and His calling.  But, I’ve also met some who experience transformation from sexual promiscuity to  a faithful gay relationship that is truly, in their experience,  a great blessing to their relationship with Christ. Oh, I understand the controversy in all of this.


How would you answer the question: “Which is worse, two men who have been in a faithful committed relationship for 30 years, or a heterosexual who has been married five times?”


Well, often the Christian would immediately go to the homosexual couple. But, I would say neither is worse. First of all, I cannot judge one from the other because Jesus needs to judge the heart. But on a practical level, I would say the homosexual couple show a tremendous amount of work on maintaining a relationship, through faithfulness and sacrifice, to remain committed for so long. Any relationship that lasts 30 years is an amazing feat! The person who has been married five times shows some significant issues with unhealthiness. Five marriages is certainly on the fringe of a lot of damage personally and with many who are family and friends of this person. How would you prescribe these two scenarios to repent? Do you know what the person who has been married five times needs to repent of? What does the homosexual couple need to repent of?


From a spiritual standpoint, I also believe the homosexual couple could be more faithful in their walk with Christ than the person married five times – and yet……


The person married five times could also have a walk with Jesus that might be very intimate even though they exhibit relationally unhealthy practices.


We cannot grade homosexuality in its own separate category. It’s a shame, as followers of Christ, that we’ve been so judgmental and arrogant with so many people that we deem “unrepentant” because of our homosexual prejudice.


When I was in San Francisco this year a man made the statement: “John, you know who most of the gays are in San Francisco, they are wounded Christians.” Oh, my gosh! I think he may be right! They have been thrown out of most churches and have sought out someplace where they would feel connected, wanted and maybe loved.


My dear friend, this is a very tough issue and I am trudging through some very deep waters trying to better understand God’s heart on this matter. I have now gone around the world listening to Him, listening to the stories, seeing the tears of rejection in some, and the peace of God’s love in others. This is so different than I always thought in my small world of ex-gay ministry. And yes, it was a small world because I made it small. I was completely unwilling to hear anything that didn’t fit my paradigm. I blocked out anyone’s life story or biblical teaching that didn’t match up with what I believed.


When I was at LiA I never taught a session on the scriptures regarding homosexuality that I understood. I know that sounds strange but it is true. I didn’t teach them because I really had never studied them for myself. I merely quoted what I saw that others had written on the issue. I felt an obligation to at least teach something on what the Bible said, but every time I attempted to study it for myself it made no sense to me and I just went back to the writings of others within the ex-gay subculture.


Now that I am not submerged into one sided perspectives, I am open to studying and reading the scriptures for myself, I am finding so many rich truths that I wasn’t ever made aware of before. For the first time in all of these years, the scriptures that many have said refer to homosexuality are making sense! I am reading them in context. I am asking questions about who the passages were written to. I am asking what was being talked about, and why the words were written in the first place.


That illusive word – “Change”

Now to the other part of your question. If there is a change to be made, it has to be from Christ! If the gay man or woman is alienated from Christ because of the judgment they perceive coming from the church then we are placing a burden on them that they are not meant to carry. Many times  the church community sends the message that homosexuality is dirty, perverted, broken, and at times even a psychological defect. So, many homosexuals come to think they have to clean themselves up according to “our” standards in order for us to receive them into our pews and nurture them.


I am facing a challenging season in my life, my friend. I am at great risk of believers who have known me for many years rejecting me because I am daring enough to ask the questions I never would ask before. To be honest not many within the church are open to these kinds of discussions without being defensive and reactionary.  I stand to lose some very close friends because I have chosen to unconditionally love gay people and to support them now without pressuring them to  “change.” Someone has to take the fall for these folks whom Christ loves and desires a closeness with. I am willing to stand in the gap.


As I said, for many years I was unwilling to hear the hearts, the stories of so many gay people who were lost and afraid. I repeated the message “you can come here (to our program)  if you want to change” and yet the matter of change was so ambiguous that no one could possibly have met the mark that was expected. For the homosexual, the word change is deeply misunderstood and most often mis-communicated by the church.


Oh, I wish you could have been where I have been to hear the hearts and to experience what I have in the last two to three years. The sad thing is that many Christians would have not been willing to have walked the streets I have walked on out of the fear they would be “condoning” sin, or that they might have heard things they didn’t want to hear.


I was one of those Christians!

As I walked into a conference two years ago with Christians who were gay, my life flashed before me. I was very anxious and concerned about what others would think if they knew that I was there. I didn’t talk about having been there for a while and certainly not with certain people. My friend, what’s up with that? Why should I have such a deep fear of what others might think about me sharing space with Christians who are gay? What kind of legalism is that rooted in? What does that say about my own heart?


Now, to your second question,


So, John, are you a homosexual who lived as a heterosexual for all of these years or a heterosexual who was living as a homosexual?


I am on my own road of discovery in this area.  I used to define homosexuality or heterosexuality in terms describing one’s behavior. I thought it made sense and through the years often wrote articles and talked from that perspective.


Today, I understand why the gay community had such an issue with my writings. My perspective denied so many facets of the homosexual experience.  I minimized a person’s life to just their sexuality but homosexuality is much more than sex.


There are perversions that occur just because of one’s lust and a breakdown of morality. These are the perversions that I think you may be speaking of.  Men and women are certainly capable of extremes sexually such as in prostitution, pornographic exhibitionism and others.  However, today  I do not paint homosexuality into that broad brush.  There are surely men and women who act in homosexual behavior but may not be intrinsically homosexual, but I would say that the vast majority of those who consider themselves gay would not fit in the “perversion” category.


As to the question at hand, I would consider myself homosexual and yet in a marriage with a woman.  My sexual desires, attractions and lifelong struggle with common factors relating to homosexuality are pretty much all in the classification of homosexual.  Someone once described this type of scenario a “mixed orientation marriage”. When I heard this term it sent me into quite the internal process.  In many ways it answered many questions that had plagued me for many years.  Now I had something that finally effectively described my personal experience with being married.


I am who I am, she is who she is.


I am homosexual, my wife is heterosexual. This creates a unique marriage experience that many do not understand.  For many years I tried to fit into the box of heterosexuality.  I tried my hardest to create heterosexuality in my life but this also created a lot of shame, a sense of failure, and discouragement.  Nothing I did seemed to change me into a heterosexual even though I was in a marriage that included heterosexual behavior. Very often when I am in situations with heterosexual men I clearly see that there are facets of our lives that are distinctively different as it relates to our sexuality, and other things as well.


There is no question, I love my wife. God has worked powerfully in and through our relationship.  The fact that she married me in the first place knowing of my past homosexual promiscuity said something quite profound about her love for me. Which, by the way, was not an enabling, “I can fix him” kind of relationship.  My wife has never tried to fix me or change me in that area of our relationship. She truly unconditionally loves me. But this doesn’t change the fact that I am who I am and she is who she is.


This is why I say things like “you can’t repent of homosexuality.”  In traditional homosexuality it appears that it is intrinsic to a person’s fabric of life. Nature or nurture, it is far to complicated to have a definitive answer for the origin of homosexuality.  However, I hear story after story of men and women who accept themselves as being gay, in Christ, and finally find that life makes sense to them. Many are able to then nurture an authentic relationship with Christ because they are being honest and authentic with themselves and finally are able to accept His love unconditionally which changes the dynamic of their understanding of Him. Far too many homosexuals who are seeking Christ perceive that they cannot come close to Him if they remain a homosexual. In this mindset they search feverishly for change that will not come to them.


This kind of searching can lead to deep depression, discouragement and often an alienation from God!


Commonly when a homosexual finds God’s amazing love for them as they are, their perversion diminishes, their promiscuity decreases or goes away completely, and at times they accept being single or they may find a God centered relationship that also seems to be healthy and faithful.


There is a lot of negative power in someone who feels ashamed of their homosexuality, guilt from misunderstood aspects of their lives that they have no control over.


I hope this helps.


Anyway, I hope you will consider what I have written.  I have loved you as a sister for all of these years. I am really trying to gain God’s heart for all of this and I am willing to allow Him to show me His truth.


John


Some other articles on homosexuality and Christianity


Share and Enjoy:
  • Print this article!
  • Turn this article into a PDF!
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • MySpace
  • Google Bookmarks

 



57 Responses to “Where is the repentance?”

  1. Jeremy Marks says:

    Brilliant reply John!

    I totally agree with your perspective on repentance – it is a very much deeper thing than merely changing your behaviour – it is a whole life change, moving away from pursuing your own agenda to following Christ. Knowing you personally as I have done for so many years now, I would say that you are an excellent example of a man who has lived a life of true and authentic repentance – made all the clearer now, given that you are walking a difficult path of pursuing personal integrity and truth, knowing that many will reject you – because they are more interested in seeing you support their own perspectives rather than seeking God to discover the truth for themselves.

    God bless you John – a true brother in Christ

  2. Lisa says:

    WOW! OMG!! John, John, John… I am in tears.

    Oh Happy Day!!!

    You have no idea but perhaps you do- knowing it was possible, understanding that God was doing something special in you and all of us (that would take time) , then seeing how HE has TRULY TRANSFORMED YOU and SET YOU FREE from a yoke of bondage of Legalism, a critical spirit and judgmental attitude – while unveiling HIS AMAZING GRACE FOR ALL of HUMANITY through you does the heart good. It renews my own Faith in HIM.

    What you are doing now is some of HIS greatest work through you.

    You’ve come a LONG way baby and I have the video footage to prove it!! LOL. :)

    When Christians TRULY AWAKEN to the AMAZING LOVE OF GOD FOR ALL OF HUMANITY AND THEMSELVES AND LEAVE LEGALISM, A CRITICAL SPIRIT AND JUDGMENTAL ATTITUDE BEHIND- THEY BEGIN TO WALK IN TRUE “ FREEDOM IN CHRIST” – FULLY UNDERSTANDING GOD’S AMAZING GRACE IN WAYS THEY NEVER KNEW EXISTED. LD

    Just because you call yourself a Christian doesn’t mean you truly are one until you begin to live and LOVE like HIM. That’s what our friend John is doing now. :)

    BY George I think – John’s GOT IT!!- True “FREEDOM IN CHRIST” !! Walk on my friend and please continue sharing The Good News. Well done- Good and Faithful! Well DONE!!

    You are a brave man and I truly Love YOU in HIM!

    Love, Lisa

  3. susan berry says:

    Thank you so much for your transparency. You are helping me to understand and to think through this issue. I had a tearful telephone call years ago with a lesbian friend who did not feel worthy of Christ because of her sexual orientation. All I could say is that Christ takes us where he finds us or, better yet, where we find him. Today, with what you are doing, all of us who are willing to listen and to think have a resource that does not engage in the polemics of hate.

  4. Tim Raper says:

    Very powerful article John. One that requires deep thought and meditation for anyone in question,to have an open mind, free of any preconceived believes or teachings that are not a revelation of the Holy Spirit. Thanks for a very transparent answer to your personal life. It answered the single most popular question I am asked, when I share your ministry and testimony.

  5. Karen McNeil says:

    Dear John,

    I do appreciate your willingness to face these difficult questions head on….and I apologize for stepping into your personal life. But I am grateful that the friendship we have enjoyed all these years made it easy for me to ask things I needed to ask in order to understand clearly where you are in your journey.

    One thing I know for certain is that you are looking for truth. AND I trust that you won’t reject me if I disagree with you. :) It would make things much easier for me if I could just say homosexuality is NOT something to be repented of and accept it as a normal way of living…..but I cannot.

    I cherish your friendship, John. I cannot imagine that ever changing!

    Karen

  6. David Turner says:

    I have been married to my wife for over 40 years but I am gay also as proven medically in electronic shock therapy arranged by the Baptist Church, which was highly abusive.

    I am not sexually active. Last year I started to come out and the relief has been huge. My two worlds I tried so hard to keep apart are finally coming together. A straight marriage definitely does not change anything. My wife has had MS for 16 years now and I am her caregiver. I am not going anywhere.

    I was also a Baptist Minister and missionary in a former life, but resigned because I knew I would be considered an unacceptable person because I was gay. I have now left the Baptist Church permanently.

    We have a great local GCN (Gay Christian Network) group and those guys mean a tremendous amount to me.

  7. Alex Haiken says:

    You will undoubtedly get a lot of flak from those who are unhappy that you’re no longer towing the “politically correct” party line. But you’ve discovered that to live as a man of God and a follower of Christ means above all to live with personal integrity. Unless we can be true to ourselves first, we cannot be true to anyone else.

    I commend you for your honesty and courage and have stated so on my blog:

    http://JewishChristianGay.wordpress.com.

    You’re not just writing about repentance. You’re walking it!

  8. Michael Bussee says:

    Wonderfully written. Welcome home, John.

  9. Van Hairston says:

    So glad I know you and we call each other friend.

  10. Lisa Darden says:

    Michael stated it so simply and beautifully- Wonderfully written, Welcome home,” indeed John!

  11. Will says:

    Dear John … I have casually observed your journey since your days in LIA and now here on Facebook as I have read your blog. We’ve had some discussions, and if you recall them, you know of the challenges (putting it nicely) I have had along the way re: the “ex gay” movement.

    At any rate, I want to say that even though I don’t know you personally and we will likely never meet, I love you and support you on this journey. I don’t even need to tell you of the challenges that lie before you, both from those who embrace the idea of the “ex gay” movement, and from those in the gay community who know that there is simply no such thing as a former or ex gay. My prayer for you is that God will honor your integrity; the honesty of your heart, and that many lives will be touched in a positive way as a result of your willingness to walk in the truth of who you are. My loving thoughts and prayers for Vileen as well. God is so very faithful, far beyond our expectations.

    God’s blessings and love to you,
    Will

  12. anonymous says:

    I really appreciate all the work you put into this post! It seems well thought out and thought-provoking as well. I am always encouraged to read about the struggles of fellow Christians who deal with this issue.

    I hope that your friends will remember the fruits of the Spirit that they have noticed in you. Hopefully it will give them perspective in understanding your spiritual journey and where it has lead you.

  13. John Barto says:

    As a gay son of a preacher man, I rejoice that you now see the light in regards to the futility of conversion therapy.

    While your repentence for the damage caused by your work with Exodus International is ultimately between you and your god, I applaud you for speaking publicly about your journey to acceptance and healing. Hopefully this public forum will enable you to reach many who are ready to hear and accept the truth.

    However, sometimes it doesn’t hurt to apologize when your actions have caused pain to so many. You’ve written a good article that could have been even better if it contained the words, “I’m sorry.”

  14. Bill says:

    Being gay is a gift from god.

    I thank him for this gift every time I speak with him.

  15. Box Turtle Bulletin » Former Ex-Gay Head Now Says Change In Orientation Is Impossible And Change In Relationships Are Unnecessary says:

    [...] attractions to those of the same gender (male).” Smid’s latest blog post on his own web site continues on those themes: I have gone through a tremendous amount of grief over the many years that I spoke of change, [...]

  16. Tim Mc says:

    Of course all these questions become moot if you think about the logical impossibilities of any system built on a set of self contradicting dogmatic ideas/ideals. About a god that is both all loving but bent on sending the vast majority of his creation to eternal damnation. A god that is all powerful but invisible, a god that some would say buried dinosaur bones in the earth to trick people into not believing him. A god that says do not kill but that instructs his people to kill for profit and land.

    Personally my life got a lot better when i realized how much coping I was doing trying to understand how a god could make me gay until I realized it made a lot more sense that gays existed every where in nature it was god that wasn’t real. So I became a Humanist, learned that doing good for no reward was just as rewarding as doing it to earn one in a future heaven and that i had a lot more motivation to help people if I realized that there was no invisible santa that would feed the sick or take care of my elderly neighbors.

    I try not to hold a grudge against people of faith who still blindly condemn me but it’s irritating knowing that there is no defense from blind faith. The believer never questions, and there are no arguments to dissuade them that they are the ones holding the strange beliefs.

  17. Timothy says:

    Hi

    My name is Tim and I have had many close brushes with my lord and Savior in fact he is my best friend and has been for life.I knew him as a boy age 3 when I stood in front of my family’s congregation and accepted him as my one and only Savior. At 17 I went thru the depression of being different and asked him one day why did he make me this way knowing I would never be able to enter his beautiful kingdom.

    Why was I made so different so as not to be able to share HIS LOVE. WHY DID YOU MAKE ME TO HATE ME SO MUCH? I fell weeping like a baby.. Just then the sun shined in the window and hit my face and in an instant I heard and understood his reply.This is what I understood in the blink of an eye.

    I DO NOT HATE YOU. I HAVE MADE YOU THIS WAY FOR A REASON….THE SINS ARE STILL THE SINS AND APPLY TO ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL.

    To LOVE IS ONE THING AND TO LUST IS ANOTHER YOU CAN CONTROL…REMEMBER THAT SINS,FAILURES AND ALL THAT COMES FROM LIFE ARE JUST TO REMIND YOU THAT YOU ARE ONLY HUMAN AND THAT GOD IS THE ALMIGHTY GOD…A-Z…ALPHA AND OMEGA..BEGINNING AND THE END when JUDGMENT COMES YOU WILL ALL BE JUDGED BY YOUR OWN SELVES AS THERE IS NO ONE BUT GOD THAT KNOWS YOU LIKE YOU AND THERE IS NO UNDOING WHAT HAS BEEN DONE…

    ASK FOR FORGIVENESS AND IF YOU ARE TRULY SORRY YOU WILL RECEIVE IT. ASK FOR FORGIVENESS WITHOUT TRULY BEING SORRY AND YOU WILL LOSE YOUR WAY…

  18. John Smid says:

    Tim,
    What a wonderful and beautiful story of God’s love and redemption. I am so glad you shared this with us.

  19. Former Love in Action Director: I’ve never met a man who experienced a change from homosexual to heterosexual — Warren Throckmorton says:

    [...] a ministry called Grace Rivers and has taken a different course in discussing homosexuality. A blog post last week is one that is quite relevant to the claims about change of orientation, recently ignited by the [...]

  20. Anthony Venn-Brown says:

    Thanks John for you open and honest confessions. So many of us relate to your journey.

    You may find an article I wrote last year on Situational Heterosexuality of interest.

    I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

    http://gayambassador.blogspot.com/2010/04/most-misunderstood-concept-in-ex-gay.html

  21. Kathyy Baldock says:

    The time ahead will be interesting for you. Friends leaving, friends trying to save you, enemies embracing you, friends coming into your life. When theology changes on an issue, so does the friend circle often. It will be painful then glorious as you find true Freedom in Christ.

    Oh, and the grace you will feel inside can never be stolen or bought. You are in for some interesting times my friend, and when it settles, you will be thrilled at the decision to risk and be honest. K

  22. Gentle Lamb says:

    a time for a change, for God’s grace to fulfill its work to bring you whole and complete just as you are.

    god bless
    fm singapore

  23. Drew VanDyche says:

    Michael said it well. Welcome Home John. Welcome Home to Yourself and all that Mother-Father God/Eternal Spirit created you to be in order to manifest the Divine in human form. For some, we are the only Jesus that they will ever see.
    Namaste’
    Drew

  24. Truth Wins Out - John Smid, Former Leader of Love In Action, Admits He Is Homosexual, Does Not Condemn Other Homosexuals says:

    [...] would continue. It would seem that it is. He’s not all the way there yet, but in a post on the blog for his ministry, picked up by Ex-Gay Watch, Smid has a lot to say: So often people will say someone needs to [...]

  25. Homosexual Former Ex-Gay Director Admits He’s Never Met A Real Ex-Gay / Queerty says:

    [...] Executive Director of Love in Action, one of the largest and oldest ex-gay ministries, discussing his change of heart over the years towards gays and ex-gay therapy. He resigned as LIA’s executive director in [...]

  26. Aimee says:

    This was beautifully written, and touched on many points of personal significance for me. I hope your honesty will encourage more people to properly consider what it is to be LGBT and a Christian.

  27. Former Exodus International Leader Repents of Condemning Gays | Just Out says:

    [...] as Executive Director of Love in Action in 2008, posted an essay on the website of his new ministry Grace Rivers explaining that he no longer believes that one can repent of being gay: So often people will say [...]

  28. Michael Brooks says:

    Beautiful Article! I am and always will remain a Catholic. I congratulate you on your second coming out. Your thoughts on the subject are so inline with my own thoughts. I had a meeting with my Bishop, and I told him that I will never go into these pray-away-the-gay places, especially after hearing about what many of them actually do, etc.

    My Bishop right away told me that I need not change at all. I am still working on the issues involved, and after reading this article…I ask that your new ministry pray that I make a more fuller attempt at returning to Sundays and some weekday Catholic Masses.

    Thank you, and may God abundantly bless you.

  29. Karen McNeil says:

    Sorry…..didn’t mean to create such a stir. :(

  30. Gary Matson SR says:

    John,

    Sorry this a bit long but I am overwhelmed by your posting. I am having a difficult time putting into words how long I have waited to hear every word you just stated coming from a former Ex-Gay Leader. I honor you for your forthright honesty. When I met you in early July of this year at the TEN Conference in Austin I realized this day would come. The first night of our Conference and after hearing your apology to our group of LGBT Christians I could not wait to meet you. After many hours of conversation and seeing how your eyes were open and the change in your heart I felt I needed to ask for your forgiveness. I told you that you were one of the last men that I had ever wanted to meet face to face. Why? You had represented the teachings that had destroyed my walk with God and those that I was now trying to now help.

    My story is that after repressing my own orientation for 16 years and not acting on it but becoming a classic homophobe, preaching hell fire and damnation for homosexuals, attending the same College that Jerry Falwell attended and helping Jerry start the Moral Majority in the state of Colorado I finally acted out and refusing to be a hypocrite left my Fundamentalist Ministry and ran as far away from God as I could go. 20 years later through the prayers of my loving family I found out it was possible to be gay and Christian.

    John, the idea of being gay and Christian was an oxymoron until I found the same deliverance you stated in the conclusion to your profound article on “Where is The Repentance?”

    “Commonly when a homosexual finds God’s amazing love for them as they are, their perversion diminishes, their promiscuity decreases or goes away completely, and at times they accept being single or they may find a God centered relationship that also seems to be healthy and faithful.”

    I then reclaimed my ministry and am now mentoring those who have been damaged by the so called ex-gay ministries including a young man who calls me his adopted dad. His story is told on Wayne Besen’s “Truth Wins Out” Blog and how as the youngest teenager to ever enter an Exodus Ministry at age 15 he was molested by his counselor but stayed with the movement for 15 years out of fear he would go to Hell. He gave up his education and career to try and get healed. Finally in desperation he gave up and God led him to our Reconciling ministry. He has gone on with his education, has a great career teaching special education kids and is delightfully happy as God’s gay son.

    John, in our hours of conversation on that weekend and as I saw you witnessing the lives of gay Christians and their committed same sex relationships I saw the question marks in your eyes. You were truly on a journey to “the other side.” I know how I felt the first time I attended one of those Reconciling Conferences, I thought I had died and gone to a gay Christian planet and was in a world that I had no idea existed. It is a world very different than what we were taught and not at all like what we both preached against for many years.

    I am in a relationship with a gorgeous man (certainly in my eyes) that I first met 27 years ago when we were both very wounded and living promiscuous lives. He had been a missionary and I a pastor. There have been ups and downs and a lot of growing up to be done but because of God’s unconditional love we are now enjoying a wonderful committed relationship. He is 75 and I am 71. We could not be happier and are so grateful for the grace we have been given.

    Your New Friend,
    Gary Matson

  31. Dean Casey says:

    John, I am confused. So, you are saying that as a 43 year old single man who has never married, I am free to go either way, according to the dictates of my own heart?

  32. Dan Arthur says:

    Please, take note of the rare and wonderful crack that has opened in the shell of ignorance here. Ignorance is wide-spread in our world. This blog proves that ignorance can lose. However, note the brave, intelligent, independent and integrated path required to come to your conclusions.

    Do not rest now that you have begun to walk down the path of true freedom and independence. Your mind is no longer a slave to ignorance, working against itself, waging war on the inside that serves the purposes of ignorance, namely to preserve the status quo: theistic patriarchy.

    Remember, most people today are atheists regarding animism, polytheistic gods, Zoroastor, Ba’al, etc… But why stop at Buddha, Allah and Yahweh/Jehovah?

    Accepting the real world, and leaving ignorance behind, does not mean ending all meaning and mystery in your amazing subjective experience of the universe. It simply means to stop letting other people, and people who allegedly lived thousands of years ago, define that mystery for you.

    In peace, love and acceptance,

    Dan

  33. Rick Brentlinger says:

    Many Christians we’ve viewed as mature in the Lord have spent their entire lives parroting views someone told them were right instead of believing the Bible in context, i.e., rightly divided, 2 Timothy 2:15.

    We do not owe them acquiescence in their ignorance or their bigotry. The more I encounter their unloving unscriptural attitudes, the less patience I have for them.

    A prophet in the Bible was a man raised up by God in times of apostasy to take God’s side when God has an argument with His people.

    I believe God has an argument with His people on the gay issue. As you’ve personally observed, the Holy Spirit is at work in the gay community in spite of the negativity of so many professing Christians to that concept.

    I’m praying for you and Vileen, God’s strength and wisdom, as you walk the path of His purpose for your lives. If your “friends” insist on putting themselves and us under law or stepping into Pharisee shoes, the better to criticize you on this issue, that makes us sad but it is the job of the Holy Spirit to convict them about that.

    We cannot reason them out of a belief they were never reasoned into.

    I’m with Colonel Nathan Jessup on this one: They can’t handle the truth. Be strong in the LORD (KJV), know that you are not alone, that you are loved and this really isn’t an ending. You’re on the cusp of a grand new adventure with God!

  34. Lisa Darden says:

    Karen McNeil- It’s a Good thing you caused a “stir” it is a wonderful catalyst. John has handled it HONESTLY and with great GRACE. As I said above… Oh Happy Day!- This is a beautiful example of “TRUE Freedom in Christ”.

    It takes awhile to get there but once you do there is no turning back. Once your heart is turned fully on its on and you and the people you meet along the way will never be the same again.

    “When Christians TRULY AWAKEN to the AMAZING LOVE OF GOD FOR ALL OF HUMANITY AND THEMSELVES AND LEAVE LEGALISM, A CRITICAL SPIRIT AND JUDGMENTAL ATTITUDE BEHIND- THEY BEGIN TO WALK IN TRUE “ FREEDOM IN CHRIST” – FULLY UNDERSTANDING GOD’S AMAZING GRACE IN WAYS THEY NEVER KNEW EXISTED.

    Just because we call ourselves Christian’s doesn’t mean that we truly are until we begin to live and LOVE like HIM.”

    John Barto- You may have missed this “A letter of Apology” by John Smid written March 4th 2010 http://www.gracerivers.com/apology/ It was written over a year ago and this entry is proof that he come even farther since then…

    Again congratulations John- Peace be with you and Thank you for sharing!

    Love, Lisa

  35. Lisa Darden says:

    The Journey may be long but it is worth it.

    John’s transformation is NOTHING SHORT of a miracle.

    He’s not deceived He is fully awake and walking in Love.

    I know personally that John Smid is the real deal and that there is so much more to be learned and shared here. There is so much more to come.

    http://www.gracerivers.com/2007-sienna-2/

    We all need to stop fighting with each other and get to know one another.
    Love one another!!!! God’s Love is Big- HIS Grace is amazing and it is available to
    all of us.

    One of these days we’ll all wake up and move on. My hope and
    prayer is that it is sooner rather than later. Be good to each other.

    Practice- FAITH, HOPE and LOVE and remember that the greatest of these is LOVE.

  36. Lisa says:

    http://aboveallnames-america.blogspot.com/2011/10/buried-wealth.html?spref=fb

    Buried Wealth- Ruth Cooper

    Recently I was talking to my friend Lisa about purpose, life, discouragement and passion. We all have a passion which is connected to our purpose.When we begin to walk our calling or purpose it seems like the battle begins. Discouragement by financial setback, religious opinions, negative voices etc….. contains us-meaning it keeps us limited and restrained.

    I heard a preacher say this and it has impacted me : The wealthiest place on earth is not the oil wells of Iraq or the diamond mines of Africa but our local cemetery, in it lies treasures that were never released to humanity. Buried are books never written , music no one had a chance to hear, songs never sung, poetry never written, films never produced, ministries no one started and dreams never pursued.

    A few months ago I visited a church in Atlanta and the Pastor shared a vision of mantles ( as in the story of Elijah) that had been dropped by those who have left this world, those mantles belonged to a generation that has been lost due to religious judgement. Those mantles belonged to a generation of men and women lead by fear, intimidation and rejection because they were different. What a great wealth of gifts and talents contained and eventually lost .

    We are all loved and created for something in this journey of life and being a person unfulfilled is torture and tragic.

    As I spoke to Lisa I realized I was speaking to myself as well. So this advice came about-Surround yourself with those that see the vision and support you in it. Don’t throw your pearls before the swine. Don’t leave this world unfulfilled . If you’ve been called you are therefore qualified! My wish is when I face God, He will say “Well Done” .

  37. Ex-Ex-Gay Minister Has Never Met an Ex-Gay | MGN: Miami Gay News says:

    [...] Exodus International’s Love in Action ministry, John Smid admitted that he’s gay. In a recent blog post, Smid reflected on his updated views on homosexuality. Taken at face value, his new beliefs — [...]

  38. Jason Patch says:

    I am so sad for you John, and not just you, but all the people being led astray by the deception presented so eloquently in these articles.

  39. Michael Cooley says:

    @ Jason Patch

    I think the “deception” is unintended. Yet we are called to exhort and, if necessary, to rebuke.

    I’ve been puzzled over the disconnected way I feel comparing and contrasting my own Exodus experiences with what John Smid seems to be saying. I’ve joked with a few friends, John should not have left Love In Action in California. Marin County is the perfect balance and corrective for Christian legalism.

    But the messages of change, celibacy and chastity were never ambiguous for me. And John was one of my teachers. I always felt I was understanding the theology of the Cross. You deny yourself and take up your cross and follow Christ. Changes in sexual orientation or not.

    To be fair, John says he’s coming out of judgmentalism. I can relate to that. I have my own sins in that department. Maybe we all do. But, even with my Episcopal church background, I’ll take legalism any day over libertinism. Legalism–or fundamentalism, whatever you want to call it–at least takes the fundamentals of the faith seriously.

    Is it off the mark–John’s blogs seem to be giving rise to ex-gay in-house fighting or among those who have that background–to say that his message is to give up the struggle against homosexuality? Is he really saying that? That might be where the confusion is coming from.

    To be sure, the blogs seem to be exploratory theology. Conversation. Dialogue. Conceptually, a flight from Christian judgmentalism. A few are saying he’s “home” and a few are saying “he’s not there yet” regarding the gay gospel. I think both sentiments are misguided. At least at this point. By his own admission, it’s the Memphis experiences that are being worked out. And, I hope, salvation.

    What I’m saying is what I’d say back in LIA in Marin. The blogs are offering a kind of forum. I don’t think John is going far enough. Is it enough to say that we can’t repent of sin unless we can control the sin? Sinful actions, is what he is referring to.

    The “capital” sins–sometimes referred to as the seven deadly sins and rightly so–give rise to “other sins, other vices.” You don’t have to be Catholic to understand this. They are pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth or acedia.

    Billy Graham, in his book “The Journey.” makes a distinction between “sin” and “sins”–”sin is a disease that infects us all,” he says, “while sins are what we do–the outworking of the disease of sin.”

    The homosexual condition or orientation can be changed with varying degrees of success. If you’re willing to get past gay identity politics you can reach an understanding of this. Of course, you’ll always hear cries over the impossibility of change. Some of those cries are coming from Christians.

    But consider this from Camille Paglia: “Is gay identity so fragile that it cannot bear the thought that some people may not wish to be gay? The difficulties in changing sexual orientation do not spring from its genetic innateness. Sexuality is highly fluid, and reversals are theoretically possible. However, habit is refractory, once the sensory pathways have been blazed and deepened by repetition–a phenomenon obvious in the struggle with obesity, smoking, alcoholism, or drug addiction.” Ms. Paglia isn’t Christian, it goes without saying. She’s pagan. But her statements aren’t reactionary. You wonder: why do some people become hysterical over the subject of sexual re-orientation?

    My point of departure is the untenable venture into committed relationships. As if that were the sure sign of God’s grace and healing for the homosexual who has repented of promiscuity and/or perversions. I think John is saying that it “may” be the sure sign of God’s grace and healing or continued work of grace.

    But the committed relationship–along the continuum of certain aspects of gay life–is still a counterfeit of grace. Why should I pay heed to my LGBT brothers and sisters in Christ who are arguing for gay marriage? It’s regulating sin. For me, I expect I would enter into a worse spiritual state if I followed through with a same-sex blessing as opposed to just trudging through the same besetting sins and temptations that everybody has to struggle against in one form or another.

    I understand the distinctions between psychological healing and spiritual healing. Despite brokenness. Despite the homosexual condition. It’s Father John F. Harvey, back in 1996, in his book “The Truth About Homosexuality,” who explained it. We can be sure of God’s sanctifying grace. If there is a thorn in the flesh to suffer that for whatever reason God doesn’t remove, we know, from St. Paul, that God’s grace is sufficient.

    Of course it’s a wait-and-see for John Smid. I expect we’re all going to know more and more soon and very soon. Until then, “watch and pray that you may not undergo the test,” as our Lord said.

    In Christ,

    Mike

  40. Jason Patch says:

    Mike, I am in agreement with everything you stated above. You did a great job of expressing yourself in a non-judgmental fashion. Very well thought out. I hope that your response encourages others to think and ponder the points you made. Nice work!

  41. patrick f. says:

    My problem with John Smid’s statements is that they portray a very narrow view of sexuality. What does it mean when he says that he tried to fit into “the box of heterosexuality”? there is no such thing. Then he talks about comparing himself to other heterosexual men and find that he is different from them sexually. If you have honest conversations with anyone you will find that their sexuality is different from yours. We are certainly unique in this way. This is why God’s Word seeks to guide us in this area. If we try to discover it ourselves we will surely lose our way.Finally, what would Mr. Smid have to say to people who are attracted to children? The field of mental health has decided that they are untreatable, and the best that can be expected is to manage their sexual feelings and not act out on them. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? The revelation of scripture is that sin has tainted every part of God’s creation including sexuality. The role of the church is to proclaim that the kingdon of God has come, and we are called to live as though the world has already been restored to its original state. That includes God’s original intent for sexuality.

  42. Guglielmo Marinaro says:

    I am so glad for you, John, and not just for you, but for all the people who will be enlightened about the “ex-gay” delusion by the revelation presented so eloquently in these articles.

    Just in case you haven’t noticed, Patrick F., I would just like to point out that there is actually a difference, and not altogether an unimportant one, between being sexually attracted to other adults (of either sex) and being sexually attracted to children. I see no reason to doubt that God’s original intent for sexuality includes homosexuality.

  43. Liz says:

    Those were provocative comments. I think that they require consideration and respect. I, myself, have found significant freedom from same sex attractions and gender confusion through Exodus and Living Waters ministries. Lately, I have been struck by the lack of tolerance by pro-gay activists against the ex-gay movement. Tolerance goes both ways. I believe that some Christians can make peace with being gay and others can’t. It’s hard to deal with and sometimes it feels like a thankless task, but, if we love Jesus like we say we do, shouldn’t we be willing to pay any price? It’s a matter of conviction. There’s always hope if we cling to Him and it may just be a matter of time before we get our own breakthroughs or it may be just accepting the ambiguities of life and learning to live in the tension. Let’s face it, true faith is hard and everyone can’t handle the loneliness and strain that is sure to come. It’s easier to agree with Jesus than to follow Him as a disciple. I hope that I will be able to persevere.

  44. David says:

    Thank you so much. I have never needed to hear anything so much in my life. I have been trying to reconcile my Faith and my Sexual orientation and I haven’t been able to because I have thought I needed to change. and this whole time I believed that because I wanted to be a Missionary I would have to live a lonely life or marry a women and live a lie (something I have been doing for far to long). This is just, I finally feel like I am ok. I can do this, with God. and he will still love me. Thank you so much. Thank you.

  45. bill j. says:

    Oh John, I fear that in trying to love you have been deceived and are no longer loving people with the truth, but saying only what people may want to hear. It may seem loving on the surface, but ultimately, it is not.

    The more words a “truth” requires to explain and justify itself, the further it is from the Truth. He is either God or He isn’t. The Bible is either all true, or none of it is true. Jesus was either God’s only Son, or he was the worlds biggest fraud or a madman. You cannot have it both ways, it all stands together or it all falls apart.

    “God of my hope
    God of my need
    God of my pain that no one else will ever see
    God of my healing
    God of my strength
    God who is always and will forever reign
    God of my everything.”

    http://youtu.be/r6nHLg1Y7-M

  46. Mackenzie says:

    I guess change is possible…a change to acceptance and love.

    Good to see you made that one.

  47. Yahada says:

    That was beautiful John. Thank you so much for having the courage to say what you did.

  48. You Can’t Pray The Gay Away… End Of The Ex-Gay Movement? : Cor Invictus Blog says:

    [...] director of Love in Action, the country’s oldest and largest ex-gay ministry, acknowledged on his blog that, contrary to the claims of the movement he represented for decades, gay people cannot become [...]

  49. duh hey says:

    how can you minister to others when you are only now finally coming to grips with the lies and shame you have been telling and imposing on yourself for decades? cease your arrogance and just be quiet. learn something about life, recongnize your ignorance, and then ask yourself whether you have anything to add to these long-standing issues.

  50. Duh hey2 says:

    I wouldn’t have put it quite like that, but I think duh hey is onto something. This isn’t a time to start another ministry, John. Especially considering how deceived you realized you were the first time… Perhaps humility is the real lesson here. Those who teach (you are) will be judged more strictly.

  51. Ash says:

    In Leviticus chapter 18v22 (You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination) it tell us how homosexuality is an abomination to God so alot of christians today us this to condemn homosexuals, but in the same book 18v27,28,29 and 30 tell us how not just homosexuality is an abomination but also adultery, witch we are all guilty of Christian or not, so no one at all on this earth has a right to judge anyone ( “Judge not, that you be not judged. “for with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.) Matt 7v1,2 because we have all sinned. ( For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.) Romans 3v23. so put yourself in there place and think of your own sins because Christ came to save sinners.

  52. charlieparish6@hotmail.com says:

    Dear sir,

    I am a Christ follower. And I speak to you not as a represenative of my own preferences, but I stand on the word of God. I mean this to be taken in the spirit of Christ’s love.

    God was very specific throughout scripture on the fact that homosexuality was indeed considered a sin. In 1 Corinthians 6:9, he speaks of damnable sins that will encure Gods wrath upon them and deny them eternal life in Heaven. Sin is beautiful and addictive. Its pleasurable. But it is also deadly.

    Homosexuality is a temptation for many, but it is not a beautiful trait that God blesses some people with. The Bible tells us that we will never face a temptation so overwhelming that we cannot emerge as victors with Christ.
    Christ says that those who live a homosexual lifestyle will not inherit Gods kingdom. If they repent from this lifestyle, then they will be saved. But to remain in it while claiming that Christ deems this behavior acceptable is damning.

    Imagine a person who is addicted to cocaine. This person goes to his doctor and the doctor tells him that unless he turns from this forbidden drug, he will lose his life.

    Do you think an acception is going to be made if this addict says, “Well from birth I had this craving for drugs. And because I love them so, I believe that I will live a healthy life.”

    The addict can convince himself of anything he likes, but that doesnt change the truth of the matter. The expert in health said that he would die with continued use.

    God is the expert in our lives. And he has said this lifestyle will lead to the second death in seperation from God eternally. Homosexuals can twist scriptures and convince themselves of whatever makes them feel better, but that doesnt change the fact that God has forwarned them that it will lead to their spiritual death.

    If you are dealing with this sin in your life there is still time to repent and turn to Christ. You speak of change. The apostle Paul was a murder. When he met Christ, he repented and changed. His change was radical. Do you believe that he could have claimed to be changed in Christ and still kept murdering people? By no means!

    Again I speak this out of love that I want no one to perish in their sins or be decieved by Satans lies. Turn from the lies and find the truth. We all fall short. And all christians sin. But a Christian cannot willingly choose a lifestyle of sin and live in it all the days of their lives! If we justify sin, then we reject Christ. Jesus said you cannot love the world and him. He said you will hate one and love the other. The church in Laodicia in Revelation was called Lukewarm because their mixed the things of the world in with Their version of Christianity to fit their lusts. God said I would rather spit you out of my mouth!

    Seek Christ with all your heart. Search the scriptures for truth. And die to lusts of the flesh. God bless you all. Glory be to Jesus Christ our Lord. Thanks for allowing me to share.

  53. John Smid says:

    Charlie,
    Thank you for taking the time to write this lengthy comment. It tells me you have a vested interest in how you believe, and how much you love people and care for them spiritually. This is a marvelous intention.

    However, I disagree with you on the interpretation of the Scriptures that warn us of temple shrine prostitution, sexual rape, man – boy sex slaves, and Canaanite sex worship of Baals and sexual idols. I do not find anywhere in our modern bibles that through study of culture, original language, context, and within the big story, that God forbids same sex loving, faithful, and God centered relationships. Frankly, it just isn’t there.

    On another note, you referred to First Corinthians chapter six. In those very same verses, it also refers to greed. Not just wanting a new car, but habitual greed that occurs in the life of the unrighteous. (non believers, which is also who is being referred to as it speaks to man-boy sex slaves and temple shrine prostitutes as was common in the day). I say unrighteous because Paul says this “But of the unrighteous, I say this.”

    In our country, one of the most common unrepentant behaviors and attitudes is blatant, greed. What should we say then, about the greedy? Well, frankly, this particular passage is not, no NOT, speaking about habitual behavior at its core, it is addressing the Christians in Corinth and Paul is exhorting them to know who they are in Christ, washed, saved, born again believers! Not sinners! He reminds them twice to celebrate and live in the freedom that Christ brought to them.

    He is attempting to help them to celebrate the forgiveness and new life they have in Christ. Therefore, the context of this passage is not designed to point out sin in believers, or sin in non believers. It is focused on an encouragement to move on from holding to an old identity as a wicked person (meaning unrighteous, or non saved).

    I must also disagree with you about the focus sin has in the life of humanity. It is not due to someone not repenting of “a sinful pattern” that causes us to miss God’s amazing and wonderful new life. But rather it is due to someone “grieving the Holy Spirit’s” offer of salvation, redemption, and grace for all sin!

    Therefore, most of American Christians (and non American ones) are living in one sort of unrepentant ongoing sin or another. I hope you agree with me on that, because if you don’t, then I wonder if you or others truly recognize what being a human Christian truly is! None of has reached that kind of perfection, nor personal holiness.

    Sadly, the interpretation of the seven passages of Scripture that are believed to speak to ANY form of save sex behavior have many interpretations and scholars all over the world disagree on what they actually mean or say. This tells me that to a large degree, the jury is out on this matter. Therefore, I strongly believe it is something that must be left to the individual’s walk with Christ and their individual conviction on the matter.

    I know many true to life believers in Christ who are in same sex relationships that put many other Christians to shame due to their commitment to Him, and their love and grace for others, as Jesus preached, Love Him, and Love others as we love ourselves. I think this would be a far better rule of thumb to judge by than whether or not they are in a faithful same sex relationship.

    Paul does go on to exhort us about being the temple of the Holy Spirit and that with our bodies, we should not be careless with our sexuality. I am not promoting a permissive Christianity here. I disagree with same sex relationships being forbidden since the Bible seems to be unclear on this.

  54. Six Things Straight People Should Stop Saying about Gay People | says:

    [...] leaders of Exodus and other “help-fix-me-I-am-gay” programs are now admitting they NEVER saw one change in the orientation of clients in decades of work. Although well-intended, ex-gay programs have been [...]

  55. California is First to Protect Gay Minors from Antigay “Therapy” — The Good Men Project says:

    [...] community has admitted that it is not possible to “treat” homosexuality. John Smid, an “ex-gay” who used to run Love in Action, a fundamentalist Christian program that claimed homosexuality was a curable addictive behavior, [...]

  56. California bans conversion therapy for kids | PsychotherapySphere says:

    [...] The Rev. John Smid, who spent more than 22 years with another ex-gay ministry, Love in Action, admitted, “Actually I’ve never met a man who experienced a change from homosexual to [...]

  57. Jared Phillips says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69bG2LVZRyM&feature=em-subs_digest-newavtr

    The video gives a clear message and shows the love that Christ gives, but also shows what God’s heart is for homosexuality. God deems it as sin just like the sins I have committed, but just watch.

Leave a Reply