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_ A hour and a half later I hung up the phone feeling
better thanks to Jim, a .straight frienJ who bad become
a very important person in my life during the past year.
His close friendship and acceptance :>f me were
invaluable. But he had asked the question, too. "Did I
want to be straight?" I still couldn't answer it.
w A week'later I was back in Ren/roe's office for
session number two. He said it saddened Mm to bear
people say they were Dorn hcmospxiiM or have always
*. "The tragic thing about tbosr statements is not Just
that they are wrong.' he*ud, "but t at tiiey have the
effVt of unnecessarily binding the one who believes
(hem ir.so a lifetime of homosexuality."
t*** Renfroe explained that basically there are two
causes of homosexuality: a "predisposition" toward
homosexuality and "learned behavior." Several factors
can cause a child to grow up wtth a predisposition
toward their own sex.
Among them: temperament, inadequate parental
relationships (smothering or dominant mothers and/or
passive or absent fathers), permissive childhood
training, insecurity about sexual identity, childhood
sexual trauma, early interest in sex, youthful
masturbating or sexual fantasizing, childhood
associates and peer pressure.
Renfroe emphasized that a predisposition toward
homosexuality was not synonymous with
homosexuality. This is where "learned behavior" came
"As a person's thoughts and activities become more
and more same-sex oriented, he tends to think
negatively about the opposite sex. He progresses until
his mind is obsessed with his own sex. He can say God
made me gay,* but in actuality he made the choice. He
permitted his thoughts to drift into homosexual
fantasies and experiences," Renfroe said.
He emphasized that "same-sex desires, feelings,
thoughts and actions are reversible."
Throughout the week, I gave considerable thought
to what Renfroe had said. A lot of it seemed to make
sense. Several of the predisposing factors were in my
background and I had to admit I willingly participated
in homosexual activities. But I couldn't help my desires.
I certainly didn't put them there — no matter what he
At the beginning of meeting number three,
Renfroe asked me if I had ever personally invited Jesus
Christ into my life as Lord and Savior. That question set
the stage for our session.
Renfroe explained the only way 1 would ever
reverse the homosexual process was to undergo a
chan ge -of nature. He said I would need outside help,
which' i| exactly what Jesus came to give me. He
explained the Bible teaches that when a person
receives Christ, be beconrs "a partner of the divine
nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the
world through Just."
Renfroe emphasized, however, there were other
steps to overcoming homosexuality: I would have to
face homosexuality as a sin and confess it
Driving back home after our session bad ended. I
had more phamphiets and publications to read. One
listed 18 steps to overcoming homosexuality, rift stated: accept Jesus as Savior, be continually
controlled by the Holy Spirit, walk In tbe Spirit, admit
homosexuality isasin and confess it, face and confess
your basic anger problem, love and accept yourself,
learn to control your mind, thank God for your
sexuality, stop homosexual acts, avoid homosexual
hangouts and friends, become involved in Bible-
teaching, become active in a weekly Bible study,
vigorously seek Christian companionship, find one or
more intimate new friends, give cneck-up privileges to
one of these friends, believe in God for an unlimited
future, present your body formally to. God and become
Just 18 simple steps—and poof, I'm straight — I
said to Jim. But I stili wondered, even if I took the 18
steps, would my desire for men be replaced by a desire
Besides, I felt I was already leading a Christian life.
I believed in God and had accepted Jesus Christ as my
Savior. I treated my fellow man with respect and Jove
and understanding and was not out to hurt anybody or
force my beliefs on any one else.
But Jim was there wtth his question again. "Did I '
want to be straight?" And again. I couldn't answer it.
Then Jim inquired: "If you were straight and I was
gay, how would you feel about me? Would it make any
difference in our relationship? Would you not be a
friend because Anita Bryant's 18 steps says you
Of course It wouldn't matter, I replied. I knew that
even if I was straight, I would still be open-minded
enough to-accept people who are different. At least t
hoped I would be. I just couldn't imagine myself ever
thinking that homosexuality was wrong.
"Then why are you questioning it now?" Jim
demanded. "Either you truly believe that
homosexuality is wrong, against God's will, immoral
and all that other stuff—or you dont Yon r.i::'( just i
say It may not be the lifestyle for you. If yon do, you are
copping out and not facing up to the issue. What is tbe
Session number four arrived much too soon. Jim's
questions were still plaguing me. My mind was getting
more boggled as tbe days wore on.
Sensing something, Renfroe asked what was
bothering me Itnld him I didn't think I would ever be
able to say homosexuality was wrong. He said be didn't
expect me to say it yet "because 1 was trapped in a
.perverse life style and led to believe it was acceptable."
For the rest of ihe session, we talked about who I
really was. Renfroe said that homosexuality wasn't |
really my problem. He urged me to look deep inside
myself and back into my childhood to dfscovpi what
was at tbe root of my unhappiness now "You are
merely using homosexuality to compensate for hidden
emotional scars," Renfroe said.
We talked for two hours, and I returned home
completely spent. During the next week I spent a lot of
time alone, soul-searching, thinking, looking at myseli
and my life and generally just trying to get my head
Session number five went smoothly, with the main
topic being "Can a Christian be a homosexual?"
Definitely not, Renfroe main-.lined. "Neither can an
adulterer, liar, thief or murderer. They are all sinners,"
I cringed. That was Brj ants favorite passage.
Toward the end of the hour. Renfroe asked me
where I stood now. We had completed our five sessions.
I i-e-a.f.-.iiud cy saving I woud have to -tort out ail
we had talked about. I would have to decide whether
homosexuality was indeed evil and whether i coufcf
Be:ere leaving, Renfroe assured me that he would
be available any time I wanted to talk. As he bad
emphasized repeatedly during the past weeks, be said
he hoped I knew that he hated my "sin" but loved me.
. No. I'm not "cured." Nor do I regret my five week
expertej.v? at Anita-Bryant Ministries. I met some
decent people who are deaicated and sincere in their
religions b .liefs and their love of God and their iellow
'. I>ui they are extremely fearful cf a world and
; lifestyle they are ignorant of. They wrongly huJst that
all men be like them. Cont, Page 15