Boy Erased Will Release Nov. 2

Boy Erased Will Release Nov. 2

BOY ERASEDAs the new film Boy Erased is released to to the public on November 2, 2018, I’m being questioned about my role in the story of the film Some have asked if under the auspices of Love In Action people were actually treated the way that the film reflects. I’ve spent the last six months working through my reaction to the content of the book and the film. As in any Hollywood film, there is a factor at play where some scenes are enhanced to get the full message of the film out there. We have all seen films that are produced based on true stories and we know that all the scenes are not factual.



As I think about Boy Erased I have something I’d like to share. In a short conversation with film director and screen writer, Joel Edgerton minutes after attending the premier viewing, I said:


“Joel, this is something I’d like to say about Boy Erased. In this film, the names have been changed, but the stories are real.”


In response to those critics, this is what I have to say.


Boy Erased is a movie, a theatrical production of a book written by Garrard Conley. The messages in the movie reflect the tragic situations that LGBTQ people have suffered in the name of religion. They convey the trauma and confusion that families go through when they discover they have a gay son and bring in their church authority for help. The movie tells the painful story that many people relate to, which is reflected by the many, many tears that are shed by people in the audiences as they see the film


I will let my reputation and my character answer your questions or those of anyone else who want to know. If you don’t know me or have judged me already, then I suppose you will make your own conclusions and I have no control over that.


It is very well known today where I stand, and that I’m totally against any message, therapy, or religious organization or church that condemns LGBTQ people based on some interpretation of the Bible. I believe that all people are accepted by God in their given sexual orientation and that all people equally have the right to explore a healthy and loving relationship and marriage. I believe that any attempt to change anyone’s given sexual orientation is tragic and deeply harmful to one’s soul.


There is a line in the film by Nancy Eamons, Jared’s mother. Her statement really touched me and I can so totally relate to it.


“Jared, I fell in line, and I was wrong. Things are going to be different from now on.”


I fell in line.

As I reflect on her words I can say this, for 22 years I fell in line with the expectations, theories, philosophies, and religious dogma that lay underneath conversion therapy. I bought the rhetoric, I believed it. I attempted to apply it to my own life and lead others into it because it appeared to be the only hope any of us had. We considered the options of losing our very soul and feared if we didn’t completely obey,  all those devastating results may come to reality. So, yes, I fell in line!


I was wrong!

I was terribly wrong. I struggled that entire time with duplicity. One part of my heart longed for change to be true and available. The other part of my heart wanted so much to be free just to be who I am. I was wrong in the way I led others in teachings and applications that somewhere deep inside me I knew would not bring the hoped changes. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but I must admit it.


Things are going to be different from now on.

As I came to my new reality six years ago, I realized that things are going to be different! I didn’t fully realize just how different they would become. But at this time in my life, I’m more committed to truth and authenticity than ever before in my life. Yes, I’m certain that things will continually become different day by day in my life.


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4 Responses to “Boy Erased Will Release Nov. 2”

  1. William Byrd says:

    Dear John,

    It is a great blessing to have watched your awakening to the truth, or at least your letting that truth come forth, and I can only imagine the freedom and strength that you found as you did so. i remember a time when seeing and hearing you while you were the voice of LIA, and being so very angry because, frankly, you seemed to me to be so smug …. yet I had no idea at the time what inner conflicts you were dealing with … or that others might be dealing with who I knew in the past, to be dealing with coming to terms with their own sexuality. I continue to pray for those who have been profoundly harmed because of the ex-gay message; including those like friends of mine: Jack, Mark and other names I can’t recall who ended up taking their lives because they were never able to come to terms with who they were. I know you pray for those same people, and I applaud you (and Michael, Darlene, Randy and other former leaders in the ex-gay movement) who now stand up for what is right, and live every day to make a difference. Thank you for writing this!

  2. Jonathan says:

    Love this, John.

  3. Mark Everett Sanders says:

    We all have things we have to learned. I also had brought the party line until I got older. I am not 54

  4. Gary Matson says:

    John, I had the joy of meeting you The Evangelical Network Conference in Austin as you were embracing your New Reality. I admire you for your courage in admitting how wrong you were and I have witnessed this change in you and your efforts to share the message of reconciliation with all those who had been misled by the promise of ‘healing” that we all tried to believe and teach. When we finally admitted it was not working for us then we finally were free to accept ourselves as God’s Gay Children. What a freedom, Glorious Freedom, that has brought to us and many others. I am praying that “Boy Erased” will open the eyes and hearts of so many. God Bless You John and Your Amazing Husband Larry!

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